Speech Article from  Public Service Commission

Opening Remarks by Gerry Thom, Acting Senior Vice-President, Policy and Corporate Affairs Branch, Public Service Commission of Canada at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates

Ottawa, November 21, 2016

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Mr. Chair, Honourable Members, thank you.

I am accompanied today by Philip Morton, Chief Financial Officer and Director General, Finance and Administration.

As you may know, the mandate of the Public Service Commission (PSC) is to promote and safeguard merit-based appointments and to protect the non-partisan nature of the public service.

We report independently to Parliament on the overall health of the staffing system through our Annual Report.

We expect our Annual Report will be tabled in the House in the coming days. Once we have confirmation of tabling, we would be very pleased to come back to discuss the report should the Committee wish us to do so.

Today we have been invited to discuss the Supplementary Estimates (B).

Let me just say at the outset, the PSC is not seeking approval for new funding. We have sufficient resources to deliver on our mandate and we will only spend what is required. 

In 2016-17, the Supplementary Estimates (B) included one transfer of $252,000 from Canadian Food Inspection Agency to Public Service Commission for use of the Public Service Resourcing System. 

The Public Service Resourcing System is the electronic recruitment system that powers the federal government's primary job portal - jobs.gc.ca.

It supports the implementation of the Public Service Employment Act and other government priorities by making it possible to manage large volumes of applications from Canadians from across the country.

Just to give you an idea of the kind of numbers we are talking about, last year nearly 8 500 internal and external job advertisements were posted on the jobs.gc.ca site.

These job postings resulted in over three-quarters of a million applications.

Through its electronic screening tools, the Public Service Resourcing System helps hiring managers manage high volumes of applicants and target candidates who meet their selected merit criteria.

Departments and agencies contribute to the cost of operating this system, usually through permanent transfers.

The only exceptions are the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Parks Canada, which are named in Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act as separate agencies, but make appointments in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act and use the Public Service Resourcing System.

As such, the Supplementary Estimates are routinely used by the PSC to finalize transfers from those two organizations. 

However, for 2016-17, the transfer from Parks Canada was processed through the Annual Reference Level Update and will be in place for three years (until 2018-2019), so only the Canadian Food Inspection Agency transfer is included in this year’s Supplementary Estimates (B). 

As such, the amount of the transfer has been reduced from $504,000 in 2015-16, to $252,000 for 2016-17. 

Moving forward, it is clear that we are in an era of great change within the public service.

We value our partnerships with departments and agencies, and will continue to work with them as well as bargaining agents and stakeholders to support public service renewal.

We will also continue to look for ways to modernize and improve our recruitment system and programs for the benefit of all Canadians. 

I hope this information is useful and I am happy to respond to any questions you may have.

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