Delivering on the Government’s agenda

Delivering on the Government’s agenda

In this section you'll find themes including reporting on progress, experimentation, engaging Canadians, and open government.

Public servants have risen to the challenge to deliver on the Government’s agenda. We have tackled ambitious initiatives with dedication and professionalism. At times, this has meant challenging the change to find the solutions we need. And in order to get results, we have taken a truly collaborative approach.

Canada 150 logo

Canada 150 provided an opportunity to commemorate our past, celebrate what makes Canada great and create a legacy for our future. Dozens of departments and agencies worked together to deliver over 300 projects and initiatives celebrating Canada 150. We invited visitors to Canada’s great national parks and historic sites for free and more people experienced their rich history and heritage than ever before. We delivered celebrations in 18 cities across the country and supported communities to put on their own celebrations. This created extraordinary moments for Canadians and visitors.

Public servants advanced work towards a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. This included supporting the work of the Government to engage First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to create new federal legislation and policies to formalize the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including the inherent right to self-government and self-determination. Work has also continued under the new permanent bilateral mechanisms with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners.

Canada 150's 'The Canada we dream of'

Strengthening Trade

Canada has continued to strengthen our economic relationships and opened new market opportunities so that our companies can better compete on the world stage. Public servants supported the Government to bring the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement into force. They are also helping Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities this agreement creates by explaining the agreement during cross-Canada outreach tours.

A team of public servants from across the government supported negotiations on the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This will create opportunities for Canadian businesses and investors in the large and fast-growing markets in the Asia Pacific region. A team of expert negotiators is continuing to advance Canada’s interests in the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Negotiators supported the launch of free trade negotiations with the Mercosur trade bloc—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguayon March 20, 2018.

Supporting Change

Public servants have been coordinating across departments to support the Government’s intention to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis. This work includes the development of a regulatory framework, which has been informed by cross-country consultations. We have been taking steps to educate and inform the public about cannabis through digital communications and partnerships, which began shortly before the introduction of the proposed Cannabis Act in April 2017. For example, in the fall of 2017, Public Safety Canada launched Don’t Drive High, a national, multi-platform marketing campaign to raise awareness among Canadian youth of the risks associated with drug-impaired driving.

To deliver on the Government’s commitment to ensuring that federally regulated workplaces are free from harassment and sexual violence, officials worked with stakeholders to identify a path forward. This work informed proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code in Bill C-65. The amendments would update the existing framework for the prevention of harassment and violence in the workplace and extend protections to parliamentary employees.

Recognizing the need for broader culture change on preventing and responding to harassment and violence—as made evident by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements—public service leaders will continue to support the Government’s efforts to increase awareness. This includes developing educational materials, training and tools for employees and employers in federally regulated workplaces.

To support the Government in introducing a new environmental assessment process, a number of departments undertook an extensive engagement effort. The team ensured that Canadians had opportunities to provide input each step of the way towards developing an approach and supporting legislation. On February 8, 2018, the Government proposed the Impact Assessment Act legislation through Bill C-69. Once enacted, this legislation would change how major natural resource projects are reviewed. The approach would feature early, inclusive and meaningful public engagement and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. And it would result in timely decisions based on the best available science and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

Canada Service Corps logo

The Public Service also contributed to significant milestones in advancing the Government’s ambitious youth agenda. In February 2018, the Government formally launched a pan-Canadian dialogue with youth to inform the development of the first-ever youth policy for Canada, with ongoing leadership from the Prime Minister’s Youth Council. The initial phase of the Canada Service Corps was also launched, with the objective of helping young Canadians gain valuable work and life experience through service opportunities, while providing support to communities across Canada.

Canada Infrastructure Bank logo

Public servants supported the launch of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. This new Crown corporation is an additional tool for provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous partners to build more infrastructure across Canada. As an innovative financing tool, the Bank is designed to transform the way infrastructure is planned, funded and delivered in Canada.

A small transition team of public servants laid the groundwork for the launch of Invest in Canada on March 12, 2018. Invest in Canada will promote foreign direct investment into Canada and bring together all levels of government and private sector partners to provide seamless, single-window service to global investors.

Reporting on progress

The Public Service is assisting the Government as it moves toward a more rigorous reporting of implementation milestones and results. We are publicly tracking these efforts through the website. Launched in November 2017, this website features 364 commitments across departments and agencies, along with details of the progress made and results achieved.

Departments are also innovating in how they share information on progress in implementing the Government’s priorities. Infrastructure Canada has mapped Investing in Canada projects in communities across the country, making it possible for Canadians to access information on an interactive website. Innovation, Science and Economic Development is reporting and tracking progress achieved through the Innovation and Skills Plan on such priorities as skills development and supporting industry-led innovation through its new interactive results portal.

This represents a step forward in transparency, allowing Canadians to more easily monitor our progress.

Visual representation of the commitment statuses found in the Mandate Letter Tracker

  • 81 Completed – fully met
  • 1 Completed - modified
  • 232 Under way – on track
  • 23 Under way – with challenges
  • 3 Not being pursued
  • 24 On-going commitment

This data was pulled, in April 2018, from the Mandate Letter Tracker, which allows Canadians to track the Government’s actions on its commitments. Visit for the most up-to-date information.


The Government made a commitment to experimentation to deliver results for Canadians.

In support of this commitment, the Public Service has worked to launch the Impact Canada Initiative. This whole-of-government effort will permit experimentation with outcomes-based funding approaches, new partnership models and impact measurement methodologies. The goal is to test new approaches, and to scale up those that deliver improved results.

The Impact Canada Initiative has launched its first flagship program. The Smart Cities Challenge invites communities of all sizes, large and small, from across Canada to come forward with their best ideas to improve the quality of life of their residents through innovation, data and connected technology.

Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council, at the main table during a conference

This approach represents a new way of opening up problem solving to innovators who can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to pressing policy issues. It also represents a shift towards paying for results, such as through prizes and challenges.

I know we cannot do this alone. That is why I was proud to endorse the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Declaration on Public Sector Innovation with my provincial and territorial counterparts. We recognized the need to modernize our public services across Canada. By working together, we will seek out and apply new ideas, tools and technologies to complex problems and share knowledge and experiences with one another and with citizens.

Engaging Canadians

Meaningful engagement is the foundation of good policy advice and program design and implementation. I am proud of public servants’ work this year to support the Government’s commitment to engage in a meaningful way—and to have a constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society and stakeholders.

We have come a long way in developing the right skills, which has helped us to reach more Canadians than ever before. Many consultations have garnered tens of thousands of submissions, and have reached ten times that amount on social media.

Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, aims to provide Canada with an agile, multi-purpose combat-ready military operated by highly trained, well-equipped individuals. Public servants supported the Minister in carrying out the most comprehensive consultations to date by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. The team invited submissions through an e-workbook, an online discussion platform and through broader discussions of Canada’s approach to defence. Almost 20,200 online submissions were received, and over 4,700 participants contributed comments and voted using the online discussion forum. The new defence policy, released in June 2017, is informed by what we heard.

Woman asking question at consultations on accessibility legislation

When the Government engages Canadians, we need to ensure that everyone who wants to participate has the opportunity to do so. From June 2016 to February 2017, Accessible Canada supported the Government in realizing the largest and most accessible consultations on disability issues to date. The final report on these consultations was released in July 2017, and was instrumental in the drafting of new accessibility legislation.

The team designed an approach to ensure that the voices and stories of people who face the greatest barriers to accessibility and inclusion would be heard. This meant supporting the Minister in working with disability organizations and national Indigenous organizations across Canada. Over 6,000 Canadians shared their ideas about an accessible Canada with the Minister.

An important step in consultations is reporting back to the public and stakeholders on what we heard and the next steps in the process. In June 2017, the Government launched Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy. It built on evidence gathered during consultations that spanned five Canadian cities and 65 countries, and engaged over 15,000 people. The resulting “What We Heard” report is interactive, dynamic and user-friendly. It uses a web-based platform to share information on key themes and to summarize input. This raises the bar for communicating the results of consultations to the public openly and creatively.

Visual representation of results from consultations done for Canada's new Feminist International Assistance Policy

  • 65+
  • 10,600+
    Contributions received
  • 5
    Canadian Cities
  • 300+
  • 15,000+
    People engaged
Oceans Protections Plan infographic

Public servants are supporting the Government’s commitment to a collaborative approach with Indigenous communities to develop, design and deliver programs.

When the Government launched the Oceans Protection Plan—a $1.5 billion national initiative to improve marine safety and protect Canada's coasts—it committed to partner with Indigenous and coastal communities to develop a world-leading marine safety system. For example, on the West Coast, public servants across a number of departments have been working together with British Columbia First Nations, coastal communities and marine stakeholders to implement the plan. This has included ongoing dialogue forums and Indigenous workshops to discuss partnering on emergency response planning, protecting ecosystems and managing local marine vessel traffic. Ongoing meetings are also taking place where public servants and First Nations have developed the agenda together. This approach is providing citizens with more frequent opportunities to help shape the policies that affect them.

Recognizing the need to build engagement skills and capacity, a team from the Community of Federal Regulators designed and delivered a boot camp. This was truly a grassroots effort. Volunteers from 14 government departments and agencies developed a one-day training session on public engagement fundamentals. The course was delivered in eight sessions across the country, and train-the-trainer sessions helped build the skills of participants to support ongoing delivery. The team has shared all of the content used for the creation of the boot camps on GCpedia, ensuring that others can continue to profit from this initiative. This initiative demonstrates how leadership occurs at many levels of our organization, helping us evolve in how we work.

Text version — National Oceans Protection Plan

An ocean-themed infographic, outlining the Government’s goals in the new Oceans protection plan.

  • $1.5 billion national oceans protection plan
  • Support safe and clean marine shipping
  • Builds partnerships with Indigenous and coastal communities
  • Increases economic opportunities for Canadians
  • Improves marine safety
  • Protects marine environment

Open Government

Open government is about making government information and data available to citizens and business. It increases transparency and accountability, and strengthens democracy. And it builds public trust and, ultimately, creates better outcomes for Canadians.

Group of public servants

Canada is a world leader in open government. The Open Government Partnership, a global multilateral initiative with more than 70 member countries, recently elected Canada as its new co-chair for 2018-19. Through the Partnership, governments make concrete commitments and plans to harness new technologies to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and strengthen governance.

And our commitment to focus on open government, user needs and to sharing and learning has earned Canada a place at the table with the Digital 7. In February 2018, Canada joined leading digital nations in a mission to harness digital technology for the benefit of citizens. We will be working with partners on our collective mission to advance digital principles and practices, identify how to improve service delivery, and champion our respective growing digital economies.

But the commitment to openness starts at home. The Public Service is strengthening the foundation for collaboration between government and citizens. It is working in the open, and putting information, data, research and analysis online. Over 60 departments and agencies are publicly releasing data, research and analysis. This strengthens the foundation for collaboration between government and citizens.

For example, InfoBase is an online tool that allows citizens to understand government spending. Citizens can find and analyze financial information about how government departments plan and spend their budgets. This helps citizens to better understand the complex world of government finance. It also brings greater transparency and accountability.

Embracing open government supports a shift towards an “open by default” approach. This means that federal government content is made publicly accessible, except where security or privacy is at play. We are increasingly providing Canadians with access to federal government information and data that are accessible, simple and reusable. This empowers Canadians to decide how they want to use information and data. That means universal access—whether by the public sector, business, academia or individuals.

Transcript — Open government

Question: So what is Open Government?

Allison O’Berine, senior advisor: Open Government is about bringing Canadians closer to the government that is supposed to serve them.

Jordan Zed, director, open government: Part of what we’re trying to do in Open Government is give citizens the tools that they need to create, to innovate, collaborate.

Portia Taylor, senior policy analyst: Adding your values, help shaping the open information, but also the decisions that are being made from the information that we hold as a government. It’s a great way for citizens to take hold of democracy and become a part of shaping it.

Taran Wasson, policy analyst: Yeah, I wish everyone will check, check out our portal. You can find tons of information there on open data, open information, our action plan, and a lot more.

Share your ideas on

So what does this look like in practice? In summer 2017, four government departments experimented with increasing transparency, giving Canadians a backstage pass to their work. Canadian Heritage, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat made available a sample of research and planning documents to the public as they were being created on the Open by Default Portal. For the first time, public researchers, businesses and curious citizens could access some of the raw materials used in government decision-making. In doing so, they could collaborate with their government as work was taking place.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and Public Services and Procurement Canada leveraged this new Open by Default Portal to run an agile procurement pilot. The team was able to run a process to buy digital services that was quick, open and competitive.

In an out-of-this-world example of open data in action, the Canadian Space Agency gave Canadian innovators a challenge: develop an original “Space App” using Canadian space datasets. This was the first time the Canadian Space Agency participated in the NASA-organized Space Apps Challenge hackathon, with Canada-specific data and challenges.

Three students working at a laptop

Exceeding all expectations, a three-person team of engineering and math students from the University of Waterloo developed an algorithm that will allow scientists and experts to conduct searches of the data from the very first Canadian satellite, Alouette-1. A second team of open data enthusiasts from Ottawa suggested an excellent concept for a user-friendly interface for accessing simulated data from Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation Mission scheduled for launch later this year. A seven-year-old girl from Toronto used images from the Canadian RADARSAT-2 satellite to create digital mosaics to raise awareness about the usefulness of satellites.

And using data from back on earth, a Statistics Canada team launched a pilot project to use crowdsourcing to map non-residential buildings. The pilot called on local residents to use their knowledge of their neighbourhoods to enter data into OpenStreetMap. The pilot was a success, and the team is now ready to map the whole of Canada as part of the community-led Building Canada 2020 initiative. This information will provide us with new opportunities for analysis in city and social planning across Canada. It will also teach us about the possibilities of crowdsourcing.

Demographic Snapshot of Canada’s Federal Public Service, 2017

A demographic profile of the Federal Public Service 2017

Chart - A demographic profile of the Federal Public Service 2017

Supplementary demographic information is available at

Text version — Demographic profile

A demographic profile of the Federal Public Service 2017

This infographic presents select demographics for the federal public service (FPS) in fiscal year 2016-17.

Number of employees
Number of employees March 2016 March 2017
All employees 258,979 262,696
Executives 6,414 6,480
Deputy ministers (DMs) 39 36
Associate DMs 35 41
Employee types
Employee types March 2016 Percentage March 2017 Percentage
Indeterminate 218,544 84.4% 222,474 84.7%
Term 25,472 9.8% 26,389 10%
Casual 9,251 3.6% 7,505 2.9%
Students 5,712 2.2% 6,281 2.4%
Mobility in the core public administration (CPA)
Mobility in the CPA 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
New indeterminate employees 4,315 6,093 7,698 11,085
Retirements and departures 12,283 9,737 9,554 9,500*

Due to delays in obtaining data from the pay system, Employment Equity data and data on promotions and lateral and downward transfers are currently not available for 2016-17.

The information provided is for the Federal Public Service (FPS), which refers to the Core Public Administration—departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer—and separate agencies (principally the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and National Research Council Canada). Data are primarily provided by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Employee types includes all employment tenures, active employees only (i.e., employees on leave without pay are excluded), and it is based on effective employment classification (i.e., acting appointments included). The variance between the total FPS included in the Employee Types table and the total included in the Number of Employees table is explained by the fact that total FPS by “tenure” excludes those with missing tenure information.

*2016-17 retirement and departure figures are preliminary estimates.


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