Professor Adam Wellstead published a paper co-authored with Bryan M. Evans , “Tales of Policy Estrangement: N0n-governmental Policy Work and Capacity in Three Canadian Provinces”, in ANSERJ-Canadian Journal Of Non-Profit and Social Economy Research, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Autumn 2014) pp.7-28.
Recently, there have been a number of Canadian-based studies of federal and provincial government policy workers. One key theme across all of these studies is the importance of well-established networks outside of government. However, these studies have demonstrated that government policy workers interact very infrequently outside the comfort of their own department cubicles. This stands in contrast to the considerable literature on new public governance theory, which suggests that non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including nonprofit groups, should, and do, play an important role in shaping public policy. This article provides some insights into this question and identifies where NGO–government interaction does exist. The descriptive results from a survey of non-governmental organization policy workers across four fields (environment, health, labour, and immigration) in three Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario) clearly illustrate the limitations, at all levels, on interaction between NGO groups and government officials. The article argues that this does not disprove the basic tenet of new governance theory—that non-state actors are engaged, to some degree, in the policy process. The article examines the results of an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model to determine what factors shape and drive NGO interaction with government.