Five Good Ideas

Five Good Ideas about Policy

Published on 24/05/2012

The purpose of policy work is to improve the quality of life for all citizens. As part of that overall goal, it seeks to reduce poverty and inequality, and to promote the inclusion of individuals who typically are underrepresented in the social, cultural, political and economic life of a community – and of a nation. Policy work generally seeks to shift the way in which resources and opportunities are distributed in a society. This change could involve, for example, the provision of higher benefits or the reduction of income taxes. Policy work may also enable access to opportunities, notably advanced education or paid employment. It may build capabilities, such as literacy or skills development, to promote self-sufficiency in the long term. All policy work shares a common goal: to effect change deemed to be in the public interest. But policy efforts can also affect the people who do this work. Each attempt at reform comes with lessons that can be applied not only to future policy initiatives but also as helpful direction for the non-profit world.

Five Good Ideas

  1. Trust your knowledge
  2. Dream big
  3. Go the extra mile
  4. Hold that thought
  5. Find your Karasima

Five Good Resources

  1. Battle, K. and S. Torjman. (2000). A Proposed Model Framework for Early Childhood Development Services within the National Children’s Agenda. Ottawa: Caledon Institute of Social Policy, September.
  2. Pearson, K. (2006). Accelerating our Impact: Philanthropy, Innovation and Social Change. Montreal: The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, November.
  3. Pitcher, P. (1999). Artists, Craftsmen and Technocrats: The Dreams, Realties and Illusions of Leadership. Montreal: McGill School of Management.
  4. Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities. (2005). Disability Tax Fairness. Ottawa: Department of Finance.
  5. Torjman, S. (2003). New Ingredients for the Fiscal Pie. Ottawa: Caledon Institute of Social Policy, December.

Sherri Torjman

Social Policy Consultant and former Vice-President, Caledon Institute of Social Policy

Sherri Torjman is a Social Policy Consultant. She was Vice-President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. Over the past 30 years, Sherri has made an invaluable contribution to social policy in Canada through her analysis, writing and public speaking on welfare reform, disability income and supports, home care, caregiver needs and community-based poverty reduction. Sherri has authored and co-authored close to 300 reports on various aspects of social policy. Her wide-ranging work has influenced governments at all levels, voluntary organizations, community groups, the media, academics and students. In 2014-15, Sherri Torjman was a member of the Leader’s (now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s) Economic Advisory Council. In association with Ken Battle, she proposed and helped design many of the social policy initiatives that the current government is now implementing related to child benefits, poverty reduction, pensions, caregivers, home care and social infrastructure. In 2012, Sherri was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her policy work on caregivers. She received the Champion of Human Services Award from the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association in 2011 and the Top 25 Canadians Award from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons in 2010.