Do you have a great policy idea for Canada? This is your chance to share it with experts and policymakers in Ottawa – and maybe win an all-expenses-paid trip to the national capital as well as a $1000 prize.

Learn more

The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa wants to hear from fourth-year undergraduate students at Canadian universities. Send us your best proposal for Canadian policy relating to any of these four issues:

  • the clean-energy transition,
  • the cost of living,
  • Canadian foreign policy, or
  • Indigenous reconciliation.

The best five proposals will be transmitted to the relevant Canadian government departments. The author of the winning proposal will be flown to Ottawa to present their idea directly to policy officials in person.


The contest is open to all full-time undergraduate students in their final year of study at a Canadian university (i.e., students who will complete the requirements for an undergraduate degree between September 2023 and August 2024). It is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students.

Submission Guidelines

  • Your proposal can be no longer than 1,500 words. It may be a Word or PDF document and can be written in English or French.
  • Groups of students may submit a proposal, but one lead author for the group must be identified. If the group’s proposal wins the contest prize, only the lead author will be awarded the prize money on behalf of the group. The lead author will also indicate which member of the group will receive the free trip to Ottawa.
  • Email the submission to [email protected] with the subject line: “Policy contest”.


January 12, 2024, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time

Judging Criteria

  • Originality and creativity of the proposal.
  • Feasibility and practicality of the proposal.
  • Use of data or evidence to support the proposal.
  • Potential impact and relevance to the chosen policy area.
  • Clarity and organization of ideas and writing.

Expert Judges

  • Michael Wernick, Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management, University of Ottawa, and former Clerk of the Privy Council.
  • Other judges to be confirmed.

Prizes and Recognition

  • 1st prize: $1000 plus return airfare to Ottawa from anywhere in Canada, two hotel nights and meals, so that you can share your proposal with government officials.
  • Top 5 entries: Your proposal will be transmitted to the relevant Canadian government departments.