Internal Services


Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are:

  • Acquisition Management Services;
  • Communication Services;
  • Financial Management Services;
  • Human Resources Management Services;
  • Information Management Services;
  • Information Technology Services;
  • Legal Services;
  • Material Management Services;
  • Management and Oversight Services; and
  • Real Property Management Services.


Financial management and planning

In an effort to meet the objectives laid out in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy (SSE)Endnote 178, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) advanced oversight works through effective and efficient financial management and reporting. These key support services functions worked to critically enable the successful delivery of projects, programs and equipment. As each SSE initiative is delivered, operational support functions generate incremental increases in many areas of financial management. DND and the CAF continues to monitor and deliver stewardship and accountability in the rollout of SSE initiatives and as a leader in financial management and operational planning.

In FY 2020–21, DND and the CAF worked collaboratively to foster innovation, modernize tools and data collection techniques, and optimize policies and processes. In particular, the implementation of the Financial Planning and Forecasting tool value case fosters innovation by increasing DND and CAF’s understanding of needs definition and enhances the provision of evidence-based information required to inform decision-making. Processes related to Financial Planning and Forecasting tool have provided particular value in aligning and standardizing departmental in-year forecasting. By refining systems and tools into a single source of data and information DND and the CAF has made improvements to guarantee knowledge management, including the reliability of our data and our ability to align resources and strengthen accountability. These improvements enable DND and the CAF to more effectively ensure that oversight and accountability, specifically towards enhanced management of resources, are supported through the administration of an internal financial control framework.

Management and oversight services

A series of town hallsEndnote 179, panel discussions and lunch and learns, facilitated by an external consultant, were used to explore themes relating to anti-Black racism and related topics. In addition, the Materiel Group hosted a panel discussion with members of various diversity groups to address questions and concerns.

A new capability was created in March 2021 to provide senior management with advice on diversity and inclusion. The capability led change management initiatives to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. In addition, a Civilian Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan was developed for approval.

The Employee Development Program engagement increased its emphasis on diversity and inclusion in role-play/scenario development for the Leadership Achievement Assessment, which is being developed to replace the Simulations for Identification of Leadership.

Updates on diversity events, including Black History Month, International Women's Day and recommended/required training, were communicated to all staff via informal communiqués and the DND intranet. Communications regarding these topics remains an ongoing agenda item for senior management meetings, with additional resources added to the intranet, supported by the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group.

Public Service Employment Survey Action Plan development and follow-up was initiated. Diversity was prioritized and actioned as part of the 2019 Public Service Employment Survey Action Plan.

In early FY 2020–21, the department approved the creation of the Departmental Litigation Oversight (DLO) capability: an oversight function to manage and coordinate activities related to the growing number of complex, multi-branch litigations. In FY 2020–21, DLO implemented the approved structure to deliver the expanded mandate. In its role, DLO worked closely with the Canadian Forces’ Legal Advisor, Department of Justice litigators, clients and other federal government partners to support the department’s response to litigation.

In addition to supporting overall compliance with the LGBT Purge final settlementEndnote 180, and assisting in other legal cases still in negotiation or litigation, DLO was designated the official DND client organization for the department’s sexual misconduct settlement. As a result, DLO coordinated all aspects of DND and CAF obligations under the settlement agreement, including oversight and governance of the settlement agreement (claims administration, support to the independent Administrator and Assessors, supporting internal experts in developing the settlement measures and sponsoring Treasury Board submissions).

The department continued to meet its mandate to conduct independent evaluations, audits and investigations. Pushed by COVID-19, DND adapted its approach to meeting emerging risks by initiating several additional engagements that examined DND and the CAF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as completing other engagements that were planned for FY 2020–21. On the innovation and modernization front, the department successfully introduced its first joint audit and evaluation project, piloted MindBridge and select tools to analyze data and upgraded the case management tools allowing for better prioritization of administrative investigations and assignment of resources.

Civilian human resources management

Effective civilian human resources (HR) management remains critical to the successful implementation of SSE. In FY 2020–21, our attention focused on optimizing the civilian HR business model through the implementation of our campaign plan to grow our existing capabilities and redesign our HR services to better support the Defence Team.

Processes were streamlined. We continued to implement a series of flexible, innovative and outcome-driven business transformation initiatives to support client-centric solutions and to ensure that HR capabilities are consistent and strategic. We have seen improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of our compensation, labour relations, staffing and classification functions through effective HR planning, prioritizing requests, and increasing our capacity.

These investments and process improvements facilitated continued HR support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaningful union occurred throughout the pandemic response to ensure that employees and managers were supported. Increased guidance was provided on flexible work arrangement and mental health resources; tracking of employee health and safety was expanded to inform decision-making within the department. Automation tools were implemented to improve HR processes and support the department with HR management.

Investments continued in digital HR capabilities, including the expansion and redesign of the HR Go mobile appEndnote 181 to enhance user functionality. New information regarding civilian HR programs, services and initiatives (e.g. mental health support, recruitment at DND, and information on workplace harassment and violence prevention) are added weekly and users can access new tools like gross pay calculators, casual end date calculators, reminders to submit leave and enter/approve pay, and a promotion estimator.

The HR Go mobile app, designed with input from our Defence Team members, puts civilian HR information and tools at users’ fingertips and is the first of its kind in the federal government. The app had almost 9 000 downloads across all mobile platforms over FY 2020–21.

The HR Connect Resources Virtual Client Contact Center continued to be used as a service delivery channel for accessing HR programs and services. Available online and through a toll-free number, in FY 2020-21 it received and answered 18 477 employees and manager queries on various HR matters, including compensation, staffing, classification, and labour relations.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic context, DND adapted its talent sourcing strategies in favour of virtual career fairs and enhanced social media outreach to support broader outreach efforts to promote DND as an employer of choice. LinkedIn was used to advertise and target recruitment for hard‑to‑staff positions, and a DND Virtual Career FairEndnote 182 was held in January 2021 with over 6 000 attendees. These digital innovations have supported a user-centred approach to HR service delivery and have supported employees and managers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Defence Team increased its capacity to measure performance and provide civilian workforce business intelligence and analytics to senior decision makers. Dashboards on a variety of topics (e.g. compensation, staffing, Public Service Employee Survey results, and employment equity representation rates) are provided to the department’s senior management on a consistent basis, allowing them to make informed, evidence-based decisions.

DND’s civilian Labour Relations worked to establish a more proactive approach focused on outcomes over process to address both isolated and systemic issues. In addition, the Office of Disability Management was expanded to new regions. Analytics support was expanded for the department by tracking civilian workforce trends over the COVID-19 pandemic to monitor and support the Defence Team’s health and safety, and to support data-enabled work and evidence-informed decision-making.

During FY 2020–21, significant improvements in compensation were achieved. DND compensation services has expanded its full-service approach by increasing one-on-one consultations with compensation advisors, expanding client care by contacting employees directly, and increasing in-person services on bases and wings. DND’s backlog had been reduced from 36 023 active cases on 1 April 2020 to 22 221 active cases as of 31 March 2021 at the end of FY 2020–21 resulting in a reduction of 14 040 outstanding cases (39 percent) and a reduction of 4 182 employees impacted by Phoenix (22 percent). A sustained reduction of the backlog and business process improvements are the direct result of our investment in compensation services and our strong collaboration with the Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).

Communicating with Canadians

DND and the CAF communicates with Canadians about efforts to protect Canada and Canadians, defend North America alongside the United States, and contribute to a more peaceful and stable world. As FY 2020-21 began with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defence Team needed to inform Canadians about how it was contributing to the national response to the pandemic, and continuing essential military operations.

Key results included:

  • The National Defence Media Relations Office managed 2 307 media requests, responding to 91 percent by negotiated deadlines;
  • The Public Inquiries Desk responded to 1 313 requests for information from Canadians, 91 percent within 10 business days;
  • 450 stakeholder engagement activities (mainly virtual events due to the pandemic) contributed to increasing audiences’ understanding of Defence priorities, issues and challenges; and
  • The 2020 National Veterans’ Week Speakers Program demonstrated adaptation and innovation in the COVID-19 environment, as the program responded to 2 570 requests for videos featuring CAF speakers and CAF members volunteered to give 371 virtual presentations at schools and community organizations, reaching approximately 931 300 Canadians.

As Canadians increasingly use digital technologies to communicate in their daily lives, the Defence Team is taking a digital-first approach to communicating with Canadians. In FY 2020–21:

  • Overall audience growth across all DND and CAF platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube increased by 36 percent;
  • Web usability testing included four rounds of moderated, testing and three rounds of unmoderated remote testing with users, providing significant insights into which online tasks are currently successful and how to improve those that do not meet the benchmark for success; and
  • Recruitment advertising campaigns were focused on promoting the unique full and part-time career opportunities offered by the CAF, along with addressing priority occupations. Campaigns including women in the forces, Indigenous peoples, and the Reserve Force used a mix of traditional and digital media to reach their audiences.

National Defence Headquarters – Carling Campus

Final occupant moves to NDHQ (Carling) were completed in July 2020. All information technology‑related installation at NDHQ (Carling), including the completion of remaining conference/meeting rooms, were completed by end December 2020. All deficiency and change requests related to the Carling project are complete and the project was closed.

To achieve the objectives of the Government of Canada, DND and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Command Women, Peace and Security. The Canadian NORAD Region established a gender advisor position within the headquarters and gender focal points at each of the detachments. To support the gender advisor, a number of personnel completed the United States Northern Command Operationalizing Women, Peace and Security (WPS) course.

Information management

In its efforts to align with the Government of Canada’s information and data management priorities, which are included in the Treasury Board's Policy on Service and DigitalEndnote 183, the Chief Information Officer’s organization has refreshed several internal policies and directives related to information management (IM) and is reviewing existing governance so it can be integrated and can foster digital transformation. An options space assessment to inform decision-making on the departmental go-forward Enterprise Document and Records Management System was conducted in FY 2020–21. COVID-19 propelled the emergency implementation of Defence 365, which is the DND version of Microsoft Office 365. This implementation guaranteed business continuity through a remote work posture requiring a revision of the options space assessment of existing platforms and an assessment of how IM maturity can be advanced.

In FY 2020–21, enterprise architecture for digital investments focused on establishing a network of domain experts to consult and advise on digital project files. DND has initiated further engagement with the Government of Canada Enterprise Architecture Review Board as a result of this increased effort.

Defence data, innovation and analytics

DND has aligned its priorities to enable data and analytics throughout the department and contribute to the implementation of the Defence Policy. The following were DND’s priorities for FY 2020–21:

  • Launched and implemented innovative recruitment initiatives and talent sourcing methods, including the use of LinkedIn Recruiter for targeted candidate sourcing;
  • Expanded and added to the HR GO mobile app, which puts civilian HR information and tools at users’ fingertips, to provide employees and managers with enhanced support;
  • Launched a process to determine areas where the DND could leverage data to make factual data-driven decisions. Several key areas were identified where DND leadership will be able to make evidence-based decisions on finance, supply chain management, human resources and operations;
  • Issued the foundational guiding document Analytics in DND/CAF–Vision and Guiding Principles;
  • Developed an annual internal engagement mechanism, which has provided a cross-cutting assessment of DND and the CAF’s data maturity;
  • Created a Data Literacy Strategy, led the development of numerous training development efforts and coordinated the delivery of various online training initiatives. A virtual community of practice has been established to engage and support data and analytics practitioners of all levels across the organization; and
  • While the department does not offer a significant number of external services to Canadians, it continued to mature its tracking and reporting of external services with a view to evolving the client-centric service design elements of the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Policy on Service and Digital. The department continues to meet all service standards in this regard.

Information technology

DND continued to modernize its enterprise resource management systems to support the department’s transition to evidence-based decision-making. This included work to modernize the Defence Resource Management Information System.

DND’s enterprise resource management tools are used to capture its business information related to finance, human resources materiel management to inform decision-making and reporting.

DND provided advanced enterprise business intelligence and analytics to the Materiel Group and CAF Health Services Group to assist in developing and establishing their supply chain business analytics, and developing the COVID-19 dashboard, which assisted the CAF Health Service Group in establishing a capability to monitor CAF health status and vaccination with respect to COVID-19.


The department has been leveraging investments in technology to achieve an HR digital transformation to create a service-oriented and user-centred approach to HR service delivery. These digital innovations and analytic enhancements also helped the department support employees and managers during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

The civilian HR team implemented the following digital transformations to support the Defence Team:

  • Implemented and expanded the use of robotic process automation to automate and streamline a variety of HR business processes in order to enhance the delivery of the HR experience and reduce administrative burdens; and
  • Launched a DND Careers ToolEndnote 184 on the HR Go mobile app to support student hiring and match students to potential jobs within DND.

Additional Defence-related experimentation activities are outlined in this report under Core Responsibility 4 – Future Force Design.

Key corporate risk(s)

IT Management – There is a risk that DND and the CAF may have difficulty maintaining its information technology capabilities at the right level to support operations.

The above risk can affect the department’s ability to achieve the departmental results of the Internal Services core responsibility.

As the Defence Departmental Results Framework reflects a chain of delivery from conceiving of the required armed forces, to developing them and then executing operations, the activities to mitigate the risks of the Internal Services core responsibility can also be found in other core responsibilities which deliver building blocks that enable Internal Services results.

Many of the preventative and mitigating controls for this risk are articulated as activities of each departmental result below.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2020–21 Main Estimates 2020–21 Planned spending 2020–21 Total authorities available for use 2020–21 Actual spending (authorities used) 2020–21 Difference (Actual spending minus Planned spending)
695,921,525 699,552,288 1,137,790,770 879,539,855 179,987,567

Human resources (full-time equivalents)

2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents 2020–21 Actual full-time equivalents 2020–21 Difference (Actual full-time equivalents minus Planned full-time equivalents)
5,293 4,342 (951)

Financial, human resources and performance information for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBaseEndnote 185.

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