Government of Canada
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Policy on Learning, Training, and Development

Please note that the following document is in effect as of January 1, 2006. The Policy for Continuous Learning in the Public Service of Canada ceases to be in effect on December 31, 2005.

1. Effective Date

1.1 This policy takes effect on January 1, 2006.

1.2 Implementation of policy requirements related to Required Training, paragraph 6.1.1, and Consequences, section 7, will come into effect no later than January 1, 2007.

1.3 Implementation of policy requirements related to Leadership Development Programs, paragraph 6.1.2, will come into effect on April 2, 2006.

1.4 This policy replaces the Policy for Continuous Learning in the Public Service of Canada, dated May 2002, as of January 1, 2006.

1.5 This policy replaces the following, as of April 2, 2006:

  • Career Assignment Program Policy dated April 2000;
  • Management Trainee Program Policy dated March 1998;
  • Salary Administration Policy for the Career Assignment Programme Group dated April 2002; and
  • Salary Administration Policy - Management Trainee Group dated December 1994.

2. Application

2.1 This policy applies to the core public administration as defined in the Financial Administration Act, i.e. the departments named in Schedule I and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedule IV of the Act.

2.2 Although this policy does not apply to separate agencies, they may use it to develop their own learning, training and development policies.

3. Context

3.1 Learning, training, leadership development and professional development are key to ensuring that the public service is equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The acquisition of skills and knowledge and the development of managerial and leadership know-how is critical for the effective management of the public service-it is the foundation of a responsive, accountable and innovative government.

3.2 Deputy heads have the authority, pursuant to section 12(1)(a) of the Financial Administration Act, to "determine the learning, training and development requirements of persons employed in the public service and fix the terms on which the learning, training and development may be carried out," and Treasury Board has the authority, pursuant to section 11.1(1)(f) to "establish policies or issue directives respecting the exercise of the powers granted by this Act to deputy heads..."

3.3 This policy supports deputy heads in meeting their responsibilities by addressing specific training requirements for three groups of employees: new employees, managers at all levels and functional specialists in domains defined by the employer. In addition, it introduces measures to strengthen organizational leadership and promote innovation. Implementation of this policy will help build a learning culture in the Public Service of Canada and stimulate, guide and promote its development as a learning organization.

3.4 With associated directives, it establishes a coherent approach to learning to ensure the ongoing development of individual capacity, strong organizational leadership and innovative management practices. 

3.5 This policy reflects the government's commitment to ensuring that Canadians are served by a skilled, well-trained, professional workforce and it recognizes that foundational learning is required within the public service in support of this objective. It fosters the value of strong organizational leadership based on forward-looking management practices and continuous improvements in performance.

3.6 Learning is a shared responsibility of employees, managers at all levels, deputy heads and the employer. Employees are responsible for acquiring and maintaining the knowledge, skills and competencies related to their level and functions, and for developing and pursuing learning plans that are aligned with departmental business priorities and prepare them to do the next job. Managers at all levels and deputy heads are responsible for ensuring the timely completion of training that supports departmental priorities and the government's management improvement objectives. Treasury Board in its role as the employer establishes the knowledge needed in areas deemed necessary for effective management of the public service.

3.7 This policy respects the relevant provisions stipulated in the Official Languages Act, the related regulations and applicable Treasury Board policies. This policy is issued pursuant to paragraph 11.1(1)(f) of the Financial Administration Act.

3.8 It is essential that this policy be implemented in conjunction with the:

3.9 The Treasury Board has given the President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada, the Secretary of the Treasury Board and the Comptroller General of Canada the authority to issue directives, standards and guidelines for those portions of this policy for which they are responsible.

4. Definitions

4.1 Definitions to be used in the interpretation of this policy and the related directives, standards and guidelines are attached in the Appendix.

5. Policy Statement

5.1 The objective of this policy is to help build a skilled, well-trained and professional workforce; to strengthen organizational leadership; and to adopt leading-edge management practices to encourage innovation and continuous improvements in performance.

5.2 The expected results of this policy are that:

  • new employees will share a common understanding of their role as public servants;
  • managers at all levels have the necessary knowledge to effectively exercise their delegated authorities;
  • specialists in finance, human resources, internal audit, procurement, materiel management, real property, information management, and other domains as may be specified, will meet professional standards established by the employer;
  • participants enrolled in corporate leadership development programs will help meet the current and future human resources needs of the core public administration;
  • employees at all levels will acquire and maintain the knowledge, skills and competencies related to their level and functions;
  • senior public service leaders will align learning with the management improvement objectives of government and departmental business priorities; and
  • leading-edge practices in public sector management will be applied to encourage innovation and continuous improvements in performance.

6. Policy Requirements

6.1 Deputy heads are responsible for ensuring that:

  • their employees are informed of this policy and have the knowledge, skills and competencies to do their work;
  • measures are taken to strengthen organizational leadership and promote innovation through the adoption of leading-edge management practices; and
  • their organizations have adequate governance, processes, strategies and capacity for the implementation of this policy.

6.1.1 In relation to Required Training, deputy heads are responsible for ensuring that:

  • employees newly appointed to the core public administration successfully complete an orientation program that meets the Standards on Knowledge for Required Training;
  • first-time managers at all levels successfully complete the required training so that they meet the Standards on Knowledge for Required Training prior to delegating authorities;
  • existing managers and executives validate knowledge associated with their legal responsibilities to maintain their delegated authorities;
  • functional specialists successfully complete training and/or validate knowledge associated with their professional and legal responsibilities; and
  • designated supervisors of those affected by this policy allow their employees to complete the required training within a specified time.

6.1.2 In relation to Leadership Development Programs, deputy heads are responsible for ensuring that program participants are managed in accordance with the Directive on the Administration of Leadership Development Programs - Management Trainee Program and Career Assignment Program.

6.1.3 In relation to Professional Development, deputy heads are responsible for ensuring that:

  • their organizations have a learning policy to align departmental business priorities with the management improvement objectives of government;
  • their learning policy supports their mission and mandate, including requirements for job-related training and learning plans that align individual learning with departmental business priorities; and
  • employees at all levels have learning plans to acquire and maintain the knowledge, skills and competencies related to their level and functions.

6.2 The President of the Canada School of Public Service is responsible for:

  • developing and regularly updating, in collaboration with the relevant policy authorities, courses and programs that meet the Standards on Knowledge for Required Training, and for delivering these courses and programs and assessing whether participants successfully complete them;
  • supporting deputy heads in their efforts to strengthen organizational leadership, apply leading-edge management practices and promote innovation; and
  • developing measures and standards against which to assess its programs and performance relative to this policy.

6.2.1 In relation to Required Training, responsibilities of the President of the Canada School of Public Service include design and delivery of:

  • orientation programs for new employees of the core public administration;
  • courses and programs for first-time managers at all levels;
  • courses and programs for functional specialists in areas defined by the employer; and
  • instruments for assessing knowledge for existing managers, executives and functional specialists in areas defined by the employer.

6.2.2 In relation to Leadership Development Programs, responsibilities of the President of the Canada School of Public Service include developing, delivering and regularly updating the educational component of the corporate leadership development programs to effectively meet the evolving needs of these programs.

6.2.3 In relation to Professional Development, responsibilities of the President of the Canada School of Public Service include providing opportunities for and supporting the professional development of employees at all levels.

6.3 Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

  • Monitoring and reporting must be carried out in keeping with access to information and privacy legislation.

6.3.1 In addition to other parliamentary reporting requirements, such as the estimates and departmental performance reports, deputy heads:

  • report to the President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada and the President of the Canada School of Public Service on all relevant information as required in the directives; and
  • may also be required to provide certain types of information to the Agency considered necessary for assessing compliance and evaluating management practices. This information and its analysis may be included in the Management Accountability Framework process.

6.3.2 More specifically, deputy heads are responsible for providing on an ongoing basis to the President of the Canada School of Public Service, relevant information on:

  • employees newly appointed to the core public administration;
  • first-time managers at all levels;
  • existing managers and executives required to validate their knowledge; and
  • functional specialists in the domains identified by the employer.

6.3.3 The President of the Canada School of Public Service is responsible for reporting on an ongoing basis to:

  • deputy heads on the successful completion of training by employees newly appointed to the core public administration;
  • deputy heads on the successful completion of training by first-time managers at all levels;
  • the designated superiors of existing managers and executives on the results of their knowledge assessment;
  • deputy heads on the successful completion, by functional specialists in the domains identified by the employer, of training offered by the Canada School of Public Service;
  • the President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada and the Secretary of the Treasury Board on the compliance of departments and agencies with respect to paragraph 6.1.1 of this policy; and
  • the President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada on completion of the educational component by participants enrolled in corporate leadership development programs.

6.3.4 The President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada is responsible for:

  • providing relevant information on participants enrolled in corporate leadership development programs to the President of the Canada School of Public Service;
  • developing a Results-based Management and Accountability Framework relative to this policy;
  • reporting annually on the government-wide implementation of this policy; and
  • reviewing the policy, its associated directives and standards, and their effectiveness at the five-year anniversary of implementation of the policy. Where substantiated by risk-analysis, the President of the Agency will also ensure an evaluation is conducted.

6.4 Roles and Responsibilities of Key Stakeholders

  • The Secretary of the Treasury Board, the Comptroller General of Canada, the President of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada and the President of the Public Service Commission are responsible for establishing and regularly updating knowledge standards for policy sectors under their responsibility.

7. Consequences

7.1 The consequences of non-compliance with this policy include:

  • deputy heads will withhold new delegated authorities from managers and executives appointed to a level for the first time until they successfully complete the training that meets the Standards on Knowledge for Required Training determined by the employer;
  • within a specified period of time, not to exceed one year following the coming into force of this policy, designated superiors will suspend the delegated authorities of existing managers and executives who have not demonstrated their knowledge of level-specific legal responsibilities as per Standards on Knowledge for Required Training;
  • in evaluating the performance of designated superiors, deputy heads will take into consideration the proportion of the managers' employees who complete the required training within the specified period of time; and
  • other consequences will be specified in directives issued under this and other relevant policies.

8. References

  • Canada Labour Code, Part II
  • Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
  • Canada School of Public Service Act
  • Employment Equity Act
  • Financial Administration Act
  • Official Languages Act
  • Policy on Membership Fees
  • Public Service Employment Act
  • Public Service Labour Relations Act
  • Public Service Modernization Act

9. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy to your departmental headquarters. For interpretation of this policy, departmental headquarters should contact:

Learning Policy and Leadership Development
The Leadership Network
Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada
122 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5
Tel: (613) 996-1353
Fax: (613) 943-5520
E-mail: Contact The Leadership Network by email TLNCorres@hrma-agrh.gc.ca
Web site: http://www.psagency-agencefp.gc.ca


Appendix A - Definitions

Continuous learning (apprentissage continu)
a lifelong process of training, development, and learning. Once individuals work in an environment where these three activities are present, and actively participate in each, lifelong learning becomes a reality.
Corporate (collectif)
government-wide as opposed to organization-specific. For purposes of this policy, includes departments and organizations of the core public administration as defined in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act.
Deputy heads (administrateurs généraux)
means, for purposes of Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act, the deputy minister, and for purposes of Schedule IV, the chief executive officer or the person who occupies such a position.
Designated superior (surveillant désigné)
for purposes of validating the knowledge of existing managers and executives, the person responsible for their performance evaluation.
Employee newly appointed to the core public administration (fonctionnaire nouvellement nommé à l'administration publique centrale)
an employee as defined in the Public Service Employment Act appointed to the core public administration on the date this policy comes into effect and thereafter. For the purposes of this policy, employees newly appointed to the core public administration for a period shorter than six months plus a day are excluded.
Employer (employeur)
for purposes of the core public administration, Treasury Board is the employer.
Standards on Knowledge for Required Training (Normes sur les connaissances en matière de formation indispensables)
parameters related to the common knowledge needs of employees newly appointed to the core public administration, managers at all levels, regardless of their functions, organization or profession, in the exercise of due diligence in relation to legal responsibilities.
Executive (cadre supérieur)
an employee appointed to the Executive Group (EX-01 to EX-05 levels), i.e. director, director general, assistant deputy minister or equivalent.
Functional specialist (spécialiste fonctionnel)
includes functional specialists in the following domains: finance, human resources, internal audit, procurement, materiel management, real property, information management and others as may be specified.
Foundational learning (apprentissage des fondements)
learning that serves to develop essential knowledge, skills and competencies that an employee needs to effectively perform his/her work in the public service.
Leadership development (perfectionnement en leadership)
practical application of knowledge and know-how through a diversity of experiences, ideas and activities including learning, training, assignments, mentoring and coaching, to ensure current and future leaders in the public service have the competencies to lead change in their organizations and deliver results for Canadians.
Leadership development programs (programmes de perfectionnement en leadership)
refers to corporate programs such as the Management Trainee Program (MTP), the Career Assignment Program (CAP), the Accelerated Executive Development Program (AEXDP) and the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) administered either by the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada, the Canada School of Public Service or by departments.
Learning (apprentissage)
is the acquisition of new knowledge and ideas that change the way an individual perceives, understands or acts.
Learning organization (organisation apprenante)
collective undertaking rooted in action. It is built around people, their knowledge, know-how and ability to innovate. It is characterized by continual improvement through new ideas, knowledge and insights, which it uses to constantly anticipate, innovate and find new and better ways to fulfill its mission.
Legal responsibility (responsabilité légale)
includes responsibilities and authorities flowing from legislation, other instruments such as Orders in Council, regulations, international agreements, policies, directives or standards and, where applicable, delegated authorities related to the management of finance, human resources and procurement and those related to any other instrument identified by the employer.
Manager (gestionnaire)
an employee accountable for exercising delegated authority over human and financial resources to accomplish the objectives of an organization in the public service.
Managers at all levels (gestionnaires à tous les niveaux)
includes supervisors, managers and executives.
Organizational learning (apprentissage organisationnel)
occurs through a collective process of creating and capturing new ideas, knowledge and insights. As a product, organizational learning is the outcome of the collective learning that takes place in finding new and better ways of achieving the mission of the organization.
Professional development (perfectionnement professionnel)
an activity that assists employees further their careers and is aligned with departmental business priorities and management improvement objectives of the government. Includes courses, programs or learning events sponsored by a variety of service providers (e.g. in-house, the Canada School of Public Service, academic institutions and the private sector).
Program participant (participant au programme)
an individual selected to take part in a leadership development program.
Required training (formation indispensable)
training to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an employee needs to effectively perform his or her work in the public service, having regard for the nature of the work to be performed (e.g. management), as determined by the employer.
Successfully complete (réussite)
for employees newly appointed to the core public administration, this means attending the orientation training for its full duration. For first-time managers at all levels, this means attending the relevant training for its full duration and demonstrating, in accordance with the appropriate mechanism, that level-specific knowledge standards of the employer have been met. For functional specialists, this will be defined by each functional group.
Supervisor (surveillant)
an employee who has the responsibility for day-to-day supervision of other employees, e.g. assign work, set priorities, assess performance and approve or recommend approval of leave.
Training (formation)
represents an organized, disciplined way to transfer the knowledge and know-how that is required for successful performance in a job, occupation or profession. It is ongoing, adaptive learning, not an isolated exercise.
Validate (valider)
means of confirming that an individual possesses the knowledge.