Play. Build. Change.


Nova Scotia Case Competition

Policy Hack is back and bigger than ever.

This year the Association of Municipal Administrators have come on board, and civil servants from the Municipalities are invited to participate, provide case scenarios, leadership, and continue to create unique and imaginative means of collaboration between governments.

How might municipalities deal with dangerous or unsightly premises in a manner that appropriately considers the homeowner?

Precarious Premises


How might more foster families be engaged in Nova Scotia to compensate for the decline available families?

Flourishing Foster Families


How might government support innovation in the public sector via failure?

The Innovation Anomaly


How might provincial and federal government call centres attract, recruit and retain the best fit employees?

Call Centre Conundrums


How might government consistently take into account feedback on

government services or input in the development of services and government policies?

Implementing Feedback


How might government work to address systemic discrimination and racism through community engagement?

The Discrimination Disintegration


How might the Canada Pension Plan disability benefits process be made  simpler for applicants and medical practitioners?

Deciphering Disability Benefits


How might, understanding the fluidity of gender identity, government approach gathering gender data that is both appropriate and useful?

Gender Based Data Deficiency


How might communities fully

welcome persons with disabilities with high needs given the closure of larger facilities and the transition to  community?

Facility Closures


How might the Province of Nova Scotia balance the safety, compliance, and promotion of responsible Off Highway Vehicles?

Off-Highway Vehicles


This Year’s Policy Hack Topics 

The Inaugural  Event

Policy Hack launched its first competition in Spring 2016. With over 50 participants, representing 26 departments, across the NS provincial and federal government, the inaugural year was met with great success. Over 30 case ideas were received from both federal and provincial public service on current and relevant policy issues. Of those 30 cases, 10 were selected for the competition with a team made up of public servants assigned to each case.

Now that the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has struck down the province's Cyber-Safety Act, what approaches can government take to address the issue of cyberbullying?



If the Government of Canada legalizes marijuana, what role should the provincial government play in the sale of marijuana? 

Legalization of Marijuana


What can government do to help increase the number of Aboriginal people (particularly rural youth) participating in the workforce? 

Aboriginal Youth Employment


How can government reduce higher than normal error rates on applications (e.g. Canadian Pension Plan/ Old Age Security) in order to increase efficiency in benefit delivery?



How can government balance risk throughout the benefit lifecycle (i.e., application, processing and payment) to deliver efficient and effective services, such as Employment Insurance, Canadian Pension Plan/ Old Age Security, and Disability, for clients? 

Risk Management


How can government reduce their reliance on paper-based operations?

Paper Records


How can government improve its digital delivery of services to the public to provide for more efficient and cost-effective access?

Digital Delivery of Services


How might the Province of Nova Scotia utilize social impact bonds to address social policy issues in Nova Scotia?

Social Impact Bonds


What should government do to develop and encourage an integrated system of supports, including programs and services, to low-income populations in a way that is citizen-centric as opposed to program/service centric?

Citizen-Centric Services


How can government play a role in increasing the economic opportunities created by Nova Scotia's diverse cultural communities?

Cultural Economy


Last Year's Policy Hack Topics

In June 2016, teams presented their cases in front of a panel of senior government officials. The presentations simulated ministerial briefings, with judges asking difficult questions and challenging the teams’ understanding of the subject matter. 

The two winning teams from this round were sent to the Lightning Round. During this phase of the competition, the teams were given a mock highly sensitive and difficult policy issue and only one hour to prepare and present recommendations to a panel of senior civil servants role-playing senior level politicians. 

All the Policy Hack teams put in tremendous effort and analysis, ultimately, the Paper Weights team emerged victorious on Competition Day! 

What Participants Are Saying

In the end, those who participated ranked the experience highly enjoyable. Our participants commented that it was a unique professional development opportunity to help build upon their policy lens and thinking. Beyond the competition day, teams were provided with the opportunity to present their case findings and recommendations back to the departments that submitted the original case idea. In all, Policy Hack was a tremendous success! 

" 10 / 10 "

“It was inspiring to meet so many engaged, talented people”

"Great experience"

“Fantastic and unique professional development”

“It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of this initiative, very positive experience!”

“The in-depth research that was required and the overall duration of the project made for a learning experience that was rich, multifaceted, impacting and lasting.”

“Working on a mock-policy proposal allowed integrating all the elements of actual policy work and was a great learning experience”

“Awesome networking opportunity”

"It was gold."

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