Belqies Dagenais

Alumnus - Class of 2013


Current position: Policy Analyst (National Office for Victims), Public Safety Canada 
Co-op experience: Analyst-Researcher, Industry Canada 
Academic background: Political Science, University of Toronto

What is your current position at Canadian Heritage?

I am a Policy Officer with Sport Canada’s Policy and Planning Unit. I conduct research and analysis of various issues relevant to sport. For example, I’m currently working on a research paper examining social financing options for sport funding. I also assist with the coordination of the Sport Canada Research Initiative, which is a grant program that gives funding to academic researchers conducting sport related research. In addition, I represent my unit within various operational and research committees within Canadian Heritage.

Why did you choose Waterloo’s Master of Public Service program?

I specialized in political science during my undergraduate studies and moving into a public service graduate program was a logical next step.

I was interested in the University of Waterloo’s program due to the co-operative work component.  Many other programs also had co-op components however, Waterloo operates the largest post-secondary co-op program of its kind in the world and I knew I wanted to take advantage of that.

How did the MPS program prepare you for your career at Canadian Heritage?

For the Major Team Project (MTP), my team and I wrote about Social Impact Bonds – a new and emerging method of social financing.  We examined the possibility of using this method to solve three social issues within Canada: homelessness, recidivism, and job development. In the 2013 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada announced that they will continue to explore the concept of social financing. The knowledge we gained writing our MTP puts us at an advantage when applying for jobs. 

What have you learned about yourself as a result of the MPS program and your current career?

I have learned that my generation and I are resilient.  We entered a program that gears students for a career in the public service at a difficult economic time.  Yet, we found success in both co-op and post-graduation employment.  Due to the MPS program we have the skills and knowledge we need to be competitive for government jobs.

What is your dream career in the public service?

In the next 10 years, I hope to be working within the federal government as a permanent senior policy analyst/officer and on a path to continue moving upwards. I hope to be fluently bilingual. 

What advice do you have for someone interested in taking the MPS program?

The MPS program equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need for a successful career in the public service. However, students need to ensure that they put serious thought and commitment when writing their MTP as this is their opportunity to specialize in a policy area they are interested in. It could be the key to a future job. Take advantage of the co-op component and build a network of professionals!