Letter from the Clerk to the Prime Minister
March 31, 2016
Dear Prime Minister:
It is my pleasure to submit to you the Twenty-Third Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, in accordance with the provisions of section 127 of the Public Service Employment Act.
It is a great honour for me to serve as the twenty-third Clerk of the Privy Council in this new mandate of Government. I am proud of the work of the Public Service of Canada over the last year, in particular facilitating the transition following the October 19, 2015 election. I have confidence in the future of our great country and the ability of the Public Service going forward.
I want to thank my predecessor, Janice Charette, for her strong leadership during her tenure as Clerk. Carrying on her work on wellness and mental health in the workplace will be important as I tackle my dual mandate helping to deliver on your Government’s mandate and increasing the capabilities of the Public Service to better serve the Government and Canadians. Your call to action has been heard across our organization.
It is clear to me that we are entering a period of dramatic generational change in the Public Service. It will be important to pass on the values and wisdom of past generations while mobilizing the energy and creativity of the new generation of public servants. I see this as a key and urgent task for the Public Service as a whole.
This report provides examples of the work of public servants over the last year, here at home and abroad.
I look forward to working with you, your Ministry and all public servants, seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges of the coming year.
Table of contents
- Efforts of the Past Year
- Progress Against Priorities
- Annex A: By the Numbers - A Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service for 2015
- Annex B: Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service
The Public Service of Canada is a strong institution, capable of skillfully anticipating and responding to the evolving needs of Canadians and the Government they elect. It is essential to our Westminster model of governance and a key advantage for Canada in the world.
We serve Canadians with pride and professionalism, in keeping with the strong values and ethics that form the bedrock of our institution and that are as valid today as they have ever been. Canadians can count on public servants to remain true to our tradition as a non-partisan, professional public service, continually working in the public interest, ensuring sound stewardship and delivering results.
This past year was extraordinary. The Public Service of Canada was instrumental in facilitating the transition from one administration to the next. We were engaged in the effort well before the election, and well after. At the same time, we continued to deliver the high-quality services that Canadians rely on each and every day.
This year, we helped tackle a number of complex and exciting new initiatives, from mobilizing country-wide, collaborative action in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to taking on an ambitious and active role at the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris (COP 21).
As we continue to work with the Government and its agenda, we must equip ourselves with modern tools, processes and organizational structures while stripping away unproductive and unnecessary bureaucracy. We must also be able to measure how we are working, and the outcomes we are achieving, so we can learn. We need to be open to new ideas as we collaborate with communities and Canadians to serve them better.
This report highlights only a fraction of the enormous work by public servants that made a difference to Canada and Canadians over the last year. It also provides an update on the progress being made towards achieving the priorities set out in last year’s report to the Prime Minister.
“Our ability, as a government, to successfully implement our platform depends on our ability to thoughtfully consider the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians.”
--The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
November 2015 (Ministerial mandate letters)
Photo by Privy Council Office
Efforts of the Past Year
Public servants know what needs to be done to improve and deliver on the Government’s mandate—they told us that through the Blueprint 2020 employee engagement exercise and we set a course toward the Public Service we want to become. We know meaningful and continuous improvement is possible. There are examples everywhere of departments and agencies applying innovations to their day-to-day work so that government makes sense to those within it and, most importantly, to those we serve.
Mobilizing quickly to implement the Government’s mandate, the Public Service worked with partners at all levels—international, federal, provincial, territorial and municipal, as well as the essential service providers and stakeholders nationally—to bring Syrian refugees to Canada and help them resettle as quickly as possible. Hundreds of public servants offered to be part of a huge team that worked day and night to get the job done, collaborating across Canada and with colleagues overseas.
To meet the rising expectations of Canadians, we need to accelerate the pace of modernization and renewal.
Rigorously streamlining workflows and processes is critical. We must review what work is done and how it is done. Promising approaches, using Lean, are being implemented across departments. For example, in organizations like the Department of National Defence (DND) and Public Services and Procurement Canada, paperless or shortened processes are saving time in everything from correspondence with Canadians to the registration process for the Controlled Goods Program.
Another example of the good work we do was in response to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Western and Central regions of Nepal on April 25, 2015. DND was an integral part of the Global Affairs Canada (GAC)-led needs-assessment team deployed within hours of the disaster. The Canadian Armed Forces’ 200-strong Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), together with GAC policy, consular and humanitarian advisers, began deploying the following day. Over the course of its mission, DART distributed 75 water filtration units; enabled access to clean drinking water for approximately 3,400 people; treated more than 700 Nepalese patients; provided 750 maps; removed more than 3,000 cubic metres of rubble; and cleared roads, allowing access to approximately 204,000 Nepalese. Canada also provided $27 million to experienced humanitarian partners, which provided emergency shelter, food assistance, relief supplies, basic health care and access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in Nepal. Canadian funding enabled the deployment of four planeloads of relief supplies from GAC’s emergency stockpile and a Canadian Red Cross emergency health-care unit in the region. We are proud of this, and all the work public servants do overseas.
- The internal site, managed by Treasury Board Secretariat, has received 174,000 visits since launch.
As these examples demonstrate, part of what we need to do to improve is to focus on results and outcomes, and not just activity. As a Public Service, we must become more sophisticated in defining the objectives of the initiatives we are pursuing, whether they are in policy, program, regulatory or service areas. The measure of an initiative cannot be the dollars spent or the number of meetings held, but rather the change and difference made in people’s lives.
Although we have work ahead of us, we are already doing many things very well. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is one example of an organization where pace dictates the need for efficiency. Each day, CBSA staff help move goods across the longest international border at a rate of over $1 million per minute.
To continue to improve, we need to strengthen the skills and knowledge of the Public Service, and draw on expertise from other sectors to achieve our goals. This is particularly the case in complex, multi-year, whole-of-government transformations in the areas of information technology and human resources.
Photo by Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Service to Canadians
Service to Canadians is different today from what it was even two years ago. Citizens expect us to work in ways that make sense from the user’s perspective, not the provider’s. There are greater expectations for more frequent and meaningful communication with government, in everything from predicting the weather to policy formulation.
Departments and agencies are reinventing how they work with and serve Canadians. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency is expecting to process over 29 million returns this year and to respond to over 23 million calls for support. Last year, 82 per cent of returns were filed electronically; this year’s target is 84 per cent. A 2 per cent increase in electronic filing represents a decrease of almost 600,000 paper filed returns. This means 600,000 fewer returns requiring data entry, sorting, filing and storage, which also makes tax filing faster and easier for Canadians. As part of its work to improve service, the Canada Revenue Agency has also simplified correspondence sent to Canadians.
Public service extends beyond Canadian citizens to those hoping to someday become Canadians. From December 2015 to the end of February 2016, more than 25,000 newly landed permanent residents of Canada obtained their Social Insurance Number and other bundled services within minutes of landing at Toronto Pearson International and Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau international airports, as part of the Syrian Refugee Operation. While this created operational efficiencies, its most important result has been to help newly arrived individuals focus on settling themselves and their families into their new lives, rather than having to navigate different government processes upon arrival.
Canadians expect us to work across departments and with other governments, to listen to them and to serve them better. This means thinking about the needs of users, rather than our own, from the design of the initial concept to implementation.
To deliver on results for Canadians, we need to continuously ask ourselves the following questions:
- What outcomes are we trying to achieve?
- What is our plan to get there?
- How will we know if we are making progress?
This approach will keep us focused on our end goal, improving what we do for Canadians every day.
Progress Against Priorities
In last year’s report to the Prime Minister, my predecessor set out three priorities for the Public Service. This section reports on progress made in advancing these priorities and details areas in which we need to accelerate our efforts to obtain results.
Respectful Workplaces with a Focus on Mental Health
Several departments are combating stigma using tools available through the “Not Myself Today” campaign. Employees wear buttons to encourage open dialogue about mental health on days they don’t feel well. This simple approach is breaking down barriers and changing the tone on mental health.
To do their best for Canadians, public servants need to work in a healthy environment that is characterized by respect, that embraces differences and diversity, and that supports with compassion individuals struggling with mental health challenges. This is the right thing to do for our employees and for Canadians, who expect us to act responsibly as the largest employer in Canada.
We know that harassment and discrimination, and lack of empowerment—issues raised by many employees in the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey—are barriers to a respectful and healthy workplace. These types of behaviours must be addressed. There is no place for them in society or in the workplace. Every manager and every employee is accountable.
Employment and Social Development Canada created an integrated mental health framework to guide the development of tools and resources for employees and managers to support good mental health practices in the workplace. It incorporates concrete actions as well as related accountabilities and timelines. An easy-to-view two-page summary provides managers and staff with a quick reference guide for the strategy, to help keep it front of mind. Initiatives include: mental health training for employees; blogs from senior management; employee testimonial articles and video; Deputy Minister of Labour guest editor of the Spotlight on Blueprint 2020 special edition on mental health; and a mental health coaching circle for managers.
I plan to continue our collective focus on mental health issues in the Public Service. Over the last year, conversations on mental health and workplace wellness have been taking place like never before.
Photo by Environment Canada
Over the past year, the work carried out by the Joint Task Force, established by the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Public Service Alliance of Canada, has been an important achievement in addressing mental health challenges in the workplace. The Task Force helped lay the foundation for action in its December 2015 report, which made key recommendations. This effort has been welcomed by the Government, and the President of the Treasury Board has asked the Task Force to continue this work.
For the first time, between 2015 and 2016, all deputy ministers and executives in the Public Service were required to take action on this priority area as part of their performance agreements. We will achieve further progress this coming year with targeted and precise leadership commitments, which will be measured and reported on, so that we continue to learn and adapt our strategies.
There is no single way of addressing mental health issues across the Public Service and every organization will be asked to develop its own action plan. These plans will focus on changing the culture through leadership, training and education; building the capacity to support employees and managers; and measuring the impact of this work and learning from it to continuously improve how we manage mental health issues and enhance workplace well-being.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has adopted a dynamic mental health strategy, taking a holistic approach to psychological and physical wellness, prevention, de-stigmatization, and intervention. Training is provided on mental health first aid, stress management, dealing with abhorrent information, suicide prevention, and violence or harassment in the workplace. Employee surveys and focus groups are used to help guide the strategy.
Photo by Transport Canada
In the interest of promoting greater awareness and transparency regarding harassment in the workplace, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency began publishing harassment complaint summaries on its intranet site. These were viewed 693 times in 2014-2015.
The Improving the Workplace Challenge was an opportunity to ask employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, “What is one thing that could be done that would help improve your workplace experience?” More than 500 staff across the country participated, submitting ideas and rating and improving their colleagues’ concepts. The top ten ideas included better promoting health and wellness, 360-degree performance reviews of managers, and creating space for collaboration and conversation.
Employees in 43 partner organizations have access to Shared Services Canada’s videoconferencing. On average over 2.5 million minutes of videoconferencing are used each month.
Photo by Canada Border Services Agency
The Public Service needs to constantly anticipate and respond to the future needs of the country and Canadians. A generational change is currently underway in the Public Service and we must do better to bring in more young talent. We need to take a deliberate approach to finding, hiring, onboarding and developing people who have the right skills, combined with the right energy, values and passion for public service. Recruiting for the future was a commitment made by all deputy ministers and executives in their 2015–2016 performance agreements, and we will press ahead in the coming year to address key gaps and vulnerabilities.
While recruitment is critical, so is successful onboarding as it helps new employees make meaningful contributions early. The Canada School of Public Service’s core curriculum for employees, managers and executives is demonstrating the value of a high-quality, Public Service-wide approach to learning and development.
Over the coming year, we will step up our pace with an ambitious program of work to find, hire and successfully onboard new public servants, including medically released veterans, who have so much to contribute.
Parks Canada has used its Campus Club Network to expand its recruitment efforts. This new initiative gets young adults outside the classroom and connects them with parks. Over the past two years, Campus Clubs have been established at 15 post-secondary institutions in seven provinces. The initiative currently reaches more than 6,000 young adults across the country. There are 23 Campus Club leaders helping Parks Canada promote volunteer work and employment.
The Public Service Commission has launched the New Direction in Staffing, moving from 12 policies to one, while preserving the principles of merit and non-partisanship. This means departments have more opportunities to use innovative, efficient and effective staffing tools and customized processes.
During a 2014 Dragon’s Den type of event at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Kim Blanchet and Cynthia Leblanc Martin pitched a new approach to recruitment, retention and career management for Indigenous students.
The pilot project has demonstrated that a great idea pays off. Between 2014 and 2015, there were 65 Indigenous students registered in the Federal Student Work Experience Program for the Quebec region. A year later, by October 1, 2015, that number had almost doubled, with 125 students registered.
The number of Indigenous students hired by the Department’s Quebec regional office rose 31% in 2014 and then another 47% in 2015, with Indigenous students accounting for roughly half (8 of 17) of the new recruits brought into the regional office over this last year.
Photo by Parks Canada
Reinforcing the Policy Community
Last year the Public Service supported two Governments with first-rate policy research and advice. The policy community rose to the challenge of a change of government and intense transition briefings. The Government has made it clear that it expects the Public Service to continue to give evidence-based advice that incorporates engagement at the front end, reaches out to other sectors with similar interests and diverse perspectives, and leads to initiatives that can be implemented and outcomes that can be measured.
Co-led by Deputy Champions and supported by a network of engaged public servants, the Policy Community Project, launched in the winter of 2016, seeks to strengthen and modernize the Public Service policy function, making it even more collaborative, connected and open. The goal of the Project is to generate a real and long-lasting dialogue on how to provide world-class, timely and responsive advice to Government in a constantly changing environment and to identify and implement concrete actions to achieve this goal. Project participants will work as interdepartmental teams to advance projects in a selection of key areas.
It will be important never to return to a time where policy was developed in splendid isolation from the operations and services that implement it, or the people affected by it. Nor should policy be developed in silos and stovepipes. All of the important issues facing Canada are broad and multi-faceted.
Photo by Privy Council Office
Canada Revenue Agency’s Accelerated Business Solutions Lab is furthering its efforts to modernize. Through innovative methods—advanced analytics, behavioural economics and other techniques—the Lab is able to explore and apply new approaches to the Agency’s administrative, policy and service challenges.
At the Public Health Agency of Canada, the GCconnexUS Team is working to drive better policy by connecting scientists and policy experts. This partnership with the Treasury Board Secretariat resulted in the launch of an improved user profile on an internal website, GCconnex, which allows people to find potential colleagues faster within the Agency and across government.
At Natural Resources Canada, the New Policy Instruments and Approaches portal is aimed at analysts, managers, communities of practice, and policy innovators, and seeks to support research, knowledge exchange, discussion, networking and experimentation.
Photo by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
It is a great honour to lead this vital national institution. This coming year will no doubt bring challenges, both at home and abroad, providing us with many opportunities to demonstrate our commitment, energy and enthusiasm to deliver for Canadians. I have every confidence in our Public Service to meet these challenges head on. Through Blueprint 2020 we have laid the groundwork for a Public Service where extensive and broad engagement is the new normal, where innovation and challenging orthodoxies and old patterns are seen as essential to sound policy development and service delivery, and where collaboration and openness are fundamental in day-to-day work.
To carry out the Government’s mandate and improve the capabilities of the Public Service, public servants must work with the right tools, use lighter processes and operate within the right structures. We must remain focused on improving wellness and mental health in the workplace and continue to reinvigorate our efforts to attract, retain and develop top talent. I encourage all public servants to take personal action in their own lives and areas of work to achieve these objectives. A year from now I look forward to reporting further progress on these and other key deliverables, and to reporting not just activity, but impact.
This report provides only a glimpse of the fantastic work that dedicated public servants do every day. I know all public servants take pride in these and their own stories, confident that what we do matters to Canada, Canadians and the world.
I look forward to working with all public servants and with the Government as we tackle together the challenges before us, and deliver results for Canadians.
“You are responsible for ensuring that your departments are managed well and with complete integrity, and must discharge your portfolio responsibilities with careful regard to the particular powers, duties and functions assigned to you by statute and convention. In meeting this responsibility you can rely on the professional, non-partisan advice and support of your deputy minister and department. At the same time, you and your office must respect the non-partisanship of the public service and not seek to engage public servants in work that is outside their appropriate role.”
--The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,
A Message to Ministers
Open and Accountable Government 2015
Photo by Privy Council Office
Annex A: By the Numbers
A Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service for 2015
This annex presents select demographics for the Federal Public Service (FPS)i in fiscal year 2014-15.
Supplementary demographic information, including historical data is available online.
Number of Employees
The size of the FPS population varies due to government priorities.
In 2014-15, the population of the FPS remained constant. As of March 2015, there were 257,034 active employees working in the FPS, representing a decrease of less than 0.1% from March 2014.
The number of federal public servants per 100 Canadians is lower today than it was a decade ago (0.72% in 2015 versus 0.76% in 2005). Looking back further, the FPS population represents a lower proportion of the Canadian population today than it did 30 years ago (0.98% in 1985).
|Number of Employees||March 2014||March 2015|
|Deputy Ministers (DMs)||43||42|
Compared to last year, the FPS population of indeterminate employees declined whereas that of term employees, casual employees, and students increased in absolute numbers.
Over the course of the past year, the indeterminate population as a proportion relative to the entire FPS population declined while the proportion of the contingent workforce increased.
|Employee Types||March 2014||March 2015|
Mobility in the Core Public Administration (CPA)
While the early 2000s were characterized by high employee mobility, there has been a decrease in mobility since 2008-09, with the most prominent decrease in 2012-13 and 2013-14. From 2013-14 to 2014-15, the number of new indeterminate hires increased by 41.2% and the internal mobility rate increased from 11.6% to 12.4%.
Over the past decade, departures remained relatively stable until 2012-13 where there was a 41.3% increase in the total departures compared to the year before. This was mainly due to the implementation of the Economic Action Plan 2012 and other government transformation initiatives. In 2014-15, departures decreased by 20.7% compared to the previous year.
|Mobility in the CPA||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15|
|New Indeterminate Employees||8,642||2,865||4,315||6,093|
|Retirements and Departures||9,150||12,933||12,283||9,737|
|Lateral and Downward Transfers||17,542||15,277||14,252||13,594|
|Average Age||March 2014||March 2015|
|Deputy Ministers||58.0 years||58.0 years|
|Associate DM||54.6 years||54.3 years|
|EX-04 to EX-05||53.8 years||53.7 years|
|EX-01 to EX-03||50.2 years||50.1 years|
|Executives||50.4 years||50.3 years|
|FPS||44.9 years||45.0 years|
The average age of federal public servants increased slightly from 44.9 years in 2014 to 45.0 years in 2015 .
In 2005, 41.1% of executives were under 50 years of age compared to 46.1% in 2015.
The average age of Executives (at both lower and senior levels) has increased slightly over the past three decades. However, it has remained relatively stable since 2005.
The distribution of public servants by age band remained relatively constant between 2014 and 2015. The proportion of public servants aged 25 to 34 decreased from 17.9% in 2014 to 17.3% in 2015. Over the same timeframe, there was also a decrease in the proportion of public servants aged 45 to 54 (32.7% to 32.0%).
The percentage of public servants aged 45 and above remained the same from 2014 to 2015 (51.6%).
|Age Band||March 2014||March 2015|
|25 to 34||45,941||17.9%||44,367||17.3%|
|35 to 44||70,678||27.5%||71,415||27.8%|
|45 to 54||84,106||32.7%||82,145||32.0%|
|55 to 64||43,660||17.0%||45,334||17.6%|
Years of Experienceii
After increasing gradually from 1983 to 2007, the proportion of public servants with over 25 years of experience has remained fairly steady over the last three years.
Notably, between March 2014 and March 2015, the proportion of FPS employees with 0-4 years of experience decreased by 2.2 percentage points. Those with 5-14 years of experience, 15-24 years of experience, and 25 years of experience or more increased by 0.7, 1.3, and 0.3 percentage points, respectively.
|Years of Experience||March 2014||March 2015|
First Official Language
The representation of first official languages in the FPS has been relatively stable over the past 25 years.
|First Official Language||March 2014||March 2015|
Representation vs. Workforce Availability (WFA) iii
The statistics presented below are for the overall FPS, CPA EXiv, and CPA New Hires.
In the past ten years, there have been significant gains in the representation of all four Employment Equity groups, as reported through self-identification.
Overall, the FPS representation levels of all groups exceeded their respective workforce availabilities. However, in 2014-15 the CPA executive cadre representation levels did not meet workforce availability estimates, with the exception of the persons with disabilities group.
Women comprised 46.4% of the CPA EX community in 2014-15, a significant gain since 1983 when women comprised less than 5.0% of the CPA executive cadre.
In terms of new hires in the CPA, with the exception of persons with disabilities, all groups exceeded their respective workforce availabilities. Visible minorities comprised 16.1% (vs. workforce availability of 13.0%), persons with disabilities comprised 3.5% (vs. workforce availability of 4.4%), Aboriginal peoples comprised 3.8% (vs. workforce availability of 3.4%), and women comprised 56.6% (vs. workforce availability of 52.5%).
|Representation vs. WFA 2013-14:|
Members of a Visible Minority group
|Representation vs. WFA 2014-15:|
Members of a Visible Minority group
|All FPS: 14.6% vs. WFA: 13.1%||All FPS: 15.4% vs. WFA: 14.3%|
|CPA EX: 8.5% vs. WFA: 7.3%||CPA EX: 8.8% vs. WFA: 9.5%|
|CPA New Hires: 16.0% vs. WFA: 12.4%||CPA New Hires: 16.1% vs. WFA: 13.0%|
|Representation vs. WFA 2013-14: Persons with Disabilities group||Representation vs. WFA 2014-15: Persons with Disabilities group|
|All FPS: 5.8% vs. WFA 4.0%||All FPS: 5.7% vs. WFA 4.4%|
|CPA EX: 5.4% vs. WFA: 4.0%||CPA EX: 5.3% vs. WFA: 2.3% v|
|CPA New Hires: 3.3% vs. WFA 4.0%||CPA New Hires: 3.5% vs. WFA 4.4%|
|Representation vs. WFA 2013-14: Aboriginal Peoples||Representation vs. WFA 2014-15: Aboriginal Peoples|
|All FPS: 4.6% vs. WFA: 2.9%||All FPS: 4.6% vs. WFA: 3.3%|
|CPA EX: 3.7% vs. WFA: 4.4%||CPA EX: 3.4% vs. WFA: 5.2%|
|CPA New Hires: 4.6% vs WFA 3.0%||CPA New Hires: 3.8% vs WFA 3.4%|
|Representation vs. WFA 2013-14: Women||Representation vs. WFA 2014-15: Women|
|All FPS: 54.9% vs. WFA: 52.9%||All FPS: 55.0% vs. WFA: 53.2%|
|CPA EX: 46.1% vs. WFA 44.7%||CPA EX: 46.4% vs. WFA 47.8%|
|CPA New Hires: 55.2% vs. WFA: 52.3%||CPA New Hires: 56.6% vs. WFA: 52.5%|
- The “Federal Public Service” refers to the Core Public Administration (CPA) - departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer - and separate agencies (principally the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and National Research Council Canada). Data are primarily provided by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
- Information presented is based on indeterminate employees only, including employees on leave without pay. The information excludes employees without valid dates.
- Workforce availability for an Employment Equity designated group is the percentage of citizens working in occupations in the Canadian workforce that correspond to occupations in the Federal Public Service (FPS), with the data being derived from the 2006 Census statistics for 2013-14 data and the 2011 Census statistics for the 2014-15 data. Workforce availability estimates for the FPS and the Core Public Administration (CPA) are based on the 2006 Census statistics for 2013-14 data and the 2011 Census statistics for the 2014-15 data. All workforce availability data are based on the active indeterminate population and active term population of three months or more. Some small separate agencies were not included in the FPS data because of missing information.
- CPA EX includes the representation levels and WFA for both the Executives and the Law Management occupational groups (LC group) altogether in the Core Public Administration.
- The workforce availability for CPA Executives for Persons with Disabilities should be used with caution due to high sampling variability.
Annex B: Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service
This is our committee’s tenth report since its creation in 2006. Throughout this time, our focus has been on the reform and renewal of Canada’s Public Service through building on its strength and leveraging its potential. We have tried to bring a constructive, external perspective to bear on the management challenges facing the Public Service in order to define how our Public Service can help Canada prosper in a globally competitive world. Since 2006, we have addressed dozens of issues ranging from simplifying the human resources management regime to implementing the new pay system. While our membership has changed over the years, all who have served on the committee share a deep appreciation for the Public Service as a national institution that plays a vital role in the success of this country.
We are conscious of the substantial agenda set for the new Government. Moreover, it is clear that the Government is counting on a dynamic, creative and agile Public Service for support in achieving its goals. We share that expectation.
II. This Report
Our purpose in this report is to describe the issues on which we have focused over the past year and the considerations we think are worth bearing in mind as the Government moves forward. What is striking is how many of the matters on our agenda last year are mirrored in the expressed concerns of the new Government, notably a focus on results, on speedy, modern service delivery, and on measuring progress and outcomes.
III. Our Work in 2015
The committee held three meetings in 2015. On those occasions we dealt with issues ranging from service delivery to social media, to middle management and mental health.
Service delivery has been a continuing concern of the committee. And it is in this area that our varied experience outside government has perhaps been most relevant. In our discussions, we stressed the importance of learning what works well (or not), through targeted market and customer studies. Fostering a culture of service innovation, notwithstanding the inevitable constraints inside government, should be a goal for every government organization. All should be working to regain the reputation for service excellence that the Public Service once enjoyed.
A key challenge facing government today is the move toward digital services, which also presents tremendous opportunity. These services are more efficient and cost-effective and this is certainly the way many Canadians want to interact with their governments. At the same time, traditional delivery channels, whether in person or by telephone, will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is how best to enable the transition to the new world of digital service while controlling the costs of new technology and making optimal use of the existing physical presence and infrastructure.
Another of the committee’s concerns has been to reduce the complexity of the approval and accountability structures inside government. Barriers to efficient, productive work—whether red tape or the sometimes contradictory hierarchies of approval and accountability—affect employee performance and job satisfaction and, as such, have an impact on mental and physical health. Anything that can be done to simplify these often conflicting accountabilities would be, in our view, a very good thing.
New social media platforms and technologies have become part of the daily life of Canadians. The challenge for officials is how to use social media both internally and, appropriately, to engage Canadians. Much depends on how these tools are handled, and particularly on distinguishing the various audiences being addressed. Targeting social media to specific audiences can also generate useful tools to measure customer satisfaction.
We reviewed the results of the recent Public Service Employee Survey and their implicationsfor work on Blueprint 2020. We noted the high level of employee engagement, which was reflected in the high response rate to the survey, as well as the high level of job satisfaction. But clearly work needs to be done to reduce the gap between the perspectives of front line staff and those of senior management. Too often, problems with poor performers have not been well managed, and employees can see that.
Understanding middle management is a complex challenge. No single approach to optimizing roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships can be successful, as different departments fulfill differing primary missions and varying statutory requirements.
We support efforts to create a workplace environment where problems related to mental health can be recognized and addressed. This is not only a matter of providing employees with the support they need, but it is equally an important step in reducing the personal and organizational costs of disability and absenteeism.
Another issue of continuing concern to the committee (and, we note, to the new Government as well) is recruitment. We must ensure that the next generation of public servants has the education, skills, aptitudes and mindset needed in the 21st Century workplace. Our advice is that recruitment policy, strategy and broad objectives should come from the centre, while selection should be done by line managers according to their specific needs.
IV. Looking Ahead
It is often said that good policy is useless without good execution. For almost ten years, we have provided advice on ways to improve the quality and efficiency of operations. We support the renewal and modernization of the Public Service. We also believe the process of regeneration and change should be “institutionalized”—that is, made a normal feature of life inside government—and we are pleased to see the new Government’s commitment to experimentation and responsible risk-taking.
We believe Canadians are fortunate to be served by a high quality, professional Public Service. Yet in government as in business there is no room for complacency. The Public Service is a trusted national institution, but it needs continued modernization and renewal. It needs appropriate, carefully managed investments in modern technology to enable modern service delivery. And it needs the right people, working within a modern management regime, to provide the professional support that the Government deserves.
- Date Modified: