Operating context and key risks

Operating context

Throughout 2018–19, PCO continued to deliver timely, non-partisan advice and support to the Prime Minister and Cabinet to help the government implement its vision, goals and decisions. By harnessing the opportunities of a technologically dynamic workplace, PCO continued to respond effectively in a demanding and fast-paced environment. Continuous delivery of timely services to the Prime Minister and Cabinet were provided to meet the highest standards of precision, discretion and thoroughness.

In 2018–19, PCO effectively delivered on its roles and responsibilities by:

PCO responded effectively to its key risks throughout 2018–19:

Risks Risk response strategy and effectiveness Link to department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government‑wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)
Risks to the Policy and Legislative Agenda

Description:

  • International and domestic macroeconomic developments, direction changes in trade partner countries as well as global events (e.g., polarization of political landscape, conflicts and natural disasters) may require the Government to adjust its priorities.
  • Changes in the political and public environments, and complex multi-stakeholder interests could result in delays in reaching consensus on reforms, implementing legislation and delivering programs by optimal timelines and could result in cost over-runs.
  • Insufficient attention to internal and external relationships at both the strategic and operational levels could result in deterioration of reputation and relationships with other government departments, stakeholders and communities (e.g. youth, Indigenous Peoples, women, LGBTQ2 community).
  • Monitoring and providing advice on domestic and international events, emerging issues, evolving political contexts that could affect Canada’s interests and providing timely advice on best course of action;
  • Coordinating and providing advice on government-wide legislative priorities;
  • Aligning resources to effectively and efficiently manage the legislative process;
  • Leveraging expertise from other departments, partners, independent experts, and the private and public sectors to ensure policy development includes diverse views and options for producing high-quality results; and
  • Establishing, managing and building relationships with government entities, stakeholders, and communities for subject matter areas that are new and/or present significant challenges in developing policy and responding to evolving issues.
Serve the Prime Minister and Cabinet Priority 1: Support the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers in advancing the Government’s priorities and delivering results for Canadians.

Priority 2: Support the deliberations of Cabinet and its committees on key policy initiatives, coordinate policy planning and provide non-partisan advice.
Risks to delivering quality and timely service, advice and support.

Description:

  • Increased demands, pace and workload surges mean an increasing burden and dependence on existing resources and talent.
  • Challenge to maintain, grow, and attract critical expertise to meet workload demands
  • Changing expectations of citizens, demographic changes, and technological advances require the Public Service to continually improve.
  • Diminishing the impact of this risk on the workforce by understanding and helping to manage cumulative change impacts for people, processes and technology; this would facilitate progress and foster a culture of continuous improvement (e.g. knowledge transfer, HR and succession planning);
  • Identifying critical expertise and implementing succession programs;
  • Leveraging information management tools and technology (IM/IT) to maximize contribution of workforce and timeliness of interventions; and
  • Refreshing framework for renewal – Beyond2020 – to drive the Public Service to be more agile, inclusive, and better equipped.
Serve the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Internal Services
Priority 1: Support the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers in advancing the Government’s priorities and delivering results for Canadians.

Priority 2: Support the deliberations of Cabinet and its committees on key policy initiatives, coordinate policy planning and provide non-partisan advice.

Priority 3: Strengthen PCO’s internal management practices.
Risks to Security and Emergency Management

Description:

  • The expectations for rapid responses to the unpredictable nature of security and emergency events could result in security coordination and response gaps.
  • The challenge to appropriately anticipate, react and respond to emerging or rapidly evolving domestic and international events could negatively impact the Government’s capacity to promote Canada’s interests domestically and abroad.
  • Accidental or intentional dissemination of sensitive material may negatively impact Canada’s interests.
  • Engaging early and regularly with lead security agencies and providing fora to share critical information, advice on security requirements, and best practices across relevant departments and among allies;
  • Maintaining and enhancing security and emergency management tools for prevention/ mitigation, preparation, response and recovery with particular emphasis on cybersecurity and the provision of timely assurances to Canadians; and
  • Regularly reviewing response plans to incorporate lessons learned from actual events and exercises with the government’s wider security and intelligence community; this would maintain or enhance coordination, interoperability, efficiency and effectiveness in security or emergency events.
Serve the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Internal Services
Priority 1: Support the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers in advancing the Government’s priorities and delivering results for Canadians.

Priority 2: Support the deliberations of Cabinet and its committees on key policy initiatives, coordinate policy planning and provide non-partisan advice.
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