Dr. Carmen Sicilia
Associate Dean, McGill University School of Continuing Studies
Learn about possible careers and opportunities in the expanding Canadian public sector and how you can find flexible opportunities for your continuing education in the industry.
Canada’s public sector, which covers careers in education, health care, government, social services, and public safety, continues to grow, according to the latest Labour Force Survey published by Statistics Canada.
The public sector industry has shown notable gain, with a trend of 54,000 net new jobs in the last year. Compared to 12 months earlier, the survey found that jobs in the industry grew by 1.8 percent and the public sector’s total number of employees increased by 33,000.
“About 3.6 million Canadians are employed in the public sector,” says Dr. Carmen Sicilia, Associate Professor and Director of Indigenous Relations at McGill University School of Continuing Studies. “These public service positions are in every single community — not just in large cities, but small communities including Indigenous communities in Northern Canada.”
Starting a career in the public sector
The School of Continuing Studies at McGill prepares individuals for jobs in the present and future, regardless of whether they’re launching their career, growing their career, or newcomers to Canada who need to rebuild their career. Launched in 2018, the undergraduate-level Certificate in Public Administration and Governance was so successful that inquiring students had to be put on a waiting list. To follow up on that success and meet the demand, McGill has launched a graduate-level diploma in the subject which has already began accepting applications and will launch this fall.
“The Certificate and Diploma in Public Administration and Governance aim to help learners prepare for a career in the public sector or advance their current career positions,” says Dr. Sicilia. “The curriculum aims to strengthen students’ managerial and leadership competencies and equip them with the knowledge, analytical skills, and problem-solving strategies that are critical for success in public service organizations.”
The new programs are both completely online and follow a blended approach, meaning classes are live, allowing students to connect and interact with the course lecturer and classmates, alongside parts that are self-directed and can be done online from anywhere the student wishes to do classwork.
“Individuals don’t have to leave their jobs, their families, or their communities,” says Dr. Sicilia. “What’s so fascinating is the sharing that goes on in the classroom. Because individuals are working in various communities, learning doesn’t just come from the lecturers, but from the learners themselves.”
“The jobs are there,” says Dr. Sicilia, adding that programs in public administration and governance, like the one at McGill, give people the opportunity to get access to these careers. “We listened to what the needs are from the organizations and we asked them specifically, ‘What competencies and skills do you want individuals to come out with? Don’t give us course names. What tools or knowledge do they need to have?’”