Communications Community Office 2021-2022 Annual Report

Communications Community Office 2021-2022 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.

Mandate Objective Areas of focus

Our mandate is to provide tools and mechanisms to:

  • support recruitment and retention efforts by managers;
  • enhance learning and career development opportunities for communicators;
  • support the use of new technology and new media;
  • strengthen the community through the sharing of information and networking; and
  • advocate by positioning the communications function as a key partner in advancing Government of Canada priorities.

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

  • is widely recognized as high performing;
  • works collaboratively with partners;
  • has the right skill sets; and
  • attracts top talent.
  • Career development
  • Training and learning
  • Information sharing and data analysis
  • Collective recruitment and retention
  • Talent management


Our mandate is to provide tools and mechanisms to:

  • support recruitment and retention efforts by managers;
  • enhance learning and career development opportunities for communicators;
  • support the use of new technology and new media;
  • strengthen the community through the sharing of information and networking; and
  • advocate by positioning the communications function as a key partner in advancing Government of Canada priorities.


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

  • is widely recognized as high performing;
  • works collaboratively with partners;
  • has the right skill sets; and
  • attracts top talent.

Areas of focus

  • Career development
  • Training and learning
  • Information sharing and data analysis
  • Collective recruitment and retention
  • Talent management

Message from the Communications Community Champion

I am pleased to present the 2021-22 annual report of the Government of Canada’s Communications Community Office (CCO). This report celebrates and reflects the capacity building, engagement and support provided to our communications community throughout the past year.

Since the pandemic, it has been even more critical for us to connect with Canadians, our stakeholders, other levels of government on a community, municipal, provincial/territorial, and international level, as well as with our employees. The last few years have shown us that in times of crisis we must move beyond engagement and communication to strengthening the linkages that exist between organizations and individuals and recognizing our inter-dependencies.

Despite the challenges we have all faced in recent years, the CCO has continued to work tirelessly to empower, enable, engage and promote a communications community that is widely recognized as high performing; works collaboratively with partners; has the right skill sets; and inclusive and diverse, listening and responding to the voices of equity-deserving communities.

I invite you to take full advantage of the opportunities the CCO continues to offer as we continue to build an evolving, more equitable and inclusive professional practice of communications. Investing in your own professional development and networking is a service you will be contributing to the success and sustainability of the community.

I sincerely express thanks, on behalf of Deputy Ministers, to all communications professionals across the Government of Canada for your commitment, resiliency and dedication to serving all Canadians. I am looking forward to the work to come in strengthening the Public Service and our critical role as the Government of Canada.

It is with honor that I will continue to serve as your Champion and work with the Communications Community Office (CCO) to strengthen our community.

Headshot of Valerie Gideon, Associate Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services and Champion of the Communications Community

Valerie Gideon
Associate Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services
Champion of the Communications Community

Message from the Co-Chairs of the CCO Steering Committee

The Communications Community Office (CCO) continues to adapt to provide guidance and support, engaging with Canadians along the way, and with a constant eye to the future of work.

Government communicators have been challenged again this year, both professionally and personally, to provide critical support to Canadians, businesses, stakeholders and partners—ranging from that related to the pandemic and recovery, wild fires and climate events, and internal conflicts, to name a few.

The speed of change and the priorities ahead are now pointing in the direction of “precedented times,” where agility, resilience, creativity and innovation are the staples of the work we do to keep up and stay ahead of a changing landscape here in Canada and abroad.

Communications is integral to the development, implementation and ongoing administration of the Government’s policies, programs and services, and the CCO is providing key support and guidance on communications trends and approaches, learning services, training tools, career development, and recruitment and retention while fostering community engagement.

Highlights of the past year include:

To our communications colleagues across government, thank you for all that you do for Canadians.

And finally, we wish to acknowledge the contribution of our steering committee of senior leadership and thank all the contributors, participants, and volunteers who continue to support our community through their dedication and commitment.

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

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

Headshot of James Stott, Assistant Secretary, Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

James Stott
Assistant Secretary
Strategic Communications and Ministerial Affairs
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat


The CCO’s Steering Committee is made up of directors, directors general (DGs) and assistant deputy ministers 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

Headshots of members of the CCO Steering Committee and Jennifer Hollington, recipient of the Outstanding Career Award
Members of the CCO Steering Committee, together with special guest Jennifer Hollington, backstage at the 2022 Communications Awards of Excellence virtual ceremony.

Our partners

The CCO is supported by memoranda of understanding and financial contributions from communications branches 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:

Communities of practice

Communities of practice (COPs) are grassroots initiatives driven by federal communicators with expertise and a passion in a particular realm of communications. Their community-led structure offers their members the opportunity to share information, best practices, tools, and resources, discuss common challenges, and develop new approaches.

In 2021-2022, the CCO supported learning and networking opportunities offered by several of the COPs, including the newly formed Accessible Communications COP, Indigenous Communications Subgroup, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Communications Network. Because of COVID-19, COP meetings were held virtually. Despite this challenge, many COPs continued to flourish, often hosting meetings with hundreds of participants from across Canada.

List of Communications COPs*

Accomplishments for 2021-2022

Career development

The CCO launched the 2021-2022 Mentoring Series in September 2021. The annual goal was to continue to foster career development and a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and information sharing among communications professionals.

It was another record-setting year for communicators who joined the program to support and learn from each other. This year, 393 communications professionals participated in the Mentoring Series. That is a 40% increase, up from the 280 communicators who participated in the 2020-2021 program. The following is a breakdown of the communicators in the program this year:

Headshot of Christina Bulengo: CCO Mentoring Series
"Being a mentee enabled me to learn from the experiences of others and further build a network where I felt supported to advance my career."

Training and learning

The CCO continued to develop and provide training to communicators across government. The CCO aims to enhance skill sets to establish more diversified and well-rounded communicators and is committed to continuous learning and building an even stronger communications community.

This year, the CCO collaborated with the Canada School of Public Service, Apolitical, other levels of government, the private and not-for-profit sectors, as well as the communications community to continue updating the communications curriculum.

The CCO successfully piloted the Results Map learning program within seven departments. The learning programs provided communicators with guides (such as strategic communications, stakeholder and engagement, issues management and evaluation), webinars (on topics such as best practices in government, change management, strategic communications, crisis and issues management, a coaching forum and an Ask Me Anything session). Moreover, the program equipped communicators with ready-to-go templates and exercise worksheets for everyday work.

The following courses will help bridge the gap on skills and knowledge needed by the communications community:

In addition to the Virtual Learning Series, the CCO worked with the Canada School of Public Service to deliver panel discussions on some of the most trending topics in communications in 2021-2022. These events included:

CCO Learning Days 2022

CCO Learning Days 2022 took place from March 21 to 25. The conference was virtual and was held over a full week to provide sessions that were flexible and convenient for our busy communications community to attend from across the country. With the theme of “Connection” at the heart of the conference, we explored how our shared human experience over the past two years has shaped the future of the communications landscape.

Our #GCComms community came together with over 50 guest speakers delivering 15 sessions over five days, each with its own theme reflecting current priority areas for the community. This included several Ask Me Anything and networking sessions delivered by 14 Communities of Practice. There were over 2,000 participants registered for the conference, with a total of 1,989 unique visitors to the vExpo hub over all five days, as well as an average of over 600 unique attendees tuning in to the webcast on each day.

A group photo of Team CCO at the 2022 virtual learning days conference
Team CCO, from behind the scenes at the 2022 virtual Learning Days conference.

MCs, presenters, COPs, and volunteers from all corners of #GCComms, from all levels, regions, and areas of expertise, were part of the programming. Other highlights from the conference included sessions with high-profile keynotes and seasoned professionals from outside the Government, including WPP Government & Public Sector Practice executives Sean Larkins and Mark Pender; Canadian Anishinaabe activist, broadcaster and filmmaker Sarain Fox; and award-winning broadcaster Terry O’Reilly. The entire communications community from coast to coast had the opportunity to participate in the full week’s agenda, at their convenience, and nearly 25% of attendees were from outside the National Capital Region.

For those who weren’t able to attend, the entire conference was recorded and made available for viewing (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) over the course of the year and beyond. Attendee feedback was very positive with many lauding the professional quality of the broadcast and the use of modern platforms such as vExpo and Collaborate Video that included integrated engagement and accessibility features.

CCO ‘22 Learning Days
Headshots of presenters from the CCO Learning Days 2022 conference
Presenters at the CCO Learning Days 2022 panel discussion, Connecting with Canadians: Outreach and Engagement with Indigenous and Racialized Communities.

Collective recruitment and retention

Over the past year, the CCO moved forward on collective staffing processes for various IS levels with a focus on recruiting new talent to support the Government of Canada’s digital first approach:

The CCO also actively manages pools and at-level lists of communications professionals of all levels and departments from across the country.

Communications Awards of Excellence

In April 2022, the Government of Canada Communications Awards of Excellence ceremony was held virtually. These awards recognize high-impact initiatives, exceptional contributions, and best practices in communications in the federal public service. We received 86 nominations from 30 departments. Congratulations to all nominees as well as this year’s winners.

Headshot of Monica Poirier, winner of the Rising Star Award
Monica Poirier

Headshot of Jennifer Hollington, recipient of the Outstanding Career award
Jennifer Hollington

Information sharing and data analysis

The CCO completed and delivered a benchmark review and business analysis of the communications community. The findings of this report helped support departmental communications leadership in their organizational and human resources planning and decision-making.

The CCO is also working with the Treasury Board Secretariat to gather data and case studies on the pace and volume of work in our community to help inform collective bargaining discussions regarding the future of work.

Based on consultations with leaders in the communications community over the course of the year, as well as input from the COVID-19 Response Communications Team at the Privy Council Office (PCO), the CCO coordinated the development of a Lessons Learned report. This report will help inform current and future emergency management responses and identify new best practices in communications that can be implemented to ensure a better recovery.

The CCO also funded and promoted subscriptions, licences and access to Media Technology Monitor data sets and information on media use in Canada for use by the communications community in the development of evidence-based communications advice.

Some other notable accomplishments for the community include the launch of the CCO Ambassador Network, as well as the Cross-Canada Communicators Advisory Group (CCCAG), which both play important roles in building a stronger, collaborative, innovative, inclusive, open and united communications community.

As part of our efforts to more effectively reach and engage our community, we established a new CCO Ambassador Network comprised of over 60 key liaisons from all CCO’s contributing departments. These liaisons have an extensive knowledge of their branch and provide broader reach for the promotion of the CCO’s activities and events as well as for the collection of feedback from the community. The network was launched in October 2021, with monthly meetings allowing for increased collaboration among communicators and increased awareness of the CCO as a centre of excellence for career development, training and learning, and information sharing.

The CCCAG was launched in November 2021 and is comprised of regional executives and senior managers who are well-connected, engaged and trusted sources of information within their regional networks. The objective of this network is to encourage cross-country information sharing and collaboration.

Staying connected

Over the course of the year, the CCO issued 12 monthly digital newsletters to keep the community up to date on the latest news and trends. The distribution list now reaches more than 4,300 communicators.

The CCO continues to maintain a social media presence, including Twitter and recently upgraded to a new LinkedIn business account. The CCO also shares information and resources on GCTools (GCconnex and GCpedia) (accessible only on the Government of Canada network) and on the CCO website. In 2021-22, the @CCOBCC Twitter account reached over 4,000 followers. The CCO LinkedIn accounts grew to over 2,700 and over 700 connections respectively in the same period.

Key Messengers blog

In 2020, the CCO launched a new blog called Key Messengers. This new initiative highlights stories from the communications community. Since April 2021, the CCO has published 15 new articles sharing best practices and lessons learned across various areas in federal communications:

Rising to the challenge : Navigating internal communications during a pandemic
Understanding Web and UX with Manal Dahalani

Anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion

The CCO’s mandate aligns with the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.

While there is much work ahead, below are the measures undertaken to advance inclusion and diversity:

Accessible and inclusive communications

Throughout the pandemic, public servants have continued to communicate important health, safety, and economic recovery information to Canadians living both at home and abroad—using primarily digital platforms. The CCO and many other departments and organizations are actively working to implement better accessibility strategies to inform these efforts and ensure equitable access to information and services for all Canadians.

In the fall of 2021, the CCO worked with Canadian Heritage and Accessibility Standards Canada to create the new COP for Accessible Communications with a mandate to connect the GC community to exchange ideas and support policies, guidelines, and best practices related to internal and external accessible communications. The COP welcomed colleagues from all fields and from all areas of communications across the Government of Canada for its inaugural meeting on December 6, 2021, and had over 550 participants attend its open-house session as part of CCO Learning Days 2022 on March 22, 2022. This high engagement rate further highlighted the communications community’s need for increased resources, information and activities focusing on diversity and inclusion.

Plain Language Workshop
CCO Virtual Learning Series: Best practices and innovative strategies for relaying critical internal communications and building trust

The way forward

In 2021, the CCO developed a new three-year business plan that lays the groundwork for long-term progress and outlines short-term activities to address the challenges the communications community is facing. The plan was informed by input, feedback, and data collected in the benchmark review, findings from the Public Service Employee Survey, and guidance from the communications community.

In 2022-23, the CCO will continue to build on its solid foundation and promote activities within the following five areas of focus:

In addition to updating the communications curriculum, the CCO will continue to:

In the next year, the CCO will also partner with the Privy Council Office’s Impact and Innovation Unit (IIU) to create capacity in applying behavioural science across federal government communications. This new communications hub will help inform Government of Canada communications by providing resources, advice and data through learning and training activities. The CCO/IIU Hub will also explore areas such as trust and digital experience, insights, and techniques, misinformation and disinformation, and barriers to inclusive communications, in particular around racism.

In support of employees who seek equity in career progression, the CCO will co-develop, with diverse employee networks, a Career Development Initiative dedicated to the communications community. The initiative will aim to address barriers faced by equity-seeking employees, bridge gaps in representation, and increase diversity in the executive group.

The CCO will also continue its partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is interested in consulting with the Government of Canada and other countries in an upcoming Public Communications Scan.

The strength of the Government of Canada’s communications community lies within the abilities of its people. This past year has been a true testament to the talent and skill of communications professionals exhibited through collaborative and innovative initiatives and campaigns. Over the next year, the CCO will continue to highlight the excellent work of communicators through its channels (social media, newsletter, and Key Messengers blog), while placing a focus on learning opportunities and events such as our Virtual Learning Series 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 drive and passion of the communications community fuel the success of the CCO.

CCO numbers at a glance

Annual funding for 2021-2022

Funding by departments and agencies

To facilitate long-term planning, the CCO has negotiated multi-year funding agreements with departments and agencies for the period from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2024. Currently, there are 46 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.

Funding by departments and agencies
Department/Agency Funding ($)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada  41,250
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency  22,500
Canada Border Services Agency  41,250
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (Quebec)  22,500
Canadian Food Inspection Agency  41,250
Canada Revenue Agency  41,250
Canada School of the Public Service  22,500
Canadian Heritage  41,250
Canadian Institutes for Health Research  7,500
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency  7,500
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission  7,500
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission  22,500
Canadian Space Agency  22,500
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)  22,500
Communications Security Establishment  22,500
Correctional Service Canada  22,500
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
Finance Canada  22,500
Fisheries and Oceans Canada  41,250
Global Affairs  41,250
Health Canada  41,250
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada  41,250
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada  7,500
Indigenous Services Canada  41,250
Infrastructure Canada  22,500
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada  41,250
Justice Canada  41,250
Library and Archives Canada  22,500
National Defence  41,250
Natural Resources Canada  41,250
Parks Canada  22,500
Public Safety  41,250
Public Service Commission of Canada  22,500
Public Services and Procurement Canada  41,250
Royal Canadian Mounted Police  41,250
Shared Services  41,250
Statistics Canada  41,250
Transport Canada  41,250
Transportation Safety Board of Canada  7,500
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat  41,250
Veterans Affairs Canada  22,500
Western Economic Diversification Canada  7,500
Women and Gender Equality  22,500
Total Contributions  1,361,250

Financial results

Funding Amount ($)
Funding received from Communications branches of Government of Canada departments 1,361,250
Expenditures Amount ($)
Salaries, administration and corporate support 1,102,094
Translation 59,405
Secretariat support to Government of Canada heads of communications

Annual retreat 2022
Learning and training

Communications Community Office (CCO)
Learning Days 2022 Conference
Information and analysis

Government of Canada subscriptions, licences and access to Media Technology Monitor data set and information on media use in Canada
Information and analysis

Government of Canada Communications Community benchmark survey – final report
Recruitment and retention

Subscription to VidCruiter, video interview platform
Community building

Government of Canada Communications Awards of Excellence
Community building

Accessible Communications Community of Practice
Total expenditures 1,361,250


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

Thank you #GCComms Community!
Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

Library and Archives Canada cataloguing in publication

©Privy Council Office (2022)
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 2021-2022 du Bureau de la collectivité des communications

ISSN 2562-5993

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