Chapter 2.5: Human resources planning and management


For national statistical agencies to fulfill their mandate, they must recognize, first and foremost, that their staff are their most important asset. For Statistics Canada to fulfill its mission and meet its strategic objectives, an appropriate human resources (HR) strategy is imperative to have

  • the right people in the right positions;
  • employees with the necessary competencies and skills to do their job; and
  • a competent workforce at all times.

An HR planning and management strategy is essential to maintain a competent and sufficient workforce in order to meet organizational needs. The principles of effective HR planning and management are based on the following elements:

  • Integration of the HR dimension into the strategic planning process to ensure consistency between the strategic objectives and the available resources;
  • Establishment of an HR management strategy and a plan that clearly outlines the necessary strategies, measures and mechanisms to meet the agency's HR needs;
  • Acknowledgement that HR management is a responsibility shared between the centralized HR function (as an internal service) and the agency's managers;
  • Adoption of an HR governance structure that is consistent with the notion of shared responsibility. This includes creating, among other things, different committees under the leadership of HR experts and supported by members of the agency's various fields;
  • An integrated career path approach: recruitment, training, professional development, engagement, career development and HR services organized according to this approach;
  • Implementation of a positive, diverse and inclusive work environment that generates employee engagement.

However, it is important to remember that HR management in a statistical agency is also influenced by the legislation and regulations in force. For example, within the Canadian legislative context, Statistics Canada employees are hired under two important legislative frameworks: 1) the Public Service Employment Act, which targets public servants; and 2) the Statistics Act, which covers employees of Statistical Survey Operations and those working on census activities.

The Public Service Employment Act provides a more integrated approach to HR planning and aligning staffing with business needs and budgets. It also calls for managers to be responsible and accountable for their staffing.

The Statistics Act is the legislative framework that allows Statistics Canada to hire temporary employees for the Census of Population, Census of Agriculture and the National Household Survey. Approximately 35,000 people are hired temporarily during the census period.

Statistics Canada has 5,400 employees, 88% of whom are indeterminate (permanent) public servants, and the remainder term employees and students. The majority of employees are unionized public servants with solid academic and professional backgrounds in economics, statistics, sociology, mathematics, demography, information technology, administration or management.

There is one important exception: interviewers. Statistical Survey Operations (SSO) is the organization responsible for collecting survey data for the statistical programs. This organization is not governed by the Public Service Employment Act; therefore, it does its own recruitment. Roughly 1,800 employees work part-time for SSO. Their work volume depends on the demand for data collection and the deadlines requested. SSO is one group of employees made up of two tiers: interviewers and senior interviewers. There are also two types of interviewers: field interviewers, who travel outside Statistics Canada's offices, and telephone interviewers, who conduct telephone interviews from a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) centre in the regional offices.

Employee salaries are the greatest expense at Statistics Canada, accounting for roughly 80% of its total budget, hence the importance of managing this investment strategically, effectively and appropriately.

Strategies, mechanisms and tools

This section provides an analysis of best HR planning and management strategies and practices in a statistical agency for two components, each illustrated with concrete examples from Statistics Canada:

  • Talent development framework and strategy
  • Human resources governance

1. Statistics Canada's talent development framework and strategy

Statistics Canada developed an HR strategy with the following objectives:

  • Recruit promising candidates for the agency;
  • Deploy promising candidates appropriately within the agency based on needs and development opportunities;
  • Develop employees so that they reach their full potential;
  • Engage employees continuously;
  • Determine the leadership potential of certain employees and develop talent management plans for them.

The objectives and expected results of the Statistics Canada talent development framework are as follows:

  • Contribute to effective workforce planning;
  • Position the agency as an employer of choice;
  • Develop talent pools for the agency;
  • Provide richer career development and career management programs;
  • Support business continuity by ensuring that our workforce develops the necessary skills for the agency's current and future success;
  • Promote excellence in the public service;
  • Support efforts to engage employees;
  • Align employees' work with corporate objectives;
  • Enhance employee productivity and contributions;
  • Strengthen employee retention.

Figure 2.5.1: Proposed Statistics Canada talent development framework

Proposed Statistics Canada talent development framework
Description for Figure 2.5.1

This figure shows Statistics Canada's talent development framework.

The first section covers planning and has three elements: Statistics Canada's business priorities, an organizational and workforce analysis, and an integrated business and HR plan.

The second section covers the talent development cycle and is depicted by the employee continuum, i.e., recruit, deploy, engage, develop and "exit" (when the employee leaves the agency).

In the centre of the figure are resources that make the employee's development possible, namely recruitment and on-boarding, learning and development, performance management, awards and recognition, career development, succession planning, competency-based management and off-boarding.

The third section shows the ultimate goal: for Statistics Canada to be a preferred employer that offers a positive and bilingual work environment.

To conclude, the bottom of the chart shows Statistics Canada's mission statement, which is to serve Canada with high-quality statistical information that matters.

As Figure 2.5.1 shows, three aspects of HR management are emphasized:

  • Planning (left side of figure).
  • The talent development life cycle is depicted by the employment continuum, i.e., recruit, deploy, engage, develop and "exit" (when the employee leaves the agency). In the centre of the figure are resources for the employee's development, i.e., recruitment and integration, learning and development, performance management and talent segmentation, awards and recognition, career development, succession planning, competency-based management and exit from the agency.
  • Positive bilingual workplace.

1.1 Planning

The objective of Statistics Canada's HR planning is to acquire and maintain a competent, motivated and flexible workforce that can be reassigned to meet the agency's changing needs. To this end, Statistics Canada has established a number of human resources practices and mechanisms that have evolved into an HR management strategy. This strategy comprises the following:

  • Recruitment: hiring the most promising employees.
  • Learning and development: implementing a culture of continuous learning and providing training to ensure that there are groups of flexible, versatile and mobile employees at every level who are ready to step in when required.
  • Career path: providing employees with opportunities for long-term advancement through special assignments, among others.
  • Positive work environment: fostering employee wellness by encouraging them to get involved and incorporating employment equity principles into day-to-day operations.
  • Bilingualism: taking the necessary measures to fulfill Statistics Canada's linguistic obligations to its employees and to Canadians.
  • Professional advancement: implementing mechanisms that enable agency employees to move into higher-level positions and support them accordingly.

Over time, the HR management strategy has fostered a sense of community that helps motivate employees, promotes productivity, supports bilingualism and encourages career advancement. This strategy has led to some key HR initiatives, including centralized recruitment of university and college graduates, mentoring programs, career counsellors, workplace wellness initiatives, and an on-site training institute that provides in-house training, including language training. This strategy has inspired great trust and a sense of belonging, encouraging employees to stay with the agency throughout their career.

Integrating business and human resources planning is essential for Statistics Canada to fulfill its mandate and responsibilities and to set priorities in an informed manner. The Integrated Business and Human Resources Plan – 2015/2016 to 2017/2018, prepared based on the agency's business plan, outlines key priorities in internal and external staffing, workforce development and improvements to HR services at Statistics Canada over the next three years.

1.2 Talent development life cycle

1.2.1 Entry into the agency – Recruitment

The overall recruitment approach involves promoting an integrated recruitment, training development, and lateral and vertical mobility process. The agency's selection processes are intended to be transparent, based on merit rather than seniority, and they use collective management of candidate pools optimally through generic selection processes. These candidate pools are generally valid for about one year.

Statistics Canada regularly conducts recruitment drives in the following occupational groups: EC (analysts), MA (mathematicians/statisticians), CS (information technology), PE (human resources management specialists) and FI (financial management specialists).

The postsecondary recruitment programs are the main source of entry-level hires in the agency. In addition, students who have already worked in the public sector (e.g., as part of the Co-operative Education Program or the Federal Student Work Experience Program) may be hired permanently or for a term through a simplified selection process.

To attract talented graduates, recruitment drives involve participating in college and university job fairs at major educational institutions to recruit strong entry-level candidates.

However, recruitment is not limited merely to hiring professionals. For each occupational group, the recruitment program includes a development program spanning a minimum period of two years that entails a series of compulsory courses, regular employee progress evaluations and, in many cases, two or three mandatory rotations in positions that give the employee a diverse work experience before he or she can obtain a permanent position.

One of the mandatory courses for analysts, mathematicians and statisticians is the Survey Skills Development Course. In this six-week course, participants prepare and execute all steps of a survey about an actual socioeconomic issue. It allows recruits to acquire knowledge of the nature of survey activities within multidisciplinary teams, and it enables the agency to share its values, particularly teamwork and methodological soundness when conducting surveys.

1.2.2 Learning and development

The objective of learning and development management is to establish a culture of continuous learning and to provide training so that there are cohorts of flexible, versatile and mobile employees at every level of the agency. Furthermore, learning and development planning is an integral part of the annual evaluation process aimed at improving the employees' competencies. This planning is done when the annual learning plan is prepared, along with the objectives and performance agreement (see 1.2.3 – Performance management and talent segmentation).

Employees have learning and development choices, depending on their field of work (occupational group) and the level of their position. They are encouraged to take a specific training path, but there is some latitude that allows them to determine their personal learning objectives.

Employees have access to formal and informal learning activities. Formal activities refer to classroom or online training and special assignments. There are different types of training: statistical training, subject-matter training, language training (to improve skills in either official language), IT training, basic training (orientation, general and sometimes functional competencies), management or leadership training. There is also mandatory training for new recruits, in particular on complying with the agency's security and confidentiality regulations.

Specialized training related to the agency's mandate is also offered within Statistics Canada. However, training on general competencies, government practices, management or leadership, for example, is offered by the Canada School of Public Service, since these courses meet needs that are common to all federal public servants who would like to develop in these areas.

Informal training includes networking opportunities, national and international conferences, being a member of a working group or committee, and mentoring.

1.2.3 Performance management and talent segmentation

Like other federal departments and agencies, Statistics Canada has established a solid governance structure for performance management. The agency is determined to promote excellence in the workplace among its staff and teams by encouraging ongoing, open and honest communication about performance between employees and supervisors. Complying with and implementing these values are integral to the process for resolving unsatisfactory performance.

In 2013, Statistics Canada launched the Fostering Excellence in Employee Performance Project. This project, which aligns with the requirements of the new Government of Canada Directive on Performance Management, lays the groundwork to ensure that all employees are able to contribute fully to the agency's objectives. This includes aligning processes, tools, guidelines, training and effective communications to ensure that new and improved approaches are adopted uniformly. To do this, the agency ensures that employees have the necessary knowledge and competencies to complete the tasks required of them.

At the start of each fiscal year, managers meet with their employees to inform them of the activities they will be responsible for during the year and to set the associated performance objectives. This meeting is also an opportunity to discuss the employee's annual learning plan that will enable them to acquire or maintain—as the case may be—the competencies required for their position and to achieve their career objectives and aspirations. Managers should provide their employees with continual feedback on their performance, and the Fostering Excellence in Employee Performance Project sets out both an official mid-term discussion to examine performance progress and a final performance evaluation of each employee at the end of the year based on the established objectives.

The purpose of these practices is to continuously improve the recognition of excellent employee performance, to motive personnel, and to ensure that performance problems are resolved quickly and effectively. More specifically, corrective actions are in place for employees whose performance is deemed unsatisfactory, and talent management plans are prepared for employees who significantly exceed expectations so that they can achieve their full potential within the agency.

1.2.4 Awards and recognition

Recognition is an integral part of the agency's corporate culture, at its headquarters and regional offices alike. Whether through a formal or informal award, or a spontaneous expression of thanks, recognition encourages the pursuit of outstanding work in the Canadian public service.

The mandate of the Awards and Recognition Program is to highlight employees' efforts and achievements in the workplace, be they team or individual achievements. The program also promotes both formal and informal activities. The core services of the Awards and Recognition Program are as follows:

  • Long-service award
    The Long Service Award rewards employees with 25 or 35 years of service in the public sector. These employees are recognized at an official presentation by the director general of human resources and the chief statistician during National Public Service Week, which takes place in June of each year. Employees with 15 years of service also receive a certificate of appreciation signed by the chief statistician.
  • Retirement certificate
    Retirement certificates highlight the contribution of employees who have worked at least 10 years in the public service of Canada. The certificate, signed by the Prime Minister of Canada, is presented by the director at the employee's retirement party or at an appropriate event.
  • Appreciation awards
    Appreciation awards recognize employees who have made a positive and beneficial contribution to a section, division, branch or to the agency as a whole. These may be monetary or non-monetary rewards accompanied by a letter of congratulations or a certificate of appreciation completed in the work unit and signed by the director or director general. The maximum value is $500 per person and $1,000 per team (including taxes and shipping).
  • Awards of Excellence
    Awards of excellence highlight exceptional work by employees, their outstanding performance or other invaluable contributions to the agency. There are eight categories: Agatha Chapman Innovation Award; Career Excellence Award; Merit Award; Youth Leadership Award; Official Languages Excellence Award; Employee Development and Management Award; Tom Symons Research Award; and the Workplace Wellness Award. All nominees receive a certificate of recognition or a trophy at the annual awards ceremony, and their name is added to the Wall of Fame in the lobby. Nominees and winners may also be the topic of an article in @StatCan, the monthly employee newsletter.
  • External awards
    Each year, Statistics Canada receives numerous letters from private- and public-sector organizations calling for nominations for awards they sponsor. Statistics Canada may also submit nominations throughout the year for different external awards. These awards are presented annually and are sponsored by the federal government, professional associations and private businesses. They reward achievements in such fields as communications, marketing, human resources, leadership and management, partnerships, and technological and statistical innovation. Over the years, Statistics Canada's employees, and Statistics Canada as an agency, have been honoured with several such awards.
1.2.5 Career development

This refers to the agency offering a career path to employees that matches their field of work and classification. The career path may involve, among other things, temporary assignments to divisions other than their home division so that employees can broaden their skills, bolster networking and overcome other workplace challenges. This prepares employees for a higher-level position.

In the areas of internal staffing and mobility, in addition to the appointment processes open to personnel, Statistics Canada supports employee mobility based on talent management (for assistant director and higher positions), and learning plans developed jointly between the manager and employee. The goal is to familiarize the employee with the different fields of the agency. All employees have access to the Corporate Assignments Program, which offers them new career opportunities. This program facilitates staffing of temporary positions internally, since it offers the advantage of being quick and has no impact on the employee's salary or classification, and their return to their home position is guaranteed. Roughly 10% of the agency's total workforce is on special assignment at any given time.

1.2.6 Competency-based management

Management and upgrading of skills are crucial to the talent development framework. The Directive on Performance Management defines three categories of competencies: core competencies, functional competencies and technical competencies. All federal public service employees are evaluated according to four core competencies: 1) demonstrating integrity and respect, 2) thinking things through, 3) working effectively with others, 4) showing initiative and being action-oriented.

Demonstrating integrity and respect

  • Behaving consistently with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.
  • Discuss ethical concerns with their supervisor or colleagues and, when necessary, seeking out and using appropriate disclosure procedures.
  • Working in a manner that reflects a commitment to client service excellence.
  • Actively contributing to workplace well-being and a safe, healthy and respectful workplace.
  • Supporting and valuing diversity and bilingualism.
  • Acting with transparency and fairness.
  • Demonstrating respect for government assets and resources, and using them responsibly, including by understanding and applying relevant government policies.

Thinking things through

  • Planning and adjusting their work based on a thorough understanding of the unit's business priorities and their own work objectives, and seeking clarification and direction when uncertain or confused.
  • Considering multiple sources of information before formulating a view or opinion.
  • Exercising sound judgment and obtaining relevant facts before making decisions.
  • Analyzing setbacks and seeking feedback to learn from mistakes.

Working effectively with others

  • Sharing information with work colleagues.
  • Listening actively to the views of others, and respecting, considering and incorporating them.
  • Recognizing the contributions and celebrating the successes of others.
  • Working collaboratively and relating effectively to others, and embracing and valuing diversity.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the roles, responsibilities and workloads of colleagues, and being willing to balance personal needs with those of other team members.
  • Eliciting trust, particularly by following through on commitments.
  • Dealing proactively with interpersonal or personal matters that could affect their performance.
  • Managing their own work–life balance, and respecting that of others.

Showing initiative and being action-oriented

  • Staying up to date on team goals, work processes and performance objectives.
  • Translating direction into concrete work activities, making the most of available time and resources.
  • Maintaining a constructive attitude in the face of change, setbacks or stressful situations, and remaining open to new solutions or approaches.
  • Communicating ideas, views and concerns effectively and respectfully, and actively participating in exchanges of ideas with others.
  • Identifying early warning signs of potential problems, and alerting the manager/supervisor and others, as needed.
  • Embracing change and actively looking for opportunities to learn and develop professionally and personally.
  • Contributing to and participating in process improvements and new approaches.
  • Pursuing operational efficiencies, demonstrating an appreciation of the importance of value for money, including by willingly adopting new and more efficient ways of working.
1.2.7 Succession planning

Succession planning requires that key positions within the organization be identified and that knowledge be transferred appropriately and timely to ensure a smooth transition for planned and unplanned departures. Succession planning is facilitated by

  • a thorough knowledge of the composition of the current workforce (breakdown of employees by occupation, classification, age group, language, expertise, employment status, employment equity group, etc.);
  • a good forecast of workforce needs (analyses of retirements and retention rates, forecast model based on the workforce demographic dynamics, etc.); and
  • a staffing and knowledge transfer strategy to quickly and effectively fill positions that become vacant (creation ahead of time of pools of talented candidates with strong potential where replacements can be found quickly; transition period between employee departure and official assumption of duties by replacement; etc.).
1.2.8 Exit from the agency

Employees who leave the agency are consulted and can express their opinion on the reasons for their departure by means of an "exit questionnaire." The results of these questionnaires are analyzed and used as barometers to improve HR programs.

1.3 Positive bilingual workplace

1.3.1 Positive work environment

Workplace wellness is an integral part of a good employee retention strategy. At Statistics Canada, wellness is embedded in the organizational culture and is firmly supported by senior management and a multitude of volunteers who oversee many special activities, in addition to their work. Among other things, Statistics Canada supports the following principles and activities to create a positive work environment:

  • open, transparent communication;
  • respectful, inclusive workplace relations;
  • support for work–life balance;
  • employee opinion surveys and systematic follow-up with corrective measures jointly developed with employee groups;
  • recognition of team and individual contributions: annual, individual, team or long-service award (see Section 1.2.4 – Awards and recognition); and
  • social activities to build team spirit and a sense of belonging to the agency.

The aim of all of these activities is to ensure that employees feel good at work and that they feel valued and engaged (for more information about employee consultation and engagement mechanisms, see Chapter 2.6 – Internal communications).

There are also other mechanisms that help to enhance workplace wellness. The most important are the Workplace Wellness Committee, the Employee Assistance Program, and the Informal Conflict Management Services.

The Workplace Wellness Committee organizes helpful, relevant activities and events to promote good mental and physical health to employees. The Committee works to highlight employee contributions to Statistics Canada's achievements through a variety of activities, such as Employee Appreciation Day and the annual picnic.

The Health Canada Employee Assistance Program provides consultation services for personal or work-related problems. Through this program, employees and their families have access to

  • a 1-800 number available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where they can seek help;
  • short-term counselling and referrals to community resources;
  • awareness and information sessions for managers;
  • trauma management services; and
  • e-counselling.

Health Canada's Informal Conflict Management Services aim to foster a healthy and respectful workplace, and to build a culture that supports conflict resolution through the acquisition of informal conflict management skills and through interventions. The tools, techniques and services of Informal Conflict Management Services help to manage and quickly resolve conflicts in the workplace.

1.3.2 Values and ethics

Statistics Canada is committed to providing a highly ethical culture that fosters an atmosphere of respect and trust within the agency, where employees act responsibly and make value-based decisions daily that inspire public confidence.

The Values and Ethics Program is the responsibility of a senior manager who, as part of their role as champion, devotes themselves to promoting and improving the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. The harassment prevention component plays a support role, offering activities that aim to provide a healthy workplace and to manage difficult situations with sensitivity, diligence and discretion. The agency's solid leadership and legislative frameworkEndnote 1 play a key role in achieving the objectives of this program. Statistics Canada devotes considerable effort to creating a working environment where employees are treated fairly, and it has a vast network of committed employees, managers and supervisors who strive to heighten awareness and promote an inclusive workplace.

1.3.3 Employment equity

Statistics Canada adopted a three-year action plan to ensure that its workforce is representative of the Canadian population and promotes a workplace that values diversity, recognizing its positive impact on achieving the business objectives of the organization. Employment equity is an important aspect in this regard and is taken into consideration at each stage of the recruitment process. Statistics Canada strives to fill gaps in representativeness of women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minority groups and people with disabilities at all hierarchical levels. Strategies have been developed to foster equity in staffing. These include targeted recruitment in certain postsecondary institutions, mandatory analysis of candidate pools at the senior management level (directors and directors general), measures to ensure the representation of employment equity (EE) groups on selection committees, as well as consultations with EE groups to find ways to improve future staffing processes. Discussion groups with the employment equity groups have also been created on several occasions to better understand the barriers that employees in the EE groups face in their career path. These discussion groups have led to concrete actions to bridge these gaps.

1.3.4 Promotion of bilingualism

Since Canada has two official languages, Statistics Canada is committed to providing all employees with a working environment where they can use the official language of their choice, while ensuring that the agency maintains its obligations related to bilingualism and encourages its employees to perfect and maintain their second-language skills. To this end, Statistics Canada raises the awareness of employees of the importance of using both official languages whenever possible when providing services. It also offers ongoing language training, encourages employees to add professional development and use of their second language to their annual learning plans, and offers its employees opportunities to maintain their language skills.

2. Human resources governance

Statistics Canada has a governance structure that ensures an integrated approach to strategic priority setting, decision-making and accountability. HR management is driven by committees of line managers representing each major field of operation, supported by HR professionals. This structure, presented in Figure 2.5.2, promotes consistent HR management practices.

Figure 2.5.2: Structure of Statistics Canada's management committees

Structure of Statistics Canada's management committees
Description for Figure 2.5.2

The above figure represents the structure of Statistics Canada's human resources management committees.

It shows the interdependence between the committees as well as two elements: the proposals or questions that require a decision, and the decisions affecting implementation and accountability.

The Chief Statistician of Canada has a direct relationship with the Advisory Committee on Senior Appointments, the Senior Management Classification Review Committee and the Executive Management Board.

In turn, the Executive Management Board has a direct relationship with the Senior Personnel Review Committee and the Human Resources Committee.

Lastly, the Human Resources Committee has a direct relationship with the Official Languages Committee, the Diversity Committee, the Performance and Recognition Committee, the Learning and Development Committee, the Corporate Staffing Committee and the Workforce Wellness Committee.

This structure contributes to the overall effective management of the agency and reinforces a culture of working as a team to achieve corporate objectives. Below is a brief description of the role of each human resources management stakeholder.

Chief statistician – The ability of Statistics Canada to meet new challenges depends not only on the diligence with which the chief statistician carries out his duties, but also on his leadership in creating a culture of excellence in management in the public service.

Executive Management Board – The agency's most senior management committee. It oversees the governance system, establishes strategic orientations and makes all decisions related to organizational management.

Human Resources Committee – Provides direction on workforce and workplace measures regarding the recruitment, training, deployment, career development and retention of employees at Statistics Canada. It coordinates the activities of the human resources management subcommittees and is responsible for the strategic planning of their structure. It recommends proposals from the subcommittees to the Executive Management Board, Statistics Canada's most senior executive committee. Final decisions are made by the chief statistician. The other HR committees are made up of assistant chief statisticians, directors general, directors and assistant directors, who are responsible for overseeing a major HR program. This network of committees reflects the agency's matrix management structure. Members represent their field and are responsible for communicating issues from their field to the committees and decisions back to their colleagues.

Advisory Committee on Senior Appointments – Reviews and makes recommendations to the chief statistician for appointments at the assistant director level and above. This committee approves the launch of selection processes and results, determines whether it would be worthwhile to create a pool of candidates for senior management positions such as directors and directors general, and makes recommendations for appointments.

Senior Management Classification Review Committee – Defines the key strategic directions for the implementation of the outcomes of the senior management classification review. This ensures that position classifications are re-aligned with standard classification criteria and organizational changes.

Senior Personnel Review Committee – A corporate committee with a mandate to conduct reviews and make decisions on staffing and language training exemptions.

Corporate Staffing Committee – Oversees agency-wide staffing strategies and programs.

Learning and Development Committee – A corporate management committee mandated to provide central leadership for continuous learning and development initiatives for all employees.

Performance and Recognition Committee – Develops ways and means of optimizing the performance of all Statistics Canada employees and provides advice on the development and implementation of awards and recognition programs for the agency.

Diversity Committee – Advises on guidelines and implements programs to ensure fair representation and treatment of employees in the designated groups. The committee focuses on raising awareness of the equity programs, promoting a shift in attitudes, monitoring compliance with current equity programs and policies, recommending changes to current programs where necessary, and providing advice on future policy and program development. In addition, the committee advises on the implementation of initiatives that promote diversity and that strive to create an inclusive workplace. The Committee's objective is to oversee implementation of the Employment Equity Multi-year Action Plan.

Official Languages Committee – Provides advice to various management committees, primarily the Human Resources Committee, on the direction and content of the official languages program in order to achieve government and agency objectives regarding service to the public, language of work, equitable employee participation and advancement of English and French in the workplace. The committee also provides guidance on the management of translation and terminology services as well as language training.

Workplace Wellness Committee – Continuously explores the wellness needs of Statistics Canada, promotes best practices throughout the organization and initiates and implements concrete improvements and practical programs to improve wellness.

Key factors for success

Human resources planning is an essential part of integrated strategic planning and ensures that the agency's activities are proactive and effective. To this end, the development and implementation of the cohesive strategic HR plan, collectively established every three years and reviewed annually, pragmatically supports the spirit of the long-term strategic vision and access to short-term results.

The fact that the integrated HR strategy is solidly supported by senior management has, over time, fostered a sense of community that helps motivate employees, promotes productivity, and encourages career advancement. This inspires great trust and a deep sense of belonging to the agency, reinforces employee engagement (for more on this topic, see Chapter 2.6: Internal communications) and ensures a high rate of employee retention.

Lastly, HR management, which is built on solid and long-standing governance, reinforces efficiency and cohesion.

Challenges and Looking ahead

Recruiting, training and retaining talented employees is a challenge for every organization, regardless of its business field. It requires that both public- and private-sector organizations constantly renew themselves, be proactive, carve out a place for themselves among top employers and continuously offer a positive work environment that is also motivating, open to innovation and competitive. Moreover, succession planning is also a major HR management challenge, since it is important to find the right candidates, and then develop, train and provide the necessary coaching so that they can take on a leadership role. This will then give them career opportunities and will give the agency employees who are able to provide exceptional performance to fulfill Statistics Canada's mandate.

All statistical agencies must continue to cultivate a business culture that places employees at the heart of their concerns and priorities, recognizing that employees are their greatest financial investment as well as their main asset to effectively and strategically achieve their mandate.

Appendix: Acts, policies and directives governing HR management in the Canadian public service

Public Service Employment Act (PSEA)

The aim of the PSEA is to assist in hiring qualified employees by ensuring flexibility in the process and respecting the values of equity, transparency and accessibility. The merit factor is used so that managers do not limit staffing by only taking into account the essential competencies, but also by taking into consideration the needs of their organization and of the public service. The Act gives managers the responsibility for their staffing and uses an integrated approach by aligning their staffing needs with their needs as an organization and their budget.

Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA)

The PSLRA supports the development of workplace improvements to ensure sound workforce management and to conduct important negotiations of official agreements regarding essential services, labour relations management, and conflict management systems. The main values represented by the Act are respect and effective communications with employees and their representatives to maintain a healthy working environment; defence and service of the public interest; and impartiality, reliability and effectiveness in resolving conflicts such as harassment.

Official Languages Act (OLA)

The OLA stipulates that English and French are the languages of work and justifies the right of employees to use the official language of their choice. The directive supports the OLA by establishing the requirements regarding linguistic identification of positions, staffing of bilingual positions, as well as the equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians in the federal public service. To comply with this directive, managers are responsible for establishing the language profile of the position before beginning the staffing process and hence staffing bilingual positions with candidates who meet the requirements at the time of appointment.

Canadian Human Rights Act

The purpose of the Canadian Human Rights Act is to ensure equal opportunities for all individuals regarding access to employment, free of discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended.

Employment Equity Act

The aim of the Employment Equity Act is to achieve equality in the workplace to prevent individuals from being deprived of employment benefits or opportunities for reasons other than competency. As such, the objective is to put an end to employment situations that disadvantage women, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and those who are visible minorities. Employers are responsible for enacting employment equity by recognizing and eliminating barriers to people who belong to the designated groups.

Financial Administration Act

The Financial Administration Act establishes requirements regarding human resources in the federal public service and ensures their effective management. The Act also provides directives on position classifications, guidelines on employee compensation for services rendered, hours of work and leave, as well as directives for the payment of business travel and other expenses incurred in the course of work.


Endnote 1

The legislative framework refers to the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, the Value and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Statistics Canada Code of Conduct and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.

Return to endnote 1 referrer


Government of Canada (2011). Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. Consulted on the 31st of March 2016 and retrieved from

Government of Canada (2016). Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (S.C. 2005, c. 46). Consulted on the 31st of March 2016 and retrieved from

Government of Canada (2005). Statistics Act. L.R.C 1985, c. S-19. Amended by 1988, c. 65, s. 146; 1990, c. 45, s. 54; 1992, c. 1, ss. 130, 131; 2005, c. 31; 2005, c. 38. Consulted on 11th of March 2016 and retrieved from

Government of Canada (2015). Public Service Employment Act (S.C. 2003, c. 22, ss. 12, 13). Consulted on the 31st of March 2016 and retrieved from

Government of Canada (2014). Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment. Consulted on the 31st of March 2016 and retrieved from

Statistics Canada (2015). Code of Conduct – Statistics Canada. Internal document. Accessible on demand.

Statistics Canada (2016). Statistics Canada's Integrated Business and Human Resources Plan – 2015/2016 to 2017/2018. Internal document. Accessible on demand.

Statistics Canada (2015). Multi-year Employment Equity and Diversity Action Plan. Internal document. Accessible on demand.

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