Destination 2020

[PDF 6.92 MB]

Table of contents

  1. Foreword: Message from the Prime Minister
  2. Message from the Clerk of the Privy Council
  3. Building Canada's Public Service Together
  4. Five Priority Areas for Action
    1. Innovative Practices and Networking
    2. Processes and Empowerment
    3. Technology
    4. People Management
    5. Fundamentals of Public Service
  5. The Way Forward
  6. Want to Hear More? Read On!
    1. Improving Service to Canadians
    2. Change Management
    3. Mentorship Matters: Building Supportive Relationships
    4. Engaging Public Servants from Coast to Coast to Coast
    5. External Outreach

Foreword: Message from the Prime Minister

An agile, efficient and effective Public Service is essential to the well-being of Canadians. The Public Service of Canada regularly and proudly delivers on its commitment to excellence, innovation and service to Canadians. It is a model of a professional, non-partisan institution, supporting jobs and growth, defending the health and safety of Canadians, and helping to give Canada a strong global presence.

To adapt to the rapid rate of change taking place in the world and society, Public Service leaders developed a plan to meet the challenges of the future – Blueprint 2020. The Blueprint 2020 vision foresees a capable and high-performing Public Service that embraces innovation, transformation and continuous renewal.

In June 2013, I expressed my support and that of our Government for the Blueprint 2020 process. The national engagement exercise launched by the Clerk on the Blueprint 2020 vision was both impressive and unprecedented. Public servants in every region participated in an innovative, two-way dialogue and contributed countless ideas for how to achieve the Blueprint 2020 vision. The enthusiasm for building the Public Service of the future so evident in Destination 2020 will help drive innovation, improve services to Canadians and attract recruits to the Public Service.

I look forward to hearing more about the successful implementation of Blueprint 2020 initiatives. I want to re-affirm my support – and our Government’s support – for the Blueprint 2020 process. Blueprint 2020 complements our modernization agenda for the Public Service of Canada. Taking action now ensures that Canadians will continue to be served by a federal Public Service that meets their needs, pursues excellence and provides value for money.

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

Message from the Clerk of the Privy Council

Wayne G. Wouters
Wayne G. Wouters

Destination 2020 – Turning to Action

Canada's Public Service is a vibrant and dedicated organization. We're working in an increasingly global and connected world, and the way we do business has to keep pace with ongoing change to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. We always need to assess how we can serve Canada and Canadians more effectively, and must apply our innovation and dedication to making sure we're ready for the future – to be more effective, more efficient and to get better value for money.

I asked a group of deputies to develop a vision of what Canada's Public Service should be in the years ahead. I also firmly believed that the Blueprint 2020 vision had to be shared and validated, and so I invited all public servants to have their say about it. Public servants responded to this call to action with enthusiasm, overwhelmingly validating the vision as a guide to help transform the Public Service. The level of engagement from employees — in all regions, at all levels and in all functions — and their commitment to developing ways to work better together has been inspiring. They give us every reason to believe in what the Public Service can do for the country.

The Blueprint 2020 dialogue has reaffirmed that public servants are immensely proud of the role they play in improving the lives of Canadians and care passionately about shaping a world-class Public Service equipped to serve Canada and Canadians, now and into the future. It's important that we tap into this pride and maintain the momentum we've established. We need all the skills, talents, idealism, energy and enthusiasm they have to offer to achieve even higher levels of excellence – our work touches all Canadians daily and they deserve nothing less than the best we can accomplish.

I'm proud to present Destination 2020, with its crowdsourced title, which highlights some of the impressive ideas public servants have generated to date through the Blueprint 2020 process.

  • It lets us see how public servants have come together in person and through social media to put their best ideas to work in improving how we work for Canadians.
  • It reviews how departments and agencies have launched their own change agendas linked to their work for Canadians and announces the initial, new steps we'll be taking as a Public Service on key horizontal priorities that employees said were important to achieving the vision.
  • Destination 2020 commits us all to ongoing engagement and sets out responsibilities for deputy heads, managers and employees.

Moving forward, we all need to commit to action and to take individual ownership for change in this next phase of our journey. Together, we're all responsible for building a better Public Service. We've brought engagement and dialogue across the Public Service to unprecedented levels and this will let us continue innovating for years to come. Full steam ahead, no looking back, and straight on to action!

Wayne G. Wouters

I know that it is right to want to serve your country. That it is right to want to help your fellow citizen. That it is right to want to work for a better, stronger and more robust country. That it is right to say "we can do better". And that it is right to stand up and be there for Canada.
The Honourable Jim Flaherty

Building Canada's Public Service Together

A first-rate Public Service is critical to the success of Canada in a fast-moving world, and it is what Canadians expect from their government. Whether public servants develop policies, deliver services, administer regulations or offer administrative support, they have one goal in common—excellence in everything they do.

The Blueprint 2020 Vision

  • A vision of the Public Service with four guiding principles:
    • 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.

The Blueprint 2020 exercise

Blueprint 2020 articulates a vision for a world-class Public Service equipped to serve Canada and Canadians now and into the future. The Blueprint 2020 exercise was launched to engage public servants in that vision. Thousands of public servants across Canada and around the world shared their views on what it takes to ensure public service excellence. Taking an active role in shaping a shared vision is galvanizing many public servants who have made this initiative their own and have embraced their role as agents of change.

The Blueprint 2020 exercise also benefited from input from a range of external stakeholders. This included public input through the Clerk's Website as well as input from roundtables with public, private, non-profit and academic representatives hosted by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the Public Policy Forum. Students from universities across Canada also provided thoughtful research on matters related to the Blueprint 2020 vision (see External Outreach).

We are collectively focused on transforming the Public Service.

Forward-looking suggestions for achieving the vision were shared, ranging from incremental changes in the workplace to large-scale, whole-of-government solutions. Building the Public Service of the future is a process that requires commitment, time, and continued focus. Public servants are directly involved in making it happen.

Transforming the Public Service diagram
Text version

It's not enough to say what we don't want. We have to say what we want and how to do it.

Building the Public Service of tomorrow will require a culture change and a culture of change.

Blueprint 2020 is not the first effort aimed at modernizing the Public Service. The Public Service has a long history—spanning generations—of rising to the challenge and meeting the needs of Canada and Canadians. In the past, significant changes in Canadian society, like global crises, changing demographics and the advent of computer technology, had a transformational impact on the work of the Public Service. On every occasion, the Public Service has risen to the challenge and found ways to change and to improve services to Canadians. Building on the solid work of previous generations, the Blueprint 2020 engagement exercise also has unique characteristics (see sidebar). It responds to the needs of today and has drawn on an unprecedented level of employee input, building upon a bottom-up and transparent approach to dialogue.

Blueprint 2020 is redefining how public servants work and pursue service excellence. Thanks to an open and networked approach to modern technology and social media tools, the type, scope, and frequency of Public Service engagement have changed dramatically. Public servants are able to connect directly with each other, seek advice broadly, and hold an inclusive grassroots dialogue about a shared vision of the future. Giving employees a voice via their preferred channel and listening when they want to talk is helping transform the Public Service, and more will be done to continue engagement moving forward.

Public servants are seizing this moment of great promise and have spoken loud and clear: they want to help shape the Public Service of tomorrow for Canadians. Public servants also indicated that engagement is creating a strong sense of personal empowerment. This is a proud moment!

What's Different about Blueprint 2020?

  • Large scale:
    • It is the largest engagement exercise ever undertaken in the Public Service.
    • It is the first whole-of-government engagement exercise to make extensive use of social media tools to connect and engage public servants.
    • Everyone has a role to play.
  • Bottom-up:
    • Public servants are offering opinions, ideas, and solutions to improve their workplaces.
    • Executives and managers are listening and learning.
  • Transparent:
    • Departments, agencies, and communities are posting Blueprint 2020-related documents on GCpedia for all public servants to see.
    • Many public servants are voting on the best ideas and suggestions put forward.

Blueprint 2020 is an undertaking for the long-term benefit of a national institution, which will complement many other significant change initiatives under way in the Government of Canada. In all cases, it will take time to achieve results.
– Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service

Blueprint 2020 by the numbers (as of May 5, 2014)

  • The number of users on GCconnex has grown 181% since the launch of Blueprint 2020.
  • Over 18,000 tweets have included the #GC2020 hashtag.
  • More than 110,000 public servants are reported to have participated in engagement activities across the Public Service.
  • 85 departments and agencies and 30 networks and communities are taking part in the engagement process.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency reached the largest number of public servants: over 21,000 employees were engaged in face-to-face activities alone.

Blueprint 2020 exercise at a glance

  • June 7, 2013: Blueprint 2020 is launched.
  • Summer 2013: Engagement is under way. The discussion goes live on the web—GCconnex, GCpedia—and on the Clerk's website.
  • September 2013: A blitz of engagement activities takes place across the Public Service.
  • October 2013: More than a hundred departments, agencies, and communities complete interim reports and highlight individual actions.
  • December 2013: What We've Heard: Blueprint 2020 Summary Interim Progress Report confirms the vision and identifies five priority areas for action.
  • February 2014: Departments, agencies, and communities post their second reports showing actions and key initiatives on GCpedia.
  • May 2014: Destination 2020 confirms that continued engagement is the way forward and sets out initial actions for the entire Public Service.

Five Priority Areas for Action


The culture of the Public Service is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Taking advantage of new technologies, employees have joined in a service-wide dialogue about what it means to work for Canadians, and how to do a better job at it. Managers and leaders are actively listening to input from all levels, and employees' ideas for improvement are having an impact through immediate actions and feeding plans for medium and longer-term initiatives. Change is happening at all levels and across the Public Service. The power of engagement is now part of the culture.

The Blueprint 2020 engagement exercise has shown how much public servants care about improving services to Canadians, and how many ideas they have to offer. More than 110,000 public servants participated directly in Blueprint 2020 engagement activities. Their ideas and suggestions were rolled up into reports that also covered actions that departments, agencies, and communities are already taking or planning to take to implement the vision in their organizations. In fact, the vast majority of ideas put forward—that have direct and immediate impacts on employees' day to day work—are ideas that can be acted on within organizations and local offices, building on changes already under way both within organizations and more broadly across the Public Service.

Five themes emerged from online discussion and 2013 interim progress reports

  • Innovative Practices and Networking
  • Processes and Empowerment
  • Technology
  • People Management
  • Fundamentals of Public Service

We will call upon our employees to give shape to the measures they overwhelmingly brought to the forefront: putting technology and talent at the heart of the client experience; taking our performance to new levels through an empowered workforce; creating a model collaborative workplace; process-busting; pursuing new service opportunities that will further our contribution to the success of our clients.
– Public Works and Government Services Canada

More than 84% of February progress reports from departments, agencies and communities identify actions that will contribute to the achievement of the Blueprint 2020 vision:

  • 76% note actions that will enhance innovative approaches, networking, and service delivery, including many plans to improve collaboration across the Public Service and with external stakeholders.
  • 60% identify actions that support streamlined processes and employee empowerment, for example, improved administrative services and access to decision makers.
  • 68% note actions that support use of modern technology, with 50% of reports committing to enhanced use of social media and GC2.0 web tools (e.g., GCpedia and GCconnex).
  • 67% note actions that support better people management, with many organizations directing attention to performance management and improved training for employees.
  • 33% mention actions that will support the fundamentals of Public Service, including values and ethics, recruitment and retention, Public Service identity and pride.

Complementing the actions taking place in departments and agencies, Destination 2020 announces actions to be undertaken across the Public Service. Employee feedback provided through online dialogue and the October progress reports were thoroughly analyzed, and five themes of common interest emerged (see sidebar). These themes support all four pillars of the vision (see Input, Actions and Outcomes). Each theme was further analyzed to identify initiatives already under way across the Public Service and opportunities for further action. Criteria were applied to help assess which ideas should be explored further and developed into concrete Public Service-wide actions to reach our destination. When selecting actions, the following considerations were taken into account: relevance to the vision and to public servants, stakeholder support, impact and expected results, and feasibility.

The well-being of our public service colleagues is of great concern to the Community … Managers view the well-being of the workforce as an essential strategic priority…
– National Managers' Community February 2014 Report

Presenters and speakers at Justice Canada's "Straight to the Top" Dragons Den event.
Presenters and speakers at Justice Canada's "Straight to the Top"
Dragons Den event.

The following pages provide details on horizontal initiatives planned to respond to the five priority areas, as well as examples of how departments and agencies are implementing changes related to each theme. Each horizontal initiative is presented as follows:

  • "What We've Heard" reflects public servants' comments through the first round of engagement and the issues they want to address;
  • A "Destination Statement" sets out the goal that the Public Service seeks to achieve;
  • "Initiatives Under Way" shows some of the steps the Public Service is already taking and how they link back to the Destination Statement; and
  • "New Actions to Reach our Destination" are government-wide actions announced now to help the Public Service make further progress toward the vision.

The actions set out in Destination 2020 and in February progress reports represent only some of the ideas public servants submitted. Some initiatives will be implemented immediately with this first round of actions. Others are more complex, and further analysis and engagement will take place before action is taken. Employee engagement will continue as actions are implemented to further facilitate new ideas and initiatives. Sustained engagement will be one of the critical factors of our success as the Public Service moves to the implementation phase.

Blueprint 2020 is a very ambitious exercise, and public servants will continue to generate ideas and to identify solutions for years to come. There is no going back.

How we collectively embrace change will determine our success.

Overview of New Public Service Actions to Reach our Destination

Innovative Practices & Networking

Crowdsourcing Innovation within the Public Service

  • Senior management and employees in departments/agencies

Central Innovation Hub and Change Labs

  • Privy Council Office with senior management and employees in departments/agencies

Virtual collaboration with external partners

  • Senior management and employees in departments/agencies

Processes & Empowerment

Internal Red Tape Tiger Team to identify irritants and solutions

  • Treasury Board Secretariat and employees in departments/agencies

Connecting employees with senior management

  • Senior management and employees in departments/agencies


Enhanced Directory of Federal Public Servants

  • Shared Services Canada

Desktop video conferencing

  • Shared Services Canada

Wi-Fi access and other tools to support a mobile workforce

  • Shared Services Canada

Usability enhancements to GCpedia and GCconnex, and a shared intranet

  • Treasury Board Secretariat, Shared Services Canada

People Management

Improved approach to staffing focused on results

  • Senior management and managers in departments/agencies

Simplified approaches to job descriptions

  • Senior management with input from employees in departments/agencies

Enhanced tools and capacity for learning official languages

  • Development by employees of their second language skills will be supported
    • Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer & Canada School of Public Service with the Official Languages Champions Community
  • New online practice tests will be piloted
    • Public Service Commission & Public Works and Government Services Canada

Enterprise-wide commitment to learning

  • Canada School of Public Service, senior management and employees in departments/agencies

Fundamentals of Public Service

Engagement process to define and communicate the Federal Public Service Brand

  • Treasury Board Secretariat and employees in departments/agencies

Public Service of Canada landing page to profile what public servants do and to promote employment opportunities

  • Treasury Board Secretariat

Innovative practices and networking

What We've Heard

Public servants want to develop innovative ideas and approaches to better serve Canada and Canadians. They have focused on the need to make it easier to share information and transfer knowledge. Public servants also stressed the need to be less hierarchical and more client-focused in delivering services. They talked about using innovation labs to discover new, more effective ways to tackle departmental and cross-government challenges. They emphasized the need to take advantage of new technologies to connect and collaborate while maintaining face-to-face meetings and other traditional approaches.

Destination Statement

The Public Service uses open and networked approaches to develop innovative, effective solutions to complex problems and emerging issues. The Public Service mobilizes new ideas and balances different perspectives—from external stakeholders and across departments—to provide government the best possible advice on meeting the needs of Canadians. It also draws on a diverse range of data and information to develop evidence-based ideas, analysis and advice. Modern tools make access to government services as easy as transacting with private sector institutions (e.g., banks).

We will encourage managers and staff to find creative and practical ways to help ensure tangible savings and improved services to Canadians. A new Innovation Award will be added to the Commission's annual Awards of Excellence, to recognize innovative cost-saving initiatives brought forward and implemented by employees.
– Canadian Human Rights Commission February 2014 Report

Initiatives Under Way

Statistics Canada has introduced the Innovation Channel web platform to crowdsource, the best employee-generated ideas by voting for ideas and ranking them. In addition, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is using social media to foster collaborative dialogue on policy issues with stakeholders, and departments are experimenting with regular "Dragons' Den"-type events with employees to find creative solutions to policy and operational challenges. To improve service to Canadians, change is under way across a broad front to raise service standards, facilitate access to government (including efforts to modernize online communications), and make it easier for Canadians to use government services. This includes the Government's "One Business, One Number" initiative, which allows businesses to access and manage accounts using the Canada Revenue Agency's business number. These departmental initiatives are solid, early steps to firmly entrench innovative practices and networking in the Public Service.

Treasury Board Secretariat's Expo 2020 organizers and participants.
Treasury Board Secretariat's Expo 2020 organizers and participants.

New Actions to Reach our Destination

Crowdsourcing innovation within the Public Service

Departments will be expected, where appropriate, to adopt new approaches (e.g., social media, "Dragons' Den" processes) that will enable employees to generate, shape and move forward on innovative ideas. Tiger teams will be used to speed up the adoption of good ideas. Technology will enable employees to track ideas in a transparent manner and let them see how ideas are turned into action.

Central Innovation Hub and Change Labs

Departments and agencies are adopting new perspectives and ways of working together to respond to policy and service delivery challenges. To support this work, and to ensure that successful innovation is replicated across government, a central Innovation Hub will be established in the Privy Council Office, under the Clerk's leadership. The Hub will provide expertise and advice on emerging areas and will help change the way the Public Service does business. It will also support departments in applying new approaches—such as behavioural or "nudge" economics, big data, and social innovation— to complex policy and program challenges. This will complement efforts by individual departments, such as those of ESDC, which will create a "Change Lab" to try new approaches that bridge policy, program and service perspectives in solving client problems.

An Innovation Day would be held every year during National Public Service Week to encourage employees to network and share experiences. This would give employees the opportunity to discuss a wide array of issues and ideas and to come up with improvements or creative new ideas that could be implemented within the department. Innovative ideas implemented during the last year could also be recognized during this special day.
– Fisheries and Oceans Canada February 2014 Report

Virtual collaboration with external partners

External partners are a critical part of a modern, open government. They are keenly interested in ensuring that government provides services and develops policies that respond to their needs.

Departments will be encouraged, where appropriate, to use Web 2.0 tools to engage with external stakeholders and partners in designing services and developing policy. Virtual collaborative spaces will encourage constructive dialogue and frank and productive information sharing (e.g., ESDC's Skills Forum with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, or enhanced networks with academic researchers and post-secondary institutions).

Departments and agencies are encouraged to test new technologies to engage with staff and stakeholders, as well as to implement approaches that can address departmental and cross-departmental challenges. Departments that are successfully using new ways to bring people together will be encouraged to expand their use and share best practices with other departments and agencies.

Transformation is a process—not a one-time event. The CFR has a solid starting point with substantive ideas that support the BP2020 vision and has initiated a process for selecting, prioritizing and implementing those we are able to invest in. Our commitment is to carve a path for implementation, keep our community involved in the process, and remain adaptable along the way.
– Community of Federal Regulators February 2014 Report

Some of the implemented activities included creating idea banks where people can develop suggestions and business cases about improvements that can be made, continuously reviewing opportunities for cultural events, launching an innovation/best practices pilot project, as well as a "2 Hour Challenge" which seeks to inspire innovation by allowing staff to work within certain parameters on whatever they want, with whomever they want, however they want, wherever they want for 2 hours a week for 4 weeks.
– Correctional Service Canada February 2014 Report

Blueprint 2020 Blitz Day at NRCan
Blueprint 2020 Blitz Day at NRCan

Processes and Empowerment
"Reasonable rules, lean processes, timely results"

What We've Heard

Public servants reported that many rules and processes are overly complex, top-down, siloed, and lack coherence and consistency. Large, complex organizations such as the federal government need internal controls and rules to ensure sound stewardship and accountability for results. However, these rules, processes, and practices become internal red tape when they are perceived as unjustified, overly burdensome, and a hindrance to action or decisions. This often results in a frustrating experience for those trying to do their jobs. Unless unnecessary levels of scrutiny and cumbersome processes are addressed, it will be difficult to achieve the Blueprint 2020 vision.

Many employees have noted they have few occasions to work directly with senior leaders, apart from annual meetings and greeting events. They have also expressed frustration that their work is often filtered through many layers of approval.

Destination Statement: A Public Service marked by nimble processes where sound decisions are made and results are delivered in a timely manner. Employees benefit from greater empowerment at the individual level and leaders and managers welcome ideas and perspectives and create opportunities for development to support high performance. Administrative rules and processes respond to the needs of the users—not of the rule makers—to make it easier to get things done on time and in the right way.

Initiatives Under Way

Some important work is already under way to reduce and streamline internal rules and reporting burden, such as the ongoing review of Treasury Board policies, human resources transformation initiatives (such as pay modernization and Common HR Business Processes), and departmental business process modernization initiatives. These initiatives are important steps in reaching our goal of reasonable rules, lean processes, and timely results by 2020.

New Actions to reach our Destination

Internal red tape Tiger Team to identify irritants and solutions

The Public Service will tackle the rules and how they are applied in their environment. Taking a "bottom up" rather than "top down" approach, this work will focus on improving the experience of those who have to follow the rules and administrative processes.

The Treasury Board Secretariat will establish a multi-disciplinary tiger team (employees brought together to work on a specific task) and use a mixture of social media and roundtables in 2014 to engage public servants and identify some of the biggest specific irritants. The team will first identify areas where red tape can be cut, with a view to replicating these steps across government. Where possible, irritants which are easy to fix will be addressed immediately. To address red tape problems that are more complex, the tiger team will work with departments to find solutions. This will involve looking at all aspects of rule making, from design and development to implementation and enforcement, as well as business processes and decision making.

If the root cause is a policy, the team will determine whether Treasury Board or departmental policy changes can be made to reduce its burden. Some steps could make judicious use of technology, such as reducing the use of "wet" signatures and using more electronic approvals. If the root cause is a process, the process will be mapped to identify steps that add no value and can be eliminated. As a first step, several departments and agencies will collaboratively launch "lean pilots". Public servants will be engaged in how rules are developed and implemented. An inclusive and transparent approach will be adopted, with findings, lessons learned, and actions being undertaken to reduce internal red tape and introduce "lean" processes being regularly shared on a social media site. In some cases, internal rules and processes may be a necessary part of the accountability regime. Where it is determined that changes cannot be made, the team will explain why the rules and processes are necessary. Accountabilities for acting on solutions—departmental as well as Public Service-wide—will be established. In this way, by 2015, a sustained effort at approaching internal rules from an end-user's perspective will be driving a change in culture across the Public Service and improving the ability of public servants to get things done in the right way, on time.

Success will depend on tangible, measurable changes that improve the experience of the individual who has to follow the rule. As such, baselines will be established to measure and report on success. The number of policies and requirements reduced or streamlined, the number of steps simplified, and the reduction in time and effort required to complete processes and requirements, will all be monitored and reported on.

We are re-examining some of the policies and processes, identifying and validating the underlying principles, and revisiting our approaches to ensure they are fit for purpose…Why are certain things done, or in a certain way? Being audacious allows everyone to challenge our processes in a respectful way and to find more efficient ways to work while supporting CSE and Public Service values.
– Communications Security Establishment Canada February 2014 Report

Expose and Explain: a new web feature will help address the frequent experience of employees being perplexed or frustrated at our own internal processes or rules that appear to make no sense. Employees could "expose" a rule of procedure we have put in place that interferes with our effectiveness as an organization. If it can't be explained, it should be changed!
– Employment and Social Development Canada February 2014 Report

Connecting Employees with Senior Management

Beginning now, all deputy heads will engage staff to identify ways that employees can connect more directly with senior managers. For example, some departments may choose to establish senior manager and employee working groups, job shadowing programs, reverse mentoring, Wiki Work and Tweet Jams. Each department will identify opportunities that encourage a culture of openness as appropriate and meaningful for their organization.

Employees and managers will be kept informed of the success of this initiative through reporting on results and keeping the discussion alive on social media.

NRCan has launched the Administrative Professionals Network (APN), in order to create an environment that will enable the administrative community in its efforts to openly share, discuss, and challenge ideas that allow employees to discover and fulfill their own potential. Championed by an ADM and committed to the personal and professional growth of its members, the APN will build on current community successes to further transform business practices and to foster an environment of innovation and leadership.
– Natural Resources Canada

We will make change an integral, ongoing and accepted part of the Department's culture. And consultation, engagement and inclusiveness will be seamlessly embedded into Industry Canada's management practices.
– Industry Canada February 2014 Report

Our Deputies have been paying close attention to what employees have been saying and in response to their calls for more access and engagement with senior management, they have begun holding a monthly "Coffee with the Deputies" where employees discuss issues that matter to them most.
– Health Canada February 2014 Report

Modern Technology for a Modern Workplace

What We've Heard

Public servants want tools that help them connect and work with each other and to connect with Canadians, and they want support for new technologies like social media. They are also looking for online tools that improve the services they provide to Canadians. Technology is seen as critical to support improvements in communication, collaboration, information sharing, and service delivery.

Destination Statement

Public servants make more effective use of modern technology to ensure faster, more efficient service delivery. Technology allows public servants to work smarter and solve problems more effectively by facilitating engagement, collaboration, information sharing, and innovation. The Public Service is highly connected, and technology integrates seamlessly in the daily life of public servants.

Initiatives Under Way

Shared Services Canada (SSC) was created in 2011 to transform how the Government manages and delivers information technology services. Work is under way to improve and modernize those services in three key areas: a single email system and standard address format (; faster and more powerful data centres and network infrastructure, which will support wireless connectivity from anywhere, anytime and desktop videoconferencing; and standardized devices and software that public servants can use to collaborate and connect with each other across the Public Service. These initiatives are important foundations to ensuring technology supports public servants and integrates into their daily work.

New Actions to Reach our Destination

In a first round of actions, four additional initiatives will strengthen public servants' ability to work smarter and solve problems more effectively. Other initiatives will be implemented over a longer period.

We are currently developing an IT device strategy that will equip employees with the appropriate secured devices suited to their individual workplace requirements.
– Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada February 2014 Report

CanNor is working closely with the Canada School of Public Service to take advantage of web video technology that provides access to training for staff in remote locations and also saves on travel costs.
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency February 2014 Report

Enhanced directory of federal public servants

An enhanced version of the Government Electronic Directory (GEDS) will be released in 2014 and will include the option to post detailed employee profiles and a competency-based search function that will help public servants find, connect, and work with other colleagues and cultivate communities of interest and mentorship relationships. GEDS will continue to be updated as additional enhancements become possible, for example, a social media feature that will link to employees' postings on GCpedia and GCconnex to support an interactive social media community within the Public Service.

Desktop videoconferencing

Increased access to videoconferencing supports greater collaboration and facilitates the use and management of virtual teams across departments, time zones and regions. SSC has already begun implementing a common videoconferencing infrastructure and service to allow employees to more easily hook into conferences across departmental lines. SSC is also creating the network and bandwidth capacity to support videoconferencing at the desktop as a viable alternative to travel. Departments will support greater use of desktop videoconferencing, based on business needs. SSC will create a self-service portal to provide guidance to users on how to access training materials and find information on how to obtain a webcam and the required software. Usage of videoconferencing will be monitored and measured to ensure that it responds to the needs of departments and employees.

Wi-Fi access and other tools to support a mobile workforce

Many public servants know they can increase their efficiency and effectiveness if they have access to tools that enable them to work anywhere, anytime. For this reason, public servants need to have access to the proper equipment, software, wireless networks, and security solutions. Over the next several years, SSC will modernize the network infrastructure in 3,600 buildings that house public servants from coast to coast. As part of this process, SSC has begun rolling out a secure Wi-Fi service, which will be available to approximately 40 percent of public servants by the end of 2016–2017. By 2020, Wi-Fi will be available to virtually all public servants.

Mobile workers require more than just Wi-Fi in their offices. In 2014, SSC will initiate a pilot with a group of mobile workers to identify the tools and approaches required to support public servants that work both within and outside government buildings. These mobile workers include inspectors and field workers who regularly travel to work sites like aircraft hangars, marine harbours, and manufacturing facilities. The solutions that emerge from this engagement will be offered to departments and agencies for implementation, consistent with their own needs. Better access to tools like Wi-Fi will help green government operations by supporting a paperless office, and increase productivity by providing employees with more flexibility to work in real time from different locations.

Usability enhancements to GCpedia and GCconnex, and a shared Intranet

Collaboration tools increase the ability of public servants to share information and work across departments and agencies, which results in better service to Canadians. Consultations with public servants and interested stakeholders will continue to ensure GCpedia and GCconnex, the Government of Canada's internal collaborative tools, are modernized to provide the functionality that public servants need, such as improved search capability and simplified sign-on. A shared portal into departmental intranet websites will create a searchable knowledge base available to all that will help public servants work together across the Public Service and better understand how government and other departments work.

By adopting cloud computing technology (which enables the sharing of resources and files across applications), we have successfully partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development for international visits.
– Office of the Secretary to the Governor General February 2014 Report

Technology for a better, more efficient Public Service

Technology for a better, more efficient Public Service diagram
Text version

People management

What We've Heard

Public servants point to the need for improved recruitment and staffing processes that are more nimble, focus on outcomes and people, and respond more quickly to changing priorities. They want ways to build competencies and develop skills for the future and are looking for more flexible work options to help foster an agile and high-performing workforce. More needs to be done to accommodate and encourage mobility into and out of the Public Service (e.g., interchanges), which can support innovation and personal development, as well as recruitment in a more open and networked environment. Public servants understand the need for new strategies to manage and recognize performance.

Public servants want to develop their skills with high-quality learning experiences; learn from the best, and learn from each other; and access learning where and when it works for them. This approach to learning reflects what we've heard from public servants and is consistent with best practices in the private sector and other governments, which make strategic use of learning to build a common culture and strengthen individual and organizational performance.

Destination Statement

Human resources management is simpler, more efficient and a key enabler of a high-performing Public Service. The Public Service is able to recognize and manage performance and to ensure a diverse and bilingual environment while continually improving how it attracts, develops, and retains talent.

The Public Service has the right sets of tools and skills to support a capable, confident, and high-performing workforce. All public servants have equal access to core training, at no charge to the learner, to help them do their current jobs better and develop the new skills needed for the future. Technology makes delivery seamless while public servants develop the right skills in their current jobs more quickly, thanks to the contribution of experts from across the Public Service, the private sector, and academia who share their best practices with public servants.

We are introducing a new Flexible Career Development Initiative that will support employees looking for short-term opportunities to develop their skills to advance their careers and to support managers in looking for short-term staffing solutions.
– Justice Canada February 2014 Report

The world around us is changing, and as a learning institution, we must adapt and change with it. Learning is fundamental to the transformation of public services, and the way people need and want to learn is also affected by all of the changes around us.
– Canada School of Public Service February 2014 Report

Initiatives Under Way

A number of initiatives are already under way as part of a large agenda of reforms aimed at simplifying work descriptions, managing performance, and supporting learning and well-being to continue in order to serve with excellence as a high-performing workforce. These initiatives include:

  • Community generic job descriptions;
  • The Directive on Performance Management, which promotes a commitment, shared by managers, employees and their organizations, to sustaining a culture of high performance in the Public Service;
  • Building on the disability management initiative, which provides tools to employees and managers, the Workplace Wellness and Productivity Strategy is being developed to provide fair and comprehensive sickness and disability coverage for employees of the Public Service through a key transformation aligned with leading practices;
  • Special seminars, armchair discussions, annual Manion Lecture and Assistant Deputy Minister Forum, and other unique learning events at the Canada School of Public Service (the School) are now free of charge – public servants across the country will have access to many of these events via webcast or YouTube;
  • The School's online learning programs are available at no charge to the learner, and the range of online learning will continue to be expanded over the coming months – over 100 public servants launch one of the School's online learning products every hour, and between last September and December, over 35,000 public servants took online training on the new Directive on Performance Management; and
  • Free online offerings will also include refreshed second-language maintenance tools, and aids to prepare for language tests.

These initiatives represent first steps in our journey towards a more efficient and effective organization in support of the Blueprint 2020 vision.

New Actions to reach our Destination

Improved approach to staffing focused on results

Public Safety Canada has developed a results- and risk- based staffing approach, which aims to ensure staffing focuses on outcomes and people, while maintaining the integrity of the staffing regime. It reinforces the role of staffing advisors as business partners who help managers to both meet their results and understand policy and process so that they make risk-informed decisions. It focuses on results by increasing efforts on high risk activities and reducing efforts on low risk transactions. At the same time, it allows full implementation of the Public Service Employment Act flexibilities, such as considering past performance as one measure of merit in staffing actions. A results- and risk- based staffing approach can allow deputy heads and their delegated managers to have better and more timely information on the level of staffing risks the department is taking and adjust accordingly. This new approach has already been adopted by a number of departments (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat), and other departments and agencies are encouraged to adopt it. This approach has helped reduce the average length of overall staffing processes by as much as 20%.

This approach benefits employees by promoting sound human resources planning practices and increased use of talent management exercises, as well as reviews of employees' past performance to assess merit. By strengthening the relationship between hiring managers and human resources professionals, and making staffing more predictable, this staffing approach allows for more streamlined and efficient staffing processes.

This approach fosters flexibility and transparency. Managers can use various strategies to staff a position when an appropriate candidate has been identified without feeling the need to run an advertised process, and employees have confidence that advertised staffing processes are fair and that the outcome has not been predetermined.

Simplified approaches to job descriptions

Building on the experience of a number of organizations (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada) and community-based work (Personnel Administration (PE group), Computer Systems (CS group)), departments and agencies will be encouraged to implement generic job descriptions that are short, clear and accurate. Greater use of generic job descriptions can reduce the time and cost that would normally be dedicated to creating and classifying one-off position descriptions.

Enhanced tools and capacity for learning official languages

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer and the Canada School of Public Service will work with the official languages community to identify innovative and effective ways to support employees in developing and maintaining their second language skills and contributing to a bilingual work environment. Improved tools to support learning and maintaining employee proficiency in official languages will contribute directly to building a bilingual workforce. In addition, the Public Service Commission and Public Works and Government Services Canada will pilot the use of new online practice tests in 2014–2015 to provide employees with an indication of their language skill levels. This will provide employees with an indication of their proficiency level for maintenance purposes or prior to formal language testing, allowing them to better direct their learning activities. We will reinforce a culture in which employees and managers recognize that official languages skills are essential competencies in the Public Service and take steps throughout employees' careers to manage their second language proficiency. 

The Federal Youth Network (FYN) has created and developed a mobile app that allows employees to have access to modules on learning, networking and succeeding in their careers anywhere and anytime. In the coming months, FYN will be collaborating with partners to revamp the app and make it even more accessible and flexible for learners!
– Federal Youth Network

Enterprise-wide Commitment to Learning

Departments, agencies and the School will work together on an ongoing basis to meet this commitment to learning – together they will set enterprise-wide learning priorities, taking into consideration the needs identified in performance and talent management exercises.

Beginning in summer 2014, new employees can take part in a new online orientation program designed to instill pride in the work of the Public Service, understand our values and ethics, and learn about what government does and how government works (see also Initiatives Under Way in Fundamentals of Public Service). In fall 2014, the School will launch a training and development program for new managers, so they have the skills and tools to lead people and manage change in the 21st century.

The School will enhance its online learning ecosystem to support collaboration and crowd learning, with access to leading-edge best practices, case studies, short videos, self-paced learning and webinars at no charge, anytime and anywhere.

In 2015-16, enhanced executive development and updated leadership programming will be introduced, and the School will roll out updated training for professional functional experts, as well as offerings to support innovation, transformation and continuous renewal.

In 2016-17, the new enterprise-wide approach to learning will be in place, in pursuit of our shared commitment to excellence. Other changes at the School will be rolled out over the next two years – stay tuned to learn more!

The Agency has initiated a process to respond to employees' needs by developing Talent Management Strategies by employment streams (for example, medical doctors, the science-based community, including social scientists, nurses).
– Public Health Agency of Canada February 2014 Report

Fundamentals of Public Service

What We've Heard

Public servants want to show how proud they are to serve Canadians, and they want to raise awareness of the diverse range and impact of services they provide and the contribution they make to communities across the country and beyond our borders. They also want to strengthen understanding, internally and externally, of the fundamental roles of the Public Service in serving the government of the day and working in the public interest for the benefit of Canada and Canadians.

Destination Statement

The Public Service of Canada is recognized for delivering non-partisan, high-quality service to government and Canadians, and widely perceived as diverse, adaptive, innovative, collaborative and connected to our communities. Public servants are proud to work for an institution recognized as modern, capable, high-performing, and open and networked. The Public Service of Canada continues to attract world-class talent, deliver high-quality services, and provide value for money. Public servants provide continuity and coherence in addressing long-term challenges and in the stewardship of public funds, while supporting government effectively and efficiently.

Initiatives Under Way

The role of public servants is set out in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. The Public Service is professional, non-partisan, and works in the public interest. It ensures sound stewardship, and delivers results. The values and ethics of the Public Service are a source of pride, and resources are available on the Values and Ethics website. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer also recently launched Values Alive: A Discussion Guide to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. In addition, orientation on Public Service values is part of common training and development offered to all new employees by the Canada School of Public Service (see also Enterprise-Wide Commitment to Learning under People Management).

The Public Service is raising awareness about its mandate, mission, and vision through the websites of departments and agencies, which describe the services it provides to Canadians. Blueprint 2020 is reinforcing the pride of public servants by empowering them to embrace their role of agents of change.

These initiatives provide a solid foundation upon which to raise awareness of how the Public Service functions in Canada's democratic system, to help reinforce pride among public servants and improve the perception of the Public Service in the public realm.

New Actions to Reach our Destination

Public Service values are enduring. Public servants also share many traits that unite them and for which they can be proud (see Public Service Pride below).

The Public Service provides a substantial number of services to Canadians at home and abroad. The world is changing, and the Public Service must regularly reflect on how to maintain service delivery excellence and how to project that image to the world. Building the Federal Public Service brand is a work in progress, and employee engagement will continue with the goal to further refine the strategy to address this priority area. Two new actions will help the Public Service reach its destination:

Public Services Pride Word Cloud.

The Inuit Learning and Development Pilot Project, a CanNor initiative endorsed by the Nunavut Federal Council, provides Inuit with practical work experience in federal government departments, the government of Nunavut, and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and is an excellent example of how the government can mobilize the diversity of talent in the North to serve the country's evolving public sector needs.
– Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Engagement process to define and communicate the Federal Public Service brand

An engagement process will be launched with public servants to shape the Federal Public Service brand and will include crowdsourcing a strategy to communicate to Canadians and public servants who we are and what we do. 

A suite of measures will support the engagement effort and reach across internal and external channels to foster a strong image of the Federal Public Service, including defining ways to:

  • showcase the role the Public Service plays in the daily lives of Canadians through dynamic vignettes and portraits to show how public servants affect the lives of Canadians directly or indirectly;
  • strengthen whole-of-government approaches to promote employment opportunities within (e.g., virtual tours, interviews, and videos);
  • profile the good work public servants do in communities across Canada (for example, the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, volunteering with homeless shelters, and adopting a local food bank); and
  • highlight key achievements of public servants by showcasing awards of excellence and making them more visible, and appointing high-profile current and former public servants as Public Service ambassadors, who can project a strong positive image of the Public Service.

The CRA has developed a video that recognizes and celebrates the CRA's many achievements, and the important services we provide to Canadians...this video will serve to reinforce pride among employees for the great work they do as well as to attract new talent as part of a recruitment campaign.
– Canada Revenue Agency February 2014 Report

Public Service of Canada Landing Page to profile what public servants do and to promote employment opportunities

To advance these initiatives, a Public Service of Canada landing page will be launched to profile the great things that public servants do to serve Canadians. The landing page will function as a "home" for the Public Service, available to both public servants and Canadians. Horizontal communities will also be featured and can profile the landing page with their members.

We will launch new employee recognition initiatives (e.g., email from DM), including a Rookie-of-the-Year award.
– Finance Canada February 2014 Report

Public Service pride…

The Way Forward

Engagement is essential to a vibrant, high-performing, less bureaucratic, and more adaptable Public Service in order to respond effectively to the evolving needs of citizens. Ongoing engagement makes sense: engaged employees feel highly motivated and more valued, resulting in greater employee well-being. Engaged employees who have a voice in moving the Public Service forward and in shaping their workplaces can focus on providing better service to Canadians.

Taking action matters. Taking action with a view to providing service excellence in a cost-effective way matters even more.

The Blueprint 2020 engagement exercise is bringing about real change through whole-of-government actions as well as approaches tailored to the needs of each organization or team.

  • Deputy heads will act on the plans contained in their February 2014 reports and in Destination 2020 and seek employee input on the implementation of actions.
  • Departments and agencies will communicate their progress regularly to employees and periodically on GCpedia.
  • In addition, regular reporting on whole-of-government initiatives will keep employees informed of progress.

Additionally, ways of sharing best practices on engagement between departments and agencies will continue to be developed.

The dialogue will go on as public servants take action to build the Public Service of the future, positioning Canada to continue to have a well-functioning and high-performing Public Service for years to come.

In moving towards the Blueprint 2020 vision, leaders, executives, and managers will need to take steps to further support and enable a workplace of engagement and continuous renewal. But they can't do it alone.

Public servants are all responsible for building a better Public Service. Everyone has a role to play in promoting a culture of continual engagement and improvement as a way to ensure that real change happens within their own organizations and work units.

Destination 2020 is not an end point – it is an important step in building the Public Service of the future.

"As Canadian public servants we can be proud to be supporting our youth as well as supporting our entire population—because we need our future to be just as bright as our past has been."
David Saint-Jacques - Doctor, astrophysicist, astronaut and public servant

Deputy heads need to:

  • lead by embodying the change they want to see in others
  • set the tone by ensuring that engagement governs their approach to change management in their organizations
  • set the direction by nurturing and sustaining dialogue among public servants not only in their own departments and agencies, but across the Public Service
  • ensure follow-through and clear accountability

Managers need to:

  • establish a culture where employees bring their hearts and minds to their jobs every day by making sure that their opinion is heard and that their contribution to building the workplace culture is recognized
  • learn to thrive outside their comfort zone by finding the courage to challenge their assumptions and abandon usual management preferences
  • foster innovation and a culture of openness by allowing the space for employees to be creative and to live the vision
  • adopt a networking style of leadership by engaging employees at every stage of change implementation, using two-way communication, and building connections and relationships among people from different areas
  • support employees as they take action to improve their own units and to implement ideas that have a larger application

Employees need to:

  • embrace their role of agents of change by adopting a positive attitude, keeping an open mind, and remaining steadfast and committed
  • take ownership of the process by identifying and proposing areas of change and improvement and by taking action on the ideas put forward
  • implement changes by collaborating with colleagues and by positively contributing to the change process
  • seize the opportunity to shape the Public Service in a way that helps them deliver service excellence now and into the future.

"As a leader, if you don't lead the parade, it will move by without you. Be present in your organization. Be up front. Be visible."
– Andrew Treusch, Commissioner of Revenue, Canada Revenue Agency

"Parks Canada is experimenting with Innovation Labs, a new collaborative platform that invites all team members to jointly problem solve with colleagues on some of the more confounding issues facing the Public Service. I am setting aside my managerial tendency to take control, permitting this collaborative process to happen, avoiding interfering and over-thinking the possible outcomes, and being open to the recommended solutions."
– Tracy Thiessen, Special Advisor to the CEO, Parks Canada

"We need to empower ourselves to continue to question the status quo and look for efficiencies in our daily work. We need to talk about our successes and failures, reach out to other departments to learn from them and build on what they have already accomplished. Where possible, we need to collaborate on joint GoC initiatives instead of having one initiative for each department."
– Jodi Leblanc, Advisor, Values and Ethics, Veterans Affairs Canada

The Public Service of Canada stands among the best in the world and is a true asset to our country. Canadians' quality of life and Canada's position in today's uncertain and competitive world depend, in significant part, on a strong and high-performing Public Service.

Our increasingly global and complex world presents us with many opportunities and challenges. How global trends play out is outside of our control, but how we respond to them rests firmly with us. By taking action now and embracing change for continuous improvement and progress, we are ensuring the long-term success of the Public Service.

Connect, engage, inspire. Blueprint 2020 has harnessed the power of connected minds. By igniting employee engagement and focusing on action, we are now well on our way to turning vision into reality. We take pride in what we've done for Canadians, and we have confidence in what we can accomplish for them. The future of the Public Service of Canada is ours to build.
Wayne G. Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council

Want to Hear More? Read On!

These feature articles provide additional examples and details on actions that organizations across the Public Service are taking to advance the Blueprint 2020 vision.

Improving Service to Canadians

The core objective of the Blueprint 2020 vision is to improve the lives of Canadians and secure a strong future for Canada. Efforts to innovate, improve processes, make smart use of technology, and ensure a high-performing workforce all share the ultimate goal of achieving better value for money and results for Canadians. Through the Blueprint 2020 process, departments, agencies and communities have already committed to a broad range of actions that will directly benefit Canada now and into the future. Moving forward, as we foster a culture of innovation in the workplace, public servants will continue to identify and implement new ways to improve services, partnerships and communication.

Enhancing Program and Service Delivery

Many organizations have identified actions that will improve service delivery. For example:

  • The Canada Border Services Agency has developed an Information Visualization Prototype. This innovative, visual touchscreen framework has the ability to display and share massive amounts of information—from hazards to traffic flow—in a single operational view at the fingertips of our officers. This tool will enhance our ability to analyze and compare data from one border crossing to another, helping us improve the delivery of our services to travellers and facilitate trade to protect the security and prosperity of all Canadians.
  • Through the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is helping to strengthen Canada's food safety system through stronger food safety rules, more effective inspection, a renewed commitment to service, and more information for consumers. The Agency will continue to engage Canadians and regulated parties, in part through the increased use of social media platforms.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency is going mobile – a new business reminder app will notify business taxpayers electronically of their upcoming filing and payment obligations. In addition, a prototype for a My CRA app is under development, which will allow taxpayers to access refund and benefit payment information from their mobile device.
  • Environment Canada is reducing administrative burden and processes to better serve Canadians. For example, the National Environmental Emergencies Centre is being streamlined to respond more efficiently to pollution incidents and allow officers to focus on providing high quality, science-based expert advice to protect the environment.
  • Transport Canada is working to provide their inspectors and officers in the field with mobile technology such as tablets to allow for easier one-time input and retrieval of critical data. This will reduce duplication, save time and increase accuracy.

44 organizations have committed to enhancing their use of web tools such as social media to improve communication and service to Canadians.

Strengthening Partnerships

"By performing effectively, you are serving your country.
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions February 2014 Report

Organizations have already identified concrete ways to enhance their collaboration with external stakeholders and partners. For example:

Improving Communication with Canadians

Many organizations have identified actions that will improve communication and information sharing with the public. For example:

  • In 2013-14, Service Canada, in close collaboration with Treasury Board Secretariat, initiated a Government-wide transformation of the federal government's web presence by launching the new website—providing Canadians with access to a simple and intuitive site that replaces over 1,500 separate websites, powered by a modern Google-based search engine, in collaboration with other departments and agencies.
  • In line with Canada's Open Government initiative, Health Canada has already made 71 sets of health data and information available to the public. Publicly available data range from children's health and safety surveys to data on licensed natural health products and medical device recalls. Some data sets, like safety recalls, are very large.
  • In January 2014, Statistics Canada proudly announced the release of its first web-based application, The Daily mobile, which allows Canadians to access the Agency's latest releases, key indicators, and datasets on their smartphone or tablet.

Departments, agencies and communities are also making better use of social media:

"Becoming an exemplary 21st century government with a client-focused organizational culture and using the latest technology for citizens could lead to citizens developing a modern relationship/contact with "their" government."
- Canadian Heritage February 2014 Report

"Canadians expect to access government services how and when they want. They expect greater efficiency and accessibility from programs and services, for which constant innovation and collaboration are key."
- Employment and Social Development Canada February 2014 Report

Change Management

Ready, set, change!

Achieving the Blueprint 2020 vision will involve changes in the way the Public Service works, and change management approaches will be critical to its success. "The only thing constant in life is change." Change is the constant, so let's consider the variables and how these can help us transform the Public Service and look after ourselves along the way.

Success requires effort from all. There is a 70% failure rate for change initiatives in both the private and public sectors. Many organizations tend to focus on plans, processes, and technology when it comes to change, but initiatives often fail because the people and cultural aspects of change have been overlooked. Changing systems can be difficult, but changing behaviours and culture is even harder.

Ultimately, everyone will respond differently to change depending on their unique situations and personalities. Some are more resilient and adapt more quickly to change; others will need support to adjust. Research shows that resilience and change capacity are the most important success factors in any change initiative.

Tips for increasing resilience and change capacity

For organizations:

  • Engage people early and often
  • Give people direct or indirect control over what happens during implementation
  • Provide learning and development opportunities
  • Communicate critical information often and honestly to help individuals understand what the change means to them
  • Encourage employee feedback for fine-tuning the change during implementation

For individuals:

  • Take control of your own physical, mental and emotional resilience
  • Take time to understand how the change will impact you
  • Get involved
  • Be an advocate for change
  • Develop new skills
  • Develop a resiliency action plan

When resistance is encountered—either at the organizational or individual levels—it is important to identify the source and work on reducing it. Remember that not all resistance is bad—it often helps identify problems before they become significant issues.

Senior leaders, managers, and employees are all passionate about serving Canadians, and together we will make Blueprint 2020 a reality. A growing number of methods, tools and courses are available to support change in organizations and for individuals. To learn more, visit the Canada School of Public Service website.

Mentorship Matters: Building Supportive Relationships

Why Mentorship Matters

Mentorship supports networking, talent management, and the sharing of experience and skills. Building supportive relationships across the Public Service will help create an environment of continuous learning and high performance, and a shared culture—a key step in realizing the Blueprint 2020 vision.

Supportive relationships have many forms, including both traditional mentorship, that is, a formal or informal relationship between a mentor and a mentee, and reverse mentorship, where senior leaders learn from more junior employees. Other types of mentorship include peer-to-peer mentoring, and informal consultations and information sharing.

Formal mentorship programs

The need to encourage mentorship in support of a competent, collaborative workplace was raised in many of the interim reports of departments and agencies. In response, several departments have committed to launch formal mentorship programs. Examples include:

  • Health Canada will establish a tiger team that will explore peer-to-peer and reverse mentorship, along with other mentor-mentee relationships.
  • Shared Services Canada will create a departmental mentoring inventory to encourage mentorship and job shadowing. The inventory will be 'digital by design' and will include both traditional and reverse mentors.
  • The Treasury Board Secretariat will be exploring innovative ways of enhancing its existing reverse mentor program to increase coverage and utility.
  • The Privy Council Office will implement a mentoring program, based on best practices, that is accessible to all PCO employees.

Innovative approaches to mentorship

There are many different ways to build supportive relationships within departments and across the Public Service. In addition to formal mentorship programs, new and innovative approaches to encouraging mentorship should be explored on an ongoing basis, building on the success of other initiatives:

  • In February, Shared Services Canada's Executives Network hosted an armchair discussion featuring members of Agora, the department's innovation network. Agora members shared their views on "how best to mobilize employees", and engaged in two-way dialogue with senior leaders.
  • The Deputy Minister Committee on Policy Innovation includes reverse mentors as full members, teaming up younger public servants with Deputy Ministers.
  • The Federal Youth Network, through its National Mentoring Inventory, offers reverse mentoring on Web 2.0 and the advantages of using social media in government.
  • The Communications Community Office Mentoring Series builds capacity, leadership competencies, and awareness; it is tailored to the specific needs of communicators.
  • The Official Languages Champions Community is working with the Federal Youth Network to extend their reverse mentoring program by leveraging their members with strong bilingual skills to engage, inform and coach new recruits to the Public Service on how to function in a bilingual workplace (e.g., host regular online mock bilingual meetings).

The Blueprint 2020 vision is about ongoing dialogue on the future of the Public Service, and this is an area where the conversation should continue—because, mentorship matters.

Engaging Public Servants from Coast to Coast to Coast

Federal public servants form a diverse and vibrant national team, working together to make a difference in the lives of Canadians every day. They perform an incredible variety of functions across Canada, from the National Capital Region to urban centres to some of the most isolated and remote posts in the country, and beyond our borders in missions located around the world. Reaching out to remote and operational staff has been both a challenge and an opportunity for the Blueprint 2020 engagement exercise. There are a number of departments and agencies with offices across the country, and here are examples of what some have done to reach out to staff.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The RCMP employs police officers, civilian members and public servants across Canada. The RCMP is responsible for federal policing services as well as the provision of specialized policing services. Further, the RCMP is a contract policing partner with eight provinces, three territories and over 150 Canadian municipalities.

The RCMP uses an internal communications strategy—RCMP Communications Focus 2017—to align collective communication efforts of employees at all levels of the organization and ensures they are received by target audiences regardless of location. This helps to enhance employee engagement, ensure employee, client and partner satisfaction, build trust and confidence in the RCMP, and contribute to safer communities. The RCMP has developed an associated Internal Communications Toolkit which is accompanied by a training session for managers on effective ways to communicate with and engage their staff.

This approach – which received the 2013 International Association of Business Communicators Gold Quill Award of Excellence – was applied to the RCMP's Blueprint 2020 engagement efforts. Force-Wide Broadcast emails were used to inform and engage employees on the RCMP's vision for change and key organizational developments related to transformation and continuous improvement. They also offered staff a chance to provide contributions and feedback related to the development of RCMP programs and policies. The broadcasts ensured that outreach was accessible to all employees, provided clear and concise information on the Blueprint 2020 process and timelines, and provided employees with an initiative-specific email to facilitate departmental input and reporting. Where substantive issues, comments or input were received from employees, senior management personally responded to discuss the issues identified.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

The Canada Revenue Agency's 40,000 employees serve Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The diversity of work environments, experiences, and work cultures at the CRA presented some unique challenges when it came to Blueprint 2020 engagement. The CRA's employees perform a variety of jobs, from administering tax and benefit programs to negotiating multi-million dollar advanced pricing agreements with some of the world's largest multinational corporations.

In order to generate a truly open and meaningful dialogue with employees, the CRA knew there was no "one-size-fits-all" solution. For this reason, the CRA adopted a diverse approach ranging from traditional activities, like brainstorming sessions and town halls, to the launch of an internally-developed online engagement tool. This suite of activities reached out across the CRA's organizational and geographic breadth, and employees embraced the opportunities for face-to-face and virtual dialogue with enthusiasm! Over 21,000 employees participated in traditional engagement activities alone, and the online engagement tool was also widely successful—with 460,000 views, 70,000 votes cast, and 11,500 comments shared. In fact, given its proven success, the CRA's online engagement tool was shared across government for use within other organizations.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)

AANDC has regional offices in every province and territory. Employees work closely with Aboriginal peoples and Northerners in urban, rural and remote locations. Throughout the Blueprint 2020 engagement exercise, AANDC has made efforts to reach out across the country, as demonstrated by sector-led sessions in Manitoba and Alberta and a Public Service-wide webcast for co-op students.

In February 2014, employees pitched ideas that would contribute to the four Blueprint 2020 principles at AANDC's Dragons' Den event. This interactive, department-wide experience was available in boardrooms across regions and throughout the National Capital Region. Employees streamed the event live via webcast, and exchanged on Twitter using the #GC2020 hashtag. Information and videos of the event were posted on GCpedia. The department has committed to implement ten proposals, and approximately 20 additional ideas were pitched in a Virtual Dragons' Den on GCpedia and GCconnex from March to April.

Dragons and presenters at the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Dragons Den event.
Dragons and presenters at the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada Dragons Den event.

Parks Canada

As the federal government's single largest land manager and host of more than 20 million visitors annually, Parks Canada has one of the most geographically and occupationally diverse workforces in the Public Service. During the peak summer operational season, more than 6,000 employees work in 120 locations spread across all provinces and territories, including some of Canada's most remote locations without regular access to computers or reliable Internet.

Parks Canada's approach to the Blueprint 2020 engagement process was designed in four phases:

  • A recruitment drive featuring an open invitation to employees to get involved in an experiment in engagement.
  • The creation of six virtual, regionally dispersed Futurist Guilds that each deliberated on technology, civil society, work-life balance, leaders of the future, heritage places and governance to prepare the team for substantial Blueprint 2020 discussions.
  • A "Blueprint 2020 Experiential Meeting Kit", developed collaboratively to facilitate broader consultations, including an animated presentation and original art summarizing Blueprint 2020 goals and the work of the Futurist Guilds; an inspirational music video shot in 40 locations featuring 106 team members; and a flash mob dance video filmed in 10 locations, involving 81 staff from all levels of the Agency.
  • A "2020 Blitz Week" in September 2013 with 44 intensive consultation meetings across the country reaching nearly 700 participants.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)

To support engagement on Blueprint 2020, Veterans Affairs established a working group that drew from existing networks such as the VAC Young Professionals Network and the Official Languages Community. Video conferencing was used to reach out across all regions:

  • More than 400 employees in five offices across the country were able to join the Minister of Veterans Affairs when he visited the head office on two separate occasions.
  • In November, David Saint-Jacques, an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, spoke about his career and the Blueprint 2020 vision to VAC employees located at 31 sites from Victoria to Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition, VAC is focusing on strengthening two-way information exchange between senior managers and employees at all levels and in all locations. For example, Deputy Minister Mary Chaput has hosted face-to-face "Café DieMs" where employees from across the department can ask questions, voice their concerns, and make recommendations in an open discussion. Going forward, these sessions will be held on at least a quarterly basis with employees from both headquarters and regions via videoconferencing.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Approximately 85 percent of employees working at Fisheries and Oceans Canada are located outside the National Capital Region, with operational work taking place in the field, in laboratories, and on Canadian Coast Guard vessels, especially during the summer months. To reach and hear from as many employees as possible, the department used a wide array of tactics, including:

  • Information on intranet and GCpedia pages, regular features in departmental newsletters, and messages from the Deputy Minister;
  • Input opportunities through a generic Blueprint 2020 e-mail address, a Destination 2020 online consultation tool, GCconnex, Canadian Coast Guard survey questionnaires, and suggestion boxes in many locations, including ships, across the country; and
  • Interactive events such as in-person and remote group discussions, a Deputy-led armchair discussion via webinar, and a webcast Dragons' Den event that attracted the participation of over 1,100 employees from coast to coast to coast.

External Outreach

The Blueprint 2020 exercise has engaged not only public servants who are living the vision, but also key external stakeholders who can act as agents of change.

National Student Paper Competition on the Future of the Public Service

The first National Student Paper Competition was launched in fall 2013 to receive thoughtful research on matters related to the Blueprint 2020 vision. Eighty-nine students from 11 universities across Canada registered. The competition was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration, the Canadian Federation of Business School Deans and universities nationwide, in collaboration with the Dalhousie University Rowe School of Business, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina, the Canada School of Public Service and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. Over 17,000 votes were cast online for the "Public Choice Award", and the five finalists were announced in April 2014. Gabriel Flores, Benjamin Selinger, Yoni Simhon, and Erik Fogal from Carleton University won the grand prize for their submission Blueprint 2020: Day to Day Democracy. Ian Moore, with his submission 2017: Harnessing a National Celebration for the Advancement of Blueprint 2020, won the Public Choice Award.

Institute of Public Administration of Canada

As part of the 65th Annual Conference of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Ken Rasmussen of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, Jacques Bourgault of the École nationale d'administration publique and the Université du Québec à Montréal, and others participated in a Blueprint 2020 round table. A range of issues was discussed, from the role of the private sector to the tools needed to support engagement and future competencies.

Public Policy Forum

From September 2013 to February 2014, the Public Policy Forum facilitated round tables across Canada, where more than 130 participants from public, private, non-profit and academic sectors provided advice on the Blueprint 2020 vision and guiding principles.

Australian Public Service

In March 2014, a Canadian delegation of young public servants assembled in three locations across Canada for a videoconference with their Australian counterparts to discuss shared issues and challenges facing the Public Service, enablers and barriers to change and renewal, and top competencies required in the future.

Mathilda Hall-Cummings, Sarah Reda, Nick Frate and Gorav Chaudhry present their views on the future of the Public Service to their Australian counterparts.
Mathilda Hall-Cummings, Sarah Reda, Nick Frate and Gorav Chaudhry
present their views on the future of the Public Service to their Australian

The Canadian Delegation poses for a picture before its videoconference with the Australian Public Service.
The Canadian Delegation poses for a picture before its videoconference
with the Australian Public Service.

And many more…

Throughout the Blueprint 2020 journey to date, valuable input has also been received from the private sector, municipalities, academics, and individual Canadians via the Clerk of the Privy Council's Blueprint 2020 email address, as well as from the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service.

Blueprint 2020 Input, Actions, and Outcomes

Blueprint 2020 Input, Actions, and Outcomes
Text version

Word cloud of most frequently occurring words in February 2014 reports from departments, agencies and communities.

Word cloud of most frequently occurring words in February 2014 reports from departments, agencies and communities.