Summary of the Evaluation of the Human Resources Services Modernization Initiative

Initiative description

  • Launched in the 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, the Human Resources (HR) Services Modernization Initiative represented an investment to modernize HR services to support one process, one system and one data set for the entire Government of Canada (GC) and fewer HR system instances, leading to efficiencies for transactional HR activities.
  • Over three years, $21.9 million was allocated to four components:
    1. implementing a Common HR Business Process
    2. undertaking the Human Resources Business Solutions Pilot
    3. replacing the Human Resources Information System
    4. introducing the Enterprise-Wide HR Data Interoperabililty Standard

Evaluation scope and methodology

  • The evaluation was a mid-term assessment of progress. It examined how the initiative was built and the extent to which the immediate and intermediate outcomes were achieved with funds assigned from 2011 to 2014. 
  • Evaluators assessed the relevance and performance of the initiative’s activities.   
  • The evaluation was based on four lines of evidence:
    1. administrative data review
    2. document review
    3. interviews
    4. case studies

Evaluation constraints and limitations

  • Administrative data was available for only one component.
  • Detailed data for one component was collected for the 20 largest departments of 84 participating departments. Notwithstanding, these 20 departments represented the greatest use of resources, and data for these were complete and comprehensive. Evaluators were able to extract reliable information and mitigate this limitation.

Program outcomes

  • Transformation of HR management to achieve the GC’s strategic goals and more robust capacity to manage HR

Performance measures

  • Contribution to the realization of savings and reductions across the public service through:
    • reduced footprint of HR system support in departments
    • reduced HR system support costs per employee served

Evaluation findings

Need for program: yes

  • Modernization of HR services remains relevant, as there is a continued need to enhance HR efficiencies and service delivery for Canadians. Including PeopleSoft v9.1, which is the predecessor of My GCHR, as part of the modernization of HR services initiative is consistent with the priorities, roles and responsibilities of the GC and of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Alignment to federal roles and government priorities: yes

  • The initiative is aligned with GC roles and responsibilities and with federal priorities to pursue government-wide solutions that aim to modernize how the federal government delivers its services to Canadians, while generating operational savings.

Performance: partial progress made

  • Some departments lacked resources to implement requirements in a timely way.
  • The initiative was not monitored post-implementation, which would have allowed for course corrections.
  • Governance was siloed, and interactions of components were poorly understood.
  • The Secretariat in its role as business owner should have been involved earlier, and the short time frame for implementation was a challenge for departments and agencies. Once the Secretariat's role was clarified, the Secretariat's support was appropriate and appreciated, particularly in the case of the Common Human Resources Business Process.


The recommendations are addressed to the management of the Secretariat's Back Office Transformation Initiative as the area responsible for the ongoing work of PeopleSoft v9.1 Joint Build and the Human Resources Information System. These have since evolved to become My GCHR and the Interoperability Standard.

  1. Allocate financial and human resources not only to design and implementation, but to ongoing support and monitoring in order to assess the extent to which the new processes and systems are meeting the needs of departments and agencies and that they are operating as intended. Clarify which organization is responsible for allocating such resources.
  2. Communicate expectations of departments (such as implementation timelines, the degree and nature of all players' involvement, and the initiative's expected outcomes) early in the life cycle of a transformation initiative.
  3. Ensure that government-wide initiatives have governance and oversight that engage all functional areas at all levels of the governance chain to minimize silos.
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