In this section you will find information on the Courses offered through the GTA-GDPA Program partnership with the municipalities (Town of Newmarket, Region of York, Durham Region, Town of Richmond Hill, and City of Vaughan. 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.

Note: The course outlines will be available about 1 month before the start of a course.

PA 9901 - Advanced Local Government (Fall)


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 (Winter)


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 (Fall)


This course introduces students to selected aspects of the academic literature on organizational behaviour. Students will learn how to apply theories and concepts from the organizational behaviour literature to public sector organizations, with a particular emphasis on local government administration. Using case studies, students will learn how to analyze problems and challenges of local government administration through an organizational lens.

Main topics:

The aims of public sector organizations; local government organizations and their changing environment; comparison of public and private sector management practices; council-staff relations; structure and culture in local government organizations; decision-making in public organizations; power, motivation, diversity, leadership and organizational change.

PA 9904 - Local Government Management/Administration (Winter)


Drawing upon theories and research findings in public administration and management, this course examines administrative approaches, issues and debates arising in local governments in a changing environment. Students will learn how the complex and unstable environment of public sector organizations produces both challenges and opportunities for public sector managers, and will work through case material that requires them to apply insights from management and public administration literature to real-world local government settings.

Main topics:

Models of public management (New Public Management, New Public Service); leadership; managing on the edges; managing the policy process; ethics and values; interacting with the administrative environment (Council, stakeholders, the public); partnerships and contracting out; public value; service delivery and service implementation.

Note: This course cannot be taken before PA 9903.

PA 9930 - GDPA Research Paper (Summer)

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.


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.