By mid-morning yesterday, public servants were wondering when was the last time a Prime Minister ever kicked off National Public Service Week:

The answer is never, which the Canada School of Public Service confirmed:

At yesterday’s town hall with Clerk Michael Wernick, it was the first time ever a sitting Prime Minister addressed the public service for National Public Service Week.

The event even drew in audiences from overseas:

The event was billed as a town hall with the Clerk via the Canada School of Public Service to discuss empowering young public servants but the Prime Minister was also on hand as a surprise guest in his capacity as Minister of Youth.

In addition, the President of the Treasury Board and Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions were also there as surprise guests.

Some public servants questioned why the event couldn’t be more inclusive and be framed around empowering all public servants instead of just one demographic:

“how about empowering all public servants? “Generations” represent richness of experience AND fresh perspectives”

“How about we start empowering the ones who are there now?”

The event began with a video montage of public servants sharing their public service pride:

While there were inspiring messages to public servants from the guest speakers, there were also honest ones. The Prime Minister was up front about the importance of ensuring that young public servants have the tools to be active, engaged, connected decision makers. He continued to say that the public service is still not doing a very good job of adapting to advances in mobile technology.

The Prime Minister speaking with public servants:

The President of the Treasury Board also spoke about the challenges surrounding modernizing the public service. He reiterated that it’s clear the IT infrastructure needs to be upgraded in the public service. He added, that this is an area where millennials can provide support in, as they can relate to and understand, being brought up with a digital by default mindset.

The Clerk reiterated that GCTools such as GCConnex and GCPedia are there for public servants to use in order to collaborate and innovate. Read the Clerk’s message below to all public servants for National Public Service Week.

The Minister for Democratic Institutions stressed the importance of mentoring, and shared that she’s had over one hundred mentors throughout her career to date. She also said, that if it wasn’t for the support from her mentors, she wouldn’t have found the courage to run for member of Parliament.


Clerk’s Message

National Public Service Week is a time to recognize the contributions of Canada’s federal public servants. As Clerk of the Privy Council, I am pleased to tell you that what I see in the Public Service today inspires me and gives me hope for the Public Service of tomorrow.

I see federal public servants embracing technology to find innovative solutions to complex problems; making strides in creating healthy workplaces; and finding new ways to collaborate with partners and stakeholders inside and outside government.

I see a Public Service that is committed to ongoing learning and to renewing and reinventing itself. This makes me proud. Public servants know this is what we need to do to meet Canadians’ rising expectations and to build a better country for the good of all. During National Public Service Week, we also need to celebrate the abiding values of the Public Service that will not change: respect for democracy, respect for people, integrity, stewardship, and excellence. Most recently, these values shone in our response to the wildfires in Alberta. You can find out more about the great work being done across the Public Service in my Annual Report to the Prime Minister.

I want to thank all of you for your contributions over the past year. You did a tremendous job. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, also values the contributions you make. I encourage you to read the message he issued yesterday.

In celebrating National Public Service Week with fellow federal public servants and in conversations with friends, family and neighbours, I want to encourage every one of you to reflect on the importance of the Public Service to Canada and to take great pride in the work you are doing.

Michael Wernick
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

Other Links

Read the Clerk’s official message to all public servants on his Facebook page here.

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