Frequently Asked Questions

What is Government Relations?

Government Relations is a focused and organized activity by an individual, organization, association, or corporation aimed specifically at advancing and protecting the public policy interests of that individual, organization, association, or corporation.

By “public policy interests” we mean their political and legislative agenda.

Sometimes, GR professionals are protecting existing policy from change; sometimes they are arguing for policy change.

Most people know GR as “lobbying” or, in a broader sense, “advocacy.”

What do GR professionals do?

Government Relations professionals establish long term relationships with government policy makers and members of specific policy communities. By utilizing a suite of skills, they help shape public policy and regulatory issues to align with the policy interests of their clients or organizations.

While all lobbying is GR, not all GR is lobbying. Many GR professionals do not lobby governments at all – they prepare strategic plans, plan GR campaigns, and provide policy analysis, strategic counsel and guidance to their organizations or clients.

How does one become a GR professional?

Government Relations in most Canadian, American, British and European jurisdictions is regulated by national, provincial and municipal governments to one degree or another. After January 2014 – for the first time – individuals could choose a GR career path AND get specialized training in GR.

Seneca’s GRM graduate certificate program is the only program of its kind, at any level, in North America, and is a key participant in the development of a professional accreditation for GR practitioners in Canada.

What does the Government Relations Post-Graduate Certificate consist of?

GRM at Seneca consists of:

• Two consecutive semesters in class, seven courses a semester
• Practicum Milestone – must be completed in order to graduate
• Option to apply for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) stream in second semester
• GRM is endorsed and supported by the Public Affairs Association of Canada (PAAC) and the Government Relations Institute of Canada (GRIC)
• Existing transfer relationship with George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Masters of Political Management
• Program content is generally applicable to practice in North America, Great Britain, Continental Europe and the European Union

Are there specific degree requirements for admission to the GRM program at Seneca?

There are no specific degree requirements for admission to the GR program. Those students with either an academic background in, or personal experience in politics, will find the course work somewhat easier. For those of you considering GR at Seneca, we would suggest a course in Canadian politics would be most useful.

The minimum requirements for admission to the GR program can be found on the Seneca website. You will need at least a three-year degree/diploma from an accredited post-secondary institution, and you will be required to submit a Letter of Intent, an up-to-date version of your Résumé, and you must complete a Writing Test.

When does the GRM program start?

Government Relations at Seneca has two intakes: January (Winter) and May (Summer).

How do I apply for GRM?

You begin by visiting the OCAS website. Once Seneca Admissions has reviewed your application and established you have met the minimum requirements, you will be requested to upload your letter of intent and your current résumé to Slideroom. Applicants will be contacted by the Program with details for completing the Writing Test, and your completed application will be evaluated the decision made regarding admission.

Who are GRM applicants?

All GRM applicants have at least a three-year degree/diploma from a recognized post-secondary institution, mostly in the social sciences, but there is no restriction on degree/diploma field for minimum application requirements.

All applicants meet Seneca’s language proficiency standards for graduate certificate programs, and all must demonstrate at least graduate level command of written and spoken English.

Our applicants come from across Canada and around the world including recent university graduates, mature students, and applicants preparing for a change in career.

What are the minimum application requirements?

All applicants must, at minimum, have completed a three-year diploma or degree from a recognized post-secondary institution.

All applicants must complete the application process through the Ontario Colleges website.

International applicants must apply via the Seneca International website.

Are there additional application requirements for GRM?

GRM at Seneca is a specialized program responding to the needs of a highly skilled profession. Consequently, there are three (3) additional requirements successful applicants must complete before receiving an offer of admission.

  • First, all applicants must submit an up-to-date version of their Résumé.
  • Second, all applicants must submit a Letter of Intent of no more than 400 words in length.
  • Third, all applicants must complete a Writing Test conducted and evaluated by the program.
What is the "Letter of Intent"?
The Letter of Intent should be a 400 word statement, in your own words, of why you wish to enter the GRM program. Consider the following as a guide for organizing your thoughts:
  • How your life experiences contributed to your decision to make GR a career
  • What you’ve done that indicates an interest in, and/or exposure to GR, lobbying, advocacy, work in the non-profit or association sectors
  • How your academic training and the skills you’ve developed make you a good candidate for admission
  • Where, and what you’d like to do in GR
What is the Writing Test?

Government Relations professionals must be able to communicate effectively with senior management in their organizations, the public service, Cabinet Ministers and their staffs, as well as members of key policy communities.

The GRM Writing Test ensures all applicants meet the writing skills demanded by, and required of, the profession as monitored by the government mandated GRM Professional Advisory Committee (GRM PAC).

Applicants will be contacted by the Program with details for completing the Writing Test.

I am an international applicant. Do I still have to complete the Writing Test even though my post-secondary education was entirely in English?

Every applicant to GR, domestic or international, must complete this Writing Test.

What is Work Integrated Learning?

Work Integrated Learning (WIL), is an optional stream in second semester offering specific job-search training and access to work-placements posted on the SenecaWorks job portal. The work term follows the second classroom semester, and typically involves full-time work hours that are usually paid.

WIL ELIGIBILITY
• “A” in GRM700 and in GRM701
• Overall GPA of 3.5
• Program Recommendation
• Successful completion of First Semester courses

Eligibility for participation does not guarantee a work position will be secured.

Additional fees are required for those in the optional work term stream, regardless of success in securing a work position.

To learn more, click here: http://www.senecacollege.ca/programs/fulltime/GRM.html

Is there job search support for students not in the WIL stream?
Yes, there is. Students not in the optional WIL stream take the same 7-week course as offered to WIL students, covering the same material and helping develop the same job-search and interview skills.
When are GRM classes offered?

All classes are scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday.

Is there a part-time program in GRM?

As great as that would be, it isn’t in place yet. But watch this space for news!

Does GRM provide transfer pathways to other graduate programs?
We have a transfer pathway agreement in place with the Masters of Political Management program offered by George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Do graduates of the GR graduate certificate program get jobs?

Yes, they do. Over 95% of our graduates are employed within eight months to a year of completing the program.

Your success in your job search depends primarily on your commitment and effort. We can help you, and we do: it depends very much on your personal efforts.

Successful graduates demonstrate a familiarity with, and an understanding of Canadian politics, government processes, advocacy and the role of Interest Groups in the public policy process, and have graduate-level (Canadian) oral and written communication skills. They also have the ability to integrate with, and work well in group situations, a commitment to ethical academic and professional behaviour, and a clear focus on what it is they wish to do in the field of Government Relations.

What can GRM graduates expect from the job market?

Within five to six months after graduation, eight out of ten GRM graduates are employed.

Other programs at Seneca (Public Relations, Public Administration) are better suited for those interested in government employment.

 

After graduation how can I stay involved with Seneca GRM?

A number of GRM grads are working to put an active GRM Alumni Association in place. They hope to have it fully up and running by the end of 2019. Once it is in place, there will be a home for all those grads interested in building a network base of young, trained, and talented GR professionals.

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