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Table of Contents

Audit Report

Audit of Staffing Activities and Transactions
Project #07/08 01-04

Prepared by The Audit and Evaluation Directorate

August 2008

Table of Contents

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Executive Summary

The objectives of this audit were to evaluate the extent to which the recommendations of the Public Service Commission (PSC) audit report of May 2006 had been implemented and to determine whether the management framework for staffing activities and transactions are consistent with the new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), and with PSC policies, regulations and orders.

Although work remains to be done, our view is that management responded with due diligence to the recommendations of the PSC report. With respect to:

  • Recommendation 1 – The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) took concrete actions to hold senior managers accountable and responsible for HR management and related decisions.

  • Recommendation 2 – The CSA undertook to harmonize its human resources (HR) planning with its operational and financial planning cycle. However, it has still not prepared its HR management strategic plan. This situation derives from the fact that the CSA still does not have a strategic plan to implement the Canadian Space Strategy.

  • Recommendation 3 – Several steps were taken to monitor staffing activities, including the Staffing Monitoring Committee. On the other hand, actions whose implementation began over the past year need to be completed to ensure that staffing activity monitoring systems are functioning properly.

  • Recommendation 4 – The action taken contributed to ensuring that every staffing decision respects the merit principle and staffing values. The staffing practices are based on proper assessment methods and rating tools.

  • Recommendation 5 – The roles and responsibilities of managers and HR advisors are clearly defined in the Staffing Management Accountability Framework (SMAF), the Delegation of HR Authorities and the document concerning the sharing of roles and responsibilities between managers and HR advisors. With respect to training, a continuous learning program for managers has been in place for a number of years now. The next step ought to be the development of a continuous learning program for HR advisors.

We would also like to draw your attention to the challenges in store for the CSA with respect to its workload and succession planning and training. Measures will be required to manage the workload with a view to filling vacant positions within a reasonable time period and to cope with the massive departures expected in a number of key groups over the coming years.

This internal audit was carried out in compliance with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Internal Audit Policy. In our professional judgment, the audit procedures being followed and the evidence gathered are appropriate and sufficient to support the accuracy of the conclusions stated in this report. The conclusions are based on a review of the situations selected on the basis of the audit criteria established.

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Description of Mandate

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Audit Project Rationale

The Audit and Evaluation Directorate audit plan called for an audit of staffing activities and transactions for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

In 2005, the PSC conducted an audit of CSA staffing activities and transactions. The audit report released by the PSC in May 2006 made five recommendations. In this audit, we will, among other things, evaluate the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented.

1.2 Audit Objectives

The objectives of this audit were to:

  • evaluate the extent to which the recommendations from the PSC May 2006 audit report had been implemented, and

  • determine whether the management framework for staffing activities and transactions is consistent with the new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), and with the policies, regulations and orders of the PSC.

Appendix A provides more specific information about the audit objectives and criteria that were used.

1.3 Scope

This audit covered staffing activities and transactions from April 1, 2006 to November 30, 2007. (An overview of staffing transactions carried out during this period is given at the end of Appendix A).

1.4 Methodology

This audit was carried out in accordance with audit standards set forth in the TBS Policy on Internal Audit, which require that audit objectives be based on audit criteria.

Audit standards also require that the audit be conducted in a formal manner, according to a process that includes:

  • a planning and preliminary review phase
  • an execution phase, and
  • the reporting and disclosure of results

Our audit included a review of the existing management framework, an analysis of internal documentation and processes, and interviews with staff.

Since the purpose of our file review was to obtain an overview of staffing practices, our stratified random sample was based on the following criteria:

  • type of staffing processe
  • occupational group and position level; and
  • location of the position within the organization.

We examined the staffing records using audit lists, one for each type of staffing process selected for audit purposes.

1.5 Background

Some Statistics

Table 1 below lists the total staff at the CSA by employment status:

Table 1 - CSA Staff by Employment Status

Employment status Workforce on
March 31,
2007
% Workforce on
March 31,
2008
%
Indeterminate 610 69 613 69
Term 21 2 15 2
Student 66 8 54 6
Secondment 10 1 20 2
Contractual 125 14 123 14
Interchange Canada 9 1 10 1
MOU 30 3 23 2
Fellow 10 1 13 2
Partner 2 0 5 1
Other 6 1 5 1
Total 889 100 881 100
Source: CSA headcount report as at March 31, 2007 and March 31, 2008

Table 2 gives us the hiring activities in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008, also by employment status.

Table 2 -- Hiring Activities by Employment Status

Employment status 2006-2007 % 2007-2008 %
Indeterminate 1 25 12 39 18
Term 1 6 3 11 5
Subtotal 31 15 50 23
Students 2 181 85 162 77
Total 212 100 212 100
Source: 1 - Tables prepared by the HR planning and projects advisor
Source: 2 - Student tables 2006-2007-2008

The statistics we consulted also reported on turnover at the CSA over the past two years. In fact, 36 people left the CSA in 2006-2007 and 54 left in 2007-2008. Our analysis determined that the CSA had more people leaving than new hirings (indeterminate and term) over these two years (excluding student hirings).

CSA Context

  • On April 1, 2008, 96 out of a total of 698 positions were vacant (term and indeterminate) at the CSA, in other words 13.8%. Furthermore, in preparing the HR business plans for the coming year, the various CSA service lines identified 46 positions that needed to be established, and which were not among the 96 vacant positions because many of them had not yet been approved. Thus far, of these 46 positions, six have been created and are vacant.
    In 2006-2007, the CSA undertook a collective staffing strategy to create pools of qualified candidates to fill vacant positions in the main employment groups (EN ENG, CR, AS and FI).

  • Staffing authorities for the audit period were only delegated to the Director General level, to the Senior Vice-President, to the Chief Financial Officer and to the Director of Human Resources. The CSA is also subject to a number of staffing conditions, which, according to the subdelegated managers interviewed, delay staffing process. During the period in question, statements of merit criteria and assessment tools required PSC approval before they could be used.

  • The CSA also had to cope with three changes of deputy heads during the 2007-08 year. In addition, a program and governance structure review began when the new President arrived in May 2007. The new President proceeded with a reorganization that affected 30 executives, managers and employees. Most were redeployed to other duties and some were declared surplus.

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Audit Findings

2.0 Follow-up to PSC Audit Report

In May 2006, the PSC submitted an audit report pointing to a number of deficiencies in the management of staffing activities and transactions.

In response to the recommendations of the PSC report, the CSA established a coordination committee. The terms of reference of the committee included the following:

  • to coordinate activities related to the action plan in order to follow up on the PSC audit report
  • to strategically incorporate the action plan activities into human resources management, and
  • to give updates on the evolution to the Executive Committee and to keep the whole organization informed of progress

This audit report describes the actions undertaken in response to the PSC recommendations, in addition to actions for which the implementation need to be completed to fully address the recommendations.

2.1 PSC Recommendation 1

The CSA President must take concrete action to hold senior managers accountable and responsible for HR management and related decisions.

The Canadian Space Agency's responsee

The Agency recognizes the importance of senior and middle managers' being held accountable for human resources management.

  • The Staffing Management Accountability Framework is being implemented to ensure all managers meet their HR management responsibilities.

  • Accountability will be strengthened by aligning the level of accountability of senior managers with precise commitments and measures in their performance agreements.

  • Managers will assume leadership and responsibility for HR management by contributing to the development and implementation of the upcoming strategic HR management plan.

  • HR management will become a standing item on the Executive Committee meeting agenda, in order to encourage constructive debate and to ensure a corporate approach to decision-making.

  • The designation of champions for HR management initiatives will strengthen leadership and responsibility for HR management.

The following actions were implemented in response to this recommendation:

Staffing Management Accountability Framework

A Staffing Management Accountability Framework (SMAF) was approved in January 2007 by the Executive Committee and the PSC, and then published. Parts of the SMAF are now in place, including the Staffing Monitoring Committee, which is a body that has recommendation and decision authority with respect to HR management values and policies.

The SMAF enables the organization to set expectations as they relate to a well-managed appointment system that complies with the new PSEA. This mechanism examines how the staffing system is managed and allows for adjustments to be made when required. It also provides for the introduction of monitoring and reporting strategies.

Senior Manager Performance Agreements

In 2006/2007, the following key commitments were part of the performance agreements for senior managers:

  • Provide leadership in HR management and in implementing the PSEA
  • Ensure to implement the action plan resulting from the PSC audit in their Directorate and play an active role.

The achievement of results was evaluated on the basis of the following:

  • Involvement in a specified percentage of HR training.
  • Sending of messages supporting HR initiatives and encouraging employees to become involved.
  • Participation in preparing the strategic HR management plan by supplying data in accordance with the agreed upon schedules.
  • Played an active role on an HR committee or agreed to be a champion for a specific initiative.
  • Raised one or more HR issues with the Executive Committee during the year.

Executive Committee

During the year from May 24, 2006 to April 25, 2007, HR management was a standing item on the Executive Committee meeting agenda, to encourage constructive debate and to ensure a corporate approach to decision-making. Since May 2007, even though human resource management is no longer a standing agenda item, it is raised in the general comments at the beginning of the meeting.

Identification of HR Champions

The CSA now has several champions in charge of specific HR areas to consolidate leadership and accountability for various aspects of HR. The following areas now have a champion:

  • Classification
  • National Council of Visible Minorities
  • Collective staffing for the CR and AS groups
  • Collective staffing for the ENG group
  • Employment equity
  • Women in science and technology
  • Official languages
  • Middle managers' network
  • Values and ethics
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Follow-up to PSC audit report

Continuous Learning Program for Managers

Prior to the issuance of the PSC report, the Human Resources Directorate had undertaken, with the approval of the Executive Committee, a continuous learning program for managers that included HR training sessions.

The continuous learning program for managers, which was revised to factor in the new Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) learning policy, includes new HR management learning activities, activities concerning staffing for subdelegated managers, and values and ethics.

According to the document entitled continuous learning program for managers:

  • Through the introduction of this program, the CSA would like to prepare its managers to effectively perform the added responsibilities that will be subdelegated to them as part of the modernization of the public service in various areas, including staffing.
  • The program is designed to be a very important learning tool that will be able to support managers in their career development on an ongoing basis.
  • The introduction of the program is indicative of the determination of CSA management to provide leadership with respect to this corporate aspect of continuous learning for its managers.
  • The program is a first step towards the development of a more comprehensive vision of learning at the CSA

Our discussions with managers showed that they were generally satisfied with the training they received under this program.

The CSA has also set up the following committees and working groups with a view to making senior managers accountable.

Intersectoral Human Resources Planning Committee

The Intersectoral Human Resources Planning Committee was established to provide the CSA with a process that links HR planning to other Agency planning processes (financial and operational).

The committee is made up of:

  • a chair, the planning and development manager,
  • an HR planning advisor,
  • an HR operations team representative,,
  • a planning and performance team representative,
  • a financial planning representative and,
  • a representative in charge of planning for each of the directorates/branches.

The committee plays an advisory role on human resources issues while facilitating monitoring for annual planning reports. The committee members are to meet every two months. By March 31, 2008, only one exploratory meeting had been held. The first official meeting of the committee is scheduled for May 13, 2008.

The committee's terms of reference include the following:

  • allow for discussion among participants to improve existing tools used in planning and to suggest others as required,
  • closely monitor scheduled HR integrated planning activities as part of operations,
  • inform senior management about HR planning concerns and challenges and,
  • contribute to ongoing improvement of the HR planning process.

Human Resources Orientation Committee

In 2005, the Human Resources Directorate set up a Human Resources Orientation Committee. This committee was designed as a forum to discuss and deal with some of the key human resources issues, including public service modernization, strategic orientations in the various HR management disciplines and the approaches to be advocated in human resources management.

The committee was made up of 10 persons appointed by the Human Resources Directorate, including four representatives from that Directorate - one of whom, the Human Resources Director, was the chair.

The last meeting of this committee took place in May 2007. According to the Human Resources Directorate, once initiatives such as the staffing monitoring committee, the identification of champions for various aspects of HR and the HR discussions that are now being held at the Executive Committee were complete, this human resources orientation committee no longer served its initial purpose because its main objective, which was greater involvement on the part of directors and directors general in HR, had been achieved.

CSA Directors' Network

The directors' network is an informal forum for information sharing and discussion among directors. Discussions are held in a peer context that is conducive to open and frank exchanges. The network consists of members of executive or equivalent rank who report directly to a member of the Executive Committee. This is a very recent initiative because it was introduced only on November 20, 2007. The intent is for the network to meet once a month.

Staffing Roles and Responsibilities Committee

This committee was established on March 1, 2007. Its terms of reference were to:

  • clarify the roles and responsibilities of HR managers and specialists by giving due regard to the conditions stated in the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument (ADAI), the ministerial HR authority delegation instrument, as well as the PSC recommendations,
  • identify the best way of illustrating staffing roles and responsibilities and,
  • develop a communications plan.

The committee held five meetings, producing a document on the sharing of roles and responsibilities among managers and advisors throughout a staffing process. The committee was then dissolved when the champion left.

Working Group - Collective Staffing Strategy

The mandate of the working group, which is made up of representatives from various occupational groups and the Human Resources Directorate, is to identify the key occupational groups for which the CSA can use pools of prequalified candidates for positions in the CR, AS, FI and ENG occupational groups. These pools would make it possible to readily identify candidates who could meet the CSA's current and future staffing needs. These needs were identified following the analysis of integrated human resources planning and the activities of each of the directorates, together with the staffing plans of the organization's various business lines.

Champions were identified for these working groups. The role of the champions is to take thinking about corporate planning as far as it can go, and to identify and create generic tools that are easy to use.

Committee - Management Succession Initiative

The mandate of the Management Succession Committee is to submit to the Executive Committee for approval a pool of employees who would be ready to fill managerial functions within 12 to 24 months.

This management succession initiative was launched in October 2007. Its purpose is to promote the development of employees capable of performing at the senior executive EX 01 and EX-02 levels. It is also designed to ensure that women are properly represented at the senior level workforce.

Employees identified at the end of this succession development process would nevertheless have to qualify afterwards for available positions, through an advertised appointment process, just as any other candidates would have to.

Conclusion

In view of the actions taken, our opinion is that the activities of the proposed action plan and the other actions taken as described above demonstrate that the CSA has exercised due diligence in taking the actions required in response to the PSC recommendation 1.

2.2 PSC Recommendation 2

The President of the Canadian Space Agency must develop and implement a strategic HR management plan, integrating its operational plans and strategic objectives, and ensure that the plan is taken into account in staffing processes.

The Canadian Space Agency's Response

The Agency acknowledges that more must be done and recognizes the importance of the strategic HR management plan.

  • Steps have been taken to develop and implement a strategic plan in accordance with the Treasury Board Integrated Human Resources planning toolkit, issued to Deputy Ministers on February 2, 2005. From this toolkit, the Human Resources Directorate also developed planning tools to help managers develop the strategic plan, including an internal and external demographic analysis. The Plan will include resourcing and development strategies.
  • For the 2006-2007 planning exercise, the Agency has aligned its staffing plans with the Agency work plans.
  • In order to evaluate and identify current and future human resources needs, the Agency has also linked human resources planning to the Agency's business strategy--the Canadian Space Strategy--and the ten-year plan.

The following actions were taken to address this recommendation:

Integrated Human Resources and Activities Planning Guide

Prior to the submission of the PSC report, the CSA had begun development of an integrated human resources and business planning guide. This guide is a tool to help managers effectively plan for their human resources needs by providing them with a five-step integrated planning process as suggested by the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA).

Table 3 - The Five Steps to Integrating HR Planning

Step 1 Determine your business objectives.
Step 2 Scan your environment to see if you have the right resources to meet your current and future needs.
Step 3 Assess the gaps in your workforce - what do you need in terms of HR to achieve your objectives.
Step 4 Set priorities and take action. Initiate strategies to close the gaps and help get the resources you need.
Step 5 Review, monitor and measure whether efforts were successful.

After this process has been completed, managers are ready to prepare their integrated human resources and business planning document (IHRP) and HR activity plan for their sector.

Demographic Profile of the CSA and its Service Lines

The first CSA demographic profile and organizational overview prepared for the 2005-2006 fiscal year was intended to be a planning tool to begin identifying CSA human resources issues in order to help managers incorporate HR management into their activities. The report was designed as a complement to the integrated human resources and business planning guide and was used to prepare an internal environmental scan during the process of developing the Departmental Integrated HR Plan for 2007-2010.

The most recent demographic profile and organizational overview (2006-2007), in the January 23, 2008 version that we consulted, provides information about the whole workforce and the health of the organization. Its purpose was to raise issues and suggest solutions with a view to establishing a departmental strategic human resources plan. It is also useful for establishing monitoring and reporting strategies.

The demographic profile and organizational overview should also help managers in their operational planning, preparing internal and external environmental scans and analysing gaps to establish resourcing strategies and workforce development strategies.

At the presentation of the 2006-2007 demographic profile and organizational overview to the Executive Committee on February 26, 2008, the Chief, Human Resources Officer said that sectorial profiles would be prepared for planning purposes.

In the course of our audit, we determined that at the end of March 2008, the sectorial profiles were still not available to help managers prepare their HR planning document for 2008-2009. According to the HR and project planning advisor, the sectorial profiles were only submitted in May 2008 to two sectors who requested them.

In order to be beneficial, a demographic profile and organizational overview for each of the sectors should be sent to the managers early enough to enable them to factor them in when planning for human resources for the sector.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Ensure that sectorial profiles are communicated to managers early enough in the preparation cycle of the integrated HR and business planning document to enable them to make use of additional information.

Strategy and Approach for Hiring Students

A strategy on the use of student programs was developed in June 2006 and approved by the PSC on July 14, 2006. The purpose of the strategy is to encourage young scientists and engineers to specialize in the space field and to stimulate the interest of young Canadians in science, engineering and technology through space.

Further details about the strategy and approach to student hiring, and recommendations concerning the management framework for the strategy, are provided in section 4.8 of this report.

Collective Staffing for the CR, AS, FI and EN ENG Groups

Collective staffing is now used by CSA as a staffing and recruitment strategy. It makes enhanced planning and coordination of staffing activities possible and many managers can benefit of a single generic staffing process.

This staffing strategy is primarily used to fill the many vacant positions at CSA in the AS, CR, FI and EN ENG occupational groups more effectively. Through long-term planning and combined efforts, managers can speed up the overall staffing process and optimize the resources needed to staff positions.

During the 2007-2008 year, the involvement of several CSA sectors made it possible to create AS and CR pools. The Finance Directorate developed a generic staffing process that led to the establishment of pools for FI-01 and FI-02 candidates. The development of EN ENG pools is still in progress.

Some thirty appointments were made from the AS, CR and FI pools in 2007-2008.

Communications with the Unions

Although the CSA has not established a systematic process to consult the unions on staffing, they are regularly informed of any significant reorganizations in their respective areas (e.g. Communications, Information Management and Information Technology (IM-IT)). They were also consulted when pools of qualified candidates were established using collective staffing.

According to the Departmental Staffing Accountability Report (DSAR) for 2007-2008, over the past year, approximately 20 meetings with national representatives of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) were held on various matters, including accommodation, secondment, acting appointments, and workforce adjustment.

It is also important to note that the CSA's policy on the choice of a process makes union consultation compulsory for certain types of appointment. The CSA also observes area of selection policies, which also require union consultation when the intent is to reduce the size of the area of selection.

Mentoring Program

A mentoring program for women in science and technology (S&T) was launched in February 2006. The project focuses on the career development of women in S&T and constitutes a CSA commitment to employment equity to ensure that women are represented at all levels of the organization.

The CSA has also established two co-development groups that meet on a regular basis. These are peer learning groups.

In addition, the Executive Committee launched a mentoring program for all CSA employees in March 2008.

HR Planning Coordination

As mentioned above, in March 2006, the CSA developed a five-step integrated human resources and business planning guide. With this guide, the managers prepare their IHRP document, which among other things describes the workforce in the sector and the strategies identified to bridge the workforce gaps when the current situation does not meet the objectives. Then, the HR activity plan for the coming year is prepared. This plan describes the HR activities that the manager plans to implement during the year. The information in the plan includes the recruitment method and the target date for each of the processes. The first HR activity plans were prepared in 2006 following discussion with all the sector managers.

In the course of our audit, we noted that the call letter sent to managers about preparing the 2008-2009 operational plans said that, as part of the work plan exercise, planning officers should ensure that managers in their area update their HR activity plan and their integrated HR and business planning. The letter also mentioned that the human resources and projects planning advisor would contact the planning officers to guide them in preparing these documents. However, no target date was given for submitting the documents in question.

Our review showed that since April 2007, most of the sectors submitted their IHRP on different dates (between April 2007 and March 2008), and that each IHRP covered a one to three year period. Only one sector did not submit an IHRP for all of its groups, because of a major reorganization it underwent in 2007-2008.

We also determined that three of the six service lines that had produced their IHRP had not updated it. In fact, some IHRPs covering a one-year period had to be redone, whereas those covering three years should be revised to ensure that the information is still up to date.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Provide better coordination of the IHRP process, particularly by establishing instructions about the preparation and updating of IHRP documents and by following up on those that are to be produced by the sectors.

Incoporating HR Planning in the Operational and Financial Planning Cycle

As mentioned under the previous heading, we determined that HR planning is properly incoporated into the CSA's operational and financial planning cycle.

The integration could not be done prior to the 2008-2009 planning exercise because the CSA had to cope with:

  • three deputy head changes in a year, which had repercussions on the preparation of the HR business plans,

  • a movement rate of 27.3% for the PE group for the 2006-2007 year, compared to only 8.9% for the CSA as a whole,

  • problems in recruiting experienced PEs (shortage within the federal public service),

  • the large number of vacant positions to be filled - 96 out of a total of 698 positions (term and indeterminate) on April 1, 2008, or 13.8% and,

  • a reorganization in May 2007 following the arrival of a new president who remained in office from April to December 2007, which significantly disrupted human resource planning for the 2007-2008 year. The reorganization affected about thirty senior managers, managers and employees.

It was only in September 2007 that the planning, learning, policy and projects manager was able to obtain a comprehensive consolidation of the revised staffing activities for the 2007-2008 year.

Since 2007-2008, the sector HR plans have been supported by analyses carried out with the help of the five-step integrated HR and business planning tool recommended by the Human Resources Directorate. Furthermore, for 2008-2009, they were prepared sufficiently in advance to realistically reflect operational requirements.

Action to be completed in order to respond to recommendation 2 of the PSC report:

Strategic HR Management Plan

In response to recommendation 2 in the PSC report, the CSA said that:

"In order to evaluate and identify current and future human resources needs, the Agency has also linked human resources planning to the Agency's business strategy--the Canadian Space Strategy--and the ten-year plan."

Our audit determined that an integrated corporate HR plan for 2007-2010 was approved by the Executive Committee in June 2007. The plan, which follows the five-step approach described above, includes a variety of staffing, succession development and retention strategies. It is also a management tool that can be used to guide human resources decisions for the whole organization over a three-year horizon.

The plan sets out the main features of the Canadian Space Strategy, but does not link it to its HR planning activities.

In order to be able to link its human resources planning activities to the Canadian Space Strategy, the CSA must begin by developing a strategic plan (business plan) that includes long-term objectives and ways of achieving them. Once the organization's strategic plan has been prepared, the CSA could then set out its HR management strategic plan and provide clear direction based on the organization's current and future HR needs.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

The CSA should establish a strategic plan that includes long-term objectives and how to achieve them, and that would make it possible to implement the Canadian Space Strategy and then, develop a strategic HR management plan accordingly.

Conclusion

Many actions was undertaken to address PSC recommendation 2, including the IHRP, which was implemented over the past year, as well as its incorporation into the operational and financial planning cycle.

On the other hand, an important aspect of the HR planning cycle, the CSA strategic plan, is still missing. It would serve as a foundation for a strategic HR management plan that would tie HR planning to operational objectives.

2.3 PSC Recommendation 3

The President of the Canadian Space Agency must implement a staffing monitoring system that will serve to assess progress achieved on the basis of planned results and to actively monitor areas at risk.

The Canadian Space Agency's Response

The Agency is developing a staffing monitoring system in compliance with the new PSEA. Monitoring points and controls have already been implemented and are found in the form of various support tools such as:

  • specific articles added to our policies and subdelegation instrument
  • checklist in staffing files
  • computerized system to facilitate reporting..

The Agency is also examining the implementation of other mechanisms:

  • internal audits by the Audit and Evaluation Directorate,
  • peer-review audits of a sample of files among the HR advisors.

A Monitoring Committee will be created to examine staffing issues, particularly those in areas considered at risk, and will report to the Executive Committee on its findings to elicit strategic debate. The Committee will also make recommendations to the President.

The following actions were implemented to address this recommendation:

Staffing Monitoring Committee

The Staffing Monitoring Committee is an important feature of the CSA staffing monitoring framework, and its role is to act as the guardian and protector of staffing values, which are the fundamental values of merit and impartiality - and the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness.

The Committee conducts analyses, makes recommendations or makes binding decisions on the basis of rules/policies/directives applicable to cases submitted for review.

The Committee is made up of permanent members and guest members. Permanent members are those at the EX-03 level or above who have been subdelegated appointment authority by the President of the CSA. Guest members are:

  • A representative of the Human Resources Directorate to chair the Committee.,
  • A human resources specialist who has passed the PSC Appointment Framework Knowledge Test (AFKT) to provide advice and opinions concerning staffing.
  • As required, a guest to act as a resource person.
  • Managers responsible for certain files submitted to the Committee may be invited to make representations.

Decisions are made by consensus. Where this proves to be impossible, the file, containing options recommended by the Staffing Monitoring Committee is sent to the President for decision.

Current Departmental Policies, Including Monitoring Activities

The three departmental policies were updated to reflect the PSC comments and approved by the Acting President of the CSA in December 2006. These policies were the following:

  • Policy on areas of selection for staffing purposes
  • Policy on investigations, corrective action and revocation
  • Policy and procedures on the choice of appointment process and criteria for non-advertised internal and external processes

The first and third of these were updated in May 2007 following changes made by the central agencies. The CSA also developed restricted areas of selection as an appendix to its policy on areas of selection for staffing purposes.

Checklists

Checklists signed by the HR advisors are included in each staffing file, so that they can show that all of the documents required for decision have been enclosed. Peers who review staffing files also sign the checklists.

Actions requiring full implementation to respond to recommendation 3 of the PSC report:

Staffing Monitoring Framework

The Staffing Monitoring Framework was developed in November 2007. However, it has not yet been submitted to the Executive Committee for approval. Once approved and implemented, the framework will make it possible to determine the progress made in implementing the practices set out in the SMAF on the basis of the expected results, and to actively monitor areas at risk.

However, it will only be possible to evaluate the extent to which the results have been achieved in 2008-2009, once the framework has been approved by the Executive Committee.

Although the framework has not been approved by the Executive Committee, we were able to determine that some aspects of the framework were indeed being evaluated through:

  • an annual review of the HR delegated authorities matrix,
  • the annual update of the CSA's demographic profile,,
  • ongoing review of all merit criteria statements and evaluation tools by the HR Directorate and,
  • continuous monitoring of staffing activities at risk through the Staffing Monitoring Committee.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendations

  • Have the Staffing Monitoring Framework approved by the Executive Committee.
  • Implement the Staffing Monitoring Framework by measuring all of the indicators identified at the scheduled frequency.

Monitoring of Staffing Actions

We expected the CSA to have a report on staffing actions that met the needs of managers and was submitted to them far enough in advance to effectively manage staffing actions and minimize the response time related to the various steps in the staffing process.

One of the reports produced by one of the CSA's information systems is the detailed staffing action tracking report, which identifies each of the actions carried out in the course of a staffing process. The system can produce a summary report identifying at what stage the various staffing actions are with respect to the key decision points.

Our audit determined that a detailed or summary report of staffing actions was not being systematically prepared by advisors and sent to managers to enable them to adequately track staffing actions in their sector. Moreover, the managers told us that they would appreciate it if the HR advisors were more proactive, for example, by regularly sending them staffing action tracking reports for actions in progress, even if there are regular discussions about the staffing actions with them.

The preparation of a monthly report would, for example, also enable the Human Resources Directorate to provide appropriate monitoring of the whole staffing process at the CSA.

We believe that it would be useful for the Human Resources Directorate to produce a detailed report when asked by managers and a monthly report for the various staffing actions in each sector in order to identify the status of each of the staffing actions.

This would provide managers with information that could help them make decisions, detect any problems in the staffing process and monitor staffing activities efficiently.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Provide managers with the tools they need for staffing process decision-making.

Peer-review and Monitoring Mechanism

The CSA provides for peer-review audits of files handled by the human resources advisors. Our audit showed that there was no written procedure describing the scope of these audits or the file selection methodology for the audits. There was also no list of files that had undergone an audit. The only evidence in the file showing that there has been a peer review audit is the signature under the "Review Committee" heading at the bottom of the checklist.

The 2007-2008 mid-year operational plan report by the Human Resources Directorate states that approximately 15% of files underwent a peer-review audit (the annual target is 50% of files).

As no list of files that have undergone a peer-review audit is available and as we did not audit 100% of the staffing files, we are unable to determine the precise percentage of files that were subject to a peer-review audit.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Establish the methodology for identifying files selected for peer-review audit, describe the scope of the audit carried out and maintain a list of files that have been audited.

Review of Staffing Activities in Relation to Plans

The PLN 3 indicator in the SMAF says that: "Staffing is consistent with HR planning while variances can be explained". Still according to the SMAF, the performance measures for this indicator are:

  • "Extent to which actual staffing actions correspond to planned staffing strategies"
  • "Documented rationale that explains variances from the plan".

For this indicator, the CSA needs a tracking system that would allow it to determine the extent to which staffing transactions match those planned in the HR business plans and provide a rationale to explain any variances.

Our review showed that for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 years, the CSA did not produce any reports specifically concerning progress made in terms of HR activities as they relate to the HR business plans produced by each service line.

We nevertheless determined that a status report on HR activities for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 years had been submitted to members of the Executive Committee on April 11, 2007 and May 13, 2008 respectively. This report lists accomplishments in terms of HR activities (staffing, deployments, reclassifications) for the priorities identified by management, as well as additional actions.

For completeness, this report should also make comparisons with the HR business plans prepared by each of the service lines at the beginning of the year and provide a rationale for any variances from the plans.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

In order to implement the PLN 3 indicator of the SMAF, introduce a tracking system that can determine the extent to which staffing operations match those that have been planned and provide a rationale for any variances from the plans, in order to able to actively monitor areas at risk.

Information Systems

The PSC monitors appointments within the public service using the Appointment Information System, which calculates the number of appointments made. Data on the selection of appointment processes (advertised or non-advertised) are gathered by the staffing, planning and human resources development manager on the basis of information provided by the human resources advisors from the staffing action tracking system. The data is then sent to the PSC in the standard quarterly reporting format.

However, the HR advisors also enter the same data into another system, the TIPS system database. The HR planning and projects advisor is the person in charge of generating various HR reports. The system is currently used to generate all statistics for the CSA demographic profile.

We compared the information from this system to the reports sent quarterly to the PSC. We were unable to reconcile the two reports. The differences may be partly the result of the fact that there is a time difference between when the data are entered into the PSC system and into TIPS, or they may be specific problems resulting from the data extraction process.

In fact, the HR planning and projects advisor told us about a known problem in data extraction from the TIPS system: when an employee has left, the data for this employee is no longer extracted for queries concerning staffing statistics, which distorts the statistics.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

The CSA should use only one system to extract statistics and it should make sure that the information from the system is accurate.

Conclusion

The establishment of the Staffing Monitoring Committee is an important asset for ensuring that staffing activities can be monitored.

On the other hand, several actions for which the implementation began during the past year need to be completed to ensure that the action plan proceeds on schedule.

2.4 PSC Recommendation 4

The President of the Canadian Space Agency must take action to ensure that every staffing decision respects the merit principle and staffing values. The President must review the Agency's staffing practices to ensure that they are based on proper assessment methods and rating tools.

The Canadian Space Agency's Response

  • In 2006, all Agency managers attended a two-day training course "Staffing for Managers Under the PSEA". It will be supplemented with HR management training in the near future.

  • Training in values and ethics will continue through the Agency-wide Values and Ethics Program.

  • Moreover, the human resources advisors have all passed the validation exam set by the PSC under the new PSEA and will enhance their skills and abiliities through continuous training.

  • For 2006-2007, the Agency is working with PSC experts in their review of rating tools and evaluation methods for each process. The case-by-case discussions will enable managers and human resources advisors to become more skilled in the development of assessment tools and evaluation methods.

  • From this, the Human Resources Directorate will build an index of best practices in rating and evaluation for distribution to all managers.

  • The monitoring system for staffing activities will ensure that the merit principle and the staffing values are respected.

The following actions were implemented to address this recommendation:

Staffing File Documentation

As mentioned above, checklists signed by the human resources advisors are placed in each of the staffing files. These lists enable the human resources advisors to demonstrate that all the documents needed for decision making have been placed in the file.

Our review of 34 staffing processes (26 non-advertised and 8 advertised) done using the checklists provided by the PSC, showed that generally speaking, the staffing files contained all relevant documentation for decision making.

Furthermore, of the 34 appointments audited, 33 were not called into question with respect to the merit principle.

More specifically:

  • All files were properly documented in terms of the choice of appointment process and the rationale for the decision was clearly stated.
  • The merit criteria statements and definitions had been approved by the PSC.
  • The evaluation tools had been approved by the PSC.
  • Except for two instances, the evaluation method had been approved by the PSC.
  • In all of the files, when priority persons were submitted, they were evaluated before offering the position to another applicant.
  • Except for one case, the files had a priority authorization number before an appointment was made.
  • The first and second notifications were published in a timely manner.
  • The letters of offer in all of the files reviewed contained all essential paragraphs and were signed by the appropriate subdelegated person.
  • Of the 34 staffing files reviewed, 29 were considered satisfactory and five unsatisfactory. The files rated unsatisfactory were so rated for the following reasons:
    • In one instance, the PSC priority authorization number was missing; however, a rationale was included in the staffing file.
    • 12-month acting appointment granted after the fact (retroactively) although the manager and employee had been informed that the employee was to return to that employee's substantive position, which did not happen.
    • Letter of offer written and signed after the end of the acting period and the advertisement of the right to complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST) was late.
    • Consecutive acting appointments totalling more than 12 months, and the case was not submitted to the Staffing Monitoring Committee; letter of offer was written and signed after the end of the acting period and no right of complaint to the PSST was published, when the consecutive acting appointments totalled more than four months.
    • Letter of offer issued after the end of the acting period, the advertisement of the right to complaint to the PSST was published almost at the end of the acting period and the evaluation of the candidate was done after the beginning of the acting period.

Section 4 of this audit report provides more details about the staffing files reviewed.

HR Training for Managers and Human Resources Advisors

Managers

All Agency managers attended a two-day training course "Staffing for Managers under the PSEA". In addition, all new managers are required to take this training. Over the past two years, several managers also took various types of non-compulsory training on various aspects of staffing and values and ethics.

Our discussions with many subdelegated managers showed that they very much appreciated the HR training provided to them. They said that with practice, they felt more confident and at ease throughout a staffing process.

Several subdelegated managers also mentioned that at the outset, having the merit criteria statement approved, along with the definitions and the rating tools, was a very useful form of training. Now, with the experience acquired thanks to the PSC, managers feel that they have the knowledge they need and that PSC action to have documents approved is no longer required.

Our audit and our discussions with HR advisors revealed that documents submitted to the PSC for approval in recent months were generally approved without any significant changes. The advice and guidance provided to managers by the HR advisors and the PSC advisors were very useful to managers in helping them acquire the knowledge they needed to exercise their duties as subdelegated managers with due diligence.

HR advisors

The current practice at the CSA requires all HR advisors to pass the PSC validation exams before acting as advisors to managers.

However, in the course of our audit, we found that one HR advisor had not passed the PSC validation examinations for the new PSEA, but had still been managing staffing processes and advising managers. Indeed, this advisor was responsible for three of the 34 files audited (an advertised interdepartmental competition, an acting appointment and an administrative measure to change the length of a term position to indeterminate after three years in the position).

In addition to expertise in the appointment framework under the new PSEA, as evidenced by the PSC validation exams, our discussions with each of the HR advisors showed that they had all taken various types of training related to their work over the past year.

Our review of information from the CSA Continuous Learning Monitoring System (CLMS) revealed that several advisors had taken the following courses:

  • Being strategic
  • Informal discussions and notifications
  • Acting appointments and letters of offer
  • Administration of priorities
  • Areas of selection
  • Workload
  • Statements of merit criteria
  • Integrated planning of human resources
  • Labour relations

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Ensure that all HR advisors have passed the PSC validation exams before they begin to exercise their duties with managers. In her letter of July 25, 2007, the President of the PSC reiterated the importance for managers to have access to an HR specialist whose expertise in staffing management has been validated by the PSC.

Monitoring System for Staffing Activities

As mentioned in section 2.3, the Staffing Monitoring Committee and the Staffing Monitoring Framework were some of the methods introduced in order to monitor staffing activities while ensuring that the merit principle and staffing values are observed.

Action to implement in order to fully respond to recommendation 4 of the PSC report:

Index of Best Practices in Staffing

The Human Resources Directorate committed itself to build an index of best practices in the field of rating and evaluation for distribution to all managers.

Our audit determined that there are examples of merit criteria statements, definitions and rating and evaluation tools, but that they are not compiled into a directory that is readily accessible to managers. On request, HR advisors send managers sample documents from this directory.

Such a directory would enable managers to act more independently while preparing the documents needed for every staffing process. It could be made available through the intranet as a "staffing toolbox for managers" or via the electronic records management system (Livelink).

Furthermore, we feel that the directory of best practices made available to managers should not be restricted to information about the rating and evaluation tools, as mentioned in the CSA response to the PSC recommendations. It could also contain an electronic version of the Human Resources Action Request form and the HR short-term planning tool, in addition to instructions that managers are required to follow in planning an appointment process, for each type of appointment (deployment, secondment, acting, term, indeterminate).

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Establish a directory of best practices in staffing and make it accessible directly by managers to help them prepare the required documentation related to staffing processes.

Conclusion

Our view is that management showed due diligence in implementing most of the action planned in response to recommendation 4 of the PSC report.

We also determined that staffing practices are based on proper assessment methods and rating tools.

2.5 PSC Recommendation 5

The President of the Canadian Space Agency must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of human resources managers and advisors, and must implement a continuous learning program for them.

The Canadian Space Agency's Response

  • A document on the sharing of roles and responsibilities between managers and human resources advisors is currently being prepared by the CSA.

  • The President recently defined the roles and responsibilities of the Agency subdelegated managers in the Subdelegation Instrument for authority in human resources staffing.

  • In addition, a mandatory program of continuous learning for all Agency managers has been put in place, which comprises many HR management courses.

  • The human resources advisors have all passed the validation exam set by the PSC under the new PSEA and will enhance their skills and abilities through continuous training so that they may provide the best advice possible on staffing options, risks and methods.

  • A development and continuous learning program for human resources advisors is being developed which will help them be more strategic and comprehensive in their approach. The program includes courses and coaching, as well as training offered by the Canada School of Public Service. This program will be submitted to the PSC for approval.

  • A senior human resources advisor has also been hired to provide coaching for the existing team to help in this regard.

The following actions were implemented to address this recommendation:

Roles and Responsibilities of Managers and HR Advisors

Roles and Responsibilities

The departmental document on delegated HR authorities reflects the staffing delegation conditions/restrictions imposed by the PSC. Schedule B of this document lists the responsibilities and conditions essential to the subdelegation of appointment authorities.

In addition, as mentioned in section 2.1 of this report, the CSA's Staffing Management Accountability Framework (SMAF) was approved by the Executive Committee on January 31, 2007. The SMAF sets out the roles and responsibilities of the PSC and the Agency. The staffing roles and responsibilities within the CSA are clearly defined and understood, and the persons concerned were informed in writing; the CSA also introduced a structure to identify the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders.

A document on the sharing of staffing roles and responsibilities, in connection with the staffing process, was also developed in June 2007. The CSA is continuing its efforts to clarify the roles and responsibilities of HR managers and advisors. A champion has been identified and a working committee on staffing roles and responsibilities, whose members include HR managers and advisors, was established in March 2007. A service agreement (still in the draft phase) was prepared by this working committee in April 2007. The agreement consists of approximately twenty service standards in terms of the time periods allowed for the various steps in the staffing process.

There is also a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the PSC Services Branch and the CSA. The purpose of this MOU is to confirm which services are being provided by the PSC Services Branch to the CSA under the conditions set out in Appendix A of the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument (ADAI) signed by the Acting President of the CSA in December 2005. In this document, the Quebec Region Resourcing Directorate and the Executive Resourcing Directorate agree to provide services for the various activities involved in the staffing process within specific timelines.

Staffing time

Although there was consensus in our interviews with the managers about the average time required to process staffing actions, which they clearly considered too lengthy, it was impossible for us to determine who was responsible for the delays or the reasons for them.

Indeed, our review showed that there was currently no control mechanism to compare the actual time required to the service standards set out in the MOU with the PSC and those stipulated in the service agreement described above.

With respect to the latter, as mentioned above, it consists of some twenty service standards for timelines. Even though the development of service standards may be a satisfactory control mechanism, we feel that it would be better to reduce the number of standards to ensure that the process is effective and efficient.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Establish a tracking system to measure the actual time required to complete staffing processes and to compare them to the service standards established internally and the service standards in the memorandum of understanding between the PSC and the CSA.

Continuous Learning Program for Managers

As mentioned in section 2.1, prior to the issuance of the PSC report, the Human Resources Directorate had, with the approval of the Executive Committee, introduced a Continuous learning program for managers that included HR training sessions.

This learning program, which was revised to reflect the new TBS policy on learning, includes courses on human resources management, staffing for subdelegated managers, and values and ethics.

According to the document entitled Continuous Learning Program for Managers, the CSA wishes to provide managers with the tools they need to effectively exercise their increased subdelegated staffing responsibilities within the framework of public service modernization.

Actions to implement in order to fully respond to recommendation 5 of the PSC report:

Continuous Learning Program for HR Advisors

A continuous learning program for HR advisors has still not been developed, but it remains a priority. The Human Resources Directorate is currently working on it and the program should be in place in 2008. In the meantime, several learning activities are being made available to HR advisors:

  • Access to all training available from the PSC (e.g.: SmartShops)

  • Attendance at training provided under the continuous learning program for managers

  • Opportunities for discussion of complex situations at weekly team meetings

  • Access to operational experts for support (Staffing and Systems Manager, Labour Relations Manager and Classification and Equity Manager)

  • Regular attendance at Regional Staffing Council and sharing of information with colleagues at weekly operational meetings

  • Access to letters sent to HR heads, with some discussed at weekly operational meetings.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Continue the development of a continuous learning program for HR advisors to ensure that they possess and maintain the skills required to be able to properly advise managers and ensure that there is an appropriate challenge function.

Needs for Stability of the Sectors

Some managers told us that they were concerned about the lack of stability among HR advisors. Some managers had to deal with different advisors over the past year. The managers mentioned that each new advisor assigned to their sector reviewed the active staffing files and on a regular basis, there was a review of the previous steps in the process that the manager believed had been completed already. This caused frustration to some managers.

Is is to be noted that even though the size of the PE group workforce has remained relatively stable, there has been a clear increase in internal mobility (promotions, deployments, secondments and leave) in recent years. Although staffing authorities are now delegated to the managers, they need to be able to rely on HR specialists who are thoroughly familiar with the needs of the sectors to which they are assigned if they are to provide the sound advice and support the managers need, particularly when managers are not experienced in staffing.

The Human Resources Orientation Committee had in fact suggested negotiating a service agreement for each staffing process to enable the HR advisors to determine the level of coaching needed according to the manager's experience, in order to make the staffing process more effective and to agree on a work plan with a timeline. A draft service agreement was submitted in April 2007, but it has thus far remained at the draft stage because consensus could not be reached in terms of responsibility sharing.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

The Agency should be attentive to the sectors' needs for stability when an HR advisor is to be assigned to a sector. This aspect is particularly important where managers lack experience in staffing.

Conclusion

Our view is that management has exercised due diligence in implementing most of the actions planned in response to recommendation 5 of the PSC report.

By pursuing the development of a continuous learning program for HR advisors and addressing the need for stability in the sectors in assigning HR advisors, the CSA is on the right track to fully implement its action plan to address this recommendation.

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3.0 Additional Challenges

3.1 Workload, Staffing Advisors (PE) and Waiting Time

In the 2007-2008 year, six PEs were assigned to staffing. The breakdown of time spent on staffing is as follows:

  • three worked 12 months
  • one worked two months (departure - leave)
  • one worked four months (departure -- deployment to another department) and
  • one worked nine months (departure - leave)

Our discussions with managers revealed that although they said they were satisfied with their relationships with the HR advisors and aware of the problems they faced because of the new PSEA, they felt that the impediments to the full implementation of HR plans were partly the result of the HR advisors' ability to provide appropriate, rapid and consistent advice and guidance.

The 2008-2009 CSA staffing plan calls for a total of 172 staffing actions, broken down as follows:

Period Number of Staffing Actions
1st Quarter 65
2nd Quarter 39
3rd Quarter 31
4th Quarter 6
Quarter not Identified 31
Total 172

We are puzzled by the expected number of staffing actions, which is 172 for 2008-2009, given the number of HR advisors and the fact that over the past two years, the average annual number of appointments was 78. Furthermore, the same limitations that have applied for the past two years are still present in terms of the CSA ADAI and the control measures imposed by the PSC.

The 172 appointments to be made in 2008-2009 underscore the amount of work required in connection with staffing actions, which will have a direct impact on CSA operations.

Furthermore, for the first time since the establishment of the CSA, the workforce declined in 2006-2007. This reflects the many employee departures in 2006-2007 (36) and in 2007-2008 (54), combined with a lower level of hirings in 2006-2007 (31) and 2007-2008 (50) (see table in section 1.5 of this report). This is the first time since 2001 that the CSA has had more employees leave than it has hired.

Another factor affecting the slow processing of staffing actions is classification. The 2007 reorganization contributed to the creation, elimination and conversion of several positions in a variety of occupational groups. This meant that work descriptions had to be revised. In our audit, we obtained a list of work descriptions that showed that up to January 31, 2008, 408 of the 746 positions authorized on the list needed to be reviewed to comply with the departmental procedure requiring that work descriptions be reviewed every three or five years.

A staffing action can only begin when one has the assurance that the work description represents the actual situation in terms of establishing statements of merit criteria that relate to the work description, which is a managerial responsibility. The CSA also has 26 different classification groups and the head of classification told us that he had a heavy workload and that there could well be delays.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendations

  • Analyse the workload, i.e. the number of staffing actions scheduled for this year (172) and the number of HR advisors currently available (4) in order to determine whether it is feasible.

  • Introduce measures to manage the workload in the short and long term in order to be able to fill vacant positions within a reasonable time period.

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3.2 Succession Planning and Development

The 2007-2010 integrated corporate human resources plan outlines succession needs in certain key groups, such as the Executive group (63% of EXs will be leaving within five years).

Furthermore, following an internal CSA environmental scan, which may be found in the 2006-2007 demographic profile and organizational overview, four strategies were adopted in the 2007-2010 integrated corporate HR plan. Some activities related to two of these strategies specifically addressed succession development. These activities are the following:

  • Develop succession for positions in the corporate sectors by introducing development programs for the key employment groups (PE and FI)

  • Develop succession for engineer positions

    • Create entry level ENG positions
    • Use student bridging mechanisms
    • Encourage the hiring of students in the target groups to meet our employment equity objectives
    • Elaborate a skills development program for engineer positions
  • Implement the management succession program for executives at the EX-01 and EX-02 level in the corporate and scientific areas.

In the course of our audit, we observed some sound planning and recruitment initiatives for specific groups, such as collective staffing for the EN ENG, AS, FI and CR groups.

Furthermore, besides the existing initiatives like collective staffing and the management succession initiative, no detailed action plan describing specific actions has been developed in connection with implementing succession development.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Elaborate an action plan that includes, among other things, cost estimates and timelines for succession planning and development for the various target groups.

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4.0 Results of the Review of Staffing Transactions Conducted Under the New PSEA

Our review of 34 staffing processes (26 non-advertised and 8 advertised) was done using the checklists provided by the PSC. These lists contained the same review criteria that the PSC used in their 2005 audit.

Our review shows that generally speaking, staffing files contained all documentation needed for decision-making.

Furthermore, of the 34 appointments audited, 33 were not called into question with respect to the merit principle. Information about the 34th appointment will be provided later in this report.

On the other hand, our review of the files determined that five were "unsatisfactory". The reasons why the five files were described as unsatisfactory were given in section 2.4. The following table identifies the population from which we drew our sample as well as the rating we assigned to each of the files - either satisfactory or unsatisfactory - by type of staffing process.

Table 5 - File Review Results

Type of staffing process Population Sample S(1) U(1)
Collective staffing 12 3 2 1
Advertised process - open competition 13 2 2 -
Advertised process - closed competition 1 - - -
Advertised process - interdepartmental 8 3 3 -
Non-advertised process 10 10 10 -
Acting appointments 26 6 2 4
Change of tenure from term to indeterminate 5 5 5 -
Appointments to positions classified at a higher level 6 3 3 -
Renewal of specified period appointments 32 (2) - - -
Total appointments under the PSEA 113 32 27 5
Deployments 43 2 2 -
Total HR transactions 156 34 29 5
Note 1: S = Satisfactory      U = Unsatisfactory

Note 2: No transactions were selected from this category because we noted that these processes had been conducted under the old PSEA.

More specifically, here are our findings:

  • All files were properly documented in terms of the choice of an appointment process and the rationale for the decision was clearly stated.
  • The merit criteria statements and definitions had been approved by the PSC.
  • The evaluation tools had been approved by the PSC.
  • Except for two instances, the evaluation method had been approved by the PSC.
  • In all of the files, when the priority persons were submitted, they were assessed before offering the position to another applicant.
  • Except for one case, the files had a priority authorization number before an appointment was made.
  • The first and second notifications were published in a timely manner.
  • The letters of offer in all of the files reviewed contained all essential paragraphs and were signed by the appropriate subdelegated person.

We nevertheless found shortcomings that management should give special attention to:

4.1 Retroactive Acting Appointment

The following case is one of the four considered "unsatisfactory" in the acting appointments category.

On July 18, 2007, a person was given a retroactive acting appointment covering the period from August 18, 2006 to August 17, 2007. This appointment was needed to avoid aggrieving an employee who held the position during this period at the manager's request.

The manager was advised by e-mail by the Human Resources Directorate that the employee should return to his original position effective August 18, 2006. Further to this e-mail, the manager concerned confirmed to the Human Resources Directorate that the employee had effectively returned to his original position.

It was only in July 2007 that the CSA realized that the employee was still in the position in an acting basis. The CSA decided to authorize this acting appointment retroactively to avoid penalizing the employee who had held the position for almost a year. The CSA felt that if it refused to pay the employee, he could file a grievance and win. That is why the CSA agreed to proceed with this retroactive appointment.

No disciplinary action was taken by the CSA against the manager concerned.

4.2 Three-year Administrative Measure

From April 1, 2006 to November 30, 2007, the CSA made use of a non-advertised process five times to give term employees an indeterminate appointment for a cumulative period of three years without a break in service longer than 60 consecutive calendar days.

We reviewed the five files in which the CSA used this administrative measure to regularize the status of employees, which represents approximately 20% of the Agency's term employees in 2007-2008. This method of staffing increases the risk related to a lack in the appearance of impartiality, transparency and access to jobs in the public service. The situation also shows that better planning of staffing transactions could have prevented the need to use such a process.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Better planning of staffing actions would prevent the need to use the three-year administrative measure and hence promote a higher level of impartiality and transparency.

4.3 Advertisement of the Right to Complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal

The advertisement of the right to complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST) should normally be published before the date of the candidate's appointment. In special circumstances, the advertisement may be published within a few days following the appointment.

However, if the advertisement of the right to complaint to the PSST is published during the appointment period or towards the end of this period, even though the situation does not violate the merit principle, it demonstrates a lack of transparency and accessibility, because people entitled to complain are not aware of the appointment and can therefore not exercise their right to complaint.

We determined that of the six acting appointments of more than four months that were audited, four had shortcomings in connection with respect to the advertisement of the right to complaint to the PSST.

Indeed, in two cases, the advertisement was published virtually at the end of the appointment period, and in one, the advertisement was published after half of the period had gone by, and in another, no advertisement was published.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

In all instances in which acting appointments of more than four months are made, the Agency must ensure that it publishes the advertisement of the right to complaint to the PSST prior to the start of the period covered by the appointment. Under special circumstances in which it is impossible to publish the advertisement prior to the start of the appointment period, a note should be placed on file providing a rationale for the publication delay.

4.4 Signing of Staffing Process Documents

Documents pertaining to a staffing process must be signed by the subdelegated manager before the appointment is made in order to ensure that the correct versions of the various documents are used in the staffing process. These documents are the merit criteria statement, the definitions, the work description and the assessment tools.

In fact, the PSC Guide to Implementing the Assessment Policy mentions that before making an appointment, all the essential qualifications established must have been assessed.

In addition, in all cases, a letter of offer should have been sent by the subdelegated manager and accepted by the employee before assuming the duties.

Our audit determined that some documents had not been signed at the right time. The following cases were identified:

  • Statement of merit criteria signed on November 21 when the letter of offer was issued on November 2, 2007.

  • Rating guide signed by a member of the board after the letter of offer was issued (a reasonable rationale was supplied to us concerning the late signing).

  • Letter of offer issued one day after the end of the acting period and candidate assessment signed after the start date for assuming the duties.

  • Letter of offer issued and accepted after the end of the acting period and candidate assessment signed in January 2008, following the end of the acting period, while the effective service date was in March 2007.

  • Letter of offer issued and accepted following the end of the acting period.

  • Candidate assessment signed after the effective service date because it was added to the staffing file after our audit. In addition, the assessment is not dated.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Ensure that all documents are signed and dated before issuing a letter of offer.

4.5 Files Subject to the Approval of the Staffing Monitoring Committee

Following the initial review of our sample, we identified one case in which a person was appointed as a result of a non-advertised process for consecutive periods totalling more than 12 months without the case being referred to the Staffing Monitoring Committee for approval as provided for in the CSA Policy on the Choice of Appointment Process and Criteria for Non-advertised Internal and External processes. In fact, article 2.60 mentions that special cases not covered in articles 2.41 to 2.51 of the policy should be approved by the Staffing Monitoring Committee.

Following this initial finding, we broadened our sample to include all acting appointments, whether cumulative or not of more than 12 months within the audit period to determine whether the cases had been submitted to the Staffing Monitoring Committee as required by the policy.

We identified two more cases in which acting appointments of more than 12 months were made without approval of the Staffing Monitoring Committee.

We were told that two of the cases identified had not gone to the Staffing Monitoring Committee for approval because they were from the President's sector and the he had delegated authority.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Have the Staffing Monitoring Committee approve or recommend all special cases of non-advertised internal processes that are not covered by articles 2.41 to 2.51 of the CSA Policy on the Choice of Appointment Process and Criteria for Non-advertised Internal and External processes.

4.6 Statement of Impartiality

The certificate signed by members of the selection board constitutes the statement of impartiality. It must apply to all assessments. This requirement gives board members or the manager the opportunity to think about the impartiality of the appointment that they are about to make. The signed statement of impartiality must be placed in the file and constitutes an indicator that the appointment was made objectively and that no personal favouritism was involved.

Our audit showed that in eight of the 34 files reviewed, the certification signed by selection board members was not in the file, for the following types of appointment process:

  • Acting appointments: 4
  • Non-advertised process appointments: 2
  • Appointments to positions classified at a higher level: 2

The important thing is to demonstrate that the person performing the assessment is not in a conflict of interest. When the statement of impartiality is not in the file, managers expose themselves to allegations of unfairness and lack of transparency.

When the only thing missing from a file was the statement of impartiality, we still considered the file "satisfactory".

In connection with this finding, and with a view to reducing the amount of work involved in the staffing process, we suggested to the staffing, HR planning and development manager that she consider using another form of impartiality statement. For example, a statement of impartiality could be included at the bottom of the assessment document and board members could sign and date this statement instead of signing a separate certificate as it is currently done. The important thing is to retain written evidence on file of the statement of impartiality.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

Ensure that selection board members' statement of impartiality is kept in the staffing file.

4.7 Proof of Canadian Citizenship

Under section 39.(1)(c) of the new PSEA, for an advertised external appointment process, Canadian citizens, within the meaning of the Citizenship Act, are to be appointed before other candidates where a person who is not a Canadian citizen is also a candidate.

We found that none of the files reviewed contained proof of Canadian citizenship.

Proof of Canadian citizenship for candidates outside the public service appointed as a result of an advertised external appointment process are kept in the employee file held by the Human Resources Directorate and not in the staffing file.

Copies of proof of Canadian citizenship in the files reviewed for which the appointment of candidates from outside the public service were made were submitted to us as supporting documentation for the purpose of our audit.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation

In order to provide a satisfactory audit trail, keep, in the staffing file, a proof of Canadian citizenship for the appointment of candidates from outside the public service.

4.8 Student Hiring Strategy

A strategy concerning the use of student programs was developed in June 2006 and approved by the PSC on July 14, 2006. The purpose of the strategy is to encourage young scientists and engineers to specialize in the space field and to stimulate the interest of young Canadians in science, engineering and technology through space.

Initiation of hiring process

We reviewed five student hiring files. We found that for four of the five files, the hiring process, which is initiated using the Request for referrals, had not been signed by the person with subdelegated staffing authority as provided for in the CSA Delegation of Human Resources Authorities. On the other hand, the letters of offer were signed by people with appropriate delegated authority. Initiating student hiring processes without the authorization of the subdelegated manager could lead to unnecessary effort.

Our discussions confirmed that, both in the past and currently, it was not the practice to require the authorization of the subdelegated manager to initiate such a process. The student hiring program head said she was satisfied that such a practice would assure compliance with the CSA HR delegated authorities matrix in providing students with an internship.

Impact of student programs

At the moment, the CSA hires more than 150 students per year through student programs, but it has no mechanism to measure the benefits it gains from these programs.

We expected to find a "management framework" that would justify the student programs in relation to the program activities identified in the CSA Program Activity Architecture (PAA) and that it would demonstrate their contribution to the PAA.

The document Strategy and Approach on the Use of Student Programs that we examined did not give any specific information about the objectives pursued and the expected results from hiring students.

Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendations

  • Ensure that the Request for referrals used to initiate the student hiring process is signed by the manager with subdelegated staffing authority before initiating the process.

  • Identify the expected results from the student programs, develop a performance measurement framework (expected results and indicators) and implement mechanisms to measure the extent to which the results are achieved.

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Appendix A - Audit Objectives and Criteria

The objectives of this audit were to:

  • evaluate the extent to which the recommendations from the PSC May 2006 audit report have been implemented, and

  • determine whether the management framework for staffing activities and transactions are consistent with the new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), and with the policies, regulations and orders of the PSC .

More specifically, the objectives were the following:

Objective #1 Ensure that there is an appropriate staffing activities management framework in place.

Criterion 1.1 The CSA exercises leadership in human resources (staffing) management that provides clear direction based on the organization's current and future needs.
Criterion 1.2 An effective accountability structure in the area of HR management (staffing) is in place and all managers report (to the President).
Criterion 1.3 Human resources planning incorporated into the Agency's overall business plan and taken into account in staffing transactions is in place.
Criterion 1.4 Tracking and monitoring staffing mechanisms, designed to determine whether staffing activities are producing the desired results, are in place.
Criterion 1.5 Mechanisms to provide continuous learning in staffing for managers and human resources advisors are in place.
Criterion 1.6 An official subdelegation instrument communicated to stakeholders, which clearly defines staffing roles and responsibilities, is in effect.
Criterion 1.7 The Agency has satisfactory, accurate and readily accessible data for human resources planning and management.

Objective #2 Ensure that staffing activities and transactions comply with the new PSEA, PSC policies, regulations and orders.

Criterion 2.1 Appointments are consistent with human resources planning and deviations from the staffing plan are monitored and provided with a rationale.
Criterion 2.2 The accountability structure is in place and staffing delegated authorities are observed.
Criterion 2.3 Staffing files contain all documents required for decision-making.


Overview of Staffing Transactions
From April 1, 2006 to November 30, 2007

Type of staffing process April 1, 2006
to March 31,
2007
April 1 to
November
30, 2007
Total
number of
transactions
***Collective staffing - 12 12
Advertised process - open competition 4 9 13
Advertised process - closed competition - 1 1
Advertised process - interdepartmental 3 5 8
Non-advertised process 1 9 10
Acting appointments 20 6 26
Change of tenure from term to indeterminate 3 2 5
Appointments to positions classified at a higher level 5 1 6
Renewal of specified period appointments 25 7 32
Total appointments under the PSEA 61 52 113
Deployments 22 21 43
Total HR transactions 83 73 156
Source: Reports extracted from the TIPS system

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Appendix B - Management Action Plan

Ref. Recommendation Identified Responsibility Action Plan Details Timeline
  Organization Function    
2.0 Follow-up to the PSC Audit Report
2.1 PSC Recommendation 1
No Audit and Evaluation Directorate Recommendation
2.2 PSC Recommendation 2
Demographic Profile of the CSA and its Service Lines
Ensure that sectorial profiles are communicated to managers early enough in the preparation cycle of the integrated HR and business planning document to enable them to make use of additional information. Human Resources Directorate Planning, learning and projects Update sector profiles and communicate them to managers and HR advisors.. In January of each year
HR Planning Coordination and Priority Setting
Provide better coordination of the IHRP process, particularly by establishing instructions for the preparation and updating of IHRP documents and by following up on those that are to be produced by the sectors. Human Resources Directorate Planning, learning and projects Give clear instructions on the production and updating of IHRP documents by the following means:

- Executive Committee agenda item
- Commitment by executives in their performance agreements
- Call letter sent by HRD

Follow-up on documents to be produced:

- Deadline in the call letter, with a reminder if necessary

An Intersectoral IHRP Committee, made up of management planning co-ordinators from the various CSA sectors and representatives of Planning and Performance, Financial Planning, and HRD, was set up in December 2007. The Committee's main responsibilities are to ensure better integration of the HR planning process into CSA's operational and financial planning and to closely monitor the activities called for under Integrated HR Planning.
Once a year

January to March













4 meetings/ year
Strategic HR Management Plan
The CSA should establish a strategic plan that includes long-term objectives and how to achieve them, and that would make it possible to implement the Canadian Space Strategy, and then develop a strategic HR management plan accordingly. President

Human Resources Directorate
Planning and Performance Directorate in collaboration with HR Directorate CSA's strategic plan will be tabled this fall.

The integrated corporate HR plan will be updated in line with CSA's strategic plan.
Dec. 2008


March 2009
2.3 PSC Recommendation 3
Staffing Monitoring Framework
- Have the Staffing Monitoring Framework approved by the Executive Committee.

- Implement the Staffing Monitoring Framework by measuring all of the indicators identified at the scheduled frequency.
President

Human Resources Directorate
Staffing and Systems The framework was approved by the Executive Committee on June 17, 2008.

An action plan is under development and will include, for each indicator, the persons responsible and the deadlines.
Completed



Dec. 2008
Monitoring of Staffing Actions
Provide managers with the tools they need for staffing process decision-making. Human Resources Directorate HR Operations Provide monthly reports to managers on follow-up of staffing actions, for example: assignments, acting appointments, term positions etc, in support of decision-making.

Part of the monitoring framework activities.
Sept. 2008
Peer-review and Monitoring Mechanism
Establish the methodology for identifying files selected for peer-review audit, describe the scope of the audit carried out and maintain a list of files that have been audited. Human Resources Directorate Staffing and Systems Develop peer review methodology and communicate it to HR advisors. Oct. 2008
Review of Staffing Activities in Relation to Plans
In order to implement the PLN 3 indicator of the SMAF, introduce a tracking system that can determine the extent to which staffing operations match those that have been planned and provide a rationale for any variances from the plans, in order to able to actively monitor areas at risk. Human Resources Directorate HR Operations

and

Subdelegated managers - staffing
For two years, an annual review of staffing actions carried out has been done by HR management and communicated to EC members.

Since July 2008, HR action plans have been available to managers and HR specialists in electronic form to enable them to better monitor planned vs completed activities.

Unplanned activities are justified by subdelegated managers and recorded in the staffing file using the short-term planning tool.

Draw up an annual report on planned vs completed staffing actions and submit it to the Executive Committee so that it can monitor sectors at risk (is part of the monitoring framework activities).
Completed




















April 2009
Information Systems
The CSA should use only one system to extract statistics and it should make sure that the information from the system is accurate. Human Resources Directorate Use TIPS for retrieval of all HR statistics. Sept.2008
2.4 PSC Recommendation 4
HR Training for Managers and Human Resources Advisors
Ensure that all HR advisors have passed the PSC validation exams before they begin to exercise their duties with managers. In her letter of July 25, 2007, the President of the PSC reiterated the importance for managers to have access to an HR specialist whose expertise in staffing management has been validated by the PSC. Human Resources Directorate HR Operations Presently, all human resources advisors providing staffing services have passed the Appointment Framework Knowledge Test (AFKT). Completed
Index of Best Practices in Staffing
Establish a directory of best practices in staffing and make it accessible directly by managers to help them prepare the required documentation related to staffing processes Human Resources Directorate HR Operations Creation (in Livelink) of a "staffing toolbox" folder that can be directly accessed by CSA managers. Fall 2008
2.5 PSC Recommendation 5
Roles and Responsibilities of Managers and HR Advisors
Establish a tracking system to measure the actual time required to complete staffing processes and to compare them to the service standards established internally and the service standards in the memorandum of understanding between the PSC and the CSA. Human Resources Directorate HR Operations Complete the "service agreement" document for all internal and external appointment processes to specify the responsibilities and deadlines that will be shared between the manager and the HR advisor

A new module in TIPS (developed by Transport Canada) is expected by February 2009, to be called Staffing Action Tracking System. By means of this module, draft plans can be drawn up for staffing processes, clarifying the share-out of responsibilities between the manager and HR advisor as well as deadlines. This system will make it easier to track staffing processes and report production for management and the central agencies.
Sept. 2008








April 2009
Continuous Learning Program for HR Advisors
Continue the development of a continuous learning program for HR advisors to ensure that they possess and maintain the skills required to be able to properly advise managers and ensure that there is an appropriate challenge function. Human Resources Directorate Staffing and Systemss The continuous learning program is under development and will be approved by PSC. Fall 2008
Needs for Stability of the Sectors
The Agency should be attentive to the sectors' needs for stability when an HR advisor is to be assigned to a sector. This aspect is particularly important where managers lack experience in staffing. Human Resources Directorate HR Operations HRD is attentive to this and is already taking it into account in the organization of work. Advisor/sector changes are limited to those strictly necessary, i.e., upon an advisor's departure or another's arrival.

Of note, there is a shortage of PEs in the region. Job opportunities are so numerous that the movement rate among PEs at CSA was on the order of 27.3% in 2007-08, whereas the rate for all CSA personnel was 8.9%.

HRD is factoring this issue into its strategies for resourcing and retention of competent, motivated personnel.
Completed
3.0 Additional Challenges
3.1 Workload, Staffing Advisors (PE) and Wait Time
- Analyse the workload, i.e. the number of staffing actions scheduled for this year (172) and the number of HR advisors currently available (4) in order to determine whether it is feasible.

- Introduce measures to manage the workload in the short and long term in order to be able to fill vacant positions within a reasonable time period.
President

Human Resources Directorate
Analyse HR action plans provided by the sectors, discuss priorities with managers and agree on a more realistic plan.

Add indeterminate and temporary resources to HRD to fill positions within a reasonable time.

- Business case approved by the President in June 2008

- Addition of temporary resources (6 to 12 months) to provide more support to managers in drafting work descriptions, developing statements of merit criteria and assessment tools (one project manager, one staffing specialist PE and two to four private consultants)

- Addition of indeterminate resources to the HR operations team (three PEs and one assistant). Post processes on Publiservice..
July 2008













Fall 08










Fall 08
3.2 Succession Planning and Development
Elaborate an action plan that includes, among other things, cost estimates and timelines for succession planning and development for the various target groups. President

Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
A detailed action plan will be developed by subdelegated managers, in co-operation with HRD, to develop a succession pool for the priority groups: PE, FI and PG. Dec. 2008
4.0 Results of the Review of Staffing Activities and Transactions Conducted Under the New PSEA
4.2 Three-year Administrative Measure
Better planning of staffing actions would prevent the need to use the three-year administrative measure and hence promote a higher level of impartiality and transparency. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations HRD will make a report twice a year (April and October) on long-term term employees (more than two years of continuous employment) Oct. 2008
April 2009
4.3 Advertisement of the Right to Complaint to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal
In all instances in which acting appointments of more than four months are made, the Agency must ensure that it publishes the advertisement of the right to complaint to the PSST prior to the start of the period covered by the appointment. Under special circumstances in which it is impossible to publish the advertisement prior to the start of the appointment period, a note should be placed on file providing a rationale for the publication delay. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations A reminder will be sent to managers two months before the scheduled end of the acting appointment in order to get the necessary documentation ready in advance and publish the advertisement ot the right to complaint, if any, in a timely manner, in particular when it is decided to extend the acting appointment beyond four months.

Upon receipt of this reminder, the manager may decide to terminate the appointment and create a new acting assignment or to extend the acting period beyond four months, in which case he or she will have sufficient lead time to prepare the necessary documentation.

In exceptional cases, an explanatory note will be put on file.
Sept. 2008
4.4 Signing of Staffing Process Documents
Ensure that all documents are signed and dated before issuing a letter of offer. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations Three of the six cases raised in the audit report relate to acting situations. Implementation of the measures called for in the previous item (4.3) should allow this documentation shortcoming to be remedied.

In other cases, a special attention will be paid to this by the resourcing assistants and during peer review.
Sept. 2008








Ongoing
4.5 Files Subject to the Approval of the Staffing Monitoring Committee
Have the Staffing Monitoring Committee approve or recommend all special cases of non-advertised internal processes that are not covered by articles 2.41 to 2.51 of the CSA Policy on the Choice of Appointment Process and Criteria for Non-advertised Internal and External processes. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations The terms of reference of the Staffing Monitoring Committee have been clarified with HR advisors.

A criterion was recently added to the Policy on the Choice of Appointment Process and Criteria for Non-advertised Internal and External Processes (in process of approval by the President) and will subsequently be explained to HR advisors and assistants.

Any revisions to the Policy on the Choice of Appointment Process and Criteria for Non-advertised Internal and External Processes are explained to HR advisors and assistants.

Ensure that new HR advisors familiarize themselves with corporate policies.





Fall 08










Ongoing







Ongoing
4.6 Statement of Impartiality
Ensure that selection board members' statement of impartiality is kept in the staffing file. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations Control sheets have been changed accordingly. An item on selection board members' statement of impartiality has been added to the file checklists for acting appointments of more than four months. Completed
4.7 Proof of Canadian Citizenship
In order to provide a satisfactory audit trail, keep, in the staffing file, a proof of Canadian citizenship for the appointment of candidates from outside the public service. Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
HR Operations The item "Proof of Canadian citizenship" has been added to the control sheet for advertised and non-advertised external processes. Completed
4.8 Student Hiring Strategy
- Ensure that the Request for referrals used to initiate the student hiring process is signed by the manager with subdelegated staffing authority before initiating the process.

- Identify the expected results from the student programs, develop a performance measurement framework (expected results and indicators) and implement mechanisms to measure the extent to which the results are achieved.
Subdelegated managers - staffing

Human Resources Directorate
Modify CSA's HR delegated authorities instrument to empower all managers to offer internships to students and so initiate the hiring process using the Request for Referrals.

Update the strategy on the use of student programs by including the objectives pursued, the expected results of hiring students, and the mechanisms to measure the extent to which the results are achieved.
Sept. 2008







April 2009