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Table of Contents
- Letter from the Clerk to the Prime Minister
- The Year in Review
- Moving Forward
- Looking Ahead
- Conclusion (#WeAreProud)
Consult the Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data.
Consult the Video.
Letter from the Clerk to the Prime Minister
March 31, 2015
Dear Prime Minister:
It is my pleasure to submit to you the Twenty-Second 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 have been asked to lead the institution of the Public Service of Canada as the twenty-second Clerk of the Privy Council. I would like to thank you, Prime Minister, for the trust you have placed in me in this capacity. I also want to thank my predecessor, the Honourable Wayne Wouters, who served as Clerk with distinction, pride and dedication to the Government, Canada and Canadians. I could have had no better model than Wayne for my current role.
This past year marked significant Public Service accomplishments—delivering the Government’s agenda and serving Canadians in policy, program management, and front-line delivery. Whether managing the Ebola outbreak, protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians, supporting the development of needed infrastructure or fulfilling any of our other roles, we have worked with partners to find solutions to challenges faced by our communities and citizens.
I have seen first-hand the opportunities we have to serve and the difference we make in working to build a stronger Canada. In this report, I have provided some examples of the achievements of federal public servants from across our great country in the last year. I know from meeting with employees that they take great pride in serving Canadians to the best of their ability, and that they look for ways to do even better as part of their daily work.
However, like all great institutions, the Public Service of Canada can never be satisfied with the status quo—we must always make room for new ideas, new ways of thinking, new realities, new business models and new developments while at the same time delivering on our core mandate. That is what Blueprint 2020 is all about.
The Public Service of Canada has consistently demonstrated that it is up to the challenges of the day. In my role as Clerk, I plan to place a priority on ensuring that we are both ready to address the challenges we face and able to leverage the opportunities to do even better in serving Canadians in the coming years and decades.
Public institutions are the cornerstone of our democratic system. The Public Service and public servants are integral players in making sure those institutions serve the best interests of Canadians. We do this in a world where the speed of change is astounding, and the complexity of the issues we face is significant—whether for economic, social, or security policy—and we do it while staying true to the bedrock of values and ethics that define us.
The forces of change are many: an increasingly networked and interconnected globe; a constant drive to maximize results for the resources used; technological advances by leaps and bounds; a non-stop media cycle; and citizens’ rising expectations for better and faster services tailored to their needs. As our world continues to evolve, our focus continues to be, and must remain, excellence in delivering quality programs and services to Canadians and evidence-based advice to government.
“It is a privilege to serve as the head of this world-class institution that has unparalleled diversity—linguistically, culturally, regionally—which helps bring different perspectives and approaches and contributes to better programs and services and stronger policy advice, for the benefit of Canadians.”
Photo by Jeff Radbourne, Privy Council Office
The Year in Review
This has been an exciting but challenging year for the Federal Public Service. We are implementing a significant number of initiatives to transform how we work so we can improve our effectiveness and efficiency, and deliver better results for taxpayers.
Survey Says—The Public Service Employee Survey Results:
- A total of 182,165 employees in 93 federal departments and agencies responded to the survey, for a response rate of 71.4 percent.
- A total of 93 percent of employees agreed that they are willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done and almost 80 percent responded that they like their job.
The recent Public Service Employee Survey provides important insights into how employees feel in the face of this busy agenda of change and renewal. I was pleased to see the results of the most recent survey, which was conducted between August 25 and October 3, 2014. A total of 93 percent of employees agreed that they are willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done and almost 80 percent responded that they like their job. Respondents were more positive in 2014 than in previous years about their immediate supervisor, performance management, workload, and respect and ethics in the workplace. The results also indicated that the majority of Public Service employees are engaged in their work and organization. However, the survey also highlighted that there are areas where we face challenges, and where further work will be required. I will return to these issues later in this report.
Photo by Cpl Paul Shapka, 17 Wing Imaging
We are guided by the four principles of our Blueprint 2020 vision:
- An open and networked environment that engages citizens and partners for the public good; together with…
- A whole-of-government approach that enhances service delivery and value for money; enabled by…
- A modern workplace that makes smart use of new technologies to improve networking, access to data and customer service; and…
- A capable, confident and high-performing workforce that embraces new ways of working and mobilizing the diversity of talent to serve the country’s evolving needs.
Last year, Blueprint 2020 engaged public servants from all departments and agencies, all regions and all levels in defining our agenda for building a high-performing organization. Canada’s Public Service is among the best in the world. We know we have to continue to modernize and renew ourselves in order to deliver on our commitments, and do more to be the truly excellent Public Service we know is needed—for public servants, for taxpayers, for government, and for Canada.
A strong, merit-based, non-partisan and representative Public Service that reflects the diversity of Canadian society is essential to this country’s success. Our values and ethics will remain the foundation of our Public Service. As His Excellency David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, has said, “the builders of this nation understood that our democracy would require a professional organization that could provide impartial expertise and deliver services across this vast country.” As a public service, we serve at a breadth and depth unlike any other organization in the country.
Blueprint 2020 is our approach to modernization. We have now begun the hard work of implementing the changes that are necessary to realize our objectives. We are in the midst of a far-reaching transformation as a public service, both at the enterprise level and in departments. While many of these reforms are designed to reduce costs, our goals go well beyond that. For public servants, over time, our reforms will mean simpler and fewer processes, more efficient information technology infrastructure, and a more coordinated and effective approach to people management and learning. For government and Canadians, what we do to manage the Public Service must translate into better and faster service, and more integrated and aligned operations.
Photo by Peter Edwards,
At the same time as we are implementing the Blueprint 2020 agenda, the Federal Public Service is delivering results for Canadians. Public servants deliver programs and services that are essential to the safety, security and well-being of Canadians and to the competitiveness of our economy. We have had to keep pace with increasing volumes, and complexity as well as rising service demands, while working with constrained resources towards operational excellence.
We continue to serve in new modes and with increased speed. Whether it is the 100 million travellers at our borders every year, the 8.1 million clients at in-person service centres or the over 80 million web visits, we remain connected to serve the needs of Canadians.
Photo by Health Canada
We have worked hard to improve how we serve government and Canadians every day. Whether inspecting food and health products, or working with partners to respond to close to 1,200 life-saving search and rescue calls each year, we contribute to the health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment and economy.
We have also made improvements in our processes. A new citizenship decision-making process, which came into force August 1, has streamlined the process from three steps to one. In the first five months since Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented the new process, more than 115,000 people have become Canadian citizens—a 90 percent increase over the same time period last year. The Canada Revenue Agency improves its digital services for taxpayers each year by adding new features and functions, making it easier to file securely online. In 2014, the Canada Revenue Agency achieved world-class results by receiving 80 percent of individual returns and 83 percent of business returns electronically.
Photo by Thierry Boyer, Parks Canada
We delivered on important Government initiatives by working with partners. An inspiring collaboration brought together federal departments and an unprecedented number of organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors, to locate HMS Erebus, one of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition ships lost in 1846. The search effort solved one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries, and involved innovative technology and a high-performing team that was flexible, adapting to numerous environmental and logistical challenges. I personally saw the pride in the faces of the project team members, who deservedly won a special Public Service Award of Excellence last fall for their success.
The Government of Canada, in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, worked with Aboriginal governments and groups, industry, stakeholders and Northern citizens to successfully devolve land management from the federal government to the Northwest Territories. This transfer of powers places decision making about land use in the hands of Northerners, who are best placed to decide on how to maximize the value of their lands and resources for their communities. I am proud of how quickly this occurred, particularly given the complexity of this file and the number of players involved.
We also responded well to the unexpected events of 2014-15—whether it was volatile commodity prices, intense weather events, or the threats to our security. For example, the October 2014 attacks in Canada, which led to the premature and tragic deaths of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, caused all of us to reflect on our collective safety and security. We honour their memory. The courage and dedication of the first responders in taking control of the crises were admirable. So were the resilience, dedication and professionalism that the Public Service continued to demonstrate. In the following days and weeks, we developed proposals to strengthen Canada’s response to the new security environment so that national security threats can be better detected and disrupted before they materialize.
Photo by Passport Canada
Photo by Parks
Canada - Pacific
These are but a few highlights of the accomplishments of the Public Service in the last year. We are already beginning to move forward toward the expected results of the Blueprint 2020 vision. Initiatives are under way in departments and agencies, within functional communities and professional networks, and through enabling enterprise-wide initiatives. My hope is that the examples set out in the next pages will inspire all public servants to aim for these outcomes in all that we do and to share with one another how #WeAreInnovative, #WeAreAgile, #WeAreCollaborative, #WeAreHighPerforming and, most importantly, how #WeAreProud.
Innovation and Continuous Improvement (#WeAreInnovative)
The speed of change necessitates doing things differently—faster, better, smarter. We are increasingly called upon to take in more information, question well-established ways of working, and seek out new solutions that take into account both risk and evidence.
The Past Comes Alive:
- Ever wondered what music was popular in the 1890s? Or what the diaries of our soldiers read like? Library and Archives Canada is undertaking a large-scale digitization initiative that will considerably increase access to Canada’s documentary heritage, involving about 60 million images from numerous collections, including land grants, war diaries and photographs, and gramophone recordings!
The Public Health Agency of Canada launched The Play Exchange—a first-of-its-kind partnership with the private and not-for-profit sectors that asked Canadians to submit ideas on how we can be more active. More than 400 ideas were submitted with Canadians determining which innovation would receive $1 million in investment funding from the Government of Canada to implement their idea.
Through a pan-Canadian approach to forest sector innovation, as well as research and development partnerships among multiple government departments, the not-for-profit sector and industry, Canada is home to the world’s first cellulose filament production facility. This chemical-free, renewable, recyclable material can be added as a lightweight strengthening agent not only to pulp and paper products but also to bioplastics, adhesives, paints and coating. Fostering these innovative new ideas encourages broader adoption of new technologies across the industry and results in real benefits for businesses and Canadians.
Innovation in the Field:
- This past year, we supported the Government’s efforts to harness science, technology, and research to advance economic development. In particular, we provided advice on the National Research Council Arctic Program which will improve housing, transport and resource development in the North. Similarly, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States in the development of the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite mission to estimate surface soil moisture on Earth. These innovations will provide a range of consumers with valuable information, including maps that will help to improve weather prediction and crop productivity models.
We are also applying new thinking to policy development. Over the past year, a dozen innovation hubs and labs were created across the government to explore and apply new approaches to policy and service challenges. Whether it is improving intake processes to streamline access for citizens, or taking feedback on the front line from Canadians and using it to design better policies and programs, these labs are incubating approaches that will allow us to continue to improve our advice to government and, ultimately, lead to better results for Canadians.
Citizens and businesses expect technology-enabled, fully integrated service delivery that meets their needs. In addition to providing current wait times, which are updated hourly, the Canada Border Services Agency has launched a new tool that forecasts border wait times. This new tool provides travellers with historical information on the average daily wait time for the 26 busiest ports of entry. The Canada Revenue Agency has launched MyCRA and CRA Business Tax Reminders to provide Canadians with more ways to access and manage their tax information. And Service Canada has enhanced the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator—available online, on tablets and smartphones—so that in a matter of minutes, users can see how small changes in savings and financial behaviours can impact results. These new ways of providing access to services—anytime and anywhere—show that we are keeping the needs and expectations of Canadians at the centre of our modernization work.
We are making progress in our use of innovative technology and creative responses to challenges. We need to be bolder and imagine new ways of working. We need to take intelligent risks and manage them well, learn from our mistakes and apply innovation to the design of policy and programs.
Photo by Michael Mitchell
Nimble and Agile (#WeAreAgile)
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada launched Express Entry, a new electronic application management system that is a faster and more effective way to welcome the top economic immigrants to Canada and respond to our labour market needs. Express Entry will help prevent long wait times and backlogs as applications for the most eligible skilled foreign nationals will be processed in six months or less.
The pace of change requires the Public Service to adapt more quickly and move the right resources to the right place at the right time. This includes anticipating and responding to challenges, both at home and abroad.
The ability to respond to crises has long been a strength of the Public Service. This year is no different in that respect. During the Manitoba floods, close to 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel provided emergency assistance to help communities, while Public Safety Canada worked with the provincial government to respond with financial assistance. The Canadian Coast Guard and National Defence provided assistance to the Russian cargo ship Simushir off the Haida Gwaii coast. National Defence also contributed military assistance in the defence of Iraq, which was complemented by significant humanitarian, stabilization and development support to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. In all of these events, our ability to be nimble and agile was essential.
Our whole-of-government response to Ebola highlights the Public Service’s scientific capacity through the development and donation of vaccines for clinical trials, and the skills and dedication of our people deployed as front-line health care workers and support personnel in West Africa.
Photo by Environment Canada
We also strive to anticipate and respond quickly to new trends and developments as they relate to our daily operations. Whether for Environment Canada’s up-to-the-minute weather and environmental services or the Canada Food Inspection Agency’s over 240 food recall warnings in 2014, Canadians relied on us. We provide timely and accurate information to help them make decisions about their personal well-being and safety—24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui
To become more nimble and agile, we are also examining our internal operations. Even though rules and administrative processes are in place to ensure sound stewardship and accountability, they can sometimes be overly burdensome and hinder timely action and decisions. We need to remove any step of our processes and operations that is not necessary for achieving quality outcomes. This spirit is embodied in Employment and Social Development Canada’s Expose and Explain initiative, which allows employees to question internal processes, policies or rules and propose innovative solutions to improve the way they work.
Cutting red tape is not the task of a single department. Through the Internal Red Tape Reduction initiative, public servants across government are being engaged to find ways to eliminate obstacles to better and faster internal and external service delivery. By approaching internal rules from an end-user perspective, we can become more nimble and agile.
Open and Collaborative (#WeAreCollaborative)
Understanding Each Other:
- The Science and Policy Integration Boot Camp hosted by the Laurentian Forestry Centre in the city of Québec, brought together policy analysts from Natural Resources Canada headquarters and scientists and researchers in the regional forestry centres with the goal of improving collaboration and networking between these two key areas of expertise. This was accomplished through a range of activities aimed at establishing personal connections, sharing information, and transferring knowledge. Feedback from participants and initial outcomes indicate that this innovative learning opportunity exceeded these objectives and provided employees with invaluable insight into the work environments of their colleagues.
Today, information can be accessed and shared instantaneously across vast distances on almost any subject, online and via social media. Government is expected to be open and transparent, while being mindful of privacy rights. Through the Open Government initiative, we strive to achieve that balance while making more information available and facilitating access to data.
As the world is increasingly faced with complex and global issues, governments must also leverage the power of networks and partnerships to find constructive solutions.
We are also supporting Canadians so that they themselves have the tools to connect and collaborate. Our country leads the way in Internet connectedness. Thanks to the efforts of Industry Canada, this year brought high-speed network access to another 280,000 Canadian households in rural and remote regions.
Photo by Canadian Armed Forces
The past year also saw some novel partnerships within government. The Translation Bureau, in collaboration with the Network of Official Languages Champions, Treasury Board Secretariat, the National Managers’ Community, and other departments such as Canadian Heritage and the Canada School of Public Service, is piloting projects for official languages, multilingual and sign language interpretation services from anywhere through Internet-based technology. This approach will allow individuals to better collaborate, in real time, at a lower cost. Feedback on the overall experience with these pilot projects has been positive.
Shared Services Canada is enabling a mobile and collaborative workforce by providing Wi-Fi access. Over 30,000 public servants will have access by the end of summer 2015, and by the end of 2016-2017, 40 percent of all public servants will have access to Wi-Fi in common areas. This will help public servants to collaborate, and to develop ideas and approaches, drawing on their diversity of skills and perspectives. Given the variety in the state of the information technology infrastructure in more than 1,500 Government of Canada locations across Canada and around the world, this represents significant progress, but it also highlights the real challenges of maintaining daily operations while we modernize.
With the roll-out of the Government Electronic Directory Services (GEDS) 2.0 and updates to GCpedia and GCconnex, we are making internal collaboration easier by connecting public servants who work on similar tasks in various departments and agencies. For example, the enhanced version of GEDS 2.0 includes additional voluntary information such as personal employee profiles, photos, additional contact information, favourite links, an improved search function and a social media feature that links to employees’ postings on GCpedia and GCconnex. We will be able to use these tools to better match the talent of public servants with our needs.
Photo by MCpl Robert LeBlanc, 5th Cdn Div Public Affairs
Photo by Parks
Canada - Thousand
Park of Canada
We are also becoming more open. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada held a hack-a-thon, working directly with the open data community that put Canada on the map for the upcoming International Open Data Conference. The department is also using new, modern tools for digital diplomacy, and social media engagement, allowing it to reach new audiences and achieve desired policy outcomes that support democratic principles such as fair elections, women’s voting rights, support to vulnerable populations, and respect for human rights, including gender equality.
It has been shown, and continues to be the case, that we are stronger together. Besides new tools, we need policies and processes that support flexible teams and foster collaboration. We also need workplaces that create the space for individual and group work. But as I have said to many public servants this year, we must all set our own default setting to “open” and share information with colleagues and across departments and agencies.
A Good Question:
- A high-performing Public Service is empowered and engaged, where public servants at all levels ask the question, “Why are we doing it this way?” and contribute to continuous improvement.
We can have the best processes and technology, but these will not be enough to produce the best results for Canadians unless we manage our talent well and work as a high-performing team.
This starts with managing individual performance. Every public servant needs to have a clear understanding about the expected results of our programs and services, and their role in achieving those results. This is the key to the new Directive on Performance Management, which came into effect a year ago. The Directive requires that all employees know what is expected of them; have an opportunity to understand how their performance will be measured; and, at least twice a year, receive formal feedback on their strengths as well as help on areas for improvement. Managers are also expected to supplement this Directive by making ongoing constructive feedback a regular part of managing their teams. Through this ongoing dialogue, we will be able to better identify where we need to learn and improve as individual employees, as managers, and as a public service, to better serve Canadians.
Preventing Harassment and Discrimination:
- All employees must adhere to the Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities.
To better meet learning and training needs, the Canada School of Public Service is revitalizing its curriculum, and modernizing its delivery of learning as part of the new enterprise-wide approach to learning. Importantly, members of the Persons with Disabilities Chairs and Champions Committee provided valuable input on issues and priorities for the School’s new Accessibility Strategy, which will support excellence in client service for learners with disabilities.
We need to be deliberate and methodical in developing competencies such as project management, vendor relations, and shared service delivery, which are playing an increasingly significant role in how we do business. The School can also support efforts to develop the new Key Leadership Competencies in our managers and leaders.
Photo by Parks Canada - Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Healthy workplaces, where employees are engaged and treated with respect and dignity, are also essential to high-performing organizations. As I noted earlier, the Public Service Employee Survey highlighted some areas of concern in this regard.
We must create a workplace that does not tolerate harassment or discrimination. The number of employees who indicated in the survey that they had experienced harassment and discrimination is unacceptable. I expect all public servants to live up to a high standard of integrity that contributes to a healthy, supportive and high-performing workplace, consistent with our values and ethics. I expect all departments and agencies to use the information from the survey to take action to address these issues and to create a workplace where all employees are respected. I am committed to using all the Public Service Employee Survey findings to identify other areas where we need to act to build a workplace that supports our Blueprint 2020 vision.
A high-performing culture recognizes performance and achievements. I take great pride in our commitment to excellence, and the tangible outcomes for the country and Canadians that are achieved when we do our very best. This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, Ian Burney, of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, was recognized for his commitment and effectiveness in advancing Canada’s international interests and economic prosperity for all Canadians. This is a great accomplishment, not only for Ian, but for all the devoted public servants who helped make historic advances in our trade agenda this past year. Recognizing the success of colleagues through formal awards or informal initiatives helps motivate and inspire great performance.
National Career Boot Camp:
- This past February, over 1,000 public servants came together at the national Career Boot Camp 2015 to talk about the competencies and skills that professionals need to best perform at their current level, pursue their goals and develop a meaningful career in the Public Service. What was discussed was as inspiring as how we connected: in addition to in-person gatherings in Gatineau, Quebec, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, employees at over 400 sites participated virtually, creating a truly national conversation.
Photo by Ken Allan, Canada Border Services Agency
Canada’s Public Service is among the best in the world. We are recognized as a dynamic and respected world-class institution. We are, and must be, reflective of Canada’s diversity and active in championing our official languages, including in our workplaces. Our ability to deliver is based on an efficient and competent Public Service, and on the trust and confidence of Canadians in the work we do.
In the next year, there will be a federal election. During this process, as always, the Federal Public Service will remain professional, and non-partisan. We must always be, and be seen to be, impartial. Our values and ethics—respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship and excellence—will continue to underpin all that we do. These values are at the core of the Public Service and they are a constant we can rely on. We serve the government of the day to the best of our ability, serve as the caretakers of the democratic system in the peaceful transition of mandates following an election, and we continue to provide services to Canadians during the formal campaign period.
I am unequivocally and personally committed to the Blueprint 2020 vision. Although we have accomplished a lot, there is still much more to do. We will need to deliver on the Destination 2020 commitments that have been made, and undertake additional initiatives over the years ahead that will allow us to achieve our vision. We will continue to take stock of our progress and identify further initiatives.
Photo by the Prime Minister’s Office
I see three priority areas for action in the coming year.
One, we need to reinvigorate our recruitment efforts. The Public Service needs to recruit individuals with the skills and competencies that we will require in the next era. As you can see from the demographics in the accompanying annex—we will need new public servants to take up the challenge from those who are finishing their careers with us. As reflected in the Ninth Annual Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service, we must also attract, develop and retain talent to avoid creating a demographic hole that will lead to problems in the years ahead. We will need to replace those departing with individuals who have the new competencies to manage in the modern world. These new entrants—whether they enter as post-secondary graduates or later in their careers—will bring with them the fresh ideas, diversity, and skills that will allow us to meet our contemporary challenges. We also need to reinforce learning and development—to support each other to learn and improve, and take personal responsibility for our career-long learning, and for developing the skills to serve Canadians more effectively in the future.
Two, we will also focus on building a healthy, respectful and supportive work environment. Mental health challenges are a reality in all parts of society and in all workplaces. These challenges are difficult for the individuals affected and their families, and costly in terms of losing the potential contributions of these employees. We have colleagues who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other serious and sometimes debilitating conditions. We must create the space for open and stigma-free dialogue that allows for honesty and compassion as well as focus on preventing harm, promoting health and resilience, and addressing incidents or concerns. I am very pleased that the Government announced the creation of a joint task force with the Public Service Alliance of Canada to improve mental health and safety in the workplace. I look forward to the work of this task force and to harnessing all of our tools and best efforts to show leadership and make a difference in this area.
Three, we will need to reinforce the policy community as a profession and ensure that the Public Service can continue to provide world-class, timely advice to government. The challenges to Canada’s future prosperity, security and cohesion are increasingly interconnected and complex, and the Public Service has a responsibility to provide policy advice in all of these areas. There are greater expectations from citizens and stakeholders alike for ongoing engagement as we develop our advice. There are new players across more sectors who want to contribute to supporting policy development, and we will need to collaborate with them effectively to leverage their inputs for the good of Canada. We also know that there are interdependencies between policy and service delivery and that we need to create stronger linkages between the two. Working through policy from idea to implementation is necessary to maintain our collective advisory role and better serve Canadians.
These are just some of the areas that will need engagement to achieve the Blueprint 2020 vision. We will need the contributions and support of each and every public servant. Blueprint 2020 is not just my vision; it is ours, and it will only become reality if we nurture it consciously as we go about our tasks each day.
This report has profiled some of the Public Service’s key achievements as well as the ways in which public servants have started to make the goal of a modern Public Service a reality. We will continue delivering on our diverse mandates and keep sharing how #WeAreInnovative, #WeAreAgile, #WeAreCollaborative, and #WeAreHighPerforming. Most importantly, I am calling on all public servants to continue to show how #WeAreProud to pursue the remarkable work we are called upon to do. I expect all public servants to join in the dialogue, in their departments, agencies and functional communities, to move us forward. This is fundamental as we fulfill our commitment to Canadians and to Canada. I know excellence takes many shapes and forms, given the huge diversity of roles we play, but I have seen excellence from coast to coast to coast, and so I know we are up to this challenge as a public service.
I am humbled by my role as Clerk, in part because of the pride I take in the work of the Public Service. We live in an exceptional country and we have been given a unique opportunity to serve and to support our fellow citizens and government. Every day we have a chance to make a difference. As we can see from the examples cited in this report, we do important work, and we do it well. Meeting the known challenges of today and the challenges we have yet to face will require an even stronger effort. In the year ahead, I call on all public servants—show your pride as we build the Public Service of the future together, renewing our commitment to excellence each day.
Photo by Parks Canada - Grasslands National Park
Annex A: By the Numbers
A Demographic Profile of the Federal Public Service for 2014
This annex presents select demographics for the Federal Public Service (FPS)i in fiscal year 2013-14.
Supplementary demographic information is available at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/res/stats/demo14-eng.asp.
Number of Employees
The size of the FPS population varies according to government priorities.
In 2013-14, the FPS experienced a decline in its population.
The number of federal public servants per 100 Canadians is lower today than it was a decade ago (0.72% in 2014 versus 0.76% in 2004). Looking back further, the FPS population represents a lower proportion of the Canadian population today than it did 30 years ago (0.99% in 1984).
|Number of Employees||March 2013||March 2014|
|Deputy Ministers (DMs)||43||43|
Compared to last year, the number of indeterminate and term employees declined while the number of 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 fixed-term hiring increased (term, casual, and students).
|Employee Types||March 2013||March 2014|
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. Even though there is an increase in the number of new indeterminate hires (increase of 50.6%) and a slight increase in the internal mobility rate (from 10.8% to 11.6%), this is still considerably below hiring and internal mobility levels prior to 2012-13.
Most internal mobility is within the same department, while the ten-year average rate of 3.0% has been between departments. Over the past decade, departures remained relatively stable until 2012-13 when 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 2013-14, departures continue to follow the same trend as the year before.
|Mobility in the CPA||2012-13||2013-14|
|New Indeterminate Employees||2,865||4,315|
|Retirements and Departuresii||12,933||12,283|
|Lateral and Downward Transfers||15,277||14,252|
Overall, the FPS continues to age, with the average age of federal public servants increasing slightly from 44.8 years in 2013 to 44.9 years in 2014.
Although there was a slight decrease over the past year, the proportion of executives under 50 years of age has been on the rise in the last decade.
|Average Age||March 2013||March 2014|
|Deputy Ministers||56.3 years||58.0 years|
|Associate DM||55.4 years||54.6 years|
|EX-04 to EX-05||54.0 years||53.8 years|
|EX-01 to EX-03||50.1 years||50.2 years|
|Executives||50.3 years||50.4 years|
|FPS||44.8 years||44.9 years|
of executives were
under 50 years
of age compared to
The average age of deputy ministers and EXs (at both lower and senior levels) has fluctuated slightly over the past three decades; however, it has remained relatively stable since 2004.
The proportion of public servants aged 25 to 34 decreased from 18.6% in 2013 to 17.9% in 2014. Over the same timeframe, there was also a decrease in the proportion of public servants aged 45 to 54 (33.1% to 32.7%).
However, the percentage of public servants aged 45 and above remained the same from 2013 to 2014 (51.6%).
|Age Band||March 2013||March 2014|
|25 to 34||48,810||18.6%||45,941||17.9%|
|35 to 44||70,922||27.0%||70,678||27.5%|
|45 to 54||86,958||33.1%||84,106||32.7%|
|55 to 64||43,890||16.7%||43,660||17.0%|
Years of Experienceiii
After increasing gradually from 1983 to 2007, the proportion of public servants with over 25 years of experience has begun to slowly decrease.
Notably, between March 2013 and March 2014, the proportion of FPS employees with 5-14 years of experience increased from 45.3% to 48.7%, while those with 0-4 years of experience decreased from 17.2% to 13.2%.
These numbers reflect current recruitment and retirement patterns.
|Years of Experience||March 2013||March 2014|
First Official Language
The representation of official
languages in the FPS has been
relatively stable over the past
Representation vs. Workforce Availability (WFA) iv
The statistics presented below are for the overall FPS, CPA EXv, 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. This was also true for the CPA Executive cadre, with the exception of Aboriginal peoples.
Of The CPA EX Community,
A Significant Gain
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 16.0% (vs. WFA of 12.4%), persons with disabilities comprised 3.3% (vs. WFA of 4.0%), Aboriginal peoples comprised 4.6% (vs. WFA of 3.0%), and women comprised 55.2% (vs. WFA of 52.3%).
|Representation vs. WFA 2012-13||Representation vs. WFA 2013-14|
|Members of a Visible Minority group||Members of a Visible Minority group|
|All FPS: 14.0% vs. WFA: 13.0%||All FPS: 14.6% vs. WFA: 13.1%|
|CPA EX: 8.2% vs. WFA: 7.3%||CPA EX: 8.5% vs. WFA: 7.3%|
|CPA New Hires: 14.7% vs. WFA: 12.4%||CPA New Hires: 16.0% vs. WFA: 12.4%|
|Persons with Disabilities group||Persons with Disabilities group|
|All FPS: 5.8% vs. WFA 4.0%||All FPS: 5.8% vs. WFA 4.0%|
|CPA EX: 5.3% vs. WFA: 4.0%||CPA EX: 5.4% vs. WFA: 4.0%|
|CPA New Hires: 3.5% vs. WFA 4.0%||CPA New Hires: 3.3% vs. WFA 4.0%|
|Aboriginal Peoples||Aboriginal Peoples|
|All FPS: 4.6% vs. WFA: 2.9%||All FPS: 4.6% vs. WFA: 2.9%|
|CPA EX: 3.7% vs. WFA: 4.4%||CPA EX: 3.7% vs. WFA: 4.4%|
|CPA New Hires: 4.9% vs WFA 3.0%||CPA New Hires: 4.6% vs WFA 3.0%|
|All FPS: 55.0% vs. WFA: 52.8%||All FPS: 54.9% vs. WFA: 52.9%|
|CPA EX: 46.0% vs. WFA 44.7%||CPA EX: 46.1% vs. WFA 44.7%|
|CPA New Hires: 52.9% vs. WFA: 52.3%||CPA New Hires: 55.2% vs. WFA: 52.3%|
Annex B: Destination 2020 Progress—Enterprise-wide Initiatives
Annex C: Ninth Annual Report of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service
Message from the Co-chairs
Dear Prime Minister,
This is our first report as co-chairs of your Advisory Committee. We enjoyed our first two meetings with the new Clerk of the Privy Council and we look forward to active engagement over the coming years with some of the most pressing issues in public service management.
We are conscious, as are all the members of the Committee, of the essential role of the Public Service as a national institution and a key part of what might be called the ‘human infrastructure of civility’ in this country. We are also aware of the many important contributions made by public servants to the Canadian interest. We believe that renewal of the Public Service begins with recognition of its essential role in sustaining a prosperous country and a humane, productive and free society.
As you know, the members of the Committee bring to the table a broad range of experience in government, business and the university world. While we all have a deep interest in public policy, our mandate is focused on the effective functioning of the Public Service as an institution. This means concentrating on people, structures, leadership and systems for decision-making and accountability–all with a view to getting the best out of the many thousands of dedicated Canadians who constitute the federal Public Service.
We care about efficiency and we care equally about effectiveness, particularly in service to the public. Federal public servants serve Canadians well in thousands of ways every day. It is important to celebrate success, recognizing that there is always room for improvement. To do what Canadians need and expect of them, public servants require modern tools and modern skills. Most importantly, they need talented managers and management structures that will equip and empower them to do their jobs effectively. Policies require effective implementation to reach their intended goals.
As we have written to you, we see four major elements on our agenda, some of which we have already begun to discuss:
- Operational pace and the effective implementation of government decisions, including reducing cycle time and introducing modern project management techniques;
- Making optimal use of the middle management cadre;
- Recruitment, and career and leadership development; and,
- Client-focused service delivery.
This is a substantial agenda and we look forward with enthusiasm to our work.
The Honourable Hugh Segal, C.M.
Rick Waugh, O.C.
Table of Contents
- Part I Introduction
- Part II The Committee's Work over the Past Year
- Part III Some Specific Issues
- Part IV Our Forward Agenda
- Part V Conclusions
- Appendix: Members of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service
Part I Introduction
Since its creation in 2006, this Advisory Committee has had the privilege of active engagement on the management and forward direction of Canada's Public Service. The Committee is a forum where members meet at regular intervals in full-day sessions with the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, and annually with the Prime Minister. We also meet deputy ministers and other senior officials who are playing leading roles on issues and initiatives central to the management agenda of the Public Service.
Discussion in these sessions is open, frank and always substantive. Officials talk about what they are doing and about the challenges they face in meeting the expectations of the Government and the public for efficient, high-quality programs and services. We give our advice to them in person and we give it in writing to the Prime Minister and the Clerk. Through our annual report, we are proud to share that advice with the members of the Public Service and all those who care about it.
We know that if the members of this Committee are to make a difference to Canada, we must be focused in our work. The federal Public Service is too large and complex an institution for a single committee to deal with all the important issues facing managers and employees today. Our challenge, as it has been since the creation of the Committee, is relevance and impact. Our responsibility is to offer ideas and advice that will make a positive difference to the management of one of Canada's most important institutions.
We know that we are an advisory committee, not a management board. Our job is to offer ideas and advice, to bring experience and an outside perspective to the important challenges facing public servants and their senior leadership. It is up to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, with the support of the Clerk and other deputy ministers, to make decisions on what is most important, what to do about it, and where to invest. We are advisors who have had to make similar decisions in our own working lives, whether in business or elsewhere, on priorities, strategic direction, institutional change and resourcing. Our duty is to identify anomalies, address challenges to clarity and accountability, and point to parts of the system that are not working well–and recommend appropriate action to the Prime Minister and the Clerk.
As advisors from outside government, we recognize that government is not business and that lessons from the private sector must be applied with care to the Public Service. At the same time, we also believe there is much to be learned about performance management, leadership development, process efficiency, service quality and service improvement from the experiences of organizations outside government–be they corporations, universities or entities in the not-for-profit sector.
2015: An Important Year
The year 2015 marks an important juncture in the history of Canada's Public Service. The budgetary reductions of the past five years have now been almost fully absorbed by departments and agencies. A younger generation of public servants, equipped with new skills and a technological literacy that would have astounded their predecessors, is now present in the workplace. And significant changes have been made in the information technology infrastructure of the federal government that will enable government organizations to provide better, more responsive service to Canadians.
2015 is also an election year. The federal Public Service must be ready to serve whatever government is formed after the election. It must be ready with ideas and a renewed commitment to professional, loyal and non-partisan service to the government of the day. This traditional responsibility reinforces the importance of continuing investments in policy and analytical capacity to sustain a modern, high-quality Public Service.
In 2013, the Public Service was launched on a process of modernization and renewal–Blueprint 2020–aimed at re-engineering this national institution for success in the 21st century. We were pleased to see that the new Clerk has endorsed this initiative. The Committee will be following its progress closely over the coming years.
The manner in which Blueprint 2020 was developed reflects the best lessons from broader experience with organizational change. Blueprint 2020 is principles-based; it was developed through active engagement with employees; it builds on the specific change agendas of each organization; and it commits to specific, measurable targets for success. Effective governance of this comprehensive reform initiative is clearly one key to success.
Central to this renewal agenda are recognition and exploitation of the new information technologies that have transformed life and work today, not only in government but also in the broader society served by government. This Committee has been in regular dialogue with senior officials on the development and implementation of Blueprint 2020. We understand and endorse the vision that underpins it, particularly with respect to the application of new technologies (notably in making better use of social media) and investments in people. We know from our own experience how important this is.
Part II The Committee's Work over the Past Year
The Committee held three meetings over the past 12 months. Although discussions ranged widely over management issues in the Public Service, a number of common themes emerged:
- The issue of ‘operational pace’, a term referring to the speed at which departments and agencies are able to anticipate and respond to the needs and expectations of Canadians and of the Government. This is a matter of concern both to Ministers and to officials at all levels, especially given the speed at which the challenges and opportunities facing Canada and the Public Service are emerging today.
We agreed that improving the operational pace of government is not a matter of ‘doing more with less’; nor is it a matter of advancing the interests of managers over those of employees. Indeed, it is front-line employees themselves who are frustrated by the unnecessary delays, excessive layers of approval, and general red tape that stand in the way of their doing their jobs more effectively.
We strongly believe that the right kind of process improvements (what we would call in the private sector ‘reducing cycle time’ and introducing modern project management techniques) are in everyone's interest, and certainly that of the Canadian public. We recognize that there are parts of the government that perform both accurately and efficiently. We also believe that not every part of government meets this high standard.
- The ever-increasing complexity of issues and associated accountabilities. Complexity in public policy is not new, but what is perhaps less appreciated is the cost of the complex and often contradictory accountabilities within government. In previous years, the Committee contributed to clarifying and simplifying those accountabilities in human resources management. Similar work in other areas would be of great benefit, both to government and to those who deal with it.
- The need for a more agile and responsive Public Service, one that is positioned to implement the priorities of the Government into the future. This is another theme that resonates very well with the views expressed by individual public servants in the development of Blueprint 2020. Agility is not just a quality of individuals and teams; it is also something that can be developed at the institutional level, notably in terms of agility in the strategic re-allocation of people and resources.
- The need to get better at measuring performance and results. This is an area where considerable progress has already been made, but much more can be done. One area of significant progress has been in strengthening accountability through the introduction of performance assessment at all levels of the Public Service.
While these are useful steps, we would urge departments and central agencies to do more about measuring the effectiveness of client service and identifying ‘outcomes’ as a metric for assessment, drawing on the best experience and tools from the private sector.
- A subject of enduring concern to the Committee is the importance of attracting, developing and retaining talent in the Public Service. This is one of the most important responsibilities of senior managers in every organization, whether public or private sector. It means not only attracting the right people to the Public Service, at all levels, but also making the most of those who are there already through appropriate, targeted investments in training and certification of staff over the full cycle of a career.
Part III Some Specific Issues
Our conversations to date touched on a number of themes and issues that will be of particular interest to the Committee over the coming months.
a) Blueprint 2020
As noted, our Committee has been engaged from the outset with the Blueprint 2020 initiative and the resulting Destination 2020 report. In this context, our responsibility as a committee is not so much to recommend new measures as to contribute to the advancement of the multi-faceted process of renewal currently underway. We cannot help but note, however, that a number of the themes prominent in Blueprint 2020 were championed in previous reports of this Committee, including such things as investments in technology and skills development; mobility between the Public Service and the private sector; fostering institutional agility and responsiveness; and a commitment to innovation in the workplace. We have no doubt that these subjects matter as much to individual employees as they do to senior management.
b) Social Media
Other vectors central to Blueprint 2020 such as the use of social media are matters of keen interest to this Committee. We saw in our latest meeting how the new electronic tools enable closer engagement by public servants with the broader Canadian community. By expanding networks and enabling immediate feedback, these tools can also facilitate internal communication and coordination. The challenge is how to optimize their use while respecting fundamental political authorities and accountabilities. Legitimate concerns over protecting citizen privacy and the integrity of government records and files need constantly to be addressed.
c) Engaging Employees
An important role of the Committee is to encourage the Clerk and deputy ministers to maintain momentum on initiatives that we regard as central to successful renewal of the Public Service. To take but one example–Blueprint 2020 is unique in the degree to which it was informed from the bottom up by the views of more than 100,000 public servants. Their ideas and concerns are reflected in the overall plan and in specific initiatives now being rolled out by departments and agencies across the government. No less important is keeping up the dialogue between senior management and employees at all levels of the organization. Our experience has shown that an organizational commitment to transparency, open dialogue and regular communication–both up and down–are essential to fostering the culture of innovation and confidence that is the goal of Blueprint 2020.
d) Recruitment and Career Development
As noted, another area where our concerns intersect with those of the Clerk is the importance of continuing to recruit top-quality people, across the government. In recent years, the preoccupation with managing downsizing has had an impact on operational morale and has resulted in an aversion to even modest recruitment of new talent. This is where top-down direction and a shared commitment by deputies to renewal are especially important. The Public Service cannot afford to generate a demographic hole that will lead to problems in the years ahead. Only by continuing to offer satisfying careers to young graduates, and promoting people on the basis of merit, can the Public Service deliver high-quality advice and support to Ministers and high-quality programs and services to Canadians. Maintaining programs aimed at recruiting top-quality graduates as future leaders should continue to be a priority. There should also be a commitment to increasing the number of secondments, at all levels, to and from the private sector, an interchange that will benefit all concerned.
e) Culture and Values
Another of the Committee’s major concerns relates to culture and values. As we see it, the only way for the Public Service to respond successfully to a constantly changing public environment is to create an institutional culture where change is the norm and a commitment to innovation–rather than risk aversion–is a value. This is one of the insights behind Blueprint 2020 and it is something we know from our own experience. We also know that this kind of culture cannot be sustained unless the management ethos is values-based rather than rules-based. Making this shift is a long-term process that will involve profound changes in the management of the Public Service.
f) Implementation: Delivering Results
Mission-effective implementation of policy goals, meeting regulatory requirements, and the exercise of lawful and appropriate discretion are all vital for a Public Service that serves the public effectively and efficiently. Contradictions that often exist between fairness and uniformity, efficiency and due consideration of regional and linguistic difference, due process and speedy service need to be confronted and addressed.
The Clerk has noted that effective implementation of government decisions is critical, and we endorse efforts in this area wholeheartedly. Introducing something as simple as building team skills in project management would make a difference. This is an issue to which we intend to devote attention over the coming months.
Part IV Our Forward Agenda
In 2015, we intend to pay particular attention to the issues of operational pace and the effective implementation of Government decisions, notably by reducing cycle time and introducing modern project management techniques into government organizations. We know that change is not easy inside government, but we have seen evidence of progress and we know that more is possible.
We will be following closely the Clerk’s commitment to the continuing recruitment of talented younger Canadians to positions in the Public Service, as well the related issues of career development and leadership development.
The Committee had previously commissioned in-depth work on the size and proper utilization of the middle management cadre, an important component of any well-functioning organization. We will see the results of that work in the coming months and we expect to return with conclusions and recommendations in our next report.
Another priority for 2015 is client-focused service delivery. We spent a good part of our last meeting on this issue because we want to better understand what has been done inside government so we can determine how best to apply relevant lessons from private sector experience. We will want to focus on specific cases to learn what works best. One thing we know is that understanding the various clients served by government, and getting their feedback, are essential to service improvement.
If we have a single bias as a committee, it is toward clarity and simplicity in organization and operations to ensure the effective execution of policy. We are troubled by the complex hierarchies of authority and accountability in government, and we want to do whatever we can to simplify matters.
Part V Conclusions
We have said this before, but it is worth saying again–a high-quality, high-performing Public Service is essential to Canada's competitiveness in today’s globalized information economy. Canadians have high expectations of their Public Service, and so they should. They are entitled to expect services that are as efficient, timely and accessible as those they receive from business. Canadians also expect that Ministers will be served by well-trained, highly motivated professionals who can deliver the analysis and advice Ministers need to fulfill their responsibilities in governing this country. They expect, as we do, that federal public servants will work closely with provincial counterparts in identifying and resolving problems that cut across jurisdictional boundaries.
Prime Minister, all this will require the commitment of the highest levels of government–from you and the Cabinet to the Clerk and deputy ministers, a commitment that you and the Clerk have already confirmed to us. Your support for the Public Service will foster confidence in employees and public confidence in government as a whole.
This is an uncertain period in the global economy. We know that resources are limited and that every public sector organization will need to innovate to meet the expectations of Canadians. We also believe that successful innovation and efficiency gains should be rewarded. In our experience, changing desired outcomes requires changing incentives. Business case-based reinvestment in modern systems for improving productivity in service to Canadians will be crucial to success.
We enter the Committee’s ninth full year of operation confident in the essential role and the enduring values of Canada's Public Service. We also appreciate that this role and those values cannot be sustained unless the Public Service can renew and modernize itself to take full advantage of 21st century tools and 21st century people. The goal is agile, innovative and responsive organizations that can proudly serve Canadians and their governments now and into the future.
Appendix: Members of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service
- Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
- Monique Leroux, C.M., O.Q., Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group
- R. Peter MacKinnon, O.C., Q.C., President, Athabasca University and former President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Saskatchewan
- John Oliver, Independent Chairman of the Board, Kinross Gold Corporation
- Susan Paish, Q.C., President and CEO of LifeLabs Diagnostic Labs Inc.
- Eugene Polistuk, founder and former Chairman and CEO of Celestica Inc.
- The Honourable Hugh Segal, C.M., Master of Massey College
- Rick Waugh, O.C., Former Deputy Chairman, President and CEO, Scotiabank
- 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.
- Departures include movements from the Core Public Administration (CPA) to separate agencies.
- Information presented is based on indeterminate employees only, including employees on leave without pay.
- Workforce availability (WFA) 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. WFA estimates for the FPS and the Core Public Administration (CPA) are based on the 2006 Census. All workforce availability data are based on the indeterminate population and 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.
- Date Modified: