The MPPA capstone project course is the high point of the program. As a full cohort, students get the chance to solidify their ties to other students and reinforce the skills and competencies gained from their core and elective courses. Instruction in specific professional skills (negotiations, leadership), is followed by a four-day, intensive where students learn about a national policy issue from experts in the field.
In teams of policy stakeholders, students then present policy briefs to an expert panel with decades of experiences in politics and public administration. Students are evaluated on their ability to develop oral, visual and written materials that effectively communicate policy analysis advice. Previous cases have covered the opioid crisis, smart cities and digital governance, rare diseases and basic income.
Previous Capstone Cases
Capstone Project, 2022
The case focused on the 2022 Federal Budget which established a new DQ requirement for charitable organizations, as well as an additional commitment to adopt the spirit of the proposed changes to charity regulation set out in Bill S-216. In teams that represented stakeholders, the students reviewed and
identified challenges and limits, including issues of implementation. Based on their analysis, they proposed and justify a clearer model to structure the approach the CRA is to take under this new accountability regime. Groups presented their briefs to an expert panel and engaged in negotiations with other groups to develop a joint communiqué advising the best path forward.
Capstone Project, 2021
The idea of providing citizens with a guaranteed basic income has existed for decades. Field experiments began trialing the idea in the 1960s and 1970s in the US and Canada, and many other trials have followed in other countries. The idea recently returned to prominence, gaining attention of advocates and policymakers as a tool to enhance citizen welfare. But questions about the structure and potential unintended consequences of this policy tool remain, including how it might complement or supplant existing social supports. Student teams had to unravel these complexities to propose a Canadian strategy for a guaranteed basic income. They presented their proposals to an expert panel and negotiated a joint communiqué detailing a way forward.
Capstone Project, 2020
One in 12 Canadians have a rare disease, with a third of these Canadians being children. We know of thousands of rare diseases, each of which affects a small number of Canadians. This presents a major challenge for policy makers. A central issue is the development of drugs and therapeutics, when drug developers typically aim to target big markets where they can sell the drugs to many people. The broader challenges and costs of care provided by family members and the health care system further complicates the issue. This year’s case tasked the students with working through these complexities to provide a plan for this persistent health care challenge.
Capstone Project, 2019
The case centred around the controversial redevelopment of Toronto’s waterfront. Heralded as a leap forward in urban design that harnessed the power of smart and digital technologies, the project sparked a debate about the power and influence of technology companies and the risks to privacy and human rights that come with handing over public spaces to private interests. The teams of students were tasked with representing stakeholders and developing proposals for a national approach to smart cities that accounted for their risks while helping to realize their potential benefits. Each group presented these proposals to an expert panel and negotiated a joint communiqué reflecting points of agreement for a way forward.
Capstone Project, 2018
The case focused on the health, economic and social challenges of national opioid crisis. In teams that represented stakeholders, the students were tasked with developing proposals for a national plan to manage the opioid crisis. They were to make these recommendations with a focus on the interests of the groups they represented, while considering the best interest of Canada as a whole. Groups presented their briefs to an expert panel and engaged in negotiations with other groups to develop a joint communiqué advising the best path forward.