“As a grant proposal writer for post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations, I enrolled in the Open Policy course to enhance my knowledge of public policy decision-making. I found the course to be extremely informative. Throughout the course, John Stapleton built a strong foundational understanding of the subject by applying current, historical and theoretical perspectives. Sessions were regularly complemented by range of well-informed, respected guest speakers who also encouraged discussion of recent events and relevant issues.

The insights and practical tips that I gained from the course have helped tremendously in framing communications with government funders. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and recommend it to anyone seeking to deepen their knowledge of policy making at all government levels.”

Elizabeth Reid, MBA, PMP


“When I enrolled in the Open Policy course, I was eager to be a part of policy change related to inequality, education and the environment, but frustrated with what I perceived as bureaucracy and complacency across non-profit, public and private sectors. What I gained from the course was a comprehensive understanding of the policy landscape (at all levels of government) and some much needed perspective. This course helped me learn how to think, engage, plan and communicate strategically and effectively in ways that have helped me in all aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. John Stapleton, an incredible line-up of guest speakers and my fellow classmates shared so much insight, expertise and inspiration, that I will always count it as my most valuable educational experience. “

Lynsey Kissane
Director, Strategy and Communication
Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science
Ryerson University


“John Stapleton’s unparalleled course, Public Policy for Advocates and Activists, is like an oasis – sustenance for all who seek to understand the challenges and implications of public policy formulation. A refreshingly candid and insightful look at what influences what gets done in public policy at each level of government, how issues are framed, and why it matters. Drawing on deep first-hand experience, conveyed with pragmatism and humour, John is also adept at weaving-in the invaluable perspectives provided by class participants with experiences in diverse organizations across the GTA, and by an outstanding roster of guest speakers. In addition, and perhaps most significantly, John’s encyclopedic knowledge of his craft, and collegial approach to sharing it, fosters community among fellow participants such that the end of the course was the beginning of belonging in John’s vast network of Ontarians working in the public interest, and who now navigate more astutely.”

Virginia Froman
Foundation Adviser


“John, your Open Policy course allowed me to learn why policy matters. We change and make our society a better place with good policy planning. Don’t let this opportunity pass you!”

Mike Creek
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Working for Change


“Bringing together policy wonks, front-line professionals and people with real lived experiences, John’s course provides an invaluable experience for anyone with a passion for social welfare and the drive to affect change. In just one year, I learned many critical lessons and skills through the course that I was never taught over five years in university-level training in public policy. Moving beyond the mechanics of the policy process, the course opened my mind to the more nuanced ways of advancing an agenda within the broader systems. Any student would benefit greatly from John’s wealth of experience and fascinating guest lecturers, and would walk away as a more finessed advocate.”

Jamille Clarke-Darshanand
Policy Analyst, Ontario Government


“Even 3 years later I find deep value in having learned from you in the Open Policy course. Your insight and passion for the work has formed a growing community around the course. I see it every year as I return for speakers and special events.”

Aleksandra Popovic
Director, Workplace & Workforce Initiatives
ABC Life Literacy Canada


“I’m so glad I got to be part of one of the last installations of this course! It has been a real gift to have John peel back and explain the mysterious layers of policy making and the policy world in a fun, engaging and relevant way. This course challenged me to think about my own work in new ways and provided a lot of critical insights regarding how and why social change happens. John know his stuff. The opportunity to learn from him, from the other students in the class and the great guest speakers he arranged has been a invaluable experience.”

Kate Mason
South Riverdale Community Health Centre