At the time of writing, Canada has distributed over 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines will be available to everyone in Canada who is recommended by federal, provincial, and territorial public health bodies. By September it is anticipated that everyone for whom vaccines are approved and recommended, will be immunized. With this move, Canada is ramping up its sourcing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines so that we can reach a point where the spread of the coronavirus will be under control.

But how well is Canada doing with its vaccine rollouts? Is the distribution up to par? Kevin Grauman, writing in our feature article, points out that speed is of the essence to protect citizens, to help healthcare systems recover, and find a way out of the pandemic. Unfortunately, Canada has been falling behind in the initial rollout, struggling to get citizens vaccinated efficiently. For instance, during the first month, only 500,000 doses were administered but with the implementation of a proper distribution plan, technology and data, this process can speed up to meet Canada’s deadline of September. The use of technology will be the backbone of an effective distribution strategy. 

Building on strategy, Mark Schacter writes about strategic thinking and why it matters. Strategic thinking guides decision-making about what, and what not to do. He highlights three questions to address in developing a strategy. A sound strategy helps executives navigate conflicting demands and expectations of stakeholders, the constant distractions affecting staff, and the uncertainties of an unstable funding environment.

This theme of leadership continues in The Last Word with Deputy Editor, Lori Turnbull. She writes about the challenges in leadership and how every organization needs strong leadership. But what does the word “leadership” really mean? What are the characteristics of a good leader? What happens when things go wrong and how can we course-correct after a leadership crisis? She points out some recent public examples of both triumphs and crises in leadership.

Regular CGE columnist, John Wilkins pens his piece around leadership as well. He writes about how leadership must muster the personal stamina and fortitude to innovate in the most difficult environment without ignoring or appeasing critics. The formula for success is knowing your brand―how people feel about what you say and do. Effective leaders show passion for work and compassion for workers. He further writes that leaders need to engage employees differently to better position their organization for success. This sort of engagement involves discretionary effort that transcends formal job descriptions to do the right thing, as well as a commitment that helps people identify with and embrace organizational purpose. Aligning with the organization’s goals empowers employees to get there without constant direction.

With the ongoing pandemic, Canadians have been trying to cope with the ever-changing restrictions by increasing their use of alcohol and cannabis consumption. A Stats Canada survey conducted in January 2021 shows that 24 per cent of Canadians had increased their alcohol consumption, while 34 per cent said they smoked more. In this issue, we take a look at the rules and regulations of cannabis in Canada. Understanding the current rules and regulations surrounding legal cannabis can be difficult when you add to the mix federal and provincial requirements. As consumption increases, implementing change within the regulatory landscape will allow industry to keep pace with consumer demand. Lucas McCann, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of CannDelta, a regulatory and scientific cannabis and psychedelics consulting company based in Toronto, Ontario, writes more about this trending topic in this edition.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of Canadian Government Executive.

Stay safe.

Canadian Government Executive – Volume 26 – Issue 05