Public Service Award of Excellence 2016: Nomination guidelines

Nomination Guidelines

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), is responsible for managing the nomination process for these prestigious awards.

The following guidelines outline the selection criteria for the Public Service Award of Excellence.

1. Award Categories and Selection Criteria

The award is open to individuals and teams employed at the time of their nomination in or by an organization listed in Schedule I, IV or V of the Financial Administration Act, or employed in or by the Canadian Forces. Partners from other governments or sectors who are members of eligible teams that comprise primarily public service employees may also be considered for an award.

In 2016, there are 14 categories for the award, each of which reflects an area of particular importance for the public service:

  1. Outstanding Career
  2. Management Excellence
  3. Employee Innovation
  4. Living the Blueprint 2020 Vision
  5. Excellence in Citizen-Focused Service Delivery
  6. Employment Equity and Diversity
  7. Official Languages
  8. Excellence in Policy
  9. Youth
  10. Exemplary Contribution under Extraordinary Circumstances
  11. The Joan Atkinson Award
  12. Scientific Contribution
  13. Large-Scale Special Event or Project
  14. 60 Years of Service Special Award

Please note that while several categories recognize individuals and teams, certain categories are open to individual nominations only, or to team nominations only. The criteria for each of these categories are described below.

A. Outstanding Career

This category is reserved for individual nominations only.

It recognizes the outstanding achievements and efforts of those who, through a combination of personal qualities and exceptional skills, have made a significant contribution throughout their careers, either at the departmental or public service level or to Canadians, as demonstrated in their actions or the guidance they have provided. The successful candidates will have spent at least 20 years in the federal public service.

The successful candidate(s) must have achieved the following on an ongoing basis:

  • Shown outstanding dedication to their work while maintaining a high level of commitment to public service values and ethics (e.g., respect for others, professionalism, integrity, etc.);
  • Been a model and inspiration for other employees in their dedication to excellence;
  • Advised, trained or coached others in such a way that motivates colleagues to excel; and
  • Demonstrated leadership and transparency in the management of human resources.

B. Management Excellence

This category is reserved for individual nominations only.

It recognizes those who have achieved outstanding results through commitment and dedication to their departmental goals and priorities and demonstrated professionalism, integrity, intelligent risk taking and strong ethics in their day-to-day work while adhering to sound human and financial resources management practices.

Below are examples of the criteria that the selection committee will be looking at:

  • Engaged people and partners in developing opportunities for innovation and continuous learning, in identifying and implementing innovative client service solutions and encouraging them to explore new perspectives and new ways of doing things when problem solving;
  • Promoted the diversity of people and ideas, work-life balance, recognition and teamwork practices;
  • Recruited a representative workforce with the skills and experience needed now and in the future;
  • Mentored, empowered, coached and supported employees in all phases of their professional lives;
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and leadership by recognizing important issues, linking them to the collective vision, developing initiatives based on a long-term view, and achieving sustainable results in keeping with government priorities;
  • Delivered concrete results through action management;
  • Demonstrated leadership simultaneously in business continuity and business enhancements (or business development), while managing transitions that affected traditional departmental boundaries such as shared services and horizontal files;
  • Provided purpose by envisioning what is ahead and rallying people to face new challenges;
  • Demonstrated leadership in carrying out consultations, taking part in co-development, and including union representatives in an active and punctual manner;
  • Effectively addressed a public sector management problem of high importance to the organization, while managing risk, removing barriers to efficiency and innovation, or reducing administrative or reporting burdens or delays;
  • Created the necessary environment for innovative approaches to flourish, where mistakes are tolerated and learned from;
  • Initiated novel efforts to modernize internal management or administrative processes and systems, with a view to achieving an innovative and efficient workplace; and
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and transparency in the management of human resources.

C. Employee Innovation

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those who have focus and drive and who demonstrate commitment and dedication to the public service across Canada, with an emphasis on developing significant ideas and transferable innovations that use new or improved approaches to result in better outcomes for citizens. These innovations advance government-wide priorities, including finding more efficient and effective ways of delivering core business responsibilities and providing better service to Canadians. Innovations may also streamline business processes, leverage technology, establish new partnerships, or pursue creative solutions to fulfill organizational mandates.

The successful candidate(s) must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Developed trend-setting initiatives or transformations that improved efficiency in operations or services or resulted in savings or benefits (internal or external) in areas such as, but not limited to, science, technology, health, the environment, resources management, finances, learning, program design, or delivery and policy;
  • Created an original idea or uniquely adapted an existing program, process or concept, which resulted in a long-term benefit to the public service of Canada;
  • Developed and implemented an innovative idea that resulted in a measurable savings validated by senior management (Assistant Deputy Minister-level and above); or
  • Implemented a significant organizational change or management practice that increased productivity and has the potential to be replicated or adapted in other federal institutions or jurisdictions.

D. Living the Blueprint 2020 Vision

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

The Living the Blueprint 2020 Vision category recognizes employees or teams who, in carrying out their work duties, demonstrates leadership and a personal commitment in seeking outcomes for the revitalized and world-class public service that is equipped to serve Canada and Canadians now and into the future.

The successful candidate(s) must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates leadership in advancing a workplace culture that promotes:
    • Healthy, respectful and supportive workplaces
    • Innovation and continuous improvement
    • Nimbleness and agility
    • Openness and collaboration
    • High-performance
  • Actively contributes to creating an open and networked environment that engages citizens and partners for the public good;
  • Takes a whole-of-government approach in their work that embraces interdepartmental collaboration to effectively address cross-cutting issues;
  • Makes smart use of new technologies to improve networking, information sharing and service to Canadians; and
  • Exemplifies a capable, confident and high-performing workforce by embracing new ways of working and mobilizing the diversity of talent within the Public Service to serve the country's evolving needs. 

E. Excellence in Citizen-Focused Service Delivery

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those who provide improved access to government information and services by delivering efficient, effective and seamless service while maintaining a strong service ethic.

The successful candidate(s) must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Developed, managed and sustained strategic partnerships with other government, private sector, volunteer or non-profit organizations that integrate both policy and service delivery, with a view to better serving Canadians;
  • Developed new tools and implemented innovative solutions in order to improve access to, as well as the delivery of, programs and services to Canadians; or
  • Applied new business models and skills to the delivery of services online.

F. Employment Equity and Diversity

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those who, through ongoing diligence and commitment, help the public service become more representative and inclusive.

The successful candidate(s) must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated leadership in advancing employment equity and diversity within the organization in such a way as to bring about a change in culture in the public service of Canada;
  • Demonstrated commitment and actively contributed to the integration of employment equity and diversity within human resources and business plans, practices and programs; and
  • Created an initiative or program that addresses the unique needs of one or more designated groups or that improved corporate culture, and shared best practices with other departments or agencies.

G. Official Languages

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those who, through their ongoing diligence and commitment, ensure the presence of both official languages in everyday work life.

The successful candidate(s) must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated leadership in promoting both official languages in such a way as to bring about a change in culture reflected in an environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages; and
  • Demonstrated creativity in developing initiatives, implementing innovative projects, or carrying out other work (such as developing tools, best practices, etc.) that yield tangible results in advancing official languages in the public service, and shared best practices with other departments or agencies.

H. Excellence in Policy

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those who provide professional analysis-based policy advice, which requires collaboration with other levels of government and external partners such as research and academic institutions, international organizations, voluntary and stakeholder organizations, and individual citizens.

The successful candidate(s) must demonstrate excellence in strengthening policy capacity, with emphasis on the way in which specific policy initiatives were carried out, in areas such as:

  • Developing, analyzing and communicating innovative and effective policy proposals that respond to government priorities through cooperation and collaboration;
  • Developing opportunities to engage and consult citizens and key stakeholders in the consideration of key policy issues;
  • Integrating regional and operational perspectives in policy research, analysis, development and implementation;
  • Enhancing long-term policy research, particularly with external partners; and
  • Identifying potential risks early and applying sound risk management principles, and strengthening the policy capacity of the federal government.

I. Youth

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes young public servants who are a source of inspiration to others. They are innovative, demonstrate leadership abilities, and significantly contribute to Canada's future. This category is open to teams and individuals.

The successful candidate(s) must be under 40 years of age and have accumulated a maximum of 10 years of consecutive service in the public service of Canada.

The candidate(s) must also meet the following criteria:

  • Shown outstanding dedication to their work while maintaining a high level of commitment to public service values and ethics;
  • Been a model and inspiration for other employees in their dedication to excellence;
  • Have motivated colleagues to excel; and
  • Demonstrated leadership and transparency in their work.

J. Exemplary Contribution under Extraordinary Circumstances

This category is reserved for team nominations only.

It recognizes teams or departments that have performed their duties in an exemplary manner under extraordinary circumstances and in a manner that constitutes a contribution of unusual merit to Canada (examples include events on ; the Haiti earthquake; and the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire).

K. The Joan Atkinson Award

This category is reserved for individual nominations only.

It recognizes an individual at the level of assistant deputy minister who, through a combination of personal qualities, exceptional ability and superior leadership, as assessed by his or her colleagues, has demonstrated the courage, wisdom and compassion exemplified by Joan Atkinson throughout her public service career and thereby made an important contribution to the public service of Canada.

The successful candidate must have met the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated an ability to impart frank advice and guidance to employees and to peers, in a manner that does not diminish the person receiving it, and who thereby helps people to achieve their potential;
  • Demonstrated wisdom, courage and compassion;
  • Actively fostered workplace well-being; and
  • Generated respect among his or her assistant deputy minister colleagues.

The nominator for this category must be an assistant deputy minister or equivalent, and the nomination will be preferably made by a group of assistant deputy ministers or equivalents.

L. Scientific Contribution

This category is open for individual or team nominations.

It recognizes those working in the fields of science and technology, research, health, technology, natural sciences or engineering who have published articles in their field and are recognized outside Canada. They also need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Developed trend-setting initiatives in the field of research, health, technology, natural sciences or engineering;
  • Developed and implemented an innovative idea in the field of research, health, technology, natural sciences or engineering to improve the quality of life of Canadians;
  • Developed and implemented an innovative idea that resulted in a measurable increase in efficiency and productivity;
  • Have an outstanding list of published articles;
  • Developed, analyzed and communicated innovative and effective research that responds to government priorities through cooperation and collaboration;
  • Enhanced long-term research, particularly with external partners; or
  • Demonstrated leadership in advancing research projects.

M. Large-Scale Special Event or Project

This category is reserved for team nominations only.

It seeks to recognize one multi-disciplinary or highly specialized team at the departmental or interdepartmental level that has contributed to the successful delivery of a large-scale special event or project in Canada or overseas over the past year, such as a G8, G20 or other governmental summits, royal tour, a commission of inquiry or projects requiring highly complex negotiations or international cooperation. The nomination will clearly underline its relation with government priorities and the constraints under which the event or project operated. Finally, the successful team will have reflected positively on the public service and demonstrated a significant impact on the lives of Canadians.

Below are some of the criteria that the selection committee will be looking for in selecting the successful candidate(s):

  • The quality of the special event's or project's design, development, planning and implementation;
  • Whether the special event or project was in line with government priorities;
  • Whether the special event or project reflected positively on the public service of Canada (through media coverage, feedback or praise from Canadians, institutions, the private sector or other levels of government); and
  • Whether the image of Canada was enhanced domestically or internationally.

N. 60 Years of Service Special Award

This category is reserved for individual nominations only.

It recognizes one or more individuals who have reached 60 years of service at the time of nomination with the Government of Canada. One nominator and letters of endorsement are required with an explanation that supports and describes the individual's nomination and career.

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