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2011-12
Report on Plans and Priorities



Public Appointments Commission Secretariat






The original version was signed by
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

Christine Miles
Deputy Executive Director Public Appointments Commission Secretariat






Table of Contents

Section I – Departmental Overview

Section II – Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Section III – Supplementary Information



Section I – Departmental Overview

Summary Information

Raison d’Ítre

The 2006 Federal Accountability Act provides for the creation of the Public Appointments Commission.

The mandate of the Public Appointments Commission is to oversee the processes through which people are appointed to agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations. The mandate of the Public Appointments Commission does not extend to making individual appointments. 

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat, which was created by Order in Council on April 21, 2006, is responsible for:

  • laying the groundwork for the Commission, including the development of a Code of Practice (Code)and associated guidance governing the selection processes for Governor-in-Council appointments;
  • designing frameworks for assessing compliance with the Code, including compliance audits;
  • supporting the Commission, once established, with the preparation of an annual report to the Prime Minister and to Parliament on accomplishments and accounting of assigned resources; and
  • in advance of the Commission’s establishment, supporting Privy Council Office officials in their efforts to continuously improve the efficiency, fairness and transparency of the existing framework governing the public appointments system.

Responsibilities

The primary role of the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat is to provide advice and support for the development of the Public Appointments Commission.

Once the Public Appointments Commission is established, the role of the Secretariat will be to assist the Commission to review and implement its Code and to implement the policies, procedures and partnerships required to successfully oversee and report on the selection processes for Governor-in-Council appointments to the agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations that will fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction.

The work of the Secretariat, which includes research and the development of best practices, is shared regularly with Privy Council Office (PCO) officials. PCO officials work on a daily basis with partners to improve appointment processes and to ensure that the current processes are geared toward the specific needs of organizations.

Strategic Outcome

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat has one strategic outcome, which is supported by two program activities: Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments; and Internal services.

Strategic Outcome:

To ensure fair and competency-based processes are in place for the recruitment and selection of qualified individuals for Governor-in-Council appointments across agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations.

Summary Table of Planned Spending by Program Activity
(thousands of dollars)
Program Activity1 Forecast Spending
2010–11
Planned Spending Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
“Government Affairs”
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Program Activity 1:
Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments
240 970 970 970 Well-managed and efficient government operations
Program Activity 2:
Internal services
52 100 100 100  
Total Planned Spending 292 1,070 1,070 1,070  

The forecast spending for 2010-11 reflects the fact that the Public Appointments Commission is not yet established, since a Commissioner has not been appointed at this time.

Program Activity 1: Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments contributes to the achievement of the Government of Canada outcome, “Well-managed and efficient government operations,” by ensuring that selection processes for Governor-in-Council appointments are fair and competency based.

Program Activity 2: Internal services activities support the effective and efficient delivery of Program Activity 1.

Benefits for Canadians

Governing boards that direct and control government organizations may have significant and wide-ranging responsibilities, including advisory, regulatory and service delivery. The role of the Public Appointments Commission, once established, will be to help ensure that open, transparent, fair and competency-based appointment systems are in place, thereby promoting competency-based appointments to public bodies. As such, the Commission will help to support accountability and public confidence in the governing boards that direct and control government organizations. The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat’s role in advance of the Commission’s establishment is to lay the foundation for the Commission. In the interim, the Secretariat supports PCO in its role in providing continuous improvements to appointment processes, thereby contributing to the Government’s commitment to improve the efficiency, fairness and transparency of the system, even in advance of the Commission’s establishment.

Planning Summary


Financial Resources (thousands of dollars)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
1,070 1,070 1,070

The above Planned Spending table provides a summary of total planned spending, for the next three fiscal years, for the Public Appointments Commission, once established, and for the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat.

Human Resources (full-time equivalent - FTE)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
4 4 4

The above Human Resources table provides a summary of total planned human resources, for the next three fiscal years, for the Public Appointments Commission, once established, and the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat.

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat currently has a small staff of two: a Deputy Executive Director (on secondment) and an Administrative Assistant (on contract).

Public Appointments Commission Secretariat Priorities for 2011-12


Operational Priorities Type Links to Strategic Outcome(s) Description
Conducting research into domestic and international selection processes to identify trends and best practices. Ongoing

Links directly to the Strategic Outcome

Overall improvements to the public appointments system will provide for a greater range of quality candidates available for consideration for public offices.

High quality public appointments are a key component of effective board governance.
This work is required to update options developed for the Commission’s Code, and to address concerns raised about current appointment processes. These latter concerns include: identification of selection criteria for governance boards and individual appointments; terms and conditions governing reappointments; guidance and communication protocols; and performance evaluation.
Management Priorities Type Links to Strategic Outcome(s) Description
Internal management Ongoing

Links directly to the Strategic Outcome

A quick start-up of the Commission will provide for greater oversight of public appointments.
The Secretariat will continue to update its planning and reporting instruments to ensure that the Secretariat will be in a position to support a quick start-up of the Commission, once established. The Secretariat will also ensure, with the support of PCO, that all internal systems meet accountability objectives for the Secretariat’s internal management.

Risk Analysis

The Public Appointments Commission has yet to be established. Accordingly, the Secretariat remains focused on keeping its preparations for the establishment of the Commission ever-ready, and on continuing to assist PCO officials with respect to ongoing improvements to appointment processes, primarily through research and the identification of best practices.

Expenditure Profile


(thousands of dollars)
Actual Spending Forecast Spending
2010-11
Planned Spending
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
113 347 291 292 1,070 1,070 1,070

The figure below illustrates the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat’s spending trend from 2007-08 to 2013-14.

Spending trend

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat was created in April 2006. In its first year of operation, the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat conducted consultations with federal, domestic and international partners; further, the Secretariat conducted a review of appointment procedures for the Immigration and Refugee Board, the results of which were made public in early 2007. 

The Secretariat was not operational from spring 2007 to late fall 2007.

During fiscal years 2007-08 to 2010-11, the Secretariat focused on laying the groundwork for a new Commission, continuing research efforts and assisting officials at PCO in their ongoing efforts to improve Governor-in-Council appointment processes.

It is expected that the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat will continue to maintain a state of readiness in 2011-12. Accordingly, it is anticipated that only a portion (approximately $300,000 annually) of the planned budget will be spent to operate the Secretariat. However, in order to provide for the possibility that a commissioner will be appointed over the next fiscal year, an authority to spend $1.1 million for the Commission and its Secretariat is being sought through the Main Estimates process, and is reported as planned spending for 2011-12 and beyond.

Voted and Statutory Items

For information on organizational votes and/or statutory expenditures, please see the 2011-12 Main Estimates publication. An electronic version of the Main Estimates is available at http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/index-eng.asp.



Section II – Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: To ensure fair and competency-based processes are in place for the recruitment and selection of qualified individuals for Governor-in-Council appointments across agencies, boards, commissions and Crown corporations.
Performance Indicators Targets
As part of a broader performance measurement strategy, performance indicators have been developed for the Commission and its Secretariat. Implementation of the performance measurement strategy will need to coincide with the establishment of the Commission.
Outcomes toward success will include: public recognition and confidence in public appointment systems; partner compliance with the principles and minimum standards established; widespread use of consistent documents and procedures geared to specific organizational needs; identification and widespread dissemination of best practices; application of procedures to provide for a wider range of applicants; and high quality reporting systems. Ongoing work by the Secretariat includes conducting reviews of best practices for domestic and international jurisdictions, carrying out literature searches, conducting special studies and identifying gaps in existing selection processes, all of which assisted PCO officials in their ongoing reform efforts. Improvements since 2006 are documented in the Government’s Response to the House of Commons March 2009 Report on the Governor-in-Council Appointments Process. Progress noted in this regard included the enhancement of minimum selection standards, improved guidance and communication protocols, improved vacancy management and greater transparency through the development and continuous update of a centralized website to post vacancies and provide information on Governor-in-Council positions.

Program Activities

Program Activity 1: Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments

Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments program activities help to ensure that selection processes for Governor-in-Council appointments are fair and competency based.


Program Activity 1: Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments
Human Resources (FTEs) and Planned Spending (thousands of dollars)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
FTEs Planned Spending FTEs Planned Spending FTEs Planned Spending
4 970 4 970 4 970

The financial information shown above reflects planned spending for a fully established Commission and a fully staffed Secretariat.

In 2011-12, the Secretariat will continue to ensure that the groundwork for the Commission is ever-ready, in order to support a quick start-up for the Commission in support of its mandate to provide excellence in Governor-in-Council appointments. Establishing good appointment processes will assist in identifying a range of people with the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience for consideration for Governor-in-Council appointments, which will help to ensure that high quality candidates are recommended to ministers for their review.

In 2011-12, the Secretariat will continue to engage in the following activities:

  • ensure that options are developed for a principle-based and proportional Code of Practice, (including minimum standards covering selection criteria, recruitment strategies, assessment processes and procedures, and guidance to assist auditors to assess compliance with the Code of Practice, once implemented) and keep abreast of recent domestic and international trends in this regard;
  • continue research into domestic and international agencies responsible for public appointments to identify best practices; and
  • assist PCO officials in developing frameworks for reporting on improvements to the public appointments system, including evaluation frameworks.

Planning Highlights

Program Activity 1 Operational Priority
Oversight of Governor-in-Council appointments Conducting research into domestic and international selection processes to identify trends and best practices
Plans to meet this priority in 2011-12
In 2011-12, the Secretariat’s research into domestic and international selection processes to identify trends and best practices will include:
  • assessing policy options to improve flexibility with respect to the current appointments system;
  • reviewing policy options for reappointments to Governor-in-Council positions; and
  • reviewing performance assessment systems, with a focus on the varying requirements of junior and senior positions.

Benefits for Canadians

Certainty and consistency in appointment policies help to ensure that appropriate practices and standards are followed during appointment processes. This, in turn, helps to ensure the effectiveness of the governing boards that direct and control government organizations. This approach underlines the Government’s commitment to public service values and, ultimately, contributes to well-managed and efficient government operations.

Program Activity 2: Internal services

Internal services program activities support the effective and efficient delivery of activities under Program Activity 1.


Program Activity 2: Internal services
Human Resources (FTEs) and Planned Spending (thousands of dollars)
2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
FTEs Planned Spending FTEs Planned Spending FTEs Planned Spending
0 100 0 100 0 100

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat is limited in size. Nevertheless, the Secretariat must function as a department within the meaning of Schedule 1.1 of the Financial Administration Act. To this end, the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat has a Memorandum of Understanding with PCO’s Corporate Services Branch, which provides most of the administrative and financial services.

Planning Highlights

The Public Appointments Commission Secretariat engages in effective and efficient internal management practices to support the establishment of the Commission. Presently, the Secretariat operates with a Deputy Executive Director and an Administrative Assistant. The PCO Corporate Services Branch provides most of the administrative and financial services.

Program Activity 2 Management Priority
Internal services Internal management
Plans to meet this priority in 2011-12
  • Internal services for the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat are largely provided by PCO’s Corporate Services Branch.

Benefits for Canadians

In 2011-12, the Secretariat will continue to access the expertise of PCO as part of an effort to reduce operating costs.



Section III – Supplementary Information

Financial Highlights


(thousands of dollars)
Future-oriented Condensed Statement of Operations
For the years ending March 31, 2011 and 2012
% Change Future-oriented
2011–12
Future-oriented
2010–11
Expenses      
Total Expenses 292% 1,388 354
Net Cost of Operations 292% 1,388 354

The estimated total expenses for the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat for fiscal year 2011-12 is $1,388 thousand. The increase of $1,034 thousand in the net cost of operations for fiscal year 2011-12 is mainly to provide for the possibility that a commissioner will be appointed over the next fiscal year.  During fiscal year 2010-11 and previous fiscal years, the Secretariat focused on laying the groundwork for a new Commission and anticipates that only a portion of the planned budget will be spent to operate the Secretariat.

Contacts for further information

Public Appointments Commission Secretariat
155 Queen Street
Room 319
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A5
Telephone: 613-952-4906
Fax: 613-957-5016
Email: info@pac-cnp.gc.ca


  1. For program activity descriptions, please see Section II.