2012-2013 Part III - Departmental Performance Report (DPR) - Privy Council Office

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Additional Details on PCO's Performance and Achievements in 2012–13
Sub-Program 1.1.1: Issues, policies, machinery and appointments

Support for Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP)

Given the fragile nature of the global economic recovery in 2012–13, the Government’s top priorities were clear: continue to support the emerging economic recovery for jobs and growth while pursuing targeted measures to support long-term prosperity. PCO assisted the Government with these imperatives, and with other priority areas throughout the year, by providing timely, professional, non-partisan advice and support.

Throughout the year, PCO regularly advised the Prime Minister on key social and economic developments, as well as on the government-wide implementation of measures announced in EAP 2012. This provided a source of timely information for decision making, as well as an ongoing confirmation that the Government was on track to meet its objectives.

One of the Government’s key objectives during the year was to return to budgetary balance by fiscal year 2015–16. PCO provided advice and support to the Prime Minister on responsible expenditure management and restraining overall government-wide spending levels to reach this objective. This included monitoring implementation of EAP 2012 savings measures, coordinating communications efforts related to workforce reductions across the federal government and providing fiscal advice on proposals for Cabinet consideration. EAP 2013 indicates that the Government is on track to return to balanced budgets by 2015–16, with a forecasted surplus of roughly $800 million in that year.

PCO continued to provide government-wide coordination of communications around the EAP, including the ongoing development and maintenance of the Government’s official EAP website.1 The website provides Canadians with a single window for information on the benefits and services available to them under the EAP.

PCO also provided targeted advice and assistance throughout the year to support the government-wide implementation of numerous priorities announced under EAP 2012, such as: support for entrepreneurs, innovators and world-class research; responsible resource development; and investments in training, infrastructure and opportunity.

Examples of How PCO Supported Various Priorities Under EAP 2012

In order to support entrepreneurs and innovators, PCO provided advice and support on promoting partnerships and collaborations, including funding internships and connecting private sector innovators to procurement opportunities in the federal government.

To foster Responsible Resource Development2 (RRD), including developing Canada’s resources in a way that protects the environment, PCO advised the Prime Minister on: the implementation of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012; and measures towards the creation of a world-class tanker safety regime requiring that large oil tankers be double-hulled and tugboats be used to escort larger vessels in key waterways. In addition, the EAP website hosts the RRD web presence to communicate with Canadians on the Government’s approach to resource development.

To support investments in training, infrastructure and opportunity, thereby laying the foundation for long-term growth and a highly skilled workforce, PCO provided advice and support on: the transformation of labour market support mechanisms for Canadians to better meet employer demands; and the reform of the employment insurance system to promote quicker returns to work by connecting Canadians with available jobs.

To expand opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to fully participate in the economy, PCO provided advice and support on: investments in training for on-reserve income assistance recipients; the launch of consultations on the development of a First Nation Education Act; and ongoing efforts for the timely resolution of comprehensive land claim and self-government agreements. The department also provided advice and support for the January 11, 2013, working meeting between the Government and First Nations leaders, which focused on treaty relationships and economic development.

To promote innovation, growth and increased profitability in Canada’s traditional industries, PCO provided advice on: measures to support the transformation of the forestry sector to higher value-added activities and its expansion into new export markets; and supported the successful negotiation of Growing Forward 23 with provinces and territories.

PCO also worked throughout the year to provide analysis, advice and support to the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers on the spectrum of initiatives and measures that made up EAP 2013. Targeted advice was provided on priority areas that included: connecting Canadians with available jobs; helping manufacturers and businesses succeed in the global economy; creating a new Building Canada plan; investing in world-class research and innovation; and supporting families and communities.

Examples of How PCO Supported Various Priorities Under EAP 2013

In order to connect Canadians with available jobs, PCO provided advice and support to the Prime Minister and portfolio ministers on the creation of the Canada Job Grant.4 The Grant will be used to directly connect skills training with employers and jobs for Canadians. It will be introduced by negotiating renewal of the $500-million-per-year Labour Market Agreements with the provinces and territories in 2014–15.

To help manufacturers and businesses succeed in the global economy, PCO provided advice and support on a variety of measures to lower taxes and tariffs, ease unnecessary regulatory burdens, and improve conditions for new and growing businesses. For instance, PCO advised on tax relief measures5 through the extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for new investments in machinery and equipment in the manufacturing and processing sector. This measure is expected to provide the sector with $1.4 billion of support over four years for retooling that will enhance competitiveness and economic growth.

In order to support Canada’s infrastructure advantage, a key enabler of economic growth and job creation, PCO provided advice on and support for the creation of the new Building Canada plan.6 New investments made through the plan will help build roads, bridges, subways, commuter rail and other public infrastructure in cooperation with provinces, territories and municipalities. The plan will provide over $53 billion in investments, including $47 billion in new funding over 10 years starting in 2014–15. These investments will be focused on projects that promote productivity and economic growth, and will be designed to capitalize on innovative approaches, such as public-private partnerships (P3s).

In order for Canada to continue generating highly skilled individuals and new ideas, PCO provided advice on numerous areas of investment in world-class research and innovation. PCO advised on the investment of: $225 million to support advanced research infrastructure through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; $165 million in multi-year support for genomics research through Genome Canada; and $60 million in support of the Government’s Venture Capital Action Plan.7

In order to promote a high quality of life for all Canadians, PCO provided advice on investments to support hard-working families and communities. To elaborate, PCO provided advice on: enhancing the Adoption Expense Tax Credit8 to better recognize the costs of adopting a child; $76 million in annual tariff relief on baby clothing and sports and athletic equipment9 to help reduce the gap between retail prices paid by consumers in Canada and those paid in the United States; and on the development of a comprehensive financial consumer code10 to bolster Canada’s world-class, stable financial sector.

Support for Other Domestic Priorities

PCO supported an entire range of additional domestic priority initiatives that are not explicitly tied to EAP. For instance, to foster greater openness and accountability in the federal government, PCO provided support leading to the development of Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government.11 The Action Plan is a blueprint for the future of open information-sharing as well as citizen and stakeholder engagement.

In order to cut red tape and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, PCO advised the Prime Minister on the development and implementation of the Red Tape Reduction Action Plan,12 announced in October 2012.

PCO provided advice and support on the commemoration of significant events in Canadian history, including the bicentennial of the War of 181213 and the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee,14 all of which build toward the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
PCO also continues to provide advice to the Prime Minister on matters relating to cyber security. Recognizing that Canadian society and the economy are underpinned by networked information systems, PCO worked with departments and agencies across government on how Canada could strengthen its cyber security posture. This included providing strategic policy advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet with respect to the implementation of Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy.15

Supporting the Prime Minister’s Responsibilities for the Organization of Government

In 2012–13, PCO assisted the Prime Minister by providing advice and support regarding the structure and organization of government. PCO advised on all machinery of government changes made throughout the year, including those announced as part of EAP 2013. Major changes included in EAP 2013 were the amalgamation of the Canadian International Development Agency with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as the transfer of key functions from the National Capital Commission to Canadian Heritage.

PCO also provided legal counsel to the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council on numerous policy and legislative proposals as well as high-profile litigation, such as litigation related to Aboriginal affairs, constitutional matters, class actions, and the Reference to the Supreme Court of Canada on Senate Reform.16

Supporting Governor-in-Council Appointments

PCO provided policy advice and operational support on Governor-in-Council appointments as well as established and administered policies and processes in support of the Governor-in-Council appointments system. This included managing publicly advertised, competency-based selection processes for leadership and full-time Governor-in-Council positions across the public sector (e.g., agents of Parliament, heads of agencies, and chief executive officers and chairs of Crown corporations).

In 2012–13, the department supported the Prime Minister and Cabinet in making 784 Governor-in-Council appointments, and managed and coordinated a total of 72 selection and recruitment processes at various stages of completion. This represents an increase from the 48 selection processes managed by PCO in the previous year. The difference is mainly attributed to the fact that no Governor-in-Council appointment processes can be undertaken or appointments made during a general election, as was the case in 2011-12.

Key selection and recruitment processes undertaken during the year included those for the Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Parliamentary Librarian, the Chief of the Defence Staff, and the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the newly established Social Security Tribunal.

Throughout the year, PCO administered compensation policies and services to support the Governor-in-Council appointment process and provided advice to Governor-in-Council appointees.

PCO also established, in collaboration with Public Works and Government Services Canada, a new procurement tool to serve as an effective and efficient contracting method to engage high-quality executive search services. This tool better supports recruitment and selection processes for Governor-in-Council positions.

PCO also fostered Governor-in-Council appointees’ understanding of their obligations and accountabilities in keeping with ethical and political guidelines and statutory conflict‑of‑interest requirements. The department provided this support directly to Governor-in-Council appointees, as well as on a broader basis through electronic means (e.g., Governor-in-Council appointments website and email communications with deputy heads).

Please Note: The above examples of PCO’s performance and achievements during the 2012‑13 fiscal year are meant to be read in conjunction with the department’s 2012‑13 Departmental Performance Report.

  1. Canada’s Economic Action Plan website, www.actionplan.gc.ca/
  2. Responsible Resource Development, www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/backgrounder/r2d-dr2/strengthening-environmental-protection
  3. Growing Forward 2 (GF2) is a policy framework for Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector. GF2 is a $3 billion dollar investment by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments and the foundation for government agricultural programs and services over the next five years. Additional information can be found at the following website: www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1294780620963&lang=eng
  4. Canada Job Grant website, www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/canada-job-grant
  5. Tax relief for new manufacturing machinery and equipment, as part of EAP 2013: www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/tax-relief-new-manufacturing-machinery-and
  6. The Building Canada plan is led by Infrastructure Canada and is focused on building a stronger, safer and better Canada through modern world-class public infrastructure. Additional information can be found at the following website: www.infrastructure.gc.ca/prog/bcp-pcc-eng.html.
  7. Venture Capital Action Plan, www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/venture-capital-action-plan-0
  8. Adoption Expense Tax Credit, www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/adoption-expense-tax-credit
  9. Tariff relief for Canadian consumers, as part of EAP 2013: www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/tariff-relief-canadian-consumers
  10. Comprehensive financial consumer code, as part of EAP 2013: www.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/comprehensive-financial-consumer-code
  11. Canada’s Action Plan on Open Government, www.data.gc.ca/eng/canadas-action-plan-open-government
  12. Between January and March 2011, the Red Tape Reduction Commission consulted with Canadians and received approximately 2,300 ideas about red tape irritants that get in the way of business productivity. The Recommendations Report of the Commission contains 15 systemic changes and 90 department-specific recommended solutions to eliminate or alleviate these irritants. Additional information can be found at the following website, www.reduceredtape.gc.ca/index-eng.asp
  13. The War of 1812, www.1812.gc.ca
  14. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, www.canadiancrown.gc.ca
  15. Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy, www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/cbr-scrt-strtgy/index-eng.aspx
  16. Reference to the Supreme Court of Canada on Senate Reform, www.democraticreform.gc.ca/eng/content/fact-sheet-reference-supreme-court-canada-senate-reform