The Policy Research Secretariat (PRS) was created in the Privy Council Office (PCO). PRS was a think tank that focused on horizontal issues that cut across traditional departmental responsibilities.
PRS was made permanent within PCO to respond to the need for better support of interdepartmental research networks.
PRS became known as the Policy Research Initiative (PRI), an independent organization within the federal public service, with administrative support from PCO.
PRI started carrying out medium-term, horizontal research projects.
The control and supervision of PRI was transferred to Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC). The Clerk established the Deputy Ministers Steering Committee (DMSC) to help spread PRI’s work within senior ranks of the Public Service, and to provide advice on the research agenda.
At the request of the Clerk (PCO), PRI designed and delivered the canada@150 Project. canada@150 trained 150 new public servants in scanning and foresight. They looked at how Canada could change by 2017 (in preparation for Canada’s sesquicentennial), and what it might mean for the public service. This resulted in an expressed desire to increase foresight capacity in the public service.
PRI shifted from a traditional think tank into a foresight center, and became Policy Horizons Canada (Horizons).
Horizons published the first MetaScan (MetaScan 2011: Exploring four global forces shaping our future).
Horizons published MetaScan 2: Building Resilience in the Transition to a Digital Economy and a Networked Society.
Horizons published MetaScan 3: Emerging Technologies.
Horizons moved to new offices and launched the first innovation lab within the Government of Canada. It collaborated other federal organizations on a foresight study exploring the increasing importance of Asia and its impact on Canada.
In addition to foresight, Horizons’ mandate expanded to include behavioural insights and experimentation. Horizons published MetaScan 4 – The Future of Asia: Implications for Canada.
Horizons published the Foresight Training Manual to introduce policy analysts to the organization’s method.
Horizons published a series of Behavioural Insights briefs to help build foresight capacity across the public service.
Horizons and PCO collaborated to launch Canada Beyond 150, a ten-month training program that took place from July 2017 to March 2018. The program was designed to support leadership and skills development, as well as drive culture shift across the public service.
Horizons is currently focusing on three lines of foresight: Economic Futures, Social Futures, and Governance Futures.