What is it?

The Canadian National Leadership Program is a leadership training program expressly designed for full-time university and college undergraduates. It is the most effective such program ever developed, with a proven track record at hundreds of institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries. Canada once had a version of such a program until the 1960s.

What is the purpose?

The purpose of the program is to provide the future leaders of Canada with the leadership competencies they will need to build the nation. The civic culture in Canada has been in marked decline for decades, and Canada’s future will depend on young men and women entering the workforce with the attitudes and skills not only to succeed in their chosen professions but to realize more of Canada’s potential.

How does it work?

The program is a joint venture between educational institutions and the Canadian Armed Forces. One provides the academic learning, the other the experiential learning. By combining the two, the program offers students the opportunity not only to learn about leadership but to actually become leaders.

What do the students learn?

In the academic component, students take courses on leadership-related subjects offered by their educational institution which fit with their interest and regular course load. In the experiential learning component, students join the military reserves for the duration of their time in the program and participate in officer-cadet training based on the standard officer development model used by armed forces in Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Students develop a range of competencies applicable to any walk of life they choose such as personal organization and time management, resilience, a can-do attitude, critical thinking, planning, problem-solving, teamwork, and team leadership.

This is serious training. After three years, participants have acquired leadership competencies and a leadership persona – with a certificate to attest to their successful completion of the program.

What sort of impact would the program have?

The scale of the program dwarfs any other youth development program. Canada has a very large number of universities and community colleges (228 in total) with 1.7 million full time undergraduates. With just a fraction of students enrolled in the CNLP, thousands of its graduates would join the workforce every year – an annual adrenaline shot of exceptionally competent young men and women which cumulatively would transform not just the workplace but society. Canada would be a different place.