Anyone want to preview c2019 for us?


We’re already chatting about the American Evaluation Association conference. But how about the Canadian Evaluation Society conference coming at the end of this month.

I’ve never been, and unfortunately won’t be making it up to Halifax this year (maybe Ottawa next year though!), but can anyone let me now what I’m missing. I’ve already counted a few Canadian evaluators here on this site :slight_smile:


I’m not going this year either, but I went regularly from about 2009-2013 (just guessing at those dates). It’s quite different from AEA, and mostly in good ways, from my perspective & experience.

I may get a few details wrong, but in a nutshell Canada’s federal government takes evaluation seriously and promotes serious eval/program research as well (e.g., IDRC/CRDI). The CES/SCE reflects that practical and functional (yet social-scientific) orientation, and there’s a sizable membership subset working only in Canada on federal or provincial Canadian programs. That’s a totally different model than in the US - less academic & theoretical, for instance. Still plenty of models and conceptual thinking, though!

Ah, here’s a little more info/evidence: “Program evaluation has been a core function of the Canadian federal government for over 40 years”; full article (open access) at the link:

International (development) evaluation from a Canadian perspective is more creative and interesting, in my opinion, than in the US landscape, perhaps because it lacks a dominating funder. The context is complicated when it comes to eval of domestic programs focused on or affecting cross-cultural and marginalized groups, and there may be some sensitivity (or barriers) to competition for work in Canada from US and other outside practitioners.

I’ve had very good experiences at CES, and it’s a great venue to connect with terrific & highly competent people you might not meet otherwise. Average quality of the work, both in general practice and at the conference, in my experience, is impressive. Occasionally the conference is so focused on their own national/federal/cultural issues that it’s been less useful for someone like me. As noted, I haven’t been in a while, so someone else can chime in on more recent experiences.

Full disclosure, I earned CES/SCE credentialed evaluator status in 2011.


To add to Catherine’s helpful points, CES is great for networking/socializing. Daily schedules aren’t as jam-packed as some of the bigger conferences are. And it’s pretty easy to just bump in to people during break times with the size of the conference - I think there’s usually ~450 attendees (someone plz correct me if I’m off).

Conferences usually reflect the city/region they’re hosted in. This year’s destination, Halifax, is highlighted in the conference theme (Bridges), social events (Atlantic Canada Kitchen Party, afternoon trip to Peggy’s Cove), and the conference hotel located right by the harbour. Also unique this year, the conference is piloting a new approach to greening and inclusivity at the conference. So it’ll be exciting to see how that turns out and receive feedback to inform future conferences.

Sessions were recently updated on the website, which is always exciting:

Hope to see you, @clysy (and others on the Forum!), up here one of these years!


I wanted to go, but alas, grad life did not permit attendance this year. It should be excellent and the theme is a really good one (especially the fact that you need to take a bridge to get there). Have a splendid time everyone who is going! (and please post some pictures!)