Public Service Renewal Video

The concerns, ideas and interests of Canadians are at the core of everything we do at Natural Resources Canada.

In 2017, we set a new standard for our public engagement and reached out to more than 380,000 Canadians from all over the country in Generation Energy – a national dialogue to discuss Canada’s energy future. 

This project has encouraged our department to rise to new challenges. It has pushed us to find new, innovative ways to engage Canadians from all walks of life. It has empowered our employees to surpass expectations and break new ground.   

Our video reflects on the experiences of some of the many public servants who helped make Generation Energy a success. We are delighted to share our story with you.

Public Service Renewal Video



Today’s biggest issues mean public servants need to work differently to have the greatest impact for Canadians.

At NRCan, we rose to the challenge and took innovative action to make Generation Energy a success.

  • 6 MONTHS

“We want you to take your great idea, your passion, your research, your entrepreneurial inspiration and tell us how does it fit? How does it fit generationally into the kind of energy mix we want for Canada?”

Generation Energy started with one simple question – what kind of energy mix do we want for Canada?

We wanted to hear from ALL Canadians, including those who aren’t usually engaged in government consultations.

To do this, we had to get creative.


We started by diversifying our team.

This meant hiring experts from different backgrounds – Free Agents, Co-op students, Casuals, External consultants and those in our Policy Analyst Recruitment and Development Program.

We also encouraged collaboration across NRCan sectors.

MATTHEW BRADY: “GenEn was such a success because of the diversity of the team that worked on it.”

JULIE CHAN: Collaborating with people of different backgrounds and expertise really pushed me to think out of the box and explore new, innovative strategies. 

CATHY LIU: “One branch or one group could not have known enough information to be able to obtain the in depth discussion that we’ve had.”

New Technology

Next, we experimented with different technologies.

These online platforms helped us reach more Canadians and made it easy for them to share their ideas with us in a meaningful way. 

CARLEY ROGERS TURNHAM: “Well our website was really neat because it could reach Canadians all over the country. We were able to interact with them, and they were able to interact with each other using polls, quizzes and the idea forum — they could find all the information they needed.”

JOHN KENNEY: “Carrot Rewards has user base of over five hundred thousand Canadians and so we were able to use that and to reach them on energy use, on the future on energy in Canada. So it was a great way to reach a lot of people.

ALI FEROZ: “The use of Guidebook and Slido allowed us to tailor our software to the audience itself and also let us experiment with new ways of working that led the audience to be more impressed that Gen En wasn’t just a standard government conference.”

Dialogue Sessions

Next, we held deliberative dialogues and consultations across the country.

With the help of Simon Fraser University, we engaged with diverse groups of Canadians and challenged them to come up with solutions to Canadian energy issues today. Bridging the gap between academia and policy, NRCan collaborated with 70 energy experts, who came up with their shared vision for Canada’s energy future. We also partnered with friendship centres to consult local Indigenous peoples. As part of a pilot, we brought the Generation Energy conversation to them to ensure their voices were a crucial part of this national dialogue.

RUTH STEPHEN: “Achieving consensus with the network of over 70 academics from across Canada was no easy task, but their input was invaluable to the Generation Energy process and connecting with external experts and scientists — it’s really a huge part of the way that we work.”

FAWAZ FAKIM: The dialogue sessions were such an important way for us to build trust with Canadians, to show them that we care about their input and that their concerns, thoughts and ideas are ultimately at the core of everything we do.

WENDY HADWEN: “What was really innovative about the dialogues — they weren’t just a snapshot in time. You could give Canadians information and help them understand what was at stake and learn where they felt there was room for consensus. So over two days, you got a lot more information about where Canadians are at and where their values are, which is priceless.”


Effective public engagement is one thing. But motivated, determined employees at NRCan proved to be the keystone of Generation Energy’s success.

LAURA: As a leader, the most amazing part of Generation Energy for me was watching our younger employees and partners like Student Energy – giving them the vision, empowering them and then watching them just go and grow.

JC: I think people became more trustful when they realized they could really be very creative and could really do new things, take new risks and then really go further than before in everything they were already doing.

ASHA: “Knowing that I was a part of meaningful, real, substantive engagement with Canadians was rewarding.”

ROBERT: From a corporate perspective, we didn’t know where the money was going to come from or who was going to do the work. But we broke down every challenge, called in favours, stayed late and never gave up. I’m proud to say my work on Generation Energy made a difference.

JAY: “It was profound, it was creative and it was innovative, but really what it did for the team was to show that public service matters to Canadians — Canadians think very highly of what the Public Service can do in terms of guiding and leading the future of the country.”

Generation Energy has transformed the way we operate at NRCan.

It’s set the bar for engagement.

It’s showed us that no issue is too great to tackle.

That innovative actions speak for themselves.

And that the real result of change is our deeper connection with Canadians.