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Public Service (Co-op)

Ontario College Graduate Certificate
College Code:
Liberal Studies
Program Code:
Accelerated Delivery:
Academic Year:
2018 / 2019

About the Program

Public service is service that is performed for the benefit of the public or its institutions, usually through employment in either a government or a non-governmental organization.

This graduate certificate program provides students with the skills, knowledge and practical experience critical to a career in public service. Students will learn about the inner workings of government at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. The program will address issues such as public ethics, public policy, government and public sector structures, and public leadership and management. Through the program, students will develop skills in critical thinking, analytical communications and public sector problem-solving. The goal of this program is to develop the requisite soft skills to enhance opportunities for the graduate to pursue a career as a public servant.

Program Information

Length: One-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate program
Location: Doon (Kitchener)
Start: September
First-Year Capacity: 30

Admission Requirements

Note re: Admission Requirements

Applying to the Co-op Stream

Admission Procedures

Program Requirements

Tuition & Fees

Domestic fees are currently unavailable; please check back at a later time.

Financial Assistance

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a needs-based program designed to help Ontario students cover the cost of post-secondary education. Funded by the federal and provincial governments, OSAP is intended to promote equality of opportunity for post-secondary studies through direct financial assistance for educational costs and living expenses. These interest-free loans are intended to supplement your financial resources and those of your family. The majority of students apply for loan assistance via the OSAP website. Students can also print the application booklet through the OSAP website.

For more information, please visit Financial Services/Awards.

Co-op Information

Graduate Opportunities

Graduates of this program can expect to have the specialized soft skills (including communications, leadership, organizational development and planning) to pursue or advance career opportunities in these services at the international, national, provincial, or local level.

On average, 83% of graduates from the last three years (2014 to 2016) found employment within six months of graduation.

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website:

Pathways & Credit Transfer

Conestoga pathways enable students to build on their academic achievements in order to earn a degree or additional credential. Pathways are formed through agreements between Conestoga programs or partner institutions. View the transfer agreement opportunities for this program.

Often applicants have earned credits from another college or university that may allow a student to be granted advanced standing or exemption. Learn more about credit transfer opportunities at Conestoga.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Conestoga recognizes prior learning of skills, knowledge or competencies that have been acquired through employment, formal and informal education, non-formal learning or other life experiences. Prior learning must be measurable at the required academic level and meet Conestoga standards of achievement for current courses. Challenge exams and portfolio development are the primary methods of assessment. Other methods of assessment may be available depending upon the nature of the course objectives. Successful completion of the assessment results in an official course credit that will be recorded on the student's Conestoga transcript. PLAR cannot be used by registered Conestoga students for the clearance of academic deficiencies, to improve grades or to obtain admission into a program.

Learn more about PLAR.

Program Courses

Course Details (1274C)
Course Code Course Title and Description
Level 1
CEPR8000 Co-op and Career Preparation

Description: This mandatory course prepares students for job searching for their co-op work terms and for post-graduate careers. Students will reflect on their skills, attitudes, and expectations and evaluate and interpret available opportunities in the workplace. Self-marketing techniques using resumes, cover letters, cold-calls, and interviewing will be learned and students will learn the expectations, rules, and regulations that apply in the workplace with regards to social, organizational, ethical, and safety issues while developing an awareness of self-reflective practice.
Hours: 14
Credits: 1

COMM8080 Communication in the Public Sector

Description: This course will cover the practical aspects of public sector communication skills both in written and oral presentation forms. In the written form, students will practice letter writing, on-line communication procedures and etiquette, and the preparation of briefing notes, reports to committees or councils, meeting summaries, media releases and Question and Answer documents for senior managers or political leaders. Verbal communications skills such as the development of persuasive and assertive discussion and presentation abilities will also be learned and practiced. Finally, the role of media in reporting public sector issues and the relationship between private media representatives and related public agencies such as the CBC, NFB, CRTC, etc and public servants will be considered.
Hours: 56
Credits: 4

LIBS8000 Orientation to Government and Public Sector

Description: This course will introduce the role of governments in the Canadian political system to deliver goods and services to their citizens. When examining the government business entities such as the departmental and ministry structures, crown corporations, and government commission and boards, students will, in broad terms, also be examining the business traits that governments have adopted, such as identifying its core business responsibilities, its strategic and operational planning and budgeting processes, and how they are incorporated into the overall functioning of governments. Students will also be introduced to the complex relationships that exist both between politicians and public servants and between the public sector and the private sector.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8010 The System of Government

Description: This course will provide the students with an understanding of the historical evolution of the Canadian systems of government at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, including special situation such as the First Nations self-governing entities. Students will also examine the distributions of powers and responsibilities in the Canadian federal structure, as well as the social, cultural and economic factors and related issues that influence federal-provincial-municipal relations and impact that they have on the development and implementation of public policy within the Canadian federal structure. Finally, students will be introduced to the use of the ‘systems thinking' model and compare it to the more prominent ‘silo model' of governmental operational practices.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8055 Strategic Planning and Implementation

Description: In this course, students learn to create government department, section or unit mission, vision and value statements. Budgetary planning and financial management, information and data management, investment planning, and personnel planning and management will be considered from the perspective of not-for-profit and public sector financial and personnel structures. The need for increased public accountability and public service or ministerial responsibility will be evaluated. Management tools such as balanced score card logic, management and planning models, performance indicators, budget proposal development and tracking systems, program audit processes and evaluations, and timely and appropriate goods and services procurement methods will also be introduced.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

Level 2
LIBS8020 The Ethical Public Servant

Description: In this course, students will be introduced to the theoretical framework which defines ethics and values, including multicultural considerations, within the public sector in Canada. This will be achieved by using practical examples of ethical dilemmas resulting from situation involving issues such as conflicts of interest, acceptance of gifts and tokens, whistle-blowing, the requirement to facilitate public disclosure versus political, security and personal confidentiality considerations, etc. Such studies will encourage comparative discussions between existing governmental policies in these areas and the theoretical framework associated with these ethical issues. Students will also learn to develop the personal leadership skills and values associated with being a ‘reflective practitioner' of public service.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8030 Building Partnerships and Managing Relationships

Description: In this course, students will learn and practice conflict resolution management and negotiations skills, as well as dispute resolution approaches within a unionized, multicultural environment. Students will also consider strategic and operational partnership opportunities with non-governmental agencies and organizations, inter-organizational public or private working groups, and inter-governmental relationships. With the objective of understanding what makes a high-performance team, existing or potential partnership and team-building processes will be evaluated.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8040 Public Sector Leadership and Organizational Development

Description: By examining contemporary leadership models and existing organizational systems in the unionized public service environment, students will learn about the theories and practices associated with leading productive operational teams and facilitating. With the goal of achieving effective decision-making and fluid communications processes, optimizing diversity in the workplace, and ensuring that productive collaboration occurs within the primary and secondary internal systems in governmental organizations, students will also acquire a broad awareness of the systematic governmental perspectives within public service environments and how to facilitate their effective application and integration into an organizational framework.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8060 Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism

Description: This course will consider the role of Canada's multicultural environment in the formulation of public policy and the resulting public programming by examining the cultural and ethnic dimensions of Canadian society. The course will also provide an opportunity for students to appreciate Canada's unique approach to immigration and cultural pluralism. Integral to the course is the historical emergence of Canada as a model of that cultural and ethnic pluralism. Using a critical lens, students analyse the history of immigration in Canada and how the country has struggled to deal with inequality and human rights of its citizens. Attention will be paid to the challenges faced by newcomers and Canada's Aboriginal People. Finally, the course will provide the students with an opportunity to explore multicultural issues, especially as they relate to public service practitioners. When appropriate and relevant, students will also be given an opportunity to share their experiences.
Hours: 42
Credits: 3

LIBS8070 Public Service Capstone Project

Description: The capstone project is an experiential learning project of 30 hours during the second semester of the program that enables students to practice their skills of research, analysis, communication, project management, strategic planning, and evaluation. Specifically, students are required to apply their knowledge of policy formulation, strategic planning, learning organizations, and leadership models to the project in which they are involved. Students will also be enhancing their writing and presentation skills as well as their analytical and team building skills in the process.
Hours: 28
Credits: 2
Pre-Requisites: LIBS8055

Level 3
COOP8040 Co-op Work Term (Public Service)

Description: This course will provide students will college-approved work experience in a Public Service environment. It will increase the student's understanding of employer expectations with regards to attitudinal, practical, and academic skills. These skill areas will be improved during the work term while the student responsibly performs the duties as defined in the job description, in accordance with course and program outcomes. Student development will be evaluated during and at the conclusion of the work experience.
Hours: 420
Credits: 14
Pre-Requisites: CDEV8200 or CEPR8000

Program Outcomes

Program Advisory Committees

The College appoints Program Advisory Committee members for diploma, degree, certificate and apprenticeship programs. Committees are composed of employers, practitioners and recent program graduates. College representatives (students, faculty, and administrators) are resource persons. Each committee advises the Board on the development of new programs, the monitoring of existing programs and community acceptance of programs.

For a list of the current members, please visit our Program Advisory Committees.

Program Handbook


Apply Now

Domestic students should apply online at or by phone at 1-888-892-2228.

60 Corporate Court
Guelph, Ontario
Canada N1G 5J3

Detailed steps on the application process may help you to apply.

International students should apply online using a Conestoga College International Application Form. Please note: not all programs are open to international students. Interested students should check the listing of open programs on our international students web page before applying.
For program information, call the Information Centre at 519-748-5220 ext 3656.


The College reserves the right to alter information including requirements and fees and to cancel at any time a program, course, or program major or option; to change the location and/or term in which a program or course is offered; to change the program curriculum as necessary to meet current competencies in the job market or for budgetary reasons; or to withdraw an offer of admission both prior to and after its acceptance by an applicant or student because of insufficient applications or registrations, over-acceptance of offers of admission, budgetary constraints, or for other such reasons. In the event the College exercises such a right, the College’s sole liability will be the return of monies paid by the applicant or student to the College.

Students actively registered in cohort delivered programs who take longer than the designed program length of time to complete their studies are accountable for completing any new or additional courses that may result due to changes in the program of study. Unless otherwise stated, students registered in non-cohort delivered programs must complete the program of study within seven years of being admitted to the program.


Program Status (Domestic)
Start DateCampusStatus**
SEP, 2017 Doon Closed
** Status applicable to domestic students
Program status for international students

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