Operating context and key risks

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Employment and Social Development Canada 2016–2017 Departmental Results Report

Operating Context

ESDC continues to operate in an environment characterized by significant demographic changes, economic conditions that affect the socio-economic opportunities of Canadians and rising expectations for service delivery. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Department provided $116.5 billion in benefits that helped to support Canadians across all stages of their lives.

Demographic shifts and challenging economic conditions are well established trends that have shaped both the Government of Canada’s and ESDC’s policy agenda. For example, weak growth in wages since the 1970s and key family expenses increasing faster than inflation have made it more difficult for some Canadian families to attain or preserve a middle-class lifestyle.

To help address these challenges, the Government has made a significant commitment to strengthen and grow the middle class. As ESDC’s programs and services support Canadian families, seniors, children, youth and vulnerable groups across the country, the Department has taken real action to support this Government-wide commitment through improvements to programs and benefits to help Canadians move through life’s transitions and improve their quality of life. Major policy trends continue to influence ESDC’s business, as outlined below, but the Department continues to work hard to ensure all Canadians have equal opportunities and access to the services and programs they need to thrive in their communities and workplaces.

Children

Although child poverty in Canada has been in decline since the mid-1990s, from 17.5 percent in 1995 to 8.6 percent in 2015, it remains high in comparison to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and for children living in a lone-parent family. In addition, more than 300,000 children are reportedly using food banks on a monthly basis. Access to quality child care has also been a challenge for many Canadian families, with only one in four Canadian children having access to early learning and child care spaces. Child care affordability also remains a concern for many families, with daily fees for parents that are significant and rising.

ESDC is committed to ensuring that children have a real chance to succeed, regardless of their background, and is undertaking initiatives to support middle-class families and to ensure fewer children grow up in poverty. The introduction of the Canada Child Benefit in Budget 2016 has increased the amount of income support received by 9 out of 10 Canadian families to help meet the rising costs of raising a child and is expected to reduce the number of children in poverty by 300,000, or about 40 percent. In addition, the Department worked with provinces and territories to establish an Early Learning and Child Care Framework, signed in June 2017, which will provide more high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care for Canadian families.

ESDC is also engaging with Indigenous partners to create a distinct Indigenous Framework on Early Learning and Child Care that will reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nation, Inuit and Métis children across Canada. To support this commitment, Budget 2016 allocated $29.4 million in fiscal year 2016 to 2017 for urgent repairs and renovations, of which $16.6 million was provided by ESDC through the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative and $12.8 million was provided by Health Canada through Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve. To date 210 child care centres and facilities have received funding to undertake urgent repairs and renovations.

Youth and life-long learners

Among OECD countries, Canada has the highest percentage of the population with post-secondary education. In 2015, 55 percent of the Canadian population between ages 25 and 64 had either a college or university credential, well above the OECD average of 35 percent. This attainment advantage was driven by college graduates, as a quarter of the population aged 25 to 64 obtained a college credential as their highest level of education. Post-secondary education graduates have generally strong labour market outcomes. However, the differences in university attainment between high- and low-income groups remain significant as graduates from higher education can expect positive earnings premiums when compared to those with a high school education.

Canadian youth, however, face some challenges in transitioning from school to the workplace. Every year, about 850,000 young people aged 15 to 29 are seeking employment opportunities, education or training. Among these individuals, about 42 percent were job seekers in 2016 and 58 percent were pursuing education or training.

Furthermore, a high proportion of Canadian adults have poor literacy (17 percent) and/or numeracy skills (23 percent). Adults who want or need to upgrade their skills can also face unique barriers to returning to school. Beyond the cost of education, many also face financial pressures due to the costs of maintaining their homes and supporting their families.

ESDC recognizes that education and training are key factors in building a strong economy and promoting a highly skilled, inclusive, productive and internationally competitive workforce and has taken action to ensure that Canadians have the knowledge, skills and work experience needed to achieve their full potential.

ESDC introduced a fixed student contribution which will allow more students to work and gain valuable labour market experience without having to worry about a reduction in their level of financial assistance. ESDC also offers non-repayable grants targeted to students from low- and middle-income families, students with permanent disabilities, students with dependants and part-time students from low-income families. As announced in Budget 2017, the Government has also committed to making better use of existing flexibilities within the Employment Insurance (EI) program that allow claimants to pursue self-funded training and maintain their EI status in order to encourage unemployed Canadians to seek opportunities to develop and upgrade their skills.

Furthermore, to provide more support to young people starting post-secondary education, Canada Student Grant amounts were increased by 50 percent for students from low- and middle-income families and part-time students, which will make more non-repayable financial assistance available for approximately 363,000 students. ESDC also increased the eligibility thresholds of Canada Student Grants for students. Finally, to support borrowers in repayment as they transition into the labour market, the Repayment Assistance Plan thresholds were increased to ensure that no student will have to repay their Canada Student Loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. These measures are making post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for students from low- and middle-income families to enable them to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed in the labour market and their communities.

ESDC has also launched a new program to help young Canadians enrolled in post-secondary education institutions get the work experience they need to make a successful transition into the workforce. Work is currently underway to increase the number of work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians enrolled in post-secondary education, with a focus on high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business.

ESDC is also committed to ensuring that Canadians are able to obtain the skills and training necessary to qualify for well-paying jobs, both now and in the future. The Department has intergovernmental agreements in place that transfer almost $3 billion in annual funding to provinces and territories to design their own programming for skills development, training and other employment assistance services. Additionally, the Department also provides a number of federally delivered skills development/training and employment support programs targeted at specific groups, with a focus on workers who are under-represented in the labour market, such as persons with disabilities and Indigenous people. Further to the Budget 2016 commitment to renew and expand the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, the Department has carried out extensive engagement with Indigenous leadership, Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy service delivery organizations, academic institutions and provincial and territorial governments to improve and strengthen Indigenous labour market programming.

Together, these initiatives are expected to positively impact job quality. More supports to access post-secondary education and training to improve knowledge and skills could help to raise the earning potential of individuals trapped in precarious and low-wage employment situations due to low levels of education or skills that are misaligned with job requirements.

Families, workers and workplaces

An inclusive labour market in which all Canadians have the opportunities and supports they need to thrive is essential to helping and growing the middle class. This includes income and wealth growth, as well as responsive supports.

Labour force participation and employment rates in Canada are strong relative to peer countries, but we know there is still more work to do. Women in Canada have made remarkable gains in employment, especially during the 1970s and 1980s, and the employment rate gap has narrowed with that of men. However, the employment rate of women remained 7 percentage points lower than that of men in 2016, and although women are increasingly more educated than men, a tangible wage gap persists between women and men. Certain groups, such as recent immigrants, women, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, continue to face challenges in the labour market due to a lack of education, skills and experience, in addition to some unique barriers. However, for some groups the employment gap is beginning to close. For example, the employment rate (for the age group 25-54 years old) of recent immigrants (who arrived in Canada during the last five years) increased between 2006 (65.2 percent) and 2016 (68.2 percent). Despite weak wage growth over the last four decades, middle-class families have recorded relatively robust income gains by increasing their work effort; however, income gains have been uneven and inequality has increased.

Canadian workplaces and the nature of work have undergone significant changes in recent decades. Today, work often takes place outside the traditional workplace. In addition, about 38 percent of total employment in Canada is now accounted for by temporary and part-time jobs and self-employment, rather than permanent, full-time employment, often with the same employer, which was the norm until the 1990s. In addition, the rate of unionization in Canada’s private sector has continued to fall and is now less than 17 percent, compared to about 21 percent in 1997.

Furthermore, while physical injuries in the workplace are declining, psychosocial problems such as stress and mental health are growing. One in five workers in Canada today experiences mental health issues, with impacts on productivity and safety, and, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 58 percent of Canadians report being “overloaded” due to the pressures associated with the multiple roles that they now play at work and home.

As a result of these and other changes, many workers in Canada today live with job insecurity. Some also face poor working conditions, wages and benefits. Research indicates that certain groups of workers, such as youth, women, recent immigrants and Indigenous people, are most at risk.

As the nature of work changes, so too should the rules governing federally regulated workers. As such, the Department is working to modernize labour laws and regulations to address today’s reality at workplaces and to ensure that Canadians working for employers in the federal jurisdiction work in conditions that are safe, healthy, fair and inclusive. In 2016, the Department worked to develop a proactive pay equity regime for federally regulated workplaces to ensure that federal workplaces are free of harassment and sexual violence, and to develop more flexible leave options for caregivers and more flexible parental leaves. To protect workers from health and safety hazards, ESDC is also working to improve regulations such as those applying to asbestos, hazardous products, grain and flour exposure limits, and personal protective equipment.

The most recent Budget confirmed the Government’s intention to limit unpaid internships in the federal jurisdiction when the internships are not part of a formal educational program, and to give federally regulated workers the right to request more flexible work arrangements to help them better balance work and family demands. In addition, compliance and enforcement provisions are being strengthened and modernized to guarantee that hard-working Canadians can more easily recover wages owed to them by their employers.

Building on these proposed changes, ESDC is committed to ensuring that Canadians continue to benefit from a robust and modern set of federal labour standards that set the stage for good-quality jobs. In advancing this and other labour-related priorities, ESDC will continue to engage closely with unions and employers, as well as with individual workers, civil society organizations, experts and others.

The Employment Insurance (EI) program is a long-standing feature of Canada’s social safety net, providing temporary income support to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own while they look for new employment or upgrade their skills. The program also provides temporary financial assistance to eligible workers who are absent from work due to personal illness or family-related responsibilities.

ESDC is committed to improving the EI program to ensure it is better aligned with the realities of today’s labour markets and provides economic security to Canadians when they need it most. Over the last year, access to EI support has been expanded for new workers, such as young Canadians and recent immigrants, by eliminating the higher EI eligibility requirements for new entrants and re-entrants to the labour market. As well, the Government improved the EI program by introducing a new, more flexible Working While on Claim pilot project to help claimants stay connected to the labour market by ensuring that they always benefit from accepting work, by simplifying the job search responsibilities for unemployed workers and by reducing the waiting period claimants must serve before they become eligible to receive benefits from two weeks to one week.

In addition, work is underway to expand EI benefits to offer more flexibility for families. This includes creating a new EI caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks that will cover a broader range of caregiving situations. EI parental benefits will become more flexible, with parents being able to receive benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate. Women will also be able to claim EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date (up from 8 weeks).

Every Canadian should have a safe, affordable place to call home, yet it is estimated that approximately 35,000 Canadians experience some form of homelessness on any given night. Between 2010 and 2014, an estimated 450,000 Canadians used an emergency homeless shelter at least once. Through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, tackling homelessness represents a key first step in helping the most vulnerable in Canadian society, as access to safe, stable and secure housing is needed before they can make progress on their economic and social goals.

Seniors

The primary objectives of Canada’s retirement income system are to prevent poverty among seniors, to provide adequate income replacement in retirement and to achieve financial sustainability and economic efficiency. Maintaining a secure retirement is a major concern for middle-class Canadians in the context of fewer employers offering defined benefit pensions and rising living costs reducing individuals’ ability to save. Canada’s public pensions have played a major role in reducing the low-income rate among the elderly over the past 30 years, from 29 percent in 1976 to 4.4 percent since in 2015. However, there is still room for progress.

ESDC is committed to ensuring that Canadian seniors maintain a secure retirement and has taken steps to improve income security and retirement savings for Canada’s seniors to maintain their quality of life in retirement. Amendments to the Old Age Security Act to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for the lowest-income single seniors by up to $947 per year were included in the 2016 Budget Implementation Act. The first GIS payments reflecting the new amount were made on July 27, 2016. This increase provided greater income security for close to 900,000 seniors across Canada, of whom 70 percent are women. An estimated 13,000 seniors have been lifted out of poverty, of whom 12,000 are senior women living alone. In addition, cancelling the increase in the age of eligibility for Old Age Security benefits (from 65 to 67) means that future 65- and 66-year-olds who rely mainly on those benefits will not be forced into poverty. Looking toward the next generation of retirees, an agreement was reached with provincial governments to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which will reduce the number of families at risk of under-saving and help more Canadians achieve a strong, secure and stable retirement. If the mature CPP enhancement was in place today, roughly 275,000 additional families near retirement would have sufficient savings for retirement. ESDC, in collaboration with Statistics Canada, is also working on indexing Old Age Security benefits to a new Seniors Price Index which may be used to index benefits to seniors’ cost of living.

The ESDC Service Strategy: A commitment to service excellence

The Government of Canada strives to improve the lives of Canadians by supporting the middle class and caring for society’s most vulnerable individuals and families. This work starts with improving how Canadians access key services delivered by ESDC such as Employment Insurance (EI), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), Canada Student Loans, Job Bank and passports.

For many Canadians, Service Canada, ESDC’s service delivery arm, is the face of the Government of Canada. Service Canada engages millions of Canadians each year to provide a wide range of government information and services, either online, by phone or in person. Together with Service Canada, ESDC has over 25,000 employees across the country who are dedicated to deliver services that are accurate, on time and responsive to the needs of Canadians.

Delivering better services to Canadians

Worldwide, organizations in both the public and private sectors are adopting innovative ways to understand and connect with clients, leveraging new technologies and raising the bar for quality and timely service delivery. Canadians expect and deserve government service delivery to meet their needs and to be on par with what the private sector and other jurisdictions can offer. We are listening to Canadians and our employees on how we need to change. For example, ESDC’s clients and employees provided valuable input to the 2017 Employment Insurance Service Quality Review ReportFootnote 1, which is helping to shape improvements to service delivery that will most benefit Canadians. The review specifically highlighted calls for more client-centric services, streamlined applications, reduced wait times and easy-to-access online services.

The ESDC Service Strategy

In October 2016, ESDC created the ESDC Service Strategy. Aligned with Government of Canada-wide direction on service, the ESDC Service Strategy is our vision for better service. The work of the ESDC Service Strategy is grounded in five core principles:

  • Client-centric: Responsive to current and emerging client needs
  • Digital: Secure and easy to use
  • Collaborative: Connected through collaboration and partnerships
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness: Providing value for money
  • Service Excellence: Based on a strong innovation culture and an engaged workforce

These principles guide five goals that ESDC will collectively work towards to make sure we undertake initiatives that truly improve services for Canadians:

  • Goal 1: Clients can complete services using digital self-service
  • Goal 2: Clients can access bundled and connected services seamlessly across channels
  • Goal 3: Clients receive high-quality, timely and accurate services
  • Goal 4: Clients’ needs are anticipated
  • Goal 5: ESDC is organized to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver on the Strategy

The ESDC Service Strategy is already seeing results

While our work is just beginning, fiscal year 2016 to 2017 saw ESDC make important progress in its efforts to deliver high-quality, easy-to-access, simple and secure services for our clients. Key accomplishments include:

  • Making it easier for clients to find information on the services they need by moving all ESDC websites onto one mobile-friendly site: Canada.ca.
  • Providing clients with the ability to check the status of their Employment Insurance information online through their My Service Canada Account, eliminating the need to call or visit Service Canada.
  • Enrolling up to 60 percent of eligible Old Age Security clients automatically so that they need not apply.
  • Engaging clients directly in developing more meaningful service standards for Canada Pension Plan disability benefits.
  • Making it more convenient to apply for passports by expanding Passport Receiving Agent in-person points of service from 151 to 315 sites across Canada, in addition to 32 stand-alone and 2 co-located full-service passport offices.
  • Expanding the “birth bundle” to all provinces, allowing parents to apply for their child’s Social Insurance Number, child benefits and birth certificate all at once. This service is now available across all Canadian provinces, with a national take-up rate of 90 percent.

Organizing for future success

When the ESDC Service Strategy was launched, the Department also created a focal point for transformation and greater integration of service management. This move positions ESDC to be more flexible and responsive to meet client needs over the coming years. In addition, ESDC’s transformation also included the introduction of a Chief Data Officer to ensure ESDC’s data are used securely and effectively in the improvement of services to Canadians.

ESDC employees have always had the clients’ interest at heart, and the ESDC Service Strategy will serve as our vision to ensure the dedication of our employees is matched by modern and effective services. Moving forward, to become more client-centric, ESDC will continue to work with clients to inform, co-design and create better government services for all Canadians.

Evaluating our progress

ESDC conducts regular evaluations of its programs, providing the Department with timely and relevant results for policy development and spending decisions. Evaluation reports provide value to Canadians by enhancing transparency and demonstrating ESDC’s commitment to achieving its mandate to design and deliver programs that are effective and efficient in impacting their lives. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017, the Evaluation Directorate completed and published six evaluation reports Footnote 2. Those reports are available to all Canadians through the Department’s website.

Overall, these evaluations revealed that ESDC continues to meet its overall objective of promoting skills development and enhancing labour market participation for a wide spectrum
of the Canadian population, including unemployed Canadians, older workers, youth and the Indigenous population. More specifically, these evaluations demonstrated that ESDC contributes to creating a more skilled, adaptable and inclusive labour force as well as a more efficient labour market so Canadians can contribute to economic growth. For example:

  • Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs): ESDC invests approximately $2 billion annually through agreements with the provinces and territories to help unemployed Employment Insurance-eligible Canadians find and maintain employment through a variety of programs. About 700,000 Canadians benefit annually from the various programs and services of the LMDAs. Based on the evaluation findings, the overall impacts included: reduced dependency on Employment Insurance and social assistance, increased employment and increased earnings of participants relative to non-participants. For example, evaluations found that participants increased their annual earnings by about $3,000 (on average) as compared to what they would have earned had they not participated.
  • Work-Sharing Program: This adjustment program is designed to help employers and workers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. Layoffs are avoided by offering Employment Insurance income support to workers willing to work on a temporarily reduced work week while their company recovers. An evaluation of the program found that over a 10-year period, 60 percent of participants (on average) avoided layoffs and were able to remain on the job for at least six months. The program resulted in an estimated net effect of approximately 11,000 and 24,000 layoffs avoided during 2008–09 and 2009–10 respectively.

The Department will continue to build on a strong foundation to further the contribution of evaluation findings in program and policy development. For additional information on the evaluation function, please read the Departmental Evaluation PlanFootnote 3.

Key risks

The program and service delivery landscape is shifting rapidly with advancements in technology affecting how services are designed and delivered. Following this trend, Canadians have greater expectations with respect to the services delivered by the Department. In response to this shift, ESDC has continued to pursue a transformation agenda to modernize and improve the design and provision of services and programs to Canadians.

Within this context, the Department faces risks in developing and implementing transformative initiatives while delivering ongoing services, ensuring that it has staff with the right skills to deliver these initiatives, making the right investment decisions and managing large volumes of data while protecting Canadians’ private information. The Department has numerous risk mitigation plans and strategies that were developed and tracked in these areas including the Multi-Year Service Transformation Plan to transform the way in which ESDC delivers services to clients, employers, communities and organizations and that embraces our commitment to service excellence.

The Department’s mitigation efforts over the past year have reduced the likelihood of key corporate risk areas. Most notably, risks related to service delivery, human resources management and investment planning have all been reduced, as is demonstrated in the Risk Table. ESDC’s ability to show reduced risk and meaningful progress is facilitated through tracking the implementation of major mitigation strategies, analyzing trends across key reports and increasing engagement with subject matter experts.

Key risks
Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to Department’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities

Privacy/Security
of Personal Information

There is an inherent risk of privacy breach that could have a significant impact on affected citizens given the nature of the Department's work and the need for a very high level of security safeguards.

ESDC continued implementation of the Departmental Privacy Program including: development and implementation of a risk-based approach to Privacy Impact Assessment identification, prioritization and completion; enhanced strategic planning; development of a privacy analytics framework; and integration of Privacy by Design in major projects.

ESDC continued to use Shared Services Canada Internet gateways to adequately monitor and protect departmental networks.

ESDC expanded privacy awareness through Privacy Awareness Month (May) and providing ongoing privacy training to members of the Major Projects and Investment Board and employees through the delivery of both in-person and online sessions such as the mandatory online Stewardship of Information and Effective Workplace Behaviours program, and the online certification program Privacy and Access to Information – It’s Everybody’s Business.

Physical and digital vulnerabilities were consistently identified and assessed against business impact and employee and public safety, resulting in proactive remediation plans. All necessary groups were notified with the handling of all vulnerabilities. The Department actively managed the vulnerability life cycle through the monitoring of vendor-supplied items, ongoing scanning of the enterprise for early detection of vulnerabilities, investigating and assessing government-wide security advisories and ensuring that all detected vulnerabilities were managed and resolved in a timely fashion.

The IT Service Continuity Program implementation was continued to ensure that all critical services have up-to-date IT Technical Service Continuity Plans in place.

A Security Communications Plan and processes have been established for national guidance and direction in preparing for the continued delivery of services and benefits to Canadians.

Common monitoring and reporting tools and practices are being developed to identify risks, address security readiness levels and align the Portfolio Business Continuity critical services and their supporting IT applications.

Plans continue to be tested and lessons learned applied to improve business continuity plans to ensure the delivery of mission-critical services.

The Department continues to identify and assess physical vulnerabilities as part of various ongoing security activities. These include the Security Threat Landscape, Physical Security Posture, Threat and Risk Assessments and Physical Security Inspections. These activities assist in establishing remediation plans.

Program 1.1: Service Network Supporting Government Departments

Program 1.2: Delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs

Program 2.1: Skills and Employment

Program 2.2: Learning

Program 3.1: Labour

Program 4.1: Income Security

Program 4.2 Social Development

Program 5.1: Internal Services

Priority 7:
Ensure clients have access to easy-to-use, timely and secure services

Priority 10:
Develop people and foster a productive and effective workplace through the implementation of the ESDC 2015–20 Workforce Strategy

Priority 11:
Develop and implement modern IT infrastructure and platforms that enable effective, efficient and timely availability of information

Priority 12:
Manage information and data to ensure their usability and accessibility

Human Resources (HR) Management
Given high retirement/attrition rates, changing skillsets and capacity concerns, there is a risk that the Department will not be able to sustain a sufficient workforce or attract skilled employees with the appropriate competencies to meet current and future organizational needs.

Building on progress made in previous years to integrate workforce planning into business planning, ESDC has implemented a series of strategies and action plans to better manage risks related to human resources management. These include the ESDC Workforce Strategy, annual Workforce Action Plans, the Staffing and Recruitment Strategy, Enterprise Management of Learning at ESDC and the Integrated Mental Health in the Workplace Framework.

An integral part of the ESDC Workforce Strategy, the Staffing and Recruitment Strategy supports hiring for excellence and creating a balance between supporting career opportunities for existing ESDC employees and the renewal of the workforce through strategic recruitment. Several activities were undertaken to make departmental staffing processes more efficient and ensure a representative and diverse workforce. These include a new approach to Executive hiring, initiatives to recruit Indigenous people, youth and recent graduates and the creation of an ESDC Career webpage. 

To support the implementation of the new ESDC Staffing Direction, Operational Staffing Plans were introduced in May 2016. These align planned staffing approaches at the departmental and branch/region levels and identify areas for collective action. Ongoing monitoring of staffing strategies is also conducted to identify trends and adjust the Staffing and Recruitment Strategy in line with emerging needs.

Significant progress was also made in advancing Enterprise Management of Learning at ESDC. In fiscal year 2016 to 2017 departmental learning priorities were developed by analyzing branch/regional Workforce and Learning Plans. The full integration of learning planning with workforce and business planning, as well as the launch of a new Integrated Learning Management System/SABA, will help in developing training and learning activities that address evolving business needs and strengthen workforce capacity.

To address risks in meeting official languages obligations and maintaining bilingual capacity, ESDC has strengthened the delivery of second language learning offerings and implemented transition plans for changes in the linguistic profile of Executive feeder group positions. New Second Language Learning Guidelines also provide a greater emphasis on language maintenance and career development.

Building a healthy, respectful workplace with an emphasis on mental health continues to be an important priority. As part of the Integrated Mental Health in the Workplace Framework, ESDC has enhanced outreach and engagement on mental health awareness, launched key initiatives to promote workplace psychological health and safety and encouraged managers and employees to address mental health challenges openly, and implemented an Evaluation Strategy to gauge the effectiveness of our actions and changes in the culture and provide opportunity for adjustment as we move forward.

Program 1.1: Service Network Supporting Government Departments

Program 1.2: Delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs

Program 2.1: Skills and Employment

Program 2.2: Learning

Program 3.1: Labour

Program 4.1: Income Security

Program 4.2 Social Development

Program 5.1: Internal Services

Priority 10:
Develop people and foster a productive and effective workplace through the implementation of the ESDC 2015–20 Workforce Strategy

Information technology sustainability
Given the constantly evolving landscape of information technology (IT), there is a need for the Department to meet Canadians’ expectations of Government of Canada services by continuing to rapidly advance technology while protecting private information. With this, there is a risk that IT may not be able to continuously transform, innovate, re-skill and invest at the nimble and flexible pace required to support ESDC programs and services.

To facilitate building additional time into operational decision-making processes to account for changes in business processes and IT systems, the Departmental Business Capability Model (DBCM) and Future State Capability Model (FSCM) were completed. The DBCM represents a view of department capabilities in their current state, and serves to further facilitate and inform investment and strategic planning, risk analysis and the horizontal understanding of enterprise direction, as well setting the stage for the establishment of a mature business process management function. Coupled with the FSCM, a fully articulated understanding of current state and future state can be attained.

The Department has implemented the Application Portfolio Management (APM) initiative to manage the suite of IT applications and platforms that support the delivery of services. This will be used to determine whether the Department will invest in or divest from particular IT applications.

The Department is maturing and improving Solution and Enterprise Architecture by analyzing outputs from APM, Project and Portfolio Assessment, Application Strategies and Business Context and Strategy to influence skills/staffing planning and financial planning, as well as determine application strategies.

A process to incorporate business continuity planning within all transformation initiatives and projects is being developed.

Program 1.1: Service Network Supporting Government Departments

Program 1.2: Delivery of Services for Other Government of Canada Programs

Program 2.1: Skills and Employment

Program 2.2: Learning

Program 3.1: Labour

Program 4.1: Income Security

Program 4.2 Social Development

Program 5.1: Internal Services

Priority 11:
Develop and implement modern IT infrastructure and platforms that enable effective, efficient and timely availability of information

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