Renewal at Canadian Heritage Report to the Clerk – 2016
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©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, (2016).
Catalogue No. CH1-35E-PDF
Table of contents
- A respectful workplace with a focus on mental health
- Recruiting new and diverse employees
- Welcoming and integrating new employees
- Making the best use of our talent
- Supporting experienced employees to transfer knowledge to the next generation of leaders
- Other actions to renew the public service
- Learning from failure
- Tiger teams
- Design thinking
- Embedding innovation in all our core business responsibilities
- Delivering better outcomes through greater consultation, more openness and collaboration
- Annex A
- Annex B
- Annex C
- Annex D
- Annex E
A respectful workplace with a focus on mental health
2015-16 brought many changes and new initiatives. As employees, we are being asked to think differently about the work we do and how we do it, in order to meet the rising expectations of Canadians. While we take pride in meeting these expectations, the pace of modernization and renewal creates significant challenges as we have seen much of our day-to-day work change – from the grants and contributions modernization and delegation of funding decisions, to the email transformation initiative, to Phoenix – in a context where our resources have been substantially reduced.
The arrival of a new Government in October 2015 also contributed to the pace and magnitude of change, and made for a stimulating but demanding transition period. Canadian Heritage certainly had its share of priorities to deliver, ranging from Rio 2016, to cross-country consultations on official languages as well as Canadian content in a digital world, and the preparations for Canada150, just to name a few.
Although the combination of priority files and organization-wide transformation is exciting for many, it also creates tremendous pressure. At a time when mental health issues are on the rise throughout society, how do we ensure that we organize our workplace in such a way so as to prevent psychological harm, promote well-being, and resolve any incidents that arise?
Canadian Heritage has an Ombudsman model that is well-enshrined in the corporate culture. It is a trusted safe space that serves as a one-stop shop to resolve the widest possible range of issues. The Ombudsman provides managers and employees a confidential environment to have informal conversations with someone impartial and independent. Our office of Values and Ethics (OVE) – under the leadership of the Ombudsman– also provides services related to organizational health under the same umbrella, such as wellness activities, pro-active disability management, and the application of the Code of Values and Ethics.
At PCH, we have also been creating the space for employees to feel comfortable to talk about mental health issues in the workplace with initiatives like the “Not Myself Today” awareness campaign aimed at reducing stigma around mental health, and ensuring that individuals struggling with mental health challenges are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.
Employee testimonial on mental health and wellness support. Play video.
We are seeing the positive impacts of this campaign as PCH employees engage in mental health and workplace wellness discussions like never before. 78% of respondents to our survey after Year One indicated that PCH pays attention to mental health issues, which represents a 27% increase since 2015.
A few words from the Ombudsman. Play video.
In addition to creating space to talk about mental health issues, we have also put in place mechanisms to collect data that will inform decision-making at all levels of management. For instance, the OVE shares an annual report that summarizes the concerns raised by its users, providing an overview of PCH’s organizational health, and identifying key factors affecting employees and the workplace. The OVE also produces an organizational health dashboard that the Ombudsman presents to the Executive Committee on a monthly basis in order to prompt a discussion about workplace trends or concerns that may emerge from the data.
Moreover, we had opportunities to hear directly from employees on how things are going in the workplace. In May 2016, we organized a department-wide town hall meeting to have an open dialogue with employees on the challenges and opportunities facing the Department. Much of the meeting was dedicated to questions from staff. Employees were able to share their thoughts and ask questions in person. For employees who couldn’t or didn’t wish to ask questions orally, a text messaging system was created, allowing their questions to be added to the queue and displayed in turn for management to answer.
Employee testimonial on the PCH town hall. Play video.
Although we could only take a limited number of questions during the town hall, we committed to answering every single question in the weeks that followed. A GCconnex page was created to continue the dialogue online. More than 120 employee questions were submitted and analyzed to see what they revealed about organizational health. Questions were divided up among senior management, who were asked to respond in the most candid way possible. All questions and answers were posted on GCConnex so they could be shared with the whole Department.
Following the town hall, we developed an action plan called “PCH in Action” that responds to the concerns raised by employees, and are now focusing on five areas of action that were identified.
One of our biggest take-aways from the town hall meeting was the importance of consistent and transparent communication follow-up. To ensure effective and timely communication, we created a permanent section on the PCH intranet page where information on these priority areas is housed and where employees can monitor progress.
As part of the discussions, employees requested more meaningful opportunities to provide feedback on how management is doing in leading the Department.
In response, we created an innovative survey tool called “Over To You”, which was designed for employees to give feedback on the health of the organization and the performance of their managers at all levels. This survey is comprised of approximately ten questions and takes about five minutes to complete.
This new tool is ground-breaking in that it allows us to determine where to focus our efforts by asking very specific questions, starting with how the Deputy Ministers are doing in leading the Department. It also allows us to take the pulse of the organization and get much faster feedback, as it is sent out every four months.
To ensure that everyone’s concerns are heard, employees have the opportunity to suggest questions for future editions of the survey. The results are compiled and published at the sector and branch levels, so employees can see how we are doing and help us improve.
As we take action to address concerns, this tool will allow us to keep measuring our progress over time in order to see if the actions taken are having the desired impact.
Recruiting new and diverse employees
Over the past few years, PCH has seen a compression of its workforce from over 2300 FTEs to today's approximately 1750 FTEs. We have right-sized our expenditures and been responsive to government-wide reduction initiatives including the recent operating budget freeze. Our current focus is on modernizing our chief business line of managing grants and contributions. This entails business process and systems changes, as well as identifying workforce skills and competencies for the future. While we are not currently in an aggressive recruitment posture, due to the reasons listed above, we are preparing for enhanced recruitment in the future. In the meantime, we are maximizing our limited recruitment scope, creating partnerships with post-secondary institutions and offering internships.
This past year, Canadian Heritage contributed to the government’s efforts to strengthen the representation, recruitment and retention of Indigenous youth. Along with 11 other departments, PCH offered employment opportunities to Indigenous students through the Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Program.
PCH seeks to enhance its geographic diversity for student hiring, which represents an ongoing challenge. Our efforts in this area this year did not generate the results we anticipated. Moving forward, we will reinforce the message and increase accountability among managers to seek students from a broader range of post-secondary institutions across Canada.
We are also committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and diverse workplace. While
PCH exceeds availability estimates in all employment equity designated groups, with the exception of visible minorities, this is going to be our priority going forward.
Our bilingualism is another essential part of our diversity. At PCH, we have created an environment where employees feel they can express themselves in either French or English. The latest Public Service Employee Survey results have shown that 96% of our employees feel free to use the official language of their choice when communicating with their immediate supervisor, and that 93% feel free to use the official language of their choice during meetings in their work unit. These are great results, but we believe there is always room for improvement.
Promoting official languages remains a priority at PCH. This year, we introduced a Guide to Developing Official Languages Clauses in Transfer Payment Agreements at Canadian Heritage– a substantively revised version of the reference resource entitled Implementing the Policy and Directive on Transfer Payments at PCH: A Guide to Establish Official Languages Requirements. The objective of the guide is to provide those responsible for programs with guidance and tools in order to assist them when the time comes to determine the appropriate official languages clauses to be included in transfer payment agreements, and to ensure their appropriate implementation and monitoring.
The guide was shared with the Official Languages Centre of Excellence, Official Languages Champions in other departments as well as the Sub-Working Group on Official Languages of Treasury Board’s Working Group on the Guidance Series. The Sub-Working Group on Official Languages has shared the PCH Guide with all its members and is using it as a best practice.
Furthermore, over the course of the Fall, our Associate Deputy Minister, Patrick Borbey, and Matthew Mendelsohn at PCO– along with a working group supported by TBS and our Official Languages Branch – have been looking at how we can improve and enhance the use of Canada’s official languages within the Public Service by providing employees with the required leadership, tools, experiences and opportunities to fully embrace and optimize their two official languages.
Video produced by PCH employees to explain Part VII of the Official Languages Act. Play video.
Welcoming and integrating new employees
A departmental onboarding strategy was developed to integrate new employees and help them contribute from the start by providing them with the tools, resources and knowledge needed to ensure the success of this important step.
We developed orientation guides tailored for employees, managers and executives, and made them available online. We also revamped our orientation program for new employees, which will now be offered online and allow employees to do the required training in their own time and at their own pace.
Moreover, we are piloting an entry-interview with our limited number of hires, to see how we are doing in terms of onboarding in order to prepare for future hires.
Making the best use of our talent
At PCH, we encourage micro-missions to bring some flexibility to the rigid organizational structures and allow employees to expand their network and enhance their career development, while offering their expertise in another area outside of their usual work descriptions. These informal assignments are great as they require no paperwork or money exchanges, and allow employees to remain in their work unit, while working on a temporary project within another work unit or even another department.
25 PCH employees on micro-missions participated in the making of the publicity video for Canada’s 150th. Play video
Prior to the launch of the interdepartmental micro-missions pilot project by the Treasury Board Secretariat, PCH was well-advanced in the implementation of Grapevine, a GCPedia platform which included micro-assignments. As one of the participating departments of the micro-missions pilot, PCH committed to offering 4 micro-missions. By the end of the pilot project, PCH had offered 47 micro-mission opportunities (35% of total offerings).
PCH also enabled other departments to get involved. On September 4, 2016, we organized a micro-mission fair that hosted approximately 60 participants from various departments. This fair brought together managers looking for resources to carry out a finite project and employees looking for opportunities to learn and build their network. 32 micro-missions were offered to participants at the fair.
Although PCH initiated the fair and offered many opportunities, the challenge we faced was a low participation rate from our employees, as the majority of the opportunities offered at the fair were filled by employees from other departments. We are now exploring different strategies to encourage employee participation.
PCH has a Talent Management Board (TMB) that provides recommendations to the Deputy Minister on matters related to PCH’s executive community. Core agenda items of the TMB meetings include: proposed staffing approaches for upcoming vacancies; leadership development; and the performance management program. Decisions and recommendations are made on resourcing and classification of EX positions, leadership development opportunities, performance issues, and succession planning.
Communities of practice:
PCH offers and promotes a wide range of communities, offering employees a platform to broaden their network, exchange ideas and collaborate. They include:
Directors' Forum/Directors’ General Forum: Executives have regular opportunities to discuss specific tasks or issues of concern to their community and share information on common challenges. It also provides a venue to advise the Executive Committee on issues of concern.
Managers’ Community of Practice: Since 2005, PCH's Managers' Community of Practice has been bringing together managers (EX minus 1 and minus 2 equivalents with staff supervision) from across the Department to share their experience, insights, tools and best practices, and to discuss common interests and challenges amongst colleagues. The Community accounts for over 130 members from coast to coast.
GenerAction: a professional development network that encourages employees to learn, connect and get involved. This network organizes activities that bring members together and provides networking, social and educational opportunities (e.g. brown bag lunches; professional and personal development activities; interdepartmental events).
Supporting experienced employees to transfer knowledge to the next generation of leaders
The loss of experience and corporate knowledge due to a reduced workforce is an ongoing concern of our government.
In response to this risk, the PCH Knowledge Transfer Toolkit was developed in collaboration with union representatives, and employees of all levels in the NCR and regional offices. The Toolkit provides step-by-step guidance on: effective integrated HR and business planning; and various ways of transferring key knowledge including mentoring, job shadowing and exit interviews. Knowledge transfer mechanisms such as this enable workers of different generations, fields and tenures to work together in transferring the critical knowledge needed to deliver on PCH’s mandate now and into the future.
Moreover, in order to train the next generation of leaders at PCH, GenerAction—a professional development network devoted to intergenerational collaboration—launched an interdepartmental mini-mentorship program. With 14 participating departments and mentors ranging from director to DM levels, this program is the first of its kind in the Public Service.
This mini-mentorship pilot consists of a 3-month commitment between a mentor and a mentee. Mentees receive guidance and helpful advice from their mentors on how to launch and maintain a successful career in the federal public service. GenerAction successfully completed two phases of the program. The first phase paired 8 mentees with mentors in different regions at Canadian Heritage, while the second phase paired 18 mentees with mentors in 14 departments.
We have seen the positive impacts of this initiative as participants shared their experience with us. In addition to providing a unique learning experience to both mentors and mentees, this program helped create interdepartmental relationships.
GenerAction is now laying the groundwork for a third phase, and is aiming to expand the mentor bank to 50 mentors and mentees. Phase three will pilot an online platform to pair participants based on common interests.
As we strive to build the right team to succeed in the years to come, PCH also committed to taking part in the “Take Me with You” movement – along with more than 15 other participating departments. With this campaign, we are encouraging executives to take employees to meetings that relate to files they are working and/or their career development goals. We are also encouraging employees to approach executives and ask for opportunities to be taken to meetings.
Offering junior employees a seat at the table will not only give them the opportunity to see first-hand how their work fits into the bigger picture, it will also allow them to contribute to the discussions and bring different perspectives to the table.
Take Me with You campaign explained. Play video.
Other actions to renew the public service
A culture of innovation and smart risk-taking is helping us better serve Government and Canadians.
At PCH, we have been creating the conditions for innovation to flourish, and we are proud to say that it is now part of our daily lives, with close to 80% of employees indicating that they are encouraged to innovate in their work.
The support and risk tolerance from executive-level champions were key factors in motivating action, removing roadblocks and giving employees the time away from their regular responsibilities to work on temporary projects outside of their usual work descriptions.
Blueprint Secretariat-led initiatives such as the Micro-Innovation Award–for which this year’s focus was the Work-OUT challenge–have also been instrumental for instilling enthusiasm for innovation in the workplace, while helping us “work out” overly complicated or unnecessary business processes. This award is intended to celebrate employees who try something new or different in pursuit of improvement, in particular to eliminate processes or tasks that are no longer useful; encourage and facilitate the replication and scaling of innovations that work; and recognize that all innovations–however small–can have a big impact.
Another one of our key success factors is the PCH Innovation Fund– an employee-led initiative that incubates innovation across the Department. With a notional budget of $100,000, the Innovation Fund supports projects pitched by PCH employees and funds the testing of those that are scalable across the Department once piloted. The funds are meant to cover startup costs, including research, development and implementation.
This is Year Two of the Fund. In Year One, the entirety of the budget was distributed and funded projects such as an Aboriginal Artistic Expressions Series and a video clip that explains Part VII of the Official Languages Act in a simple way.
So far this year, the board has reviewed nine proposals, and has worked to develop projects including: optimizing software to create efficiencies and increase collaboration; and applying LEAN methodology to improve services to clients. To date, approximately $54,000 has been disbursed.
Realizing that collaboration and engagement are just as important as providing financial means to help project leads bring their ideas to life, the role of the Innovation Fund has evolved. This year, the Fund’s activities also include: encouraging employee participation through workshops designed to give staff more confidence to pitch their ideas and projects; increased outreach across PCH and the public service via newsletters, social media presence, and an ambassadors’ network; and conducting a priority-setting exercise to identify what needs to be done to drive the innovation agenda forward within the Department and in a whole-of-government context.
These initiatives played an important role in helping us create the conditions for innovation to thrive at Canadian Heritage. Given the right tools and resources, and a licence to innovate, PCH employees have been remodeling the Department– including the workspace– in keeping with the vision of Blueprint 2020.
The creation of a google-type workspace that gives employees the opportunity to work together, network and innovate is a prime example of this year’s employee-led initiatives. This project brought together employees from different backgrounds and PCH sectors. The result is a space appreciated by all, democratically named The Zone, where employees can borrow books, have meetings and work. It features erasable walls on which people can write, a stimulating environment, and a treadmill.
Virtual tour of the Zone video. Play video.
Learning from failure
We acknowledge that everything we try won’t necessarily work on the first try. Some of our initiatives did not yield the results we anticipated this year. For instance, since the Government of Canada is undergoing an important IT transformation that will have an impact on the CS community, we launched a CS Development Program aimed at developing employees’ technical and managerial competencies, and building the skills needed for the future including: strategic thinking; enterprise awareness; project management; and business analysis. The program offered a combination of learning methods, including assignments, on-the-job training, mentoring, and shadowing.
While all agree that the idea behind this program was excellent, its implementation was a failure. The main reason is that the choice of assignments was done before the selection of candidates. The interests, development needs and career aspirations of the candidates were not taken into account.
The program has not met the participants’ expectations since it has not allowed them to develop skills they intend to use in their careers. They felt that the program was imposed and didn’t see it as a development opportunity.
The program remains relevant as development needs are still present. However, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that it meets the expectations of participants.
Another example of what didn’t work this year was our failure to get the majority of employees to sign up for and use the new GC 2.0 tools. These new tools are different than what employees have been using, and require a time investment in order to learn how to navigate them. Since change is not something that all employees are comfortable with, our efforts were not sufficient to generate the interest we wanted, despite the fact that these new GC tools are superior to the old tools.
We recognize that changing perceptions of failure requires a shift in our organizational culture. However, we believe it is a necessary and achievable step that will remove the fear of failure that limits employees’ willingness to try new things and take reasonable risks. A psychologically safe culture that embraces experimentation and allows failure will bolster employees’ natural desire for creativity, change, and innovation as they can be comfortable no matter the results.
We have been emphasizing the importance of learning from failure, and have made progress towards creating a culture that is more tolerant to risk and open to experimentation in order to provide a psychologically safe environment for employees to test new ideas without fear of failure. Our priority is making sure that employees are not blamed when things don’t work out as planned, but rather congratulated for their efforts and encouraged to channel their creative energy to find solutions.
As part of our efforts in changing the culture, the PCH Blueprint Secretariat invested in a series of workshops specifically designed to help employees–of all levels– change their views about failure in order to allow learning and innovation to thrive. The series was delivered in three parts: starting the conversation (September 2015); building the skill of failure (October 2015 and January 2016); and developing tools for intelligent failure (February 2016).
The workshop series reached more than 250 participants and enabled them to develop eight prototypes aimed at improving our workplace. One of the prototypes is a new corporate commitment, which was drafted and proposed by a group of employees, with the intention of creating a mechanism that institutionalizes the space for risk-taking and experimentation. This commitment was adopted and added to performance agreements of all PCH executives in 2016-2017.
At PCH, we are also building the habit of doing a lessons learned exercise after completion of innovation initiatives in order to look back at what’s been done, what we’ve learned, and what could be improved.
From January 2015 to June 2016, approximately 25 employee-led innovation initiatives were completed. The ideas for these projects came from all corners of the Department, highlighting the talent and innovative potential of all PCH employees. From July to September 2016, 10 groups out of the 25 participated in a lessons learned workshop that brought together participants and enablers involved in the initiatives to discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and key takeaways.
The lessons learned workshops have shown that employee-driven innovations work and that we need to keep investing in them. We are seeing new leaders shine, greater risk tolerance from executives, and collaboration across sectors, programs, disciplines and hierarchies.
The workshops have also revealed some challenges including a heavy workload, and poor definition of roles and responsibilities and/or leadership structures that led to a lack of clarity.
Other areas for improvement include: involving stakeholders from the onset; early testing in order to refine prototypes; and scaling/adoption of innovations that work.
There is no question the innovation initiatives are shifting the way work is done at PCH. The professional development gains alone are enough to justify continued investment in innovation, but that’s not all innovation is about. It’s about thinking differently about the work we do and how we do it, in order to improve our services and deliver value to Canadians.
Testimonials on employee-led innovations. Play video.
Our lively culture of innovation created the space for PCH employees to test new ideas and help us meet the evolving and complex needs of Canadians with creative, current and relevant solutions.
For instance, the Department has established tiger teams comprised of employees at all levels to support governance committees that focus on policy, programs and results management. Based on the premise that understanding a complex issue area is a task greater than a single box in a single silo, a tiger team is an inclusive way to leverage diverse skills, experience, perspectives and expertise in the service of collaborative problem-solving. These time-limited, task-oriented, horizontal groups come together in ways that cut through barriers such as silos and rank.
As a means to deliver fast, thorough and innovative results, three new tiger teams have been established this year in the following areas:
Grants and Contributions: This team was established to support the management of grants and contributions (Gs&Cs) delivery in the Department. The tiger team’s primary responsibilities are to review, challenge, and validate different proposals and solutions relating to Gs&Cs program delivery across the Department. This team will build on innovative approaches already undertaken at PCH, resulting in our service standards shortening by 20% since 2010. It will also provide guidance and support in the Department’s efforts to transform its Gs&Cs business model.
Deliverology: This team supports and challenges the Department towards higher organizational performance with a view to positive impacts and improved results for Canadians. The tiger team is dedicated to examining the impact of what we do beyond the short-term and follows the mantra, “If you are thinking of an idea that you can solve in a lifetime, then you are thinking too small.”
Experimentation: This team serves as ambassadors to gain and share knowledge on experimentation; build capacity for program experimentation to be adopted throughout PCH; and solicit and advise on departmental proposals.
Also in the spirit of testing new ways to achieve results, PCH employees have been experimenting with hackathons and using “design thinking” – a user-centric design process – as a way of exploring potential solutions. A “hackathon” is a time-limited event during which stakeholders from multiple disciplines collaborate to work on innovative solutions and tools to solve a problem. Hackathons are often focused on tools that involve software development and/or technology as part of the problem-solving.
In February 2016, PCH’s Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch and Osgoode Hall Law School, came together to organize the “Orphan Works Licensing Portal Hackathon”, a multi-day hackathon to develop options for licensing of Canadian orphan works– copyright-protected works for which the copyright-holders cannot be found.
A number of stakeholders from various backgrounds and points of view (academia, government and the private sector) took part in the event. This hackathon was a collaboration between Osgoode Hall Law School, Stanford University’s Institute of Design, Lassonde School of Engineering, and PCH’s Copyright and International Trade Policy Branch. The event also hosted guests from the Copyright Board of Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the UK Intellectual Property Office and the US Copyright office.
Participants were tasked to find solutions, develop a prototype, and pitch it to a panel of judges. It was important to keep the client or user at the centre of the solution.
This hackathon not only resulted in five prototypes; it also created a new network to consult on ideas, including international experts. The results may inform future policy development in the area of Orphan works and the use of the Hackathon format to tackle policy issues.
Participants learned that there is value in the process, as having different stakeholders in the same room for three days offered opportunities to learn from each other. They also learned that there is common ground to be found, and that copyright stakeholders with traditionally opposing views can collaborate on ideas for solving problems.
Another lesson learned is that non-stakeholder involvement can bring important perspectives and other skills, but can also slow things down.
Stakeholder testimonial on the Orphan Works Licensing Portal Hackathon. Play video.
Embedding innovation in all our core business responsibilities
Tiger teams and hackathons are just a few examples of how PCH employees tested new ways of doing things this year, but that’s not all.
We are increasingly embedding innovation in all our core business responsibilities. Testing new ways of doing things has helped us create efficiencies in our day-to-day work as we strive to meet the expectations of clients and Canadians for modern programs and service delivery, and we have many accomplishments to be proud of.
For 80% of files, the Minister of Canadian Heritage delegated funding decisions to department officials, improving the speed with which recipients receive the funding they need to deliver programming to Canadians.
We have reduced processing times through the new risk-based approach to funding applications. We were also one of the first departments to publish service standards and report on results. Information on all funding awarded is posted online every two months.
Moreover, we have developed an online tool that makes it easier for clients to apply for funding and manage their file with us. Our pilot programs received over 300 online applications. As it is phased in across programs over the next two years, online service delivery should reduce the administrative burden for both the client and the Department.
Delivering better outcomes through greater consultation, more openness and collaboration
At Canadian Heritage, we have been trying new ways of engaging Canadians in consultations as we strive to deliver better outcomes through more openness and collaboration.
PCH’s consultations on “Canadian Content in a Digital World” is a prime example, providing multiple ways for Canadians and stakeholders to share their views and take part in the conversation.
A web-portal was created to facilitate the consultations. Included on the site are: a video message featuring the Minister of Canadian Heritage, where she invites Canadians from coast to coast to participate in the dialogue; a consultation kit that allows stakeholders and the Canadian public to carry out their own discussions and activities; a “Join the Conversation” section which presents users with both a long consultation paper and a shorter summary version; and a section for Canadian stories, in which citizens can share how Canadian content has affected them. To date, the web-portal has had over 17,000 visitors. 135 ideas, stories and other submissions have also been received.
Moreover, Minister Joly hosted a series of in-person discussions with representatives from various sectors in Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, Iqaluit, Montreal and Edmonton. The Ministerial roundtables brought together groups from many different industries and disciplines, and asked them to work together in discussing issues and proposing solutions. Ministerial roundtables in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton were simultaneously broadcast via Facebook Live, encouraging participation from a greater number of participants virtually. These consultations were meant to feed into and inform ongoing policy development as we seek to strengthen content creation, discovery and export.
In addition to the roundtables, officials from the Department and Minister's office held industry-specific follow-up meetings in five cities and regions in order to have a deeper discussion of specific issues and concerns.
This year, PCH has also launched cross-country consultations toward the development of a new multi-year action plan for official languages, seeking the views of Canadians and key stakeholders on their priorities in this area.
Canadians were able to provide feedback by responding anonymously to an online questionnaire or by joining roundtable discussions organized in all provinces and territories. Different methods– including social media– were used to engage people and publicize upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
Stakeholder testimonial on the cross-country consultations on official languages. Play video.
Also in the spirit of “open by default”, PCH has established governance to support Open Government (OG).
We created the Open Government Coordinating Committee (OGCC) whose role is to: establish governance structures and decision processes that support OG, including the approval process for the release of open data and open information resources; recommend and prioritize OG deliverables for approval by the Information Management Senior Official; and provide input and feedback on PCH’s Open Government Implementation Plan (OGIP) to ensure that the OGIP’s scope aligns with the GoC requirements within the required timeframes.
An OG Working Group was also developed to assist the OG Coordinating Committee in their decisions and to deliver operational support including establishing work plans, developing guidelines for publishing open data, and providing department-wide training on OG initiatives.
The OGCC developed a consolidated PCH-specific action plan which includes the deliverables from the PCH-OGIP, the PCH-led commitments from the Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership, Proactive Disclosure, and the Priorities, Results and Deliverables Framework (deliverology).
We had great response to a departmental callout for datasets and created an inventory of over 400 datasets across programs and workplace management. Next steps include prioritizing datasets for publishing and engaging stakeholders to improve our understanding of what information Canadians want to see.
We continue to work collaboratively with other departments and have representation on four TBS-led committees on Open Government: the GC Open Government Working Group, the Committee on Proactive Disclosure of Grants & Contributions, the Open Government Technical Working Group, and the Open Government Communications Network.
We have accomplished a lot over the past year, in a context where our resources have been substantially reduced and our tools are still catching up. There is still much work to be done and our goals are ambitious, but PCH employees are up for the challenge. Our people are at the heart of our success. Their determination to challenge the status quo, push boundaries and innovate fiercely are among the reasons why PCH is one of Canada’s top 100 employers.
Sample 5 questions and answers from our Departmental Town Hall, held May 2, 2016
1) Many questions were received regarding pay modernization and the problems with the new Phoenix pay system.
Answer: Darlène de Gravina, Director General, Human Resources and Workplace Management Branch
Pay Transformation is one of the largest and most complex initiatives in the Public Service of Canada. We anticipated problems with the migration and put in place measures to ensure that employees receive their pay while Public Services and Procurement Canada is working to resolve the issues with Phoenix and The Pay Services Center. As a result of first efforts by employees to attempt to update their case or resolve a pay issue, including an e-mail to the Client Satisfaction Desk, the Corporate Liaison Officer receives your complaint, register it in the issue register and follow up with the appropriate stakeholders. In addition, for urgent cases, such as when an employee who receives no pay within prescribed service standards, the Finance Branch may offer wage advances. Moreover, it has been confirmed that the Pay Services Center has provided additional problem solving staff and our participation in regular meetings with Public Services and Procurement Canada allows us to provide information on the types of problems encountered and the time it takes to resolve them. In some cases, senior management (HRDG, DM and ADM) is directly involved in raising critical cases and asking for action to rectify the situation.
2) Question: Since bandwidth has been raised as an issue for the department and electronic files/emails aren't getting any smaller, are there any plans in place to effectively deal with this issue, especially since the lack of bandwidth is a significant contributor to the regional glitchiness of GCMI and other programs? (one potential temporary solution is to end the practice of having all regional emails routed through Gatineau and put servers in the regions. This would drastically reduce bandwidth use in the short term)
Answer: Élise Boisjoly, former Chief Information Officer. Play video.
3) Question: You say that people are important. How are you concretely following up on issues identified with last year's public survey for PCH? Especially about harassment, workload and stress?
Answer: Janet Campbell, Ombudsman
While the overall results of the PSES for PCH were very positive, we must certainly continue to take action to address these issues. On harassment, we have identified areas in the Department where this seems to be a greater concern and engaged the Ombudsman and Office of Values and Ethics as necessary. We are one of the few departments and agencies with this service and it has created an environment where employees can address workplace concerns in an informal way. In recognition of the importance of dealing with stress and other mental health challenges, we were one of the first departments to adopt the “Not Myself Today” campaign last year. It was so well received that we decided to continue it again this year. We also have recognized that employees want more regular ways to provide their feedback to senior management. That is why, following consultations with employees and managers, we are about to launch "Over to you / À vous la parole". Stay tuned.
4) Question: Why don't we have greenhouse funding programs (i.e., a recipient only receives funding for a set period of time)? What are we building other than dependence on ongoing funding?
Answer: Patrick Borbey, Associate Deputy Minister
A vast majority of our funding recipients are recurring. The impact, in addition to creating a sense of dependency, is that we have very little of funding available for new clients with new ideas. This is why Graham and I created the Program Experimentation Tiger Team. We are confident that this team will give us good advice on how to change our programs, including terms and conditions as necessary, to foster greater innovation. An idea we have been intrigued about is the creation of a new instrument such as a “micro grant” with very limited administrative overhead.
5) Question: Atlantic Region – given the recent government focus on Indigenous peoples, is there any chance we may create a program similar to that of OL’s Community Cultural Action Fund that could be delivered by the regions – who have a relationship with the Community on the ground?
Answer: Hubert Lussier, Assistant Deputy Minister
The scope, strategic objectives and programmatic dimensions of the initiative through which the Minister will implement her mandate letter commitment to boost support for Aboriginal languages and culture will be the object of consultations, with Indigenous peoples as well as with colleagues within the Federal family who could play a role. These will include the Regions. It is highly conceivable that there would be Regional involvement in the delivery of initiatives. The idea of a Cultural Action Fund type of instrument will be considered.
GCconnex is a professional social collaboration platform that enables public servants to connect through shared experience, knowledge, groups or interests.
PCH in action to improve our workplace
During the Town Hall in May 2016, someone texted the following:
“Thank you for taking the time in your busy days to listen to employees. It demonstrates the most important leadership skill: listening. One caveat—a big caveat though—is that appropriate action needs to follow suit for us to continue to respect our leaders. Even more so, timely action…”
Well said, and we couldn't agree more! Not only have we been listening to what you've been saying, but we are committed to taking concrete action to respond to your suggestions and concerns.
What we’ve been hearing
We asked the Office of Values and Ethics (OVE) to do an analysis of the more than 120 questions that were submitted as part of the town hall meeting. (Remember, you can still read the answers on GCconnex – you have to be connected). Specifically, we wanted to know what these questions could tell us about the well-being of the Department. What’s working and what’s not? Are there pressure points?
The OVE looked at these questions, as well as two other sources of data: a recent survey on organizational health and another
What we’re doing about it
Over the coming year, we will focus on what we believe are the five areas of concrete action that respond to the themes and issues that you raised at the town hall meeting and in recent surveys.
- Developing and implementing a mental health action plan
- Instituting meaningful opportunities for upward feedback
- Effectively managing internal transformation
- Empowering employees
- Solid human resources planning, mentoring and coaching
PCH “Over to You” Survey – Results Overview
Recurring questions – Total of Strongly Agree and Somewhat Agree
- The Deputy Ministers are doing a good job of leading the Department.
- I would recommend the Department as a great place to work.
- My ... create(s) a positive work environment in my organization
- How do you feel about your workplace well-being as a whole right now? The mean of Rating scale 0-10 (very dissatisfied-very satisfied) is presented here.
Survey-specific questions – Total of strongly agree and somewhat agree
- My immediate manager regularly shares information with the team from their own manager and senior leadership.
- My immediate manager delegates responsibilities appropriately.
- I get a sense of satisfaction from my work.
- In my work I am encouraged to:
Be innovative 79%
Take initiative 82%
Collaborate with colleagues 92%
- I feel that my work suffers because of: – Total of Almost Always/Always and Often
constantly changing priorities. 37%
lack of stability in the Department. 25%
too many approval stages. 52%
unreasonable deadlines. 43%
having to do the same or more work, but with fewer resources. 60%
high staff turnover. 29%
overly complicated or unnecessary business processes. 52%
New 2016-2017 Corporate Commitments for Executives: Exploring new and innovative ways to meet the evolving and complex needs of employees to better serve Canadians, by creating the space for smart risk taking and experimentation.
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