Policy Innovation in the Saskatchewan Public Sector, 1971-82

Eleanor D. Glor    (Ed.)

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-895712-94-0 (1997)
290 pages, 410 g, 6 X 9, $30.00 (US$30.00)

In times of great financial difficulties, all levels of government are trying to control their financial problems by cutting budgets and investments. Are cuts and layoffs the only cure governments can offer? Are there no alternatives? By exploring the Saskatchewan government of 1971-1982, known for its innovative programming, Eleanor Glor, a public servant, offers an alternative: an innovative public sector.

In various essays, members of Canada's widely acknowledged innovative Saskatchewan government of 1971-1982 explain how and why their government was innovative. They examine the policies and structures, and look at the decisions made, the contents of policies and programs, the management strategies used, and the results. This book is unique in that the contributors are civil servants who were responsible for carrying out imaginative and often experimental policies. The former premier's and two cabinet ministers' perspectives offer interesting contrasts to the explanation of the bureaucrats.

Stemming from a different spirit, innovative rather than conventional, this book offers today's governments another method of bringing about changes urgently needed to tackle the fiscal problem. It addresses key questions for any government that wants to become more innovative. How can a bureaucracy innovate? What factors made it possible for Saskatchewan to introduce 125 policy innovations in 11 years? What is an "innovative government"? Did the Saskatchewan government achieve its objectives? Why? Which Innovations failed, which opportunities were forgone? How important were the innovations? What are their broader implications for public sector innovation? And finally, can and should innovation be sustained?

Anyone who is challenged by the need to redefine and reorient government to bring about change will find a wealth of information and shared knowledge here. This book draws conclusions important for every government today. Anyone who wishes to learn about innovation, or who wishes to innovate, should read this book.

Table of Contents   top




  • Introduction: What is Innovation in the Public Sector? (Eleanor Glor)


  • Chapter 1: Framework for Economic Development: The Crown Corporations and the Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan (Tom Waller)
  • Chapter 2: Environmental Policy (Hugo Maliepaard)
  • Chapter 3: Resource Rent and Taxation-Application of New Principles and Approaches in Saskatchewan (John Burton)
  • Chapter 4: Innovations in Agriculture (Gerry Gartner)


  • Chapter 5: Indian and Native Policy in Southern Saskatchewan (Jerry Hammersmith and Bob Hauk)
  • Chapter 6: Saskatchewan's One Province Library System (Keith Turnbull)
  • Chapter 7: Use of Paraprofessionals: The Saskatchewan Dental Plan (Steve Wolfson)
  • Chapter 8: Social Justice for Workers (Gordon Snyder)
  • Chapter 9: Self-Enforcement of a Rights-Based Approach to Workplace Health and Safety (Robert Sass)
  • Chapter 10: Saskatchewan Community Colleges: An Innovation Without Walls... or without Resources? (Allan Walker)


  • Chapter 11: Getting People Off Welfare: The Employment Support Program - Innovative Grassroots Community Economic and Social Development (R.N. (Toby) Stewart and Larry Flynn)
  • Chapter 12: Reducing Drug Prices: The Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan (John Bury)


  • Assessing Innovation (Eleanor Glor)


  • Reflections on Innovations I Hoped to See (Allan Blakeney)



Instructor Resources   top

Related Resources   top

About the Author   top

Eleanor Glor is a former Senior Analyst of the Budget Bureau in the Department of Finance. She was also Senior Analyst, Planning Bureau in the Department of Executive Council; Director of Program Development, Saskatchewan Health. She is currently an Executive with Health Canada, President of the Innovation Salon (a discussion group about public sector innovation), and Editor of the Innovation Journal, an electronic journal about innovation in the public sector.


  • ALLAN BLAKENEY, former Premier of Saskatchewan
  • JOHN BURTON, former Director of External Relations, Potash Secretariat and member of the Board, Potash Corporation, 1975-82
  • JOHN BURY, M.D., former Director, Community Health Services, Director of Health Promotion, and member of the probe group on the Drug Plan, Saskatchewan Health
  • LARRY FLYNN, regional director and acting director, Employment Support Program, Saskatchewan Social Services, 1974-84
  • GERRY GARTNER, former Deputy Minister Saskatchewan Agriculture; Chief Planning Officer, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, and Executive Director of Transportation Agency
  • JERRY HAMMERSMITH, Ph.D., former Director of Community Development (1972-73) and Minister (1979-82), Department of Northern Saskatchewan
  • ROBERT HAUK, former Economic Planner (1977-81), Department of Northern Saskatchewan.
  • HUGO MALIEPAARD, former Executive Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Environmental Assessment Branch, Saskatchewan Environment
  • ROBERT SASS, Ph.D., former Associate Deputy Minister, Saskatchewan Labour
  • GORDON SNYDER, former Minister of Labour, Government of Saskatchewan, 1971-82
  • TOBY STEWART, former Director, Employment Support Program
  • KEITH TURNBULL, former Director and Executive Director, Saskatchewan Provincial Library
  • STEVE WOLFSON, former Assistant Executive Director, Saskatchewan Children's Dental Program
  • TOM WALLER, former Acting General Counsel, Crown Investments Corporation, 1977-82.
  • ALLAN WALKER, former Research Officer and Field Representative with two community colleges, Saskatchewan Department of Continuing