Privy Council Office

Privy Council Office

February 25, 2010 10:00 ET

Prime Minister's Advisory Committee Sees Tangible Results of Public Service Renewal

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2010) - The fourth report of the Advisory Committee on the Public Service, co-chaired by the Honourable Paul M. Tellier and the Honourable David Emerson, cites Public Service actions during the past year in responding to the H1N1 threat, implementing the Government's Economic Action Plan and mobilizing in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Haiti, as proof of a professional, dynamic and adaptable institution. The report also applauds steps taken by the Public Service during the past year to untangle the "web of rules" associated with government procedures and reporting requirements, and the decision to modernize its 40 year old pay system.

"The Committee is very pleased to note tangible results of efforts to renew the Public Service," says the Hon. David Emerson. "In order for the Public Service to re-think and transform its models for delivering on the business of Government, renewal must remain a priority."

In its report, the Advisory Committee acknowledges that a complete transformation in the leadership of the Public Service is taking place due to the multi-year retirement wave of the post-war generation. The report recommends that the Public Service focus on supporting and sustaining leadership at the most senior ranks, connecting with Canadians to ensure relevant policy-making and long-term planning, and looking at new ways to do business more effectively.

"A high-performance public service is systematically tuned in to the issues and concerns of Canadians," says the Hon. Paul M. Tellier. "The Committee recognizes the importance of the Public Service's ability to engage in regular face to face exchanges with external organizations. This should not be restrained, even as we enter a period of fiscal restraint."

The Committee also highlights the need for the Public Service to create a workplace where service to the public is enabled, and not just a place where public servants work.

The Public Service of Canada is the country's largest and most complex enterprise, employing more than 260,000 Canadians in 200 departments and agencies.

The Advisory Committee on the Public Service is composed of nine eminent Canadians and was created by the Prime Minister in fall 2006 to advise him and the Clerk of the Privy Council on the renewal and future development of the Public Service of Canada.

The Committee's latest report, entitled "A Relevant and Connected Public Service" can be found online at


Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service: Recommendations

In their fourth report, the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service offers three recommendations for the future development of the Public Service of Canada.

The Committee recommends that:

  1. Deliberate steps must be taken to manage churn and establish greater continuity in senior leadership positions. Effective succession planning and talent management are essential, given the demographic realities facing the Public Service.

    • Deputy heads should remain in their positions for at least three to five years. This goal should be maintained. We realize this will not always be possible in the short term, given demographic and operational needs.

    • However, when rapid changes are inevitable, it is even more important to have rigorous talent management and succession planning. This should include a systematic approach to developing associate deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers for more senior positions.

  2. The Public Service must ensure it has the capacity to anticipate and plan for issues that will affect the country in the longer term. It must, therefore, be consistently tuned in to the issues and concerns of Canadians.

    • The Public Service should adopt a structured approach to tapping into broad-based external expertise. This includes collaboration and exchanges with universities, social policy organizations, think tanks, other levels of government and jurisdictions, private sector organizations and citizens. 

    • Fiscal restraint that impedes the Public Service's ability to engage face-to-face with external organizations is "penny wise and pound foolish." Public servants must be able to seek out external views and expertise to inform policy development. 

    • The Public Service must take full advantage of collaborative technologies to facilitate interaction with citizens, partners and stakeholders.

  3. The Public Service should find opportunities to work in new and innovative ways with a view to transforming the way it does business and delivers services to Canadians, and to improve its policy-making capacity.

    • Lessons should be learned from the creative measures taken to implement the Economic Action Plan in streamlining decision making, expediting implementation measures and communicating results. 

    • This management model of enhanced collaboration and explicit risk management should be replicated for dealing with other initiatives.

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