The CES is dedicated to offering professional development opportunities to its members. This function is the responsibility of the regional chapters and the e-Institute, CES’ platform for online courses.

Much of the emphasis on professional development is funnelled through the Essential Skills Series, a series of seminars described below. The CES has also recently completed the development of intermediate-level seminars on Logic models and on Survey research. Regional chapters are invited to offer this series as well as any other form of training they consider adequate for their members.


The development of the Essential Skills Series was supported by the Canadian Evaluation Society under the direction of the Professional Development Committee. The Series was finalized in May 1999. The author of the ESS is Paul Favaro, Ph.D., Peel District School Board, Mississauga, Ontario. Elana Gray, Peel District School Board, collaborated on all aspects of this project. The following individuals shared examples, evaluation material, and provided conceptual and practical direction for the development of the modules: Fred Asbury, PICEPS Consultants; Shelley Borys, EKOS Research Inc.; Rhonda Cockrill, University of Toronto; Karen Korabic, University of Guelph; Arnold Love, Program Evaluation Consultant; Greg Mason, Prairie Research Associates; Mark Pancer, Wilfrid Laurier University; Nancy Porteous, Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton; Abe Ross, Memorial University; George Teather, Canadian Evaluation Society.


The regional Chapters of CES deliver the workshop for their local members. Well-known evaluation professionals across the country facilitate the workshops for the regional Chapters. A slide presentation and facilitator's manual accompany each module of the Series. Each regional Chapter sets its own fee for the workshops and remits a per head fee to CES National Council to help recoup the costs of developing and maintaining the Series.

Evaluation of the Series

The Canadian Evaluation Society's (CES) Essential Skills Series (ESS), originally developed in 1999, is designed to introduce and enhance program evaluation skills and promote the professional practice of evaluation across Canada. The ESS, delivered by regional CES Chapters for their local members, has recently been evaluated to determine what works well and what could be improved; identify the varying needs of CES Chapters; and propose potential options/approaches for revising the programming to have flexibility while maintaining a degree of consistency. The executive summary of this Systematic Review and Implementation Evaluation is available online.

Some of the summary reflections or recommendations are as follow (more in the document):

  • The delivery and marketing of the CES should be changed in order to more explicitly target new entrants to evaluation.
  • The CES should consider developing a more advanced course in evaluation to address advanced learning needs as well as offering the ESS tailored to key sectors as appropriate (e.g. Federal Government, Not-for-Profit, etc.).
  • The CES should consider requiring a standard format for delivery at a national level while incorporating a better balance between days.
  • The CES should continually monitor and update the modules and reference material as the evaluation world changes and best practices emerge. When recommendations for change are brought forward by ESS facilitators it is also recommended that the CES respond to that feedback or explain why feedback has not been acted upon.