In this section you will find information on the Courses offered through the City of Toronto version of the GDPA Program. If you have questions about a specific course, please contact the course instructor directly. You can find their information in the course outline or by checking the instructor section of the website.

GDPA Course Scheduling

The Scheduling for the Toronto GDPA is organized through the Human Resources Division of the City of Toronto. For current course schedules including locations and dates please contact Robin Thompson (

PA 9901 - Advanced Local Government (Winter)


This course provides an introduction to the structures, functions, and financing of local government in Canada. The focus is on Ontario, but students will also learn about the history of local government in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe. Through surveys of relevant academic literature, student presentations, and class discussions, students will develop views on the appropriate role for local governments in governing Canadian communities.

Main topics:

Systems of local government; historical ideological movements; central-local relations; special purpose bodies; annexation; amalgamation; regional government; fragmentation; council-staff relations; budgeting and finance; property tax.

PA 9902 - Policy Process in Local Government (Fall)


This course introduces students to selected aspects of the academic literature on the making of public policy. Students will learn how to apply theories and concepts from the public policy literature to Canadian local governments. Using case studies, students will learn how to determine the main factors that cause different kinds of local public policy outcomes in different circumstances.

Main topics:

The stages of the policy-making process; the “multiple streams” approach to the understanding of the policy process; the role of “social forces”, including analytical approaches that apply especially at the local level, such as “community power”, pluralism, non-decision-making, local governments as “growth machines”, regime theory and multilevel governance.

Note: This course cannot be taken before PA 9901.

PA 9903 - Organizational Behaviour (Winter)


This course introduces students to select aspects of the academic literature on organizational behaviour. Students will learn how the behaviour of people in organizations relates to individual, group, organizational, and societal outcomes. They will apply an organizational lens to help them better understand the challenges and opportunities of local government administration.

Main topics:

Organizational behaviour and local administration; organizational structure; leadership; trust; organizational culture; groups and teamwork; conflict; communication; motivation, stress, and productivity; organizational change; power and privilege; diversity and inequality; human resources management.

PA 9904 - Local Government Management/Administration (Fall)


Drawing upon theories and research findings in public administration and management, this course examines administrative approaches, issues, and debates arising in local government administration. Students will learn how the complex and unstable environment of public sector organizations produces both challenges and opportunities for public sector managers and will apply insights from the management and public administration literatures to real-world local government settings.

Main topics:

Differences between public and private administration; management models and approaches; the leadership role of the CAO; council-staff relations; managing in a unionized environment; recruitment, onboarding, succession planning; change management; performance measurement and management; ethics and values; citizen and community engagement; partnerships and contracting out; implementation and service delivery.

Note: This course cannot be taken before PA 9903.

PA 9930 - GDPA Research Paper

Although the Research Report is usually taken in the summer term, it is possible to take this course in any term with permission from the Program Director. The research report is an integral part of the GDPA course of study and the final program requirement. Its main objective should be to apply what has been learned in GDPA courses to an analysis of: 1) some aspect of the political and administrative process within a given local government; or 2) possible responses to a particular policy problem at the local level. The report should be about 20 to 25 double-spaced typewritten pages in length. Each student submits a research proposal and is assigned a research supervisor. Together, the supervisor and student work out an outline and research strategy. Please see the research report guidelines for details.

  • Final Research Report Guidelines


Please contact if you require any information in plain text format, or if any other accommodation can make the course material and/or physical space accessible to you.