Communications Community Office 2019-2020 Annual Report

Communications Community Office 2019-2020 Annual Report

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What we do

The Communications Community Office (CCO) is a horizontal organization that supports communications professionals across the Government of Canada. We help communicators enhance their skills and abilities and grow their careers by offering a variety of services, including learning events, communications tools and news, staffing processes and networking opportunities.

The CCO also serves as the secretariat for monthly heads of Communications meetings and the annual Heads of Communications Retreat. We work closely with departments, central agencies, communities of practice and other functional communities, as well as with public and private sector partners, to get ahead of the trends and develop the skills needed to keep pace with the speed of communications.


Our mandate is to provide tools and mechanisms to:


Our objective is to support and build a communications community that:

Areas of focus

Deputy Minister Champion

I am pleased to present the 2019–20 annual report of the Government of Canada’s Communications Community Office (CCO).

As the Communications Community Champion, I recognize the value communicators bring to federal programs and initiatives. Their contributions have a direct impact on the quality of information and services Canadians rely on. Never, in recent memory, has this role taken on such significance as it has over the course of this exceptional year.

Towards the end of the fiscal year, communicators stepped up to the plate to support the Government during the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. In this time of social and economic crisis, communicators ensured Canadians had the critical information they needed to access support for health emergencies, job losses and much more.

The communications function is evolving at lightning speed. Communicators’ ability to adapt is rooted in a sense of collaboration; a desire to nurture inclusive relationships, networks and communities of practice; and a commitment to remaining informed, agile, skilled and equipped. As we prepare for the challenges that lay ahead, I invite you to take full advantage of the opportunities the CCO continues to offer.

It is my privilege to serve as champion and to work with the CCO to strengthen our community. Please join me in celebrating our communications community for its many accomplishments over this past year.

Head shot of Chantal Maheu

Chantal Maheu
Communications Community Champion
Deputy Minister of Labour and Associate Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development

Co-chairs of the CCO Steering Committee

Over the past year, the Communications Community Office (CCO) has continued to grow in our now-permanent home with the Privy Council Office.

Government of Canada communicators support Ministers and Deputy Ministers, deliver campaigns, collaborate on initiatives and events, and provide high-quality information and services to Canadians.

In a rapidly changing landscape, communicators must constantly diversify their skill sets to keep up, stay relevant and continue to deliver. The communications community is adapting and evolving faster than any other within the federal government. The CCO provides learning, training and talent management that is essential to the communications function. It plays an invaluable role in uniting the community regardless of geographic region, job responsibility or organizational structure.

We are immensely proud of what we have been able to accomplish this year. Highlights from 2019–20 include:

With such a strong track record, the CCO is seeing the fruit of its labour and is set to be a leader in communications excellence for years to come

Head shot of Kelly Acton

Kelly Acton
Assistant Secretary,
Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs,
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Head shot of Ken MacKillop

Ken MacKillop
Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet,
Communications and Consultations,
Privy Council Office


The CCO’s Steering Committee is made up of Directors, Directors General (DGs) and Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs) of Communications. The Committee provides direction and sets priorities for the CCO and for the communications community. Members come from large, medium and small organizations, with at least one representative from the regions.

The CCO coordinates monthly meetings of heads of Communications and with its Steering Committee to address the top issues facing the community and to get quick feedback from DGs on initiatives, plans and priorities.

We also consult with executives, managers and individual communications specialists on a regular basis to ensure our services are aligned with the needs of the community. Community members regularly support and share their knowledge at our learning events and write articles for our newsletter and social media channels.

Steering Committee members

We would like to say a very special thank you to former board members Louise Baird, for her co-chair role while at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Debora Brown from Employment and Social Development Canada and Chris Henderson from the Department of National Defence, who contributed significantly to the CCO this past year.

Group photo of CCO Steering Committee members
Group photo of CCO Steering Committee members
Ken MacKillop and Kelly Acton at the Communications Awards of Excellence ceremony

Our partners

The CCO is supported by memoranda of understanding and financial contributions from heads of Communications in departments and agencies across the Government of Canada. This funding model enables the CCO to offer a variety of services to the communications community. The CCO’s activities support communicators’ learning, training and career development.

The CCO is also supported by in-kind contributions from many community partners who have provided their support, expertise and advice throughout the year. Most notably these community partners include:

Public servants in a classroom participating in a learning event
Public servants in a classroom participating in a learning event

Communities of practice

Communities of practice (COPs) are grassroots and driven by federal communicators with targeted specialties. Their community-led structure offers their members the opportunity to share information and tools, discuss common challenges, and develop and share new approaches.

In 2019–20, the CCO supported learning and networking opportunities offered by several COPs. New COPs were established. Their focuses include media relations, storytelling, events, digital analytics, strategic communications and issues management. Additionally, the COPs were featured at the Government of Canada’s annual Innovation Fair and at the CCO Learning Days conference where they led workshops and hosted kiosks. The CCO plans to further leverage and engage the communities in the upcoming year.

List of communications COPs

Members of a Community of Practice are in a classroom listening to a presentation
Members of a Community of Practice are in a classroom listening to a presentation

Accomplishments for 2019–2020

Career development

Training and learning

Collective recruitment and retention

Information sharing and data analysis

The CCO continues to maintain a social media presence (Twitter, LinkedIn) and to share information and resources on GCTools (GCconnex and GCpedia) and on the CCO website. In 2019–20, the @CCOBCC Twitter account reached 3,000 followers and now has more than 3,300. The CCO LinkedIn account grew to over 1,500 connections in the same period.

Headshot of Emily Mostovac Walsh, mentee
"As I am working on advancing my career, having a mentor is helpful. It’s a safe space to bounce ideas and ask for advice."

The way forward

In 2020–21, the CCO will continue to build on its solid foundation and promote activities within the following five areas of focus:

Helping communicators develop their skills and careers is an important part of the CCO’s role. This year, the CCO will review and modernize the Information Services (IS) competencies and develop standard job descriptions for communicators. Career roadmaps for employees and executives will set the path to exciting careers!

The CCO will continue to help connect talented communicators with the right opportunities. It will keep promoting a variety of learning and development activities, including monthly learning sessions.

The CCO will work closely with its partners and leverage their experience to benefit our communications community. We will continue to seek and foster collaboration with our communities of practice and to strengthen relationships with communicators across Canada and the National Capital Region.

The stage at the Communications Awards of Excellence ceremony

Working with the Canada School of Public Service, the CCO will develop a new communications curriculum. Work will also continue on a benchmark study.

Our communications community’s main asset is its people. There are so many examples of collaboration, innovation and excellence. The CCO will highlight the outstanding work of communicators through its channels, with an emphasis on virtual learning events and the Government of Canada’s Communications Awards of Excellence.

The CCO is proud to serve such passionate, talented and high-performing government communicators who are making a difference in the lives of Canadians. The communications community is at the heart of everything we do.

CCO numbers at a glance

Group photo of the Communications Community Office team at the CCO Learning Days
Group photo of the Communications Community Office team at the CCO Learning Days
Headshot of Kirsten Goodnough, mentor
"For me, mentoring is about supporting excellence in our community and empowering the leaders of tomorrow."

Annual funding for 2019–2020

To facilitate long-term planning, the CCO has negotiated multi-year funding agreements with departments and agencies for the period from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2021.

In 2019, two additional agreements were added with the onboarding of the Communications Security Establishment and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Currently, there are 38 departments and agencies participating in the multi-year funding agreements. The funding formula is based on the number of employees in the Information Services (IS) category at each contributing department and agency. The total contributions for fiscal year 2019–20 amounted to $1,209,500. The breakdown by departments and agencies follows.

Funding by departments and agencies
Department/Agency Funding ($)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 41,250
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 22,500
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions 7,500
Canada Food Inspection Agency 41,250
Canada Revenue Agency 41,250
Canada Border Services Agency 22,500
Canadian Heritage 41,250
Canadian Institutes of Health Research 7,500
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency 7,500
Communications Security Establishment 22,500
Canadian Space Agency 22,500
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Indigenous Services Canada 41,250
Correctional Service of Canada 17,000
Department of Finance Canada 22,500
Department of Justice Canada 41,250
Department of National Defence 41,250
Elections Canada 22,500
Employment and Social Development Canada 41,250
Environment and Climate Change Canada 41,250
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario 7,500
Fisheries and Oceans Canada 41,250
Global Affairs Canada 41,250
Health Canada 41,250
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 41,250
Infrastructure Canada 22,500
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada 41,250
Library and Archives Canada 22,500
Natural Resources Canada 41,250
Parks Canada 22,500
Privy Council Office In-kind
Public Safety Canada 30,000
Public Service Commission of Canada 22,500
Public Services and Procurement Canada 41,250
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 41,250
Shared Services Canada 41,250
Statistics Canada 41,250
Transport Canada 41,250
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 41,250
Veterans Affairs Canada 22,500
Total $1,209,500

Financial results


Funding Amount ($)
Funding received from communications branches of Government of Canada departments $1,209,500
Total $1,209,500


Expenditures Amount ($)
Salaries, administration and corporate support 1,028,706
Learning and training
(including the learning series, new communications curriculum development and Learning Days conference)
Recruitment and retention
(including the Mentoring Series)
Secretariat support for Heads of Communications (including Steering Committee meetings and annual retreat) 4,636
Community building and engagement
(including regional outreach, speaker series, and awards and recognition)
Total $1,209,500


We want to hear from you.

Let us know how we can support you better. Send us your ideas for the future.

Email us at

Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

©Privy Council Office (2020)
All rights reserved
All requests for permission to reproduce this document or any part thereof shall be addressed to the Privy Council Office.

Cette publication est également disponible en français :
Rapport annuel 2019-2020 du Bureau de la collectivité des communications

ISSN 2562-5993

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