Canada: civil service head calls for officials’ integrity after harassment complaints

By on 11/05/2015
Janice Charette, former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Government of Canada, appointed as high commissioner to the United Kingdom as part of a major reshuffle, annoucing 26 new appointments of ambassadors and high commissioners, by Stéphane Dion, minister of foreign affairs

The head of the Canadian civil service has called for civil servants’ integrity after a staff survey found that almost one in five officials said they were harassed on the job mainly by co-workers or bosses.

The triennial public service (civil service in Canadian language) employee survey was released by Treasury Board in February this year and found that 19% of the government’s 250,000-strong workforce, claimed harassment, with the most common types reported being offensive remarks, unfair treatment and being excluded or ignored.

Janice Charette, clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to the Cabinet who is in charge of the Canadian government’s workforce, wrote in her first annual report to the prime minister, that “the number of employees who indicated in the survey that they had experienced harassment and discrimination is unacceptable” and added that she expects “all public servants to live up to a high standard of integrity that contributes to a healthy, supportive and high-performing workplace, consistent with our values and ethics.”

She also said that she expects “all departments and agencies to use the information from the survey to take action and to address these issues and to create a workplace where all employees are respected.”

Charette, who was appointed to her current role in October 2014, also called for the removal of “overly burdensome” bureaucracy if processes are “not necessary for achieving quality outcomes.”

She also called on civil servants to collaborate with colleagues from other departments and to make their “default setting to ‘open’”.

All of the government’s efforts, she said, “must translate into better and faster service, more integrated and aligned operations.”

To keep up an ever changing environment, she wrote, the government needs to “reinvigorate [its] recruitment efforts” and ensure it will “replace those departing with individuals who have the new competencies to manage in the modern world.”

For the Canadian civil service to “continue to provide world-class and timely advice to government”, she said, “we will need to reinforce the policy community as a profession.”

Calling for a stronger link between policy and service delivery, she said that “working through policy from idea to implementation is necessary to […] better serve Canadians.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that “a world-class and modern Public Service is essential to our continued success as a nation.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

One Comment

  1. No Spam

    08/07/2015 at

    “Discrimination” should include white men not getting the job because they are white men. Canada’s “Legislated Employment Equity Program” means the job goes to “the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities) ” even if the white man has better qualifications forthe speciffic job. So with that being said – this 19% complaining of “unfair treatment” is way too low. There are many, many more of us whiter men being discriminated against under the guise of the “equity programs”

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