2014-2015 Part III - Departmental Performance Report (DPR)

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Additional Details on PCO's Performance and Achievements in 2014-15
Sub-Program 1.1.1: Issues, policies, machinery and appointments

Advice and Support on Economic and Sustainable Development Priorities

PCO provided consistent, accurate and timely advice to the Prime Minister on key economic and sustainable development issues. Advice to the Prime Minister was provided notably in the lead- up to the 2014 Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections and Budget 2015, which culminated in various public policy announcements. PCO also provided advice to the Prime Minister on housing markets, oil prices, labour markets, innovation and productivity, and the manufacturing sector.

The Prime Minister received advice from PCO in 2014-15 on a wide range of budget measures.

To further support the Government’s jobs and growth efforts, PCO delivered strategic advice and support which facilitated the introduction of several new initiatives, including:  the Express Entry immigration selection system, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program reforms and the replacement of the Immigrant Investor Program with the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot project.

Support and advice was delivered on the Government’s efforts to balance the potential of Canada’s resource sectors, while strengthening safety and environmental protection. PCO facilitated the delivery of Parks Canada investments that supported the Government’s National Conservation Plan while also creating jobs, promoting visitor experience and supporting communities across Canada.

In addition, PCO supported the Government’s commitment to sustainable development in the North by helping ensure Canada’s continued provision of navigational warning and meteorological services to facilitate the safe management of marine traffic in the Arctic.

PCO provided advice and support on the development of the Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program, which was announced by the Government in November 2014. The program delivered on the commitment from the 2013 Speech from the Throne to “assist employers of reservists who are required to deploy on missions vital to the security of all Canadians.”

PCO continued to monitor the implementation of deficit reduction measures. This included advice and support on the sale and the right-sizing of official residences and chanceries. PCO also provided advice on all spending and taxation measures considered by the Prime Minister.

Advice and Support on Social Policy Priorities

PCO provided advice to support the Government’s social policy priorities and commitments. This included advice on such issues as enhancements to the New Veterans Charter, and the transfer of Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the Government of Quebec. In addition, advice and support related to Canada’s Veterans covered such issues as employment, mental health and homelessness.

PCO provided advice and support on the delivery of the Government’s key priorities for the health portfolio in 2014-15, including passing patient safety legislation (Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, known as Vanessa’s Law), consulting Canadian on improving nutritional information, increasing food safety, launching new initiatives to address prescription drug abuse, supporting new research on dementia and related illnesses, addressing emerging health threats, and implementing measures to curb illegal drug use.

PCO also provided advice and support to the Prime Minister on the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls.

PCO worked closely with departments and agencies to advance the Government’s measures to protect public safety, give victims a stronger voice in the criminal justice system, and strengthen offender accountability. This was achieved by providing a challenge function in the preparation of materials for Cabinet consideration.

PCO provided expert advice on high profile, complex and sensitive domestic issues including rail safety, changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, the 2014 Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections, family benefits package and consular cases.

Coordination of Government Communications

PCO managed issues to ensure effective communications planning and interdepartmental coordination to support domestic initiatives such as the Northern Tour, and the Prime Minister’s trips abroad.

PCO provided support, advice and guidance to ensure the continued advancement of the modernization of communications across the Government of Canada. This includes the complex and ongoing consolidation exercise of all departmental websites under a single site: Canada.ca. In addition, PCO developed a government-wide social media strategy and was instrumental in piloting a number of online products and approaches in support of efforts to promote government priorities and activities, notably:  the National Day of Honour; Canada’s 150th anniversary activities; maternal, newborn and child health; Budget 2015; and tax relief measures.

Modernization efforts demonstrated that Canadians are increasingly receiving and sharing information in digital formats using online and mobile technologies. Recognizing that to remain relevant, the Government of Canada had to accelerate its move to digital communications, PCO launched a one-year project in 2014-15 to facilitate a shift to digital formats. In 2014-15, PCO completed a literature review to inform the project scope, and engaged subject matter experts, laying the foundation for completing the transition to digital in 2015-16.

In May 2014, PCO supported and coordinated all communications around the National Day of Honour. Similar coordination and support was provided on communications for the Saving Every Woman, Every Child:  Within Arm’s Reach Summit, on maternal, newborn and child health, which Canada hosted in Toronto.

All departmental communication activities and products were reviewed and approved in a timely way to support the Government’s communications to Canadians, from developing and managing the consistent Government response to such national issues as federal infrastructure investments, to international issues such as efforts in the fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). PCO ensured a high standard of quality and accuracy in the drafting, review and final approval and fact check of all communications products on issues ranging from the Ebola outbreak and Canada’s response to the situation in Ukraine, to trade agreements.

In addition, PCO supported the Government’s agenda by assessing the effectiveness of Government of Canada communications through public environment and media analysis.

In 2014-15, approximately 750 communications products issued under the Prime Minister’s name were drafted and/or reviewed. Materials included news releases, backgrounders, statements and speeches.

Supporting the Organization and Administration of Government

PCO provided timely and high-quality advice to the Prime Minister on a range of issues that invoke his prerogative for machinery of government changes. In 2014-15, issues arose from policy proposals or stand-alone proposals of ministers. Examples of the type of files where advice was provided include: organizational design and governance roles (e.g., Canadian High Arctic Research Station; an amalgamation of federal bridge companies under a single parent Crown corporation); clarification of ministerial roles; and appropriate decision-making authorities.

PCO supported the Government’s response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on its review of the Conflict of Interest Act.

PCO also supported the Government with two Cabinet shuffles and two subsequent changes to the ranks of Parliamentary secretaries. In addition, PCO supported the development of ministerial mandate letters.

PCO successfully supported the transition of leaders at PCO during the last year by develoo8ing briefing and transition material for the appointments of a new Clerk and a new Deputy Clerk.

Support for Governor-in-Council Appointments

PCO coordinated and managed a total of 94 selection and recruitment processes at various stages of completion for Governor-in-Council appointments, while 599 Governor-in-Council appointments were completed in 2014-15. Some notable examples include the Chair and two vice-chairs of the new Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board; the Chief Administrator of the new Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada; the first Financial Literacy Leader; the Chair and the Master (CEO) of the Royal Canadian Mint; the President of the Canadian Commercial Corporation; the Chief Public Health Officer; the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission; the Chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada; the Chairperson of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal; the National Film Board of Canada’s Government Film Commissioner; the Superintendent of Financial Institutions; the Privacy Commissioner of Canada; the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner; the President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; the President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Chair of the National Research Council.

Legal Advice to the Government

Legal advice provided by PCO was timely, high-quality and strategic.

PCO delivered advice on a number of matters, including on high-profile cases before the Supreme Court of Canada and on key policy issues for the Government.

PCO provided legal advice to the Government on a wide range of statutes and regulations. PCO advice also supported the development of policy initiatives such as reforms to criminal law and electoral law.

Please Note: The above examples of PCO’s performance and achievements during the 2014-15 fiscal year are meant to be read in conjunction with the department’s 2014-15 Departmental Performance Report.