DAOD 5031-50, Civilian Learning and Professional Development

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2004-01-30

Date of Last Modification: 2014-10-01

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence and public servants seconded to the Department (DND employees), and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces who act as managers or supervisors of DND employees (CAF members).

Supersession: CPAO 9.01, Employee Training and Development

Approval Authority: Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources – Civilian) (ADM(HR-Civ))

Enquiries: Director General Workforce Development (DGWD)

2. Definitions

leadership development (perfectionnement en leadership)

Practical application of knowledge and know-how through a diversity of experiences, ideas and activities including learning, training, assignments, mentoring and coaching, to ensure current and future leaders in the public service have the competencies to lead change in their organizations and deliver results for Canadians. (Policy on Learning, Training and Development, Treasury Board)

learning (apprentissage)

The acquisition of new knowledge and ideas that change the way an individual perceives, understands or acts. (Policy on Learning, Training and Development, Treasury Board)

professional development (perfectionnement professionnel)

An activity that assists employees further their careers and is aligned with departmental business priorities and management improvement objectives of the government. Includes courses, programs or learning events sponsored by a variety of service providers (e.g. in-house, the Canada School of Public Service, academic institutions and the private sector). (Policy on Learning, Training and Development, Treasury Board)

required training (formation indispensable)

Training to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an employee needs to effectively perform his or her work in the public service, having regard for the nature of the work to be performed (e.g. management), as determined by the employer. (Policy on Learning, Training and Development, Treasury Board)

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3. Overview


3.1 The DND is committed to fostering a culture where learning, whether formal or informal, is encouraged, supported, rewarded and recognized as a sound business investment. The DND is further committed to supporting the learning and professional development (LPD) of DND employees at all levels by planning and providing access to quality programs, services and opportunities for LPD.


3.2 The purpose of this DAOD is to set out the instructions necessary for the implementation of DAOD 5031-0, Learning and Professional Development, and the management of LPD for all DND employees. This DAOD is in line with, and in support of, Government of Canada (GC) and DND people-management initiatives, including employee engagement, retention, renewal and workforce excellence.


3.3 The objectives of this DAOD are to:

  1. establish the governance and management framework for LPD for DND employees;
  2. provide senior management, managers and supervisors of DND employees, LPD providers and DND employees with strategic direction and clear guidance in relation to their responsibilities pertaining to LPD;
  3. support GC and DND accountability expectations for LPD;
  4. provide performance measurement criteria; and
  5. support the DND in becoming a learning organization and an employer of choice.

Conflict with Other Instruments

3.4 If a provision in a collective agreement, memorandum of agreement, letter of understanding or other similar instrument conflicts with this DAOD, that provision prevails to the extent of the conflict with this DAOD.

4. Governance and Management Framework

LPD Functional Direction

4.1 Given the assignment to the ADM(HR-Civ) of the functional area of DND employee human resources management, the ADM(HR-Civ) sets out functional direction for the LPD of DND employees in this DAOD, in addition to several directives related to this functional area. To ensure that LPD goals and priorities are achieved, the ADM(HR-Civ) directs that LPD be managed according to the principles of the Civilian Learning and Professional Development Management Framework. The strategic oversight, guidance, integration, monitoring and management support of LPD for DND employees has been delegated by the ADM(HR-Civ) to the DGWD.

LPD Governance

4.2 LPD governance is exercised through the following strategic committees that advise and guide the ADM(HR-Civ):

  1. Civilian Workforce Management Board (CWMB);
  2. Civilian Human Resource Management Committee (CHRMC); and
  3. Regional Human Resources Planning and Coordination Committees.

Corporate LPD

4.3 Corporate LPD to achieve DND goals is:

  1. national in scope and has a DND impact;
  2. related to the essential knowledge and competencies established by the GC and the DND; and
  3. designed to meet GC policy and DND requirements.

LPD Funding

4.4 Each level one (L1) advisor must identify, in their business and human resources plans, the intended LPD investment levels for DND employees for their organization.

Management of LPD Activities

4.5 LPD for DND employees should take place primarily in the workplace through informal and formal LPD options and be supplemented with higher education if required.

4.6 LPD for DND employees should be varied, timely, flexible, appropriate and compatible with individual learning styles and adult learning principles. Based on organizational business priorities and individual needs, LPD should be relevant, cost-effective and performance-oriented to facilitate the application of knowledge and skills on the job.

4.7 In order to provide the most appropriate training options, the use of contemporary and effective LPD methodologies and technologies, whether internally or externally provided, must be considered to meet the LPD needs of DND employees.

4.8 Should the use of external providers be considered, any contracting must be done in conjunction with the contracting procedures in place governing DND employees taking training with private companies or schools (see section, Training for DND Employees and CAF Members, of the Procurement Administration Manual).

LPD Delivery

4.9 The ADM(HR-Civ) encourages the delivery of standardized training and education for LPD, using multimedia and technologies as preferred delivery methods wherever appropriate.

4.10 LPD providers must adhere to the guides and standards for DND Instructional System Design (ISD) when developing online or classroom-based training (see the ISD Guides, Standards and Tools link on the ADM(HR-Civ) intranet site).

LPD Approval Authorities

4.11 The LPD and labour relations sections of the Instrument of Delegation of Human Resources Authorities for Civilian Public Service Employees of National Defence must be consulted to ensure that the proper authorities approve LPD-related requests.

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5. Learning and Development Plans

5.1 In accordance with the Treasury Board Directive on Performance Management, and DAOD 5006-1, Performance Management Program for Employees (interim), a learning and development plan for each DND employee is an integral part of the Performance Management Program.

5.2 All DND employees must have a meaningful learning and development plan. The learning and development plan must include information on DND employee learning requirements that are directly linked to organizational and individual performance objectives and professional development.

5.3 Students employed in the DND through Co-operative Education Program (CO-OP) placements or the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) may also have a learning and development plan to develop the necessary skills and knowledge required in order to meet the objectives through their on-the-job learning work experience in the DND.

Learning and Development Plan Content

5.4 In addition to applicable GC required training, mandatory DND courses, leadership development activities and second language training, as appropriate, the primary focus of a learning and development plan is to address the following LPD needs that are linked to the performance of a DND employee at work:

  1. operational requirements, current priorities and future organizational needs;
  2. the performance agreement of the DND employee;
  3. work objectives;
  4. knowledge and competency gaps;
  5. individual learning objectives; and
  6. where appropriate, career learning aspirations.

5.5 It is recommended that a DND employee and their manager consider a variety of LPD activities. The options for the LPD chosen must meet the learning needs of the DND employee and be at the same time operationally feasible. To be considered, an LPD activity must aim to enhance individual and organizational performance and result in defined and measurable outcomes. LPD activities must meet the following criteria:

  1. be intended to satisfy the LPD needs of the DND employee;
  2. be aligned with DND business priorities and organizational goals;
  3. include measurable, observable and specific objectives;
  4. be planned, adequately funded, provided and evaluated; and
  5. be assigned a Human Resources Management System (HRMS) training code.

5.6 More detailed information on learning and development plans and associated responsibilities may be found in the DND Guide to Developing Learning and Development Plans (LDPs) – Section “D” of the Public Service Performance Agreement.

Learning Activities

5.7 Learning is an ongoing process in the DND that consists of a broad range of activities, including:

  1. formal learning;
  2. informal learning; and
  3. collaborative or social learning.

Formal Learning

5.8 Formal learning is the systematic design and transfer of work-related skills, knowledge and competencies. It consists of hierarchically structured education or school systems and includes organized programs created on the job for technical and professional training. A training institution sets and controls the learning objectives and goals of formal learning activities to produce defined learning outcomes, i.e. university or college courses (classroom-based or online), courses on the Defence Learning Network (DLN) and structured on-the-job programs.

Informal Learning

5.9 Informal learning is the transfer of skills, knowledge and competencies that occurs mainly from daily experience in the context of work performance, with objectives identified by an individual or group in response to a perceived need. It includes activities that range from being ad hoc and simple (e.g. work-related discussions, reading and research), to those with more complex objectives, structures and delivery methods (e.g. lunch-and-learn sessions, job shadowing, conferences, and acting and stretch assignments).

Collaborative or Social Learning

5.10 Collaborative or social learning is the knowledge creation and sharing that occurs through dialogue and collaboration, often facilitated via communications and media technology (e.g. GCPedia, GCForum, SharePoint, wikis, blogs, etc).

Formal Education

5.11 The DND recognizes the importance of formal education and supports education leave and tuition reimbursement as methods of addressing both DND requirements and individual career and learning aspirations, when appropriate.

5.12 DND employees and their managers should consult education leave policies in CPAO 9.03, Training Courses Taken Outside Normal Working Hours – Reimbursement of Tuition Fees, and CPAO 9.05, Education Leave, for applicable conditions.

Professional Development

5.13 Professional development includes coaching arrangements, participation in the DND Mentoring Program or other developmental programs, acting appointments, assignments, secondments, job shadowing, job sharing, job exchanges, courses offered by recognized academic or external providers or the employer, as well as seminars, conferences, technical or vocational programs and workshops. These activities should also be included in a learning and development plan.

6. Performance Measurement, Tracking, Monitoring and Reporting

LPD Performance Measurement

6.1 The performance measurement of LPD for DND employees must be conducted to ensure that:

  1. LPD is integrated with human resources and other business processes;
  2. LPD is aligned with federal public service, DND or L1 advisor business requirements;
  3. organizations collaborate towards the strengthening of a learning culture;
  4. a diverse range of LPD options is provided;
  5. organizations have adequate funding for planned LPD;
  6. LPD is managed effectively;
  7. the application of newly acquired skills is supported in the workplace; and
  8. LPD has defined and measurable outcomes.

6.2 The ADM(HR-Civ) provides the Civilian Learning and Professional Development Evaluation Framework and the Civilian Learning and Professional Development Evaluation Toolkit to help build and strengthen evaluation capability within the DND. The Framework provides broad guidance to L1 advisors with respect to evaluating LPD programs and courses taken by DND employees.


6.3 The HRMS is the DND system of record to capture DND employee LPD data, including costs, and must be used by all L1 advisors to record all completed learning and development plans.

Monitoring and Reporting

6.4 The DGWD must identify appropriate reporting mechanisms and specify the information required to monitor LPD effectiveness and compliance with this DAOD.

7. Consequences

Consequences of Non-Compliance

7.1 Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance will be investigated. The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from actual non-compliance will be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance and other relevant considerations.

Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the Treasury Board Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.

8. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

8.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:

The … is or are responsible for …

L1 advisors

  • applying this DAOD in their organization and incorporating LPD guidance within their business and human resources plans;
  • ensuring the implementation and coordination of ADM(HR-Civ) frameworks, policies, programs, instructions and guidelines in support of LPD for DND employees in their organization;
  • identifying, as part of their integrated human resources and business planning process, LPD priorities that will assist the ADM(HR-Civ) in identifying priorities for common corporate LPD (see paragraph 4.3 of this DAOD);
  • ensuring that DND business objectives and capability requirements are the basis for the subject matter and content of all LPD options;
  • planning for and providing required training for DND employees to support their respective functional areas;
  • managing their learning and development plan funds;
  • assigning appropriate resources within their budget to support their own LPD priorities; and
  • ensuring that the HRMS is used to record the LPD of DND employees and reporting the information to the ADM(HR-Civ) when requested.


  • developing, maintaining, interpreting and evaluating frameworks, policies, programs, instructions and guidelines on behalf of the ADM(HR-Civ) in support of LPD for DND employees;
  • providing expert LPD advice to L1 advisors;
  • coordinating and supporting DND-wide LPD initiatives through research and development in learning technologies, methodologies and strategies;
  • establishing and maintaining a partnership with the Director General Civilian Human Resources Management Operations (DGCHRMO) and communicating with civilian human resources service centres throughout DND, to ensure consistency of national service standards in the development and delivery of corporate LPD;
  • providing functional direction to Learning and Career Centres (LCCs);
  • coordinating with L1 advisors and the commanders of commands to produce reports and related analysis on the LPD investment in DND;
  • providing guidance and support, as the Enterprise Learning (8.9) Business Process owner, to training coordinators and session owners;
  • facilitating the use of the HRMS training module;
  • liaising with the CAF individual training and education (IT&E) authorities of the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) to coordinate and harmonize IT&E and LPD programs common to both DND employees and CAF members;
  • providing governance of the DLN jointly with the CMP, the Commander, Canadian Defence Academy and the ADM(Information Management);
  • working horizontally with the CAF, peers, partners and stakeholders to integrate and simplify LPD administrative and business processes and procedures for DND employees; and
  • notifying the ADM(HR-Civ) of any non-compliance with this DAOD.


  • aligning, in consultation with the DGWD, the operational objectives of LPD services provided through the Civilian Human Resources National Services and LCCs with strategic planning objectives; and
  • through service centres and LCCs:
    • coordinating and providing the delivery of DND-owned LPD;
    • promoting learning and providing learning advisory services for DND employees and their managers and supervisors, including the interpretation and application of LPD frameworks, policies, programs, instructions and guidelines;
    • assisting and providing guidance on the development of the learning and development plans of DND employees;
    • consulting with DND employees and their managers and supervisors, and providing them with a wide range of individual and group LPD; and
    • using the HRMS to ensure the accurate and complete recording and reporting of DND employee LPD activities.

LPD providers

  • planning for and funding the development and ongoing maintenance cycle of the learning activities they develop; and
  • following functional authority direction and guidance in the design, delivery, evaluation and monitoring and reporting of LPD for DND employees.

managers and supervisors of DND employees

  • identifying LPD needs for their units based on human resources and business planning objectives;
  • identifying, discussing and approving appropriate LPD objectives and options for DND employees to meet DND organizational and operational, professional and individual objectives;
  • assisting DND employees in the development of their learning and development plans and ensuring modifications to their plans in response to changes in learning requirements during the year;
  • establishing structure and providing opportunities for DND employees to apply new learning in the workplace and share knowledge and experience;
  • conducting post-LPD reviews with DND employees; and
  • ensuring all LPD data is entered and reported using the HRMS as the DND system of record.

DND employees

  • discussing learning requirements and relevant LPD options for meeting their learning objectives with their manager or supervisor;
  • developing a learning and development plan with their manager or supervisor, based on performance expectations, competency requirements and learning career aspirations;
  • participating in GC required training when applicable;
  • participating in LPD aimed at improving their performance;
  • pursuing their own professional and leadership development;
  • applying new knowledge and skills in the workplace, and sharing their knowledge and experience with others who can benefit from lessons learned;
  • consulting with learning advisors for guidance on LPD; and
  • providing post-LPD feedback, as required, on the effectiveness of activities and on outcomes.

9. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

  • DAOD 5006-1, Performance Management Program for Employees
  • DAOD 5031-52, New Civilian Employee Orientation
  • DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages
  • CPAO 9.03, Training Courses Taken Outside Normal Working Hours – Reimbursement of Tuition Fees
  • CPAO 9.05, Education Leave
  • Canada First Defence Strategy
  • Department of National Defence & Canadian Forces Organizational Learning Strategy
  • Instrument of Delegation of Human Resources Authorities for Civilian Public Service Employees of National Defence
  • Civilian Learning and Professional Development Evaluation Framework
  • Civilian Learning and Professional Development Management Framework
  • Civilian Learning and Professional Development Evaluation Toolkit
  • DND Guide to Developing Learning and Development Plans (LDPs) – Section "D" of the Public Service Performance Agreement
  • Guide to Monitoring and Reporting on Civilian Personal Learning Plans (PLPs)
  • DND Mentoring Program
  • Procurement Administration Manual, Section, Training for DND Employees and CAF Members
  • A-P9 Series, Manual of Individual Training and Education
  • Learning and Professional Development, ADM(HR-Civ) intranet site
  • ISD Guides, Standards and Tools, ADM(HR-Civ) intranet site
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