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Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – December 14

Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – December 14

December 14, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Today it was announced that:

Stephen Lucas, currently Senior Associate Deputy Minister (Climate Change), Environment and Climate Change, becomes Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, effective January 23, 2017.

Martine Dubuc, currently Vice-President, Science and Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, effective January 23, 2017.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to congratulate Michael Martin, Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on his retirement from the Public Service, following a distinguished career marked by dedication and excellence in serving Canadians.

Biographies

Other Links

Read the original news release on the Prime Minister’s website here.

Public Servants Presenting at GTEC This Week

Public Servants Presenting at GTEC This Week

October 31, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

From Tuesday to Thursday, this year’s much anticipated GTEC (Government and Technology Conference) is being held in Ottawa with public servants at all levels of government participating and presenting.

John Messina, the Chief Information Officer for the Government of Canada will be speaking at a concurrent session titled, “Strategically Transforming IT in the Government of Canada” on Wednesday November 2 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EDT).

Public servants from the federal government who will also be speaking:

  • Jeff Lamirande, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Francois Dicaire, Canada Revenue Agency
  • David Young, Canada Revenue Agency
  • Nick Frate, Canada Revenue Agency
  • Nadia Diakun-Thibault, Communications Security Establishment
  • Scott Jones, Communications Security Establishment
  • Dave Sabourin, Communications Security Establishment
  • Joe Waddington, Communications Security Establishment
  • Kelly Gillis, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Chrystia Chudczak, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Jodi LeBlanc, National Managers’ Community
  • Lauren Hunter, Natural Resources Canada
  • Val Thomas, Natural Resources Canada
  • Martin Berry, Policy Horizons
  • Matthew Mendelsohn, Privy Council Office
  • Laura Wesley, Privy Council Office
  • Adam Hatfield, Public Safety Canada
  • Adrian Cloete, Service Canada
  • Nasser Alsukayri, Shared Services Canada
  • Ron Parker, Shared Services Canada
  • Jaimie Boyd, Treasury Board
  • Ryan Androsoff, Treasury Board
  • Pamela Stewart, Treasury Board
  • Nicholas Wise, Treasury Board

Other Links

For the program list and schedule, click here.

Video

Watch highlights from day one of last year’s event here:

Watch highlights from day two of last year’s event here:

CIOs in Conversation: John Messina

CIOs in Conversation: John Messina

October 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Next week is this year’s much anticipated GTEC (Government and Technology Conference) and as such, we’ve been featuring timely conversations with Chief Information Officers across the public service. Recently, Laurentian Alumni Magazine sat down for a discussion with the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada, John Messina.

John Messina Photo: Laurentian Alumni Magazine

John Messina
Photo: Laurentian Alumni Magazine

John Messina is responsible for leading policy development, management oversight and community capacity development in the policy areas of information management and information technology.

He also leads security, access to information and privacy. Appointed in August 2015, Messina brings almost 30 years of IT-related experience at the Canada Revenue Agency, including his time as Assistant Commissioner and Chief Information Officer. You might say he’s come a long way since his Laurentian days.

As an undergraduate, Messina took Laurentian’s Honours Bachelor of Commerce program, graduating in 1981 and majoring in Accounting. One of his favourite aspects was the case study assignments they completed in teams, particularly those in finance class. “Everyone was given a company and there was a simulation of economic and financial events that happened outside of your company and you had to react to it. The economy would sink just as you were getting your inventory ready for a large year in sales, things like that,” recalls Messina, adding that these assignments “really forced us to develop collaboration skills.” Among his favourite professors were Austin Davey who, “really knew his tax law,” and Ken Loucks, whose ideas Messina says he still calls upon when making strategic decisions.

As a student, Messina played intramural football and hockey. “There was an arena at the end of Ramsey Lake road. I don’t know if it’s still there, but that’s where we played. It was good. There were both people that I had known from Sudbury growing up and people that went to Laurentian,” says Messina. He grew up in the Lockerby area and also had a part-time job at the Idylwylde Golf Club so got in some golf there regularly. Although Sudbury was his hometown, he was happy for the opportunity to meet newcomers at Laurentian and still keeps in touch with people from his undergraduate days over social media. He married his “high school sweetheart,” Marie McCahery, and now has two grown sons, Chris and Steve.

A big transition

After graduation, Messina started his career in Edmonton alongside three other Laurentian graduates working as a tax auditor at the Canada Revenue Agency. He also worked in Sudbury in the mid-1980s with five other ’81 grads, recalling the time as “a bit like a reunion.” A pretty standard accountancy career path so far, which sort of begs the question, “Um, how did an accounting major become the CIO of the Government of Canada?”

“That’s quite a story actually,” says Messina. “I was with the CRA as a tax auditor, but in the late 70s or early 80s they had this program—I got in in the mid-80s—where they were looking for people who had business experience but a capability to work in IT. They wanted business people running the IT systems. So what they did is tested you first on your business knowledge, and then if you had some kind of aptitude, tested whether you’d be good in IT or not. I was successful in that, and though I was working in Sudbury at the time, I moved to Ottawa.” There Messina joined a 15-month training program in which he learned programming skills and other IT training. In 1986, he started out in the role of Programmer Analyst coding in COBOL and ascended from there, eventually becoming CIO of the CRA.

While the move seems like a pivot away from his original path, Messina said he had always expected that to happen. “When I was in accounting, I never envisioned myself long term in that field. I wanted to get that background, but it was almost a natural thing to change careers because I always thought I’d move into something else. Having a strong accounting background helps you do anything you like,” says Messina.

“I couldn’t give up the opportunity to influence the future information management and information technology direction of the government, so I took the job. It’s just a great time to be in IT in government—I’ve been really enjoying the challenge.”

Messina was thinking about retirement when the top CIO job came up and gave him pause. “I couldn’t give up the opportunity to influence the future information management and information technology direction of the government, so I took the job.” With the Government of Canada transforming its IT to better serve Canadians through leveraging the latest technologies, improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations, ensuring the agility to respond to policy and security challenges, and improving transparency and accountability, “it’s just a great time to be in IT in government—I’ve been really enjoying the challenge.”

The way the government is structured, each department has a CIO who provides leadership and vision in the planning and implementation of IT initiatives in their own department. Messina’s branch leads the development of strategy and provides direction and leadership for the government as a whole in this realm. Messina chairs a committee of CIOs across the federal government, a forum that helps guide the use of information and technology across the departments.

“I belong to a multi-national organization of CIOs who get together to discuss what’s going on in the industry. There are 24 countries who are members of this organization. We get together once a year to have a discussion about the industry, the challenges we’re facing, what we’re doing, and how to use IT to enable the government to serve citizens better.”

He also meets regularly with CIOs internationally. “I belong to a multinational organization of CIOs who get together to discuss what’s going on in the industry. There are 24 countries who are members of this organization. We get together once a year to have a discussion about the industry, the challenges we’re facing, what we’re doing, and how to use IT to enable the government to serve citizens better.”

Open government, big data

Messina admits that, as technology gets more complex, so does his job, but says that his 30 years of experience in the field make him very comfortable with dealing with these issues. Today some of those big issues include open government, big data and the Access to Information Act. “What we are looking at is ‘how do we make data open by default,’ which is one of the things in the government’s mandate. Really being able to have both data sets and information more readily available to the public is one of the things we are looking into,” says Messina.

IT security is yet another big portfolio. “Cyber security is a big thing in the world right now. We coordinate the cyber security policy for the government of Canada and provide strategic oversight and direction during cyber security event response,” says Messina. “From a cyber security point of view, there is the policy work that we do, defining the actual policy and the mechanisms that departments and agencies should have in place in order to ensure that we’re safe from a cyber security perspective.” He adds that the Government also does the monitoring work to help departments and agencies implement those policies. If there were ever a cyber attack affecting the government’s ability to deliver services to Canadians, his team would coordinate the strategic aspects of that response.

So what does the CIO like best about his job? “I like the technical nature of the job, but I find both at the CRA and here, it’s just working with interesting people. Funny because a lot of people ask me that and I say ‘yeah it’s a technical job, but it’s always the people that make up the team.’ That’s still the best part of the job.”

Other Links

Read last week’s CIOs in Conversation with Dave Adamson here.

Register to attend this year’s GTEC exhibition floor, a free forum to explore innovative GC2020 solutions.

Reprinted with permission.

Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – October 21

Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – October 21

October 24, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

On Friday October 21 it was announced that:

Paul Glover, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Health, becomes President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, effective October 31, 2016.

Timothy Sargent, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Finance, becomes Deputy Minister for International Trade, effective October 24, 2016.

James Meddings, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Strategic Direction, Western Economic Diversification Canada, becomes President of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, effective October 31, 2016.

Chris Forbes, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Finance, effective November 14, 2016.

Rob Stewart, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Financial Sector Policy, Finance Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Finance (with G7 and G20 responsibilities), effective October 24, 2016.

Nada Semaan, currently Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, effective October 31, 2016.

Kristina Namiesniowski, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, becomes Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency, effective October 31, 2016.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to congratulate Bruce Archibald, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Pierre Legault, Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, on the occasions of their retirements from the Public Service of Canada, following distinguished careers marked by dedication and excellence in serving Canadians.

The Prime Minister also congratulated: Nancy Horsman on being elected as the new International Monetary Fund Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries and Belize; Christine Hogan on being elected as the new World Bank Group Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries, Belize and Guyana; and Doug Nevison on being elected as the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Executive Director for Canada, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.

Biographies

Other Links

Read the official release on the Prime Minister’s website here.

CIOs in Conversation: Dave Adamson

CIOs in Conversation: Dave Adamson

October 18, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

There’s two weeks left until this year’s much anticipated GTEC (Government and Technology Conference) and as such, we’re featuring a timely conversation with Dave Adamson, Assistant Deputy Minister at Shared Services Canada (SSC) of cloud brokering.

Dave Adamson Source: Linkedin

Dave Adamson
Source: Linkedin

The IM/IT Community Enablement team at the Treasury Board Secretariat sat down with Mr. Adamson as part of their Pathway to IM/IT Leadership Series. The series features interviews with Government of Canada CIOs and highlights their individual career paths, exploring the role of CIO on a personal level.

Mr. Adamson’s focus at SSC has been to enable science-based departments to benefit from internal and external cloud-based services in a consistent, economical and responsive manner.

He has also been the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for nearly three years at Treasury Board and prior to that, was the Chief Information Officer at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Overall, he has more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sectors in systems implementation, large-scale project management and in operations management.

How long were you the Deputy CIO for the Government of Canada and how would you describe the role?

It was just short of two and a half years, including a period of about five months as Acting CIO. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the Deputy CIO role in terms of the breadth of files seen there or really understanding the unique role that Treasury Board Secretariat plays in government. I can honestly say I learned something new every day and it was a privilege to be part of such a remarkable team at TBS. CIOs are well-schooled in the IT and IM spaces but add to that access to information and privacy, service, DSO security and project oversight – these are areas that are very active, often in the news and were key learning challenges to me.

What led you to the role of Deputy CIO and what were you doing before?

I belonged to IT organizations long before I ever heard of the CIO title. At my first summer job as a computer operator at the Unemployment Insurance Commission, I got to see firsthand what the IT world looked like and how it was changing so rapidly, even then. While I was there, I met a very interesting man who’d just come from Japan as an expert consultant in Burroughs Online Systems and he turned out to be the key to my future career. Burroughs was a big manufacturer of mainframes in those days and he was testing something quite new: computer to computer communications.

I would hang around him as much as possible on the night shift as he did his magic and he would tell me a little bit about what he was doing and why. This gave me a great appetite for knowing more about computers and programming languages. I remember going home and telling my mom how interesting I thought my work was and she more or less said “well, that’s never going to go anywhere—computers are just a fad.” (laughs)

When I was going to university, I obtained a summer job doing COBOL programming for a consulting firm. At that time I had few apparent skills apart from being able to write FORTRAN and COBOL programs—the President took a big risk and gave me the time to learn and become more proficient while earning a salary. I can honestly say that my secret for programming success was making every possible mistake in the book and then learning from each mistake.

One of the important things that the President of the consulting firm did was to bring me to the Unemployment Insurance Office to watch the people who were applying for income support benefits and looking for work. He wanted me to see how the system worked – what the experience of being unemployed looked like, so that I could see (and feel) how we needed to develop and refine products that would help citizens get back on their feet again. In hindsight, that may have been one of the most important lessons in my career – being sure to relate whatever I was doing at the keyboard to the impact it would have on people’s lives. I believe this is a key way of thinking about business problems in an innovative way.

“When a career opportunity came along, I would always ask myself: why not me?”

I initially had no ambition to become CIO or do much more than write COBOL programs. When a career opportunity came along, I would always ask myself: why not me? And that’s been my guiding star for pretty well my whole career. I haven’t had long-term goals and I think that’s probably a good thing. Since then I have had a series of great opportunities in both public and private sectors, eventually becoming a CIO at Justice Canada and then CIO at Citizenship and Immigration – experiences which gave me the background to be considered for the Deputy CIO GC role.

I knew something about online systems, but not a lot. We worked hard for probably eight months [trying to get the complex requirements for the system right.] It had so many transactions to run through, when you think about it – the external world of immigration, people coming to Canada and, and security. Imagine how many people that system has touched, including the internal workers who [used it every day.]

Can you point to a specific project that was meaningful to you?

One of the most rewarding projects I ever participated in was the modernization of FOSS – the Field Operation Support System at Employment and Immigration Canada. It was the mid-80s and online systems had really come into their own. It was also the first time I managed a team. We were given this challenge of reinventing a previous version of FOSS into a completely different technology environment – online systems on a Burroughs mainframe – and we had about 6 months to do it.

We worked around the clock in a race to create the necessary functionality while at the same time make it run on a computer that had about the same power as a 386 computer! I got to be a part of the beginning of FOSS as an online database, and ironically I returned to CIC 25 years later, just as the plan to eliminate FOSS was being finalized as the new Global Case Management System (GCMS) had been implemented for CIC business. Very proud to say that my colleagues at CIC and CBSA pulled the plug on FOSS in late 2015 – interesting to note that it probably took more work to decommission this mission-critical system than it took to build it – something we’ll need to focus on as we re-think how we will support business needs in the future.

Speaking of databases and information management, how do you see IM fitting into the CIO’s role in the future?

I think we’re finally getting to a point where we can really begin to think about the value of information, and more importantly, the value we’re not getting from all the information that we gather as a government. There is an incredible shortfall in information benefits realization as our policies, legislation and current practices get in the way of better service, more “joined-up” government and being much more proactive than we are now.

“CIOs need to focus on what could be done with our information assets while protecting privacy. Open Government is one key piece…”

CIOs need to focus on what could be done with our information assets while protecting privacy. Open Government is one key piece – developing APIs that make the use of Open Data much easier are another.

You’ve witnessed a lot of technological change in your career. How should IT professionals be looking at this change in terms of their careers?

The temporal nature of technology is something that I often think about and I pay a lot of attention to this by reading, talking to external experts and colleagues who have new and interesting ideas. We are at a major tipping point in technology in government – many industries have already tipped and we can learn from them about what works and what doesn’t.

Cloud will enable GC business units to have incredibly fast access to state of the art solutions without the long lead times of development, test and implementation. Speed will be very different. IT workers need to “tip” towards the skills that go along with cloud: business analysis, and business integration for example, as we look beyond the GC into provincial and municipal needs that we will be able to meet on a single platform. Similarly data analytics, but much more focused on tactical solutions. For example, what is all the information you need to manage a workforce, rather than how to deploy a BI tool and manage the extract, transform and load (ETL) function.

So my advice is to take the time to pay close attention to what’s happening in the bigger world; reshape your skills and move to where the demand will be. I don’t think that’s the answer everyone is going to want to hear but I think we all need to be realistic about this.

Do any metaphors come to mind to describe the type of work you do?

A teacher. Not necessarily having all the answers, but being able to ask the right questions and take people on a journey of explo-ration and to instill and encourage curiosity.

The wrecking ball metaphor as well. We had a couple of people from New Zealand talk to us recently about how they currently have a strong focus on 17 to 18-year old children who seem to be headed the wrong way. They combine information about school grades, truancy rates, trouble with the law, family situations and other indicators and focus more resources on helping these high-risk kids – sometimes 10 or 20 times more resources – including intervening with parents to attempt to avoid problems down the road. In Canada, we don’t do that. We have walls around data in the name of privacy and we do not share information, even for a citizen’s benefit. The wrecking ball will break down the barriers that need rethinking, as appropriate, especially if CIOs and their teams can show the enormous unrealized value of our collective information holdings.

“So my best advice to IT workers is to talk business, leverage our information assets, leverage the best in class platforms, and then do it again.”

So my best advice to IT workers is to talk business, leverage our information assets, leverage the best in class platforms, and then do it again. Rethink how you will contribute to this virtuous cycle for our society, our science, our businesses and our staff.

As we speak, I am actually feeling envious of our new workers who will miss the challenge I spent most of my career on in making technology work, but instead will enjoy the challenge of using technologies to make the world better – there are so many possibilities. Dig in and spend some time observing what people really want from government and the many ways that might happen.

“Lastly, keep learning.”

Lastly, keep learning. I was extremely fortunate to have attended an MBA program when I was 50 years old. The learnings from the program were a very key ingredient to my later successes and have given me a thirst for learning, an incredible network and many new friendships that will last a lifetime. There are so many ways to learn nowadays and I recommend that you dedicate some time each day to expanding your horizons, building new contacts and better understanding the business of government.

Celebrate GCWCC 2016 at Soirée FUNction: Thursday October 13

Celebrate GCWCC 2016 at Soirée FUNction: Thursday October 13

October 12, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This Thursday October 13, the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) organizing committees of the central agencies (Privy Council Office, Finance, and Treasury Board) are once again hosting “Soirée FUNction” after last year’s wildly popular event to raise funds for the 2016 campaign.

This year’s event will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (EDT) at the Sir John A. Macdonald building in Ottawa and all public servants are invited. Constructed in the early 1930s, the building is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco/Beaux-Arts architecture in the country. Public servants will also be in the same room that President Obama was during his last visit to Canada!

Harking back to the Sir John A. Macdonald Building’s early years, the evening will feature musical entertainment from the golden age of swing, big band, old standards, and jazz—along with DJ’s spinning contemporary hits. An array of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres will be provided and a wide variety of beverages will be available for purchase. Interactive activities and remarks from senior officials will cap off an energetic evening. Eat, mingle, dance, and donate in style.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis. Last year the event sold out quickly, so act fast! Ticket sales end 24 hours before the event and will not be available at the door due to security concerns. This event calls for semi-formal or business attire.

Remember: all funds raised from the event will be donated to this year’s GCWCC.

Public servants are being asked to ensure that their first name and last name on the ticket matches their government-issued I.D., as tickets are non-transferable. As well to accommodate security issues, suggested staggered arrival times will be provided closer to the event date.

Be the face of change by partaking in this amazing event which aims to connect federal public servants and celebrate the fantastic work of the organizations supported by the GCWCC.

Other Links

To register for this year’s Soirée FUNction, click here.

For more information about Soirée FUNction, email the organizers here.

This Wednesday: Empowering Leaders in the Public Sector

This Wednesday: Empowering Leaders in the Public Sector

October 11, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EDT), the Canadian Public Sector Excellence Network presents an event open to all public servants titled, “Empowering Leaders in the Public Sector: leading, managing and thriving.”

The event takes place in Ottawa at City Hall on 110 Laurier Avenue West and will feature the following keynote speaker and panelists:

Keynote Speaker and Panelists
  • Scott Stevenson – Special Advisor for Real Property at Public Services and Procurement Canada;
  • Alison Campbell – Director of Corporate Services Employment Social Development Canada;
  • Bob Peck – Special Advisor to the FSP Global Affairs Canada and Former Ambassador to Greece;
  • Marianne Phillips – Director of Human Resources, City of Ottawa; and
  • Paul Crookall – Excellence Canada.
Keynote Speaker

Scott Stevenson recently completed an action-research project on leadership and organizational change as a public servant in Residence at the University of Ottawa, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Scott will share his insights on the nature of change, organizational transformation, and leadership in the public sector. His bottom-line observation is that leadership should be part of what defines being a professional public servant.

Panel

Bob Peck, Alison Campbell, Marianne Philips and Paul Crookall are the panelists for this evening and will discuss strategies in being a leader in your own public service position.

Lifetime Achievement Award

CPSEN-Excellence Canada Public Sector Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award – 2016
The 2016 Award will be presented during the evening to Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, OMM, CD, Vice-Chief of Defence Staff.

Annual General Meeting

The evening will end with the CPSEN Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election of the position of Secretary. To access nomination forms and instructions of where to send, go to www.cpsen.ca/nominations.

Agenda

5:30-6:00 Registration and Networking
6:00-6:30 Dinner – Buffet
6:30-6:35 Introductions
6:35-7:35 Presentation on Leadership
7:35-8:05 Panel on Leadership
8:05-8:15 Health Break and Networking
8:15-8:35 Lifetime Achievement Award
8:35-8:40 Break
8:40-9:00 Announcements & Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Other Links

To register for this event, click here.

Public Service Mourns Loss of CBSA Officer

Public Service Mourns Loss of CBSA Officer

September 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The public service is mourning the loss of a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer, after being found dead at Terminal 3 of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Friday night.

Peel Regional Police said that a man had shot himself inside the airport but not in a public space and that police were treating the death as a suicide.

CBSA issued the following statement:

At approximately 8:00 p.m. on September 23, 2016, first responders were dispatched to Terminal 3 of the Toronto Pearson International Airport. A Border Services Officer was found deceased in the CBSA employee area.

As the CBSA grieves the loss of one of its officers, we are committed to supporting the officer’s family and colleagues during this difficult time. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family.

While the exact circumstances of the incident have yet to be determined, the Peel Regional Police Service continues to investigate. The CBSA will also conduct a thorough review.

Out of respect for the family, the CBSA is not disclosing further details at this time.

Other Links

Read the official statement on CBSA’s website here.

Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – September 2

Changes Announced to the Senior Ranks of the Public Service – September 2

September 2, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

This afternoon it was announced that:

Nathalie G. Drouin, currently Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General, gouvernement du Québec, becomes Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, effective September 12, 2016.

Taki Sarantakis, currently Assistant Secretary, Economic Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat, becomes Associate Secretary of the Treasury Board, effective September 12, 2016.

To read the biographies click below:

Other Links

Read the official news release on the Prime Minister’s website here.

Minister Issues Written Apology to All Affected by Phoenix

Minister Issues Written Apology to All Affected by Phoenix

August 26, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

The Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has issued a written apology to all Government of Canada employees affected by the public service’s new pay system, Phoenix.

It comes almost two and a half years since the Associate Deputy of PSPC and pay modernization at the time, Renée Jolicoeur, received the Outstanding Achievement Award for various career accomplishments which is considered, “the highest expression of recognition for senior public servants in the Public Service of Canada.”

One of Jolicoeur’s career accomplishments listed was, “transforming the Government’s outdated pension administration into a seamless and centralized electronic system, and modernizing the compensation function by creating a fully automated and consolidated compensation service centre.

She launched the pay modernization and consolidation initiative to modernize a 40-year-old IT system and to create a compensation service centre through the consolidation of all pay advisory services and functions for government departments. She has been instrumental in working across government and with bargaining agents to mobilize compensation advisors in support of this important initiative, as well as with the Government of New Brunswick and post-secondary institutions to develop a training and recruitment initiative to create a pool of skilled compensation service providers.”

The Prime Minister at the time was quoted as saying, “Ms. Jolicoeur is a world-class innovator who has transformed outdated government pension and pay systems into cutting edge operations that have saved taxpayers money, provided better services to Canadians, and which are envied around the world.”

Fast forward to last week when the Minister of PSPC said that the cost to fix Phoenix has so far totalled $25 million and counting.

And this week, unions have continued to be vocal in their claims that they weren’t heard when they issued warnings about Phoenix:

Read the Minister’s written apology to public servants below:

No one should have to worry about being paid for work performed. The pay problems experienced by some of our employees are unacceptable. To the public servants and families impacted by the issues with the public service pay system, I am sorry. Please accept my apologies.

Fixing this situation is a top priority for me.

We have added more staff to the Pay Centre in Miramichi and created four satellite pay units to fix pay problems faster. We will continue to hire as many additional pay advisors as we can. I have seen firsthand how hard employees in these centres are working to fix problems with speed and accuracy. I thank them for their service.

Priority is being given to those individuals most at risk. In the meantime, employees can request and receive emergency payments from their department, which can be issued within 24-48 hours.

We are working with our colleagues at Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure affected employees who have incurred costs resulting from the implementation of the new pay system will be able to submit a claim to be reimbursed for these expenses.

We have also made it easier for employees to get information. An enhanced call centre is in place and Public Services and Procurement Canada is providing regular updates on its website and via public technical briefings.

Unions are providing important assistance by identifying employee pay problems and supporting solutions, such as the hiring of compensation advisors. Last week I met with union representatives as part of this partnership. All parties expressed a shared concern for employees and we committed to keep working together to support them and remain responsive to their needs.

While there is still a significant number of affected employees, we are making progress. Outstanding issues are being resolved, and this work is happening as quickly as possible. Anyone who has a pay problem can get help by calling Public Services and Procurement Canada at 1-855-686-4729 or by completing the department’s online feedback form. That form may also be used to request an emergency salary payment.

We are committed to addressing issues caused by the pay transformation initiative. The determination and dedication of employees throughout the Government to help resolve this unacceptable pay situation, will ensure we get through this challenging period together.

Judy M. Foote
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Other Links

Read the Minister’s written apology on the Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website here.