Deputy Ministers Task Force on Public Sector Innovation Mandate Letter

Mr. Matthew Mendelsohn
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1A 0A3

Mr. Graham Flack
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec 
K1A 0M5

Dear Mr. Mendelsohn and Mr. Flack:

A key ongoing function of the Deputy Minister (DM) Policy Committees is to provide a strategic, whole-of-government lens to policy coordination and development. This includes the important function of leading efforts to support ongoing public service awareness and understanding of emerging trends shaping the policy environment, with a focus on improving results and impact for Canadians.

As co-chairs of the DM Task Force on Public Sector Innovation, it will be your responsibility to ensure the Task force continues to play a central role in advancing medium- and long-term policy planning with respect to opportunities for significant innovation in how we deliver programs and develop policy advice.  This includes anticipating and responding to key developments in the domestic and global environment, and providing strategic advice that reflects emerging challenges and opportunities.

In this regard, I expect the Task Force on Public Sector Innovation to play an action-oriented role in experimenting with emerging tools and approaches and helping provide public servants with the skills and knowledge to achieve better results for Canadians. Further to my commitment in the Twenty-Fourth Annual Report to the Prime Minister on the Public Service of Canada, I would like the Task Force’s work to contribute to the following of my priorities:

  • Measuring how we are working and the outcomes we are achieving;
  • Exploring new ideas and collaborating with communities and Canadians to serve them better;
  • Improving internal communication and people management practices; and
  • Attracting and retaining top talent and being a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Specifically, I would like your Task Force to work with the support of relevant departments to examine broader trends and emerging technologies with the objective of advancing concrete initiatives that facilitate:

  • Core systems transformation to address outdated systems and processes (e.g., in the areas of grants and contributions, procurement, co-creation, and human resources); and
  • Experimenting with disruptive technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, etc.) within government.

To advance this mandate, I encourage you to reform the role of the Task Force’s Reverse Mentors, recruiting full-time Policy Entrepreneurs as a leadership opportunity dedicated to advancing the Task Force’s mandate. I also encourage you to create development opportunities for public servants and to target individuals from outside the public service to support your work.

Please consider the use of sub-committees or committees of Assistant Deputy Ministers, such as the ADM Experimentation Committee, to support the work of the Task Force on Public Sector Innovation. In conducting their work, I also expect all DM policy committees to identify and promote new ways to approach policy questions, including through innovation, engagement with external experts, and partnerships.

In terms of next steps, I would ask that you inform other Deputy-level committees, including the Board of Management and Renewal, of the proposed path forward.

I would like to thank you for your ongoing leadership and contribution in support of a public service that is equipped to provide sound policy advice to the Government.  


Sincerely yours,
Michael Wernick

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