Clerk’s remarks during the Public Service Award of Excellence Ceremony


Check against Delivery
November 28, 2017

Thank you for the kind introduction.  It is great to be here this afternoon.

As you all know, I have three jobs, and I have done all three today. I had an opportunity to talk to the Prime Minister as his Deputy Minister; I had a chance to sit in the corner of the Cabinet room this morning for a cabinet discussion which was really extraordinary; and as Head of the Public Service, I get to be with you for this important event in the public service calendar. Later this afternoon, I will attend another special event as Head of the Public Service. I apologize in advance to you if I have to skip out a little bit before the end of this event, as I need to be in the House of Commons for the apology to the LGBTQ2 communities, which is another important milestone in the history of the Public Service.

This event is about you. It is about you as individuals, as teams, and as an important institution, which has served Canadians for 150 years. I want you to take enormous pride in what you have accomplished. These moments of celebration do not come along often enough. So, let us have some fun and celebrate what you have done for us.

I want to acknowledge that we are here today on the territory of the Algonquin Nations of this region.

I want to thank all the people that have organized today’s event. These things fly by very quickly, but they take hours and hours of preparation. To Anne Marie and the team of the Chief Human Resources Officer, and everyone else involved, I extend a great big thank you on behalf of everyone here today. While he is not here, I would like to thank Jean-François Tremblay, and all the members of this year’s selection committee, who had an extraordinarily difficult job this year because of the volume and high quality of nominations and submissions. Thank you so much for taking the time to work through them.

This year, the selection committee was comprised of a diverse membership, with representation from different levels, regions, unions and the Federal Youth Network. We benefited from a diversity of experiences and perspectives in the selection process.

This afternoon, we are here to honor and recognize excellence in the Public Service. I think it is very important because Canadians do not actually hear enough about the meaningful, innovative, and impressive work being done across the Public Service, which as you know, is where more than a quarter million Canadians come in every day to serve their country in over 300 different organizations, with an enormous variety of roles and tasks.

When I look at the list of recipients, I am struck at its diversity, as well as the diverse roles public servants have in our country. Being honoured today are: scientists, policy analysts, border services agencies, statisticians, engineers, administrative assistants, human resource personnel, as well as award winners from IT, taxation, infrastructure and emergency response. This reflects the enormous impact the Public Service of Canada has on the lives of Canadians, and indeed of people around the world. Public servants in Canada do many things in the service of their country.

But there are some common threads that unite today’s recipients: dedication to service, commitment to excellence, passion for what they do, and leadership in building and leading teams. You exemplify the very best of what public servants can accomplish, and you inspire your colleagues and everyone around you to strive to do even better. You inspire other public servants, and you inspire me.

People can learn from your experiences and they can learn from your stories. So it is important that we share them. There are vignettes and stories celebrated today that I hope other public servants get a chance to hear - more importantly, that Canadians get to hear, too.  We benefit a great deal from the feedback loops of all kinds of officers of Parliament, or from other feedback processes that reflect on where we could have been done better.

We do not hear enough about the things that were done really well. The things that were innovative. In keeping the confidence of Canadians, as voters, as taxpayers, as fellow citizens, we have to tell those stories. If we as public servants do not tell them, who will? When you are at the hockey arena or the grocery store or in the community or meeting family members over the holidays, puff out your chest a little bit and take some pride in these accomplishments and say: “I am a proud public servant”.

And you know what? This year The International Civil Service Effectiveness Index went through the exercise of trying to rank public services around the world. They looked at 35 public services, gave them scores and ranked them. The most effective public service on the planet is you! Think about that.

A month later, we found out from Global Government Forum that we are also the public service with the highest participation of women in our leadership ranks. I believe that these two facts are probably correlated.

And we continue to rank highly in any objective measure of excellence in public service that serves government after government, generation after generation, and Canadians, and adapts to new technologies, new environmental realities, new economic realities. I can go on and on.

So, in the most effective and impactful public service on the planet, we are gathered with you, the public servants who have been recognized and nominated as deserving special recognition for your contributions over the last year. That makes you very special public servants and very special Canadians. I want you to take real pride in that. I want you to share that story. You are a source of strength and inspiration to other public servants, and a source of inspiration to Canadians.

So, let us celebrate. Thank you.

Photos: Public Service Award of Excellence Photo Album

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