The 411

August 28-31, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


$1500 (+hst)
Discounts available.


The 411

February 26-29, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


$1500 (+hst)
Discounts available.


Meet the Instructors

Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic

Josef Jurkovic is a CEC director and founding partner. He has over 35 years of public and private sector experience across diverse areas of internal and external communications, public consultations, branding and marketing.


"Helped me understand what is expected of an advisor in the IS world and put me in a strong position for the future. My first time with CEC, I am very imnpressed with the course, the instructors' expertise and the amount of good information provided"

"Very interesting content. Thorough and well explained. Group exercises helped understand concepts. A great course that should be mandatory throughout the government!"

"Comprehensive, thourough and intelligent; great instructors; good effective exercises"

"Booklet provided is excellent to help with future job interviews. Intructors expereience very relevant and interesting for this course."


NOTE: The workshop content described below will be delivered through ZOOM ONLINE on four consecutive half-day sessions. Agendas and other relevant workshop documentation will be sent to you by the workshop instructor at least three days prior to the date of the first session.


This workshop is specifically designed for communicators and others interested in competing for IS-4/5 positions or those who are newly promoted communications advisors. The two-day program offers a comprehensive and practical overview of the IS-4/5 competencies and of the communications advisor's roles and expectations. The emphasis of this highly interactive workshop is on the knowledge, skills and approaches that communications advisors must possess in order to succeed. The competencies profiles developed by the Privy Council Office and the Communications Community Office serve as the reference for the required skills and abilities.

The workshop combines a mix of formal instruction with a generous dose of group discussion and practical exercises in order to provide participants with immediately actionable new skills and knowledge.


This workshop will focus on:



Agenda Day 1
8:45 - 9:15 Introductions and Workshop Overview
9:15 - 9:30 Competencies Profile for IS-4/5

What is the CCO Professional Development? What am I expected to know and be able to do? Why and how to use the Roadmap to develop my learning plan? Behavioural competencies for communicators.

9:30 - 10:00 Government of Canada Policies and Processes related to Communications

What Government of Canada policies (communications, contracting, public opinion research, access to information, publications, etc.) are relevant to me and what do they mandate me to do? What rules and regulations must I know about? How does this relate to my current and future competencies?

10:00 - 10:30 Exercise:

Frequently encountered challenges.

10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 11:30 Roles of the Communications Account Managers

What roles am I expected to play, as an IS-4/5 (e.g. strategic/operational planner, advisor, context provider, technical expert, project manager, challenger, etc.)? How do I go about doing this in an increasingly complex context? Importance of verbal and written communications skills.

11:30 - 12:00 Exericise:

Based on a case study scenario, participants will identify the specific tasks to be undertaken by Account Managers in the initial phase of planning and developing the communications strategy.

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 13:30 Exercising the Challenge Function

Exercising the Challenge Function What is the "challenge function" in the context of the Account Manager role? What are the keys to exercising this function effectively? What is my supervisor's role in supporting me in this function? How do I challenge my clients' assumptions without compromising our working relationship? How does this link to the IS-4/5 Competencies?

13:30 - 14:00 Performance Measurement and Reporting

Why are measurement and reporting so critical for my clients and for me? How do I ensure this is done consistently and credibly? Essentials of Performance Measurement Frameworks. How does this link to the Competencies profiles for IS-4/5

14:00 - 15:00 Issue and Reputation Management

What is an "issue" from an operational and communications perspective? How does it emerge and evolve? How is it different from a crisis? Who are the key players? Why worry about perception? What about reputation? What are my roles in issues management? What do I need to know about media relations? What are the key principles for preparing media lines and House of Commons Question Period Cards? How does this link to the Competencies profile for IS-4/5?

15:00 - 15:15 Break
15:15 - 16:00 Exercise:

Working in small groups, participants will develop a series of media lines, based on the case study scenario.

Agenda Day 2
8:45 - 9:00 Re-cap of Day One and Overview of Day Two
9:00 - 10:00 Strategic Communications Thinking

What is meant by "being strategic"? What does this mean in the context of the communications function? Where do I find the inside information and "intelligence" that underpins strategic thinking? What knowledge and skills must I consistently demonstrate to be and be seen as strategic? Who should be part of my own "strategic advisory circle"? How does this link to the IS-4/5 Competencies?

10:00 - 10:30 Strategic Communications Planning

What are the key elements of strategic communications planning? How does strategic communications planning relate to overall corporate planning, to operational planning, etc.? How do I differentiate between actions, results and outcomes? What are "horizontal" communications? What is the fit with internal communications? How does this link to the Competencies profile for IS-4/5?

10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 11:30 Exercise:

Based on a case study scenario for a communications strategy, participants will identify key communications challenges and determine results to be achieved.

11:30 - 12:15 Citizen-centred Communications, Public Consultations and Citizen Engagement

What does "citizen-centred" mean? How do polling, research, plain-language, targeted messaging, etc. support citizen-centred communications? How does the citizen-centred imperative influence strategic communications planning and execution? What are the linkages to government policies and programs? How does this link to the IS-4/5 Competencies?

12:15 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 13:30 The Web and Social Media

What are Social Media? How are they relevant to government communications? How influential is the Web in today's media universe? How can Social Media be used to achieve my clients' communications objectives? How does this link to the IS-4/5 Competencies?

13:30 - 14:00 Understanding Government Positioning and Messaging

Understanding Government Positioning and Messaging What do we need to know and understand about Government branding and positioning? How can integrate specific elements of Government positioning into departmental communications? What is the Government’s brand? Using the communications “Message Pyramid”, how does this link to the IS 4/5 Competencies?

14:00 - 14:45 Exercise:

Options for a communication strategy

14:45 - 15:00 Break
15:00 - 15:45 Structures and Operation of Government, Parliament and the Communications Function

What government bodies must I be aware of (Prime Minister's Office, Privy Council Office and other Central Agencies, etc.)? Where does the communications function fit in relation to the roles of the federal government and Parliament (Parliamentary Committees, etc.)

15:45 - 16:45 Exercise:

Working in small groups, participants will develop intersection points between the scenario-based communications strategy and diverse portfolio partners and discuss the impact of those linkages on the strategy.

16:45 - 17:00 Wrap-up and Evaluation

Participants will complete a short evaluation