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Changes announced to the senior ranks of the public service (January 5, 2022)

By Shuffles

On January 5, 2022, the Prime Minister announced the following changes in the senior ranks of the public service:

Graham Flack, currently Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development, becomes Secretary of the Treasury Board, effective January 10, 2022.

Jean-François Tremblay, currently Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, becomes Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development, effective January 10, 2022.

Jody Thomas, currently Deputy Minister of National Defence, becomes National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister, effective January 11, 2022.

Bill Matthews, currently Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, becomes Deputy Minister of National Defence, effective January 11, 2022.

John Hannaford, currently Deputy Minister of International Trade, becomes Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, effective January 10, 2022.

David Morrison, currently Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G7 Summit, becomes Deputy Minister of International Trade and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G7 Summit, effective January 11, 2022.

Christopher MacLennan, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G20 Summit, becomes Deputy Minister of International Development and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G20 Summit, effective January 10, 2022.

Paul Thompson, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, becomes Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, effective January 11, 2022.

Philip Jennings, currently Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultations), Privy Council Office, becomes Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office, effective January 10, 2022.

Mr. Jennings will be nominated by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance as the next Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries, and Belize at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Until the IMF election process is complete and he is formally named to the position, Mr. Jennings will serve as Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office.

Michael Vandergrift becomes Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Plans and Consultations), Privy Council Office, in addition to his current role as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, effective January 10, 2022.

Jacqueline Bogden, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch, Health Canada, becomes Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Emergency Preparedness and COVID Recovery), Privy Council Office, effective January 10, 2022.

Dan Costello, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, International Security and Political Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, becomes Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister, effective January 11, 2022.

Cynthia (Cindy) Termorshuizen, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Consular, Security and Emergency Management, Global Affairs Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, effective January 10, 2022.

Daniel Rogers, currently Deputy Chief, Foreign Signals Intelligence, Communications Security Establishment Canada, becomes Associate Chief of the Communications Security Establishment, effective January 10, 2022.

Stefanie Beck, currently Deputy High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Global Affairs Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence, effective January 31, 2022.

Mala Khanna, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Sub-Saharan Africa Branch, Global Affairs Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage, effective January 10, 2022.

Francis Bilodeau, currently Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategy and Innovation Policy Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, effective January 10, 2022.

Paul Samson, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, effective January 10, 2022.

The Prime Minister also congratulated the following individuals who have retired from the public service, and thanked them for their dedication and service to Canadians:

  • Peter Wallace, Secretary of the Treasury Board
  • Louise Levonian, Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries, and Belize at the International Monetary Fund
  • Vincent Rigby, National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Prime Minister
  • Nancy Chahwan, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence
  • Leslie MacLean, Deputy Minister of International Development
  • Les Linklater, Senior Official at the Privy Council Office
  • David McGovern, President of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
  • Thao Pham, Deputy Minister, COVID Recovery, Privy Council Office
  • Martine Dubuc, Associate Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • Monik Beauregard, Associate Deputy Minister of Public Safety

Other links:

Departments asked to pause return to workplace plans

By COVID-19

Late yesterday, Treasury Board issued a statement saying departments were being asked to pause their return to the workplace plans for public servants out of growing concern for the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

In addition, Health Canada revised their workplace re-entry guide for the public service, “in light of emerging evidence on the Omicron variant of concern, and the potential for increased transmissibility, decreased vaccine protection against infection, and higher risk of reinfection.”

Updates to the guide included recommendations that:

  • Departments should review current occupancy levels;
  • Departments should consider increasing remote work, as required;
  • All public servants receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn;
  • Public servants wear masks indoors in all shared spaces;
  • Public servants avoid non-essential international travel; and,
  • Public servants avoid participating in any discretionary large gatherings, such as conferences and training events.

The statement went on to say:

“I thank the many public servants, in various roles, who are working onsite and remotely to serve Canadians. As has been the case from the outset of the pandemic, federal public servants can be confident that every measure continues to be taken to protect their health and safety in the workplace. We know that having a vaccinated workforce means that not only are workplaces safer, so are the communities where public servants live and work.

It is my expectation that organizations continue to align their plans with the current public health context, taking into consideration their respective operational needs and obligations such as ensuring Canadians’ access to information and providing government services in both official languages.

As the heads of their organizations, deputy heads are responsible for the safety and well-being of their employees. The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to support public servants and their mental health. I would like to remind employees and managers of the wide range of services and supports available to them, including the 24/7 Employee Assistance Program.

As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada will continue to engage with partners, stakeholders, and local communities as we continue to operate in a rapidly changing environment.”

– Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board

Other links:

Treasury Board statement further to the evolving public health situation and the COVID-19 Omicron variant

Health Canada’s guide to workplace re-entry for the public service

Highlights: 2021 report on the public service

By Clerk Report

The Clerk’s annual report to the Prime Minister on the public service was released last week.

Every year the Clerk of the Privy Council (the most senior public servant in the federal public service) issues a report to the Prime Minister on the state of the federal public service in Canada.

Reports generally tend to highlight achievements across departments over the past year but also acknowledge areas where more work needs to be done.

Reports are also usually written and presented in the style and tone of the Clerk of the day.

For example, Janice Charette’s report as Clerk was described as being one of the most memorable for presenting content on the public service in new, dynamic and engaging ways.

The 2021 report from Clerk Ian Shugart described where much of the public service’s external efforts were focused on last year: “COVID-19 and Canada’s confrontation with racism and intolerance.”

The report also described the public service’s internal efforts to, “tackle systemic racism and advance the work on diversity and inclusion” within the federal public service.

While the report may have had little surprises in what the public service focused on last year, what may have been surprising was the Clerk’s honesty about:

  • the lack of representation in the public service;
  • the health and well-being of public servants over the last year; and,
  • the future of the public service and an acknowledgement that things will never go back to the way they were before COVID-19.

Lack of representation and broken systems in the public service that perpetuate it

Clerk Ian Shugart’s report was honest in that despite many actions being taken at the top, not enough is being done overall and not fast enough.

Earlier this year, Clerk Ian Shugart sent a message to Deputy Ministers on a “call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the federal public service.”

Then at the end of November, Interim Clerk Janice Charette posted the letters from all departments describing what and how they are answering that call to action.

However, public servants have been vocal that they want to see less committees and task forces but rather real, tangible change.

The Clerk’s report cited some examples of departments taking steps toward meaningful action but at the same time, Clerk Ian Shugart acknowledged the broken systems within the public service that continue to act as barriers toward real change.

This includes human resources and staffing, as Clerk Shugart referenced the findings from the Public Service Commission’s Audit of Employment Equity Representation in Recruitment, “members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples do not remain proportionately represented and experience a notable drop-off at various stages of the recruitment process.”

“Our recruitment and promotion processes are based on the merit principle but if we are systematically barring large numbers of people with different backgrounds, identities, and other differences, we are excluding people of merit. Rules, processes, and practices that deny people opportunities because of differences do injury to the merit principle.

We must ensure that everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate their merit. Thinking about these concepts with a new perspective and taking concrete corrective actions must be part of our journey towards equity and inclusion. If we want different outcomes, we need to try different things.”

– Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council

This extends to language requirements in staffing processes, and that a growing number of public servants in social media circles say the current language requirements for staffing and the language testing is exclusionary, unfair and perpetuates a system of inequality and divisiveness.

This was highlighted in a 2017 report to the Clerk that Patrick Borbey, President of the Public Service Commission wrote with then Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Matthew Mendelsohn to, “conduct a review of the state of bilingualism in the federal Public Service and provide recommendations to ensure that we are evolving to meet the needs of public servants, and Canadians, in both official languages,” as it had been 15 years since the previous review of official languages in the public service.

“Some current practices need to be questioned because, in the opinion of a large number of public servants consulted, they no longer meet the needs of a modern and dynamic public service.”

– Patrick Borbey, President of the Public Service Commission

However, the report was published towards the end of 2017, nearly five years ago with Patrick Borbey and the Public Service Commission having largely been silent on this since then.

A tired public service

Clerk Shugart acknowledged that public servants are tired and like most Canadians, “have been continually sprinting for over a year.”

Whether on the front lines of COVID-19 or behind the scenes trying to sustain and improve IT capacity to support public servants working virtually, the demands and the pace have taken a toll.

While the report didn’t tackle questions around workload, it did reference the Mental health and COVID-19 for public servants: Protect your mental health web page, as well as the great work the Federal Youth Network has been doing to, “ramp up programming to connect public servants on topics such as mental health and inclusion through their virtual learning series.”

There was also an acknowledgement by the Clerk that, “the ongoing mental health of our employees is going to require sustained attention after the pandemic.”

The future of the public service

Clerk Shugart ended this year’s report on an optimistic note.

The Clerk acknowledged that, as a result of COVID-19, the public service will likely never return to working the way it did before COVID-19.

“While the future is not yet clear, we do have a good sense of where we are likely to see lasting change. Our business models will be more digital, our workforce more distributed, and the path from idea to delivery shortened. Management practices will need to evolve alongside those changes. The question is one to do with extent.”

– Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council

It’s clear that the federal public service is going through a period of change, likely as many other public service institutions are around the world.

However, for the Canadian federal public service, the Clerk said it will mean taking a hard look at existing processes and procedures, and pursuing reconciliation and justice the workplace.

Other links:

28th Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada

Letter from the Clerk to the Prime Minister

News release from the Prime Minister welcoming the 28th report from the Clerk

Public Service Health Care Plan contract awarded to Canada Life

By Pay, Pension and Benefits

Last week, Treasury Board posted that the next contract to administer the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) had been awarded to Canada Life following a competitive process that began in 2018.

The contract will take effect July 1, 2023, following a transition period.

Treasury Board said that transitioning will be a, “complex project and an opportunity to streamline PSHCP processes. The new contract will allow the plan to be more responsive to the changing administrative health care needs of plan members and innovations in the health care industry.”

The previous contract was awarded to Sun Life in 2009.

Impact on cost for public servants

While work behind the scenes may be intensive and complex, Treasury Board reassured that there won’t be any impact on cost for plan members:

“A new plan administrator will have no impact on the cost of the PSHCP for plan members or to the benefits available to them and their families. Contribution rates are approved annually by the President of the Treasury Board, and plan changes are negotiated at the PSHCP Partners Committee, a collaborative forum comprised of Bargaining Agent, Employer and Pensioner representatives.”

Treasury Board said that, “this procurement process is entirely separate and forms part of the life cycle of any public service benefit plan, and that the award of the new contract to Canada Life simply changes who administers the PSHCP and adjudicates claims, starting July 1, 2023.”

Action items for public servants

Treasury Board said that in terms of next steps:

  • Plan members will receive regular updates on the transition progress;
  • Public servants will be asked to take a few simple actions leading up to the move to the new administrator and Treasury Board asks public servants to respond to these requests; and
  • Public servants keep their contact information current with Sun Life to help ensure that there is no interruption in PSHCP coverage when the new contract starts on July 1, 2023.

Other links:

Treasury Board information notice: New contract awarded to administer the Public Service Health Care Plan

Phoenix severe impacts claims process launched for public servants

By Phoenix

Yesterday, Treasury Board launched its severe impacts claims process to, “compensate current and former employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) who experienced severe personal or financial impacts as a result of issues with the Phoenix pay system.”

Who can submit a claim

  • current or former indeterminate employees, or
  • current or former term employees of more than three months, or
  • representatives of the estate of a deceased employee (indeterminate or term of more than three months)

To be eligible

  • employees must have worked in an organization of the core public administration or a separate agency between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2020, and
  • employees must have incurred damages as a result of the Phoenix pay system between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2020

Who is not eligible

  • members of the class action as certified in Bouchard c. Procureur Général du Canada (200-06-000214-174), and
  • any other member of the class that could be added by the courts, including:
    • students
    • casual employees
    • workers working no more than one third of regular hours
    • employees with terms of less than three months

Types of claims

  • Financial costs or lost investment income
  • Compensation for leave taken
  • Compensation for individuals on maternity, parental or disability leave
  • Discriminatory practice
  • Lost occupational capacity (Impacts to one’s career)
  • Lost security clearance
  • Bankruptcy
  • Significant credit rating impact
  • Resignation from the public service
  • Mental anguish
  • Other personal or financial hardship

Read the full list and complete details here.

Public servants can submit their claim online or by email.

However, if public servants have already filed a claim for financial costs and lost investment income, they do not need to reapply but they can make additional claims for other hardships in this process.

Other information

Treasury Board noted that outstanding pay issues related to the Phoenix pay system cannot be addressed through a claims process. If public servants have issues with their pay, they are to follow the existing process to report a problem.

They also noted that processing times may take longer given the complex nature of these types of claims.

As well, filing a claim will not impact the pay or pension payment of active and retired public servants since compensation for the claim will not be processed through the Phoenix pay system.

Treasury Board also stated that they are working on a new, streamlined single-application claims process to be launched in December 2021 for former public servants to file claims for general damages compensation.

Other links:

Start a claim online

Information: Claim compensation for severe impacts

News release: Government of Canada launches severe impacts claims process under Phoenix damages agreement with Public Service Alliance of Canada

Latest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service (November 9)

By COVID-19

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service since reporting began now stands at 6,183 as of November 9. That’s 81 new cases since the previous report on October 27. The number of total reported cases has been:

  • 6,102 on October 27
  • 5,961 on October 13;
  • 5,829 on September 29;
  • 5,597 on September 9;
  • 5,470 on August 26;
  • 5,311 on July 29;
  • 5,297 on July 15;
  • 5,256 on June 16;
  • 5,194 on June 2;
  • 5,151 on May 26;
  • 5,091 on May 19;
  • 4,967 on May 12;
  • 4,785 on May 5;
  • 4,581 on April 28;
  • 4,314 on April 21;
  • 4,011 on April 14; and,
  • 3,751 on April 7.

The breakdown is by province and the top five areas with the highest reported cases continues to be:

National Capital Region: 1,647
Quebec (minus the NCR): 1,027
Alberta: 986
British Columbia: 900
Ontario (minus the NCR): 891

The amount of reported cases in the public service outside of Canada remains at 80.

Province, region or territoryReported cases
Alberta986
British Columbia900
Manitoba250
National Capital Region (NCR)1,647
New Brunswick25
Newfoundland and Labrador23
Northwest Territories8
Nova Scotia56
Nunavut3
Ontario (Minus NCR)891
Prince Edward Island2
Quebec (Minus NCR)1,027
Saskatchewan282
Yukon3
Outside of Canada80

Other links:

Reported cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the federal public service

Latest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service (October 27)

By COVID-19

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service since reporting began now stands at 6,102 as of October 27. That’s 141 new cases since the previous report on October 13. The number of total reported cases has been:

  • 5,961 on October 13;
  • 5,829 on September 29;
  • 5,597 on September 9;
  • 5,470 on August 26;
  • 5,311 on July 29;
  • 5,297 on July 15;
  • 5,256 on June 16;
  • 5,194 on June 2;
  • 5,151 on May 26;
  • 5,091 on May 19;
  • 4,967 on May 12;
  • 4,785 on May 5;
  • 4,581 on April 28;
  • 4,314 on April 21;
  • 4,011 on April 14; and,
  • 3,751 on April 7.

The breakdown is by province and the top five areas with the highest reported cases is below. British Columbia has now surpassed Ontario:

National Capital Region: 1,630
Quebec (minus the NCR): 1,011
Alberta: 972
British Columbia: 884
Ontario (minus the NCR): 882

The amount of reported cases in the public service outside of Canada went up to 80.

Province, region or territoryReported cases
Alberta972
British Columbia884
Manitoba248
National Capital Region (NCR)1,630
New Brunswick25
Newfoundland and Labrador23
Northwest Territories8
Nova Scotia52
Nunavut3
Ontario (Minus NCR)882
Prince Edward Island2
Quebec (Minus NCR)1,011
Saskatchewan279
Yukon3
Outside of Canada80

Other links:

Reported cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the federal public service

Latest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service (October 13)

By COVID-19

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service since reporting began now stands at 5,961 as of October 13. That’s 132 new cases since the previous report on September 29. The number of total reported cases has been:

  • 5,829 on September 29;
  • 5,597 on September 9;
  • 5,470 on August 26;
  • 5,311 on July 29;
  • 5,297 on July 15;
  • 5,256 on June 16;
  • 5,194 on June 2;
  • 5,151 on May 26;
  • 5,091 on May 19;
  • 4,967 on May 12;
  • 4,785 on May 5;
  • 4,581 on April 28;
  • 4,314 on April 21;
  • 4,011 on April 14; and,
  • 3,751 on April 7.

The breakdown is by province and the top five areas with the highest reported cases continues to be:

National Capital Region: 1,614
Quebec (minus the NCR): 996
Alberta: 926
Ontario (minus the NCR): 865
British Columbia: 856

The amount of reported cases in the public service outside of Canada went up to 79.

Province, region or territoryReported cases
Alberta926
British Columbia856
Manitoba243
National Capital Region (NCR)1,614
New Brunswick23
Newfoundland and Labrador23
Northwest Territories8
Nova Scotia51
Nunavut2
Ontario (Minus NCR)865
Prince Edward Island2
Quebec (Minus NCR)996
Saskatchewan270
Yukon3
Outside of Canada79

Other links:

Reported cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the federal public service

New federal cabinet announced (October 26, 2021)

By Shuffles

Today was the swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall for the new federal Cabinet, following the 44th election which was held on September 20.

The list of Ministers and their portfolios are:

  • Chrystia Freeland remains Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
  • Omar Alghabra remains Minister of Transport
  • Anita Anand becomes Minister of National Defence
  • Carolyn Bennett becomes Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
  • Marie-Claude Bibeau remains Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • Bill Blair becomes President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
  • Randy Boissonnault becomes Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
  • François-Philippe Champagne remains Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
  • Jean-Yves Duclos becomes Minister of Health
  • Mona Fortier becomes President of the Treasury Board
  • Sean Fraser becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  • Karina Gould becomes Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • Steven Guilbeault becomes Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • Patty Hajdu becomes Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario
  • Mark Holland becomes Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
  • Ahmed Hussen becomes Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
  • Gudie Hutchings becomes Minister of Rural Economic Development
  • Marci Ien becomes Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
  • Helena Jaczek becomes Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Mélanie Joly becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Kamal Khera becomes Minister of Seniors
  • David Lametti remains Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
  • Dominic LeBlanc becomes Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
  • Diane Lebouthillier remains Minister of National Revenue
  • Lawrence MacAulay remains Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
  • Marco E. L. Mendicino becomes Minister of Public Safety
  • Marc Miller becomes Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
  • Joyce Murray becomes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
  • Mary Ng becomes Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
  • Seamus O’Regan Jr. becomes Minister of Labour
  • Ginette Petitpas Taylor becomes Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Carla Qualtrough remains Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
  • Pablo Rodriguez becomes Minister of Canadian Heritage and remains Quebec Lieutenant
  • Harjit S. Sajjan becomes Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
  • Pascale St-Onge becomes Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
  • Filomena Tassi becomes Minister of Public Services and Procurement
  • Dan Vandal becomes Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Jonathan Wilkinson becomes Minister of Natural Resources

Now that Cabinet has been announced, the next step is the Speech from the Throne which will outline the government’s priorities and opens the next session of Parliament which starts on November 22.

Other links:

Full Cabinet list with biographies

News release: Prime Minister welcomes new cabinet