Patterson Creek Consulting offers the following six services:

 Governance & Strategic Planning Workshops Facilitation and Workshop Design  Professional Development Courses Policy-oriented Research  Program Reviews and Evaluation  Speaking Engagements

Governance & Strategic Planning Workshops

These workshops, which typically last from one to three days, focus on topics that can include: governance and good governance, characteristics of high performing Councils or boards, the development of governance policies (e.g. codes of conduct, the relationship of leaders to staff), constitutional development, strategic planning and economic development.  Each workshop can be tailored to the particular needs of the client organization.  The underlying philosophy for these workshops is intense engagement of participants coupled with an action orientation whereby specific products (e.g. strategic plans, policies, action plans) are produced by participants.

Typical clients include Aboriginal organizations and governments, school boards and not for profit organizations. Specifically, Mr. Graham has prepared workshops for the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Métis Nation of Ontario, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Kasabonika First Nation, Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, Treaty 8 Confederacy, Squamish First Nation, Sagamok First Nation, Ktunaxa Kinbasket Tribal Council, Tyendinaga First Nation, York Region District School Board and Help Lesotho.

Some recent participant reactions to these workshops include the following:

“Workshop was excellent – best ever on the topic of governance.”
“Awesome, so happy to see it here; very helpful and informative.”
“This session was one of the best workshops I have attended.”
“It was as good as it can be.”

Facilitation and Workshop Design

Mr. Graham has designed and then facilitated more than 50 workshops, ranging from 15 to well over 100 participants.  Working closely with the client organization, he helps clarify the objectives of the event and then proposes a process and agenda to realize them.  In addition he provides advice on the logistics of the workshop from the size and layout of the room to the equipment requirements.

Clients have included: various sectors and regions in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, various sectors in Health Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Parks Canada and Environment Canada.

Recent comments on Mr. Graham’s facilitation and organization skills include the following:

“Liked the workshop; well done.”
“Very good workshop.”
“Excellent material and presentation.”
“Good co-operation & participation.”
“Very informative.”
“Really enjoyed working in groups and do some networking.”
“Very well presented and organized.”

Professional Development Courses

Patterson Creek Consulting offers two tailored professional development courses:

a) Building Productive Relations with Aboriginal Peoples: this two day course is a joint offering of Patterson Creek Consulting and Anne Noonan and Associates and focuses on, among other things,

  • Who are Aboriginal Peoples
  • The history of the relationship
  • Aboriginal governance
  • First Nation, Métis and Inuit Perspectives
  • Consulting with Aboriginal Peoples
  • Protocol Issues

This course has been run over 25 times and has attracted participants from some 20 different federal government departments.  Currently, this course is offered only to institutional clients on demand.

Here are some comments from recent participants:

“Great Course! Learned lots!”
“This course was way better than I was expecting. I have taken other similar workshops that I had to do for work and this was a lot more informative and engaging.”
“Very welcoming and safe environment; I learned a lot and hope to apply it soon.”
“Great speakers; excellent presentations.”
“Excellent facilitation and respect of the agenda. Excellent choice of speakers. Thank you!”
“Very valuable – helps to understand the culture, values and the challenges that we face.”

For further information contact John Graham at

b) First Nations: Narrowing the Community Well-being Gap through Improved Governance: this is a one day workshop offered to an organization (there is no open registration or fixed dates) and can be tailored to meet particular needs. Topics include:

  • What is the evidence that the community well-being gap is actually widening?
  • What are the key characteristics of the First Nation governance system?
  • How do First Nation concepts of good governance compare with “western” norms?
  • What is the evidence that suggests that First Nation governance is a drag on closing the community well-being gap?
  • Why is improving governance in a sustainable fashion should an elusive challenge, whether in First Nation communities or internationally?
  • What policy options might help improve First Nation governance?
  • In particular what might be an effective strategy for the most highly distressed First Nation communities?

For further information contact John Graham at

Towards Reconciliation course posterc) Towards Reconciliation with First Nations: Narrowing the Community Well-being Gap through Improved Governance and Community Healing

This one-day course, offered under the auspices of the Centre for Public Management and Policy at the University of Ottawa, explores the system under which First Nations are governed including among other things the legal framework, intergovernmental relationships, the make-up of the First Nation governments, the role of media and the historical and cultural context. It teases out the characteristics that make this governance system both unique and in many cases highly dysfunctional. It then turns to the difficult challenge of how governance and related community healing can be improved in a sustainable manner. Finally the course focuses on a number of policy options that might help improve governance and community healing and lead to a narrowing of the community well-being gap with the rest of Canada.

Mike Degagne, the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and John Graham are co-facilitators of this course. Please contact the Centre for Public Management and Policy at for further information.

Policy-oriented Research

Over the past 14 years, Mr. Graham has conducted a large number of policy-oriented research assignments for Aboriginal organizations and governments as well as various federal government departments. Topics have included:

  • The relationship of governance to taxation
  • A strategy for dealing with mould in First Nation housing
  • Accountability relationships in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Accountability in a federal state
  • Health governance structures for First Nations
  • Building First Nation capacity for the provision of safe drinking water
  • A vision for the future of Métis governance
  • Development of a system for assessing Métis registry systems
  • Aggregation and First Nation governance
  • The relationship of Aboriginal leaders to staff in various organization settings
  • The governance of information

The results of many of these studies are in the publications section of this site.

Program Reviews and Evaluations

Mr. Graham has been involved in a variety of program reviews and evaluations including:

  • Intervention Policy and Housing Policy of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Powley Funding Program, the Capital Infrastructure Program, Basic Organization Capacity Program and the Policy and Consultation Program of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • The registry programs of several Métis organizations
  • Governance review of the National Aboriginal Health Organization

Speaking Engagements

Mr. Graham has been a guest speaker and presenter at seminars at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.  In addition he has spoken at numerous conferences and presented research papers. Recent speaking engagements include a conference on First Nation accountability relationships organized by the C.D. Howe Institute and a conference on “The Common Good: Who Decides” under the aegis of the Trudeau Foundation.

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