The 2009 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada

2009 Outstanding Achievement Award Program Booklet

The Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service
of Canada
Rideau Hall

Presented by
Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
Governor General of Canada

The Government of Canada introduced The Outstanding Achievement Award in 1966. Considered to be the most prestigious award in the Public Service, this award is presented to senior public service employees who have distinguished themselves by a sustained commitment to excellence.

Recipients are selected by a committee of distinguished Canadians appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Selection Committee

  • Chairman - Mr. L. Denis Desautels,O.C., D.U., F.C.A., Ottawa, Ontario
  • Membres
    • Ms. Micheline Bouchard
      Montreal, Quebec
    • Mr. Gary Holden
      Calgary, Alberta
    • Ms. Kay Stanley
      Ottawa, Ontario
    • Ms. Barbara Stymiest
      Toronto, Ontario

The following biographical sketches outline the outstanding careers of this year's recipients.

Louise Branch

Service Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Photo: Louise BranchLouise Branch had a vision of an organization that put the citizen at the centre and nurtured its employees, and so was born an innovative organizational model that has radically changed the culture at Service Canada and attracted attention here and abroad.

Service Canada was launched in 2005 to implement a service strategy for more meaningful and responsive service to client communities. Its mandate is to work in collaboration with federal departments, other orders of government and community service providers to bring services and benefits together in a single service delivery network. This includes defining employee skills, behaviours and competencies necessary for service excellence—to lead to a career built around efficient and effective service delivery. The result would be an evolution of the work functions from performing program-specific transactions to delivering holistic,citizen-centred service.

Ms. Branch is an executive head of service management for Service Canada. She envisioned a workforce focused on service that would attract and retain employees and promote progression within the ranks of the Public Service of Canada. Her model of an organizational structure designed to get the best service delivery while supporting employees in their career paths is called the Service Management Structural Model.

Transforming her vision into reality took hard work, the capacity to listen, sure judgment, credibility and the ability to foster engagement and involvement. She garnered support from managers and employees at all levels of the organization. She went to extraordinary lengths to foster involvement, which was necessary because her vision required that management and staff let go of a historical framework for service delivery.

Implementation of her vision has transformed Service Canada, a typical large government organization focused on programs, into one whose culture and organization are based on service delivery to citizens. Changes in human resources management and training supported this new structure. Common competencies in delivering service were used to define jobs and career paths, and state-of-the-art training and certification based on these common competencies were developed. Employees who have gone above and beyond in service delivery are recognized. This innovation is making a real difference: human resources practices are efficient and transparent, and communications, coordination and accountability are clearer.

Ms. Branch's Service Management Structural Model is a best-in-class solution for providing service excellence. It has been identified as a best practice in the Report of the Expert Panel on Integrated Business and Human Resources Planning in the Federal Public Service and has attracted interest domestically and internationally. For example, the service excellence curriculum is currently being piloted in three provincial government jurisdictions, and the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are interested in exporting this innovative solution overseas.

Ms. Branch's vision did not develop in a vacuum. Her profound understanding of the importance of employees as the link between citizens and service developed through her experiences. After obtaining her BA at the Université de Moncton in 1972, she worked for several years in various operational and human resources positions in the private and public sectors. New Brunswickers know her for her tireless work and unswerving commitment to laying the foundation for a learning organization as a regional director and then Associate Director General, HRSDC New Brunswick Region. In 1998, she received the Head of the Public Service Award—Valuing and Supporting People for her effective leadership and promotion of learning organizations.

With a vision of excellence in service to citizens, innovation in achieving that vision, and leadership in transforming the vision into reality, Ms. Branch is truly an exemplary public service leader.

Dr. Jeffrey Farber

Health Canada

Photo: Jeffrey FarberBecause of Dr. Jeffrey Farber, Canada's food supply ranks among the safest in the world, and our international trade in agri-food commodities is thriving. His leadership and dedication have ensured that Canada contributes some of the best science available on the world stage.

Dr. Farber has spent his career focusing on the health and safety of Canadians. He arrived at Health Canada in 1982 for a post-doctoral fellowship after having obtained an MSc (applied) in Medical Microbiology and Immunology and a doctorate in Food Microbiology from McGill University. In 1983, he joined the Public Service of Canada as a research scientist with Health Canada's Bureau of Microbial Hazards, and in 2001, he became its Director.

Highly respected by his peers around the world as a passionate scientist, Dr. Farber's work has advanced basic and applied knowledge of food-borne pathogens. He is noted for developing innovative strategies and programs to protect and strengthen the health and safety of Canadian and global citizens, and he has had a direct impact on Canada's success in dealing with issues such as food-borne listeriosis and the microbial safety of powdered infant formula.

In fact, Dr. Farber was among the first to recognize the role of Listeria in human illness, and he was instrumental in developing and implementing the standard methodology for detecting Listeria in foods now used in Canada and many international jurisdictions. This methodology has contributed to the world-class reputation of the safety of Canada's food supply and to maintaining the credibility of Canada's food regulatory system.

As Director of Health Canada's Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Dr. Farber has developed and continues to foster a dynamic team of scientists that produces some of the most trusted research. Under his leadership, the Bureau has become recognized nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in scientific research, risk assessment, policy and food safety education. He has devoted considerable time to grooming the next generation of experts through continually supporting, inspiring and encouraging members of his team to venture into challenging areas, and through his work as an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa. He is regarded by many of his peers and mentees as a role model.

Dr. Farber is also noted for his efforts in bringing together lead scientific experts to contribute to the best science and research possible, and for reaching out to engage industry stakeholders to assist them in improving their systems. He also involves the public through initiatives such as the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education. Through his participation on World Health Organization expert panels and the international standard-setting body for foods, and as President of the International Association for Food Protection and a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods, Dr. Farber has had a significant influence on the standards for controlling food-borne pathogens around the world.

Dr. Farber has demonstrated the type of leadership, initiative, innovation and engagement that is essential in a global science research community. His world-class scientific expertise and unwavering passion for protecting the health of the public have contributed to maintaining the credibility and effectiveness of Canada's food regulatory system.

Jim Judd

Canadian Security Inteligence Service

Photo: Jim JuddA leader for tough times, Jim Judd is an icon of the contemporary public servant. A man of personal and professional integrity, he has a steadfast determination to always do the right thing. His sound judgment has contributed significantly to shaping the government's policy on major international issues and crises, and his ability to effect change has had a profound impact on the Public Service of Canada.

With a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Affairs, both from Carleton University, Mr. Judd entered the public service in 1973 as a Foreign Service Officer with the then Department of External Affairs. He spent several years in various positions related to his field of expertise in Canada and abroad before accepting a management position in 1981.

In the following years, Mr. Judd demonstrated vision and outstanding judgment as he faced some of the toughest leadership challenges in the federal government. From assignment to assignment, he was often called upon to revitalize departments in the midst or aftermath of difficult situations. At External Affairs, he became a central figure in creating and managing a corporate centre for the department when it was struggling to incorporate its new responsibilities for trade. He implemented a four-year renewal program for National Defence when it was still embroiled in controversy after the Somalia Affair.

At the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), Mr. Judd tackled the most fundamental governance and public management issues facing the government. His initiatives on corporate stewardship and results management, including the development of the Management Accountability Framework, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service and the Public Service Modernization Act, have contributed significantly to building a culture of performance and enhanced accountability in the government.

In the post-9/11 environment, Mr. Judd steered the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) through a very challenging period, bringing fundamental changes on many levels. He came to CSIS with a vision of a transformed organization that would provide advice not only on domestic security issues, but also on all key Government of Canada security and intelligence matters. Today, CSIS supports the government's efforts in Afghanistan, counters terrorist plots in our major cities, and supports a safe and secure Olympics in Vancouver.

In the face of enormous challenges, Mr. Judd has consistently shown equanimity. He played a key role during the Charlottetown negotiations and was a trusted foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister. His expertise in world affairs and security is sought by peers, colleagues, and international partners and experts.

In his efforts to manage situations and organizations, Mr. Judd was mindful that a manager should be concerned with the well-being and effectiveness of his employees. He was always supportive of younger people, and has mentored and given career advice to dozens of public servants, some of whom have now reached the most senior positions in the public service. At TBS, he worked tirelessly to build a public service workforce that would be more representative of the country it serves and a workplace that would attract and retain people of quality. At CSIS, he transformed the culture of the organization into one of openness and accountability, and implemented changes in recruitment, management, and training and compensation. As a result, CSIS was named as one of Canada's 100 best employers in 2008.

Mr. Judd has served his country with integrity, engagement and vision. Although he is now retired, his commitment, tenacity and devotion to duty inspire those who follow to do better in the service of Canada.

John Sims

Department of Justice Canada

Photo: John SimsAs a lawyer, a colleague and a public service manager, John Sims epitomizes the modern public servant. His remarkable ability to combine legal aptitude, a deep understanding of government policy and ethics, excellent judgment and skill in interpersonal relations has won him high accolades wherever he has worked.

Mr. Sims received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History and Economics and a Bachelor of Laws from Queen's University. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1973 and joined the Public Service of Canada in 1977 as legal counsel to Transport Canada.

As a lawyer, Mr. Sims has provided high-quality legal advice to ministers and the Government of Canada on some of the most complex and sensitive policy and operational priorities of the government, such as aviation safety, war crimes, labour relations and national security (including as the first head of legal services at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service). His advice has always reflected the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour and has been informed by the broader context and potential implications.

A hallmark of Mr. Sims' approach to law and public policy is his commitment to taking principled stands on issues of justice that serve to strengthen our social fabric. He has repeatedly made exceptional contributions to ensuring that the work of government conforms to the rule of law and legal ethics.

As a colleague, Mr. Sims is well-respected across the country and around the world. His collegial approach has helped to foster a relationship with his provincial and territorial counterparts that is less positional and more focused on achievable outcomes for the country. He has represented Canada at international conferences and events, at times on very contentious issues. He headed the Canadian delegation when the United Nations reviewed Canada's human rights record, and his open and constructive approach ensured that Canada's review served as a model for other countries and ultimately enhanced the credibility of the review process.

As Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Citizenship and Immigration, Mr. Sims played a key role in increasing public awareness and understanding of the Canadian war crimes program at a time when it was under tremendous strain.

As a manager, Mr. Sims is committed, engaged and innovative. He devotes considerable time and energy to creating productive and effective workplaces. He has championed change in his organization on a number of fronts: from alternative dispute resolution to increasing visible minority representation to knowledge transfer and management initiatives.

In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments, high standards of ethical and professional conduct, and excellence in leadership, the Canadian Bar Association has awarded Mr. Sims the John Tait Award of Excellence.

Nothing illustrates Mr. Sims' approach to managing and problem-solving more than his handling of the employment equity file at the Department of Justice Canada. When Mr. Sims' emphatic rejection of public accusations of racism produced a negative reaction in some quarters, he responded in typical fashion—he met with representatives of the visible minority and Aboriginal communities and encouraged an honest and open dialogue. He then took concrete action to ensure that the department's culture was truly inclusive, including the implementation of a national mentoring program, mandatory diversity training, and employment equity objectives in managers' performance agreements. As a result, representation of visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples in the senior ranks of the department's workforce has increased significantly.

The cumulative impact of Mr. Sims' contribution to Canada as an experienced and wise legal counsel over his 32-year career is immeasurable. He is a natural leader whose steady hand and principled approach exemplify the best of what the Public Service of Canada has to offer.

A special thank you to the following departments and agencies that participated in this year's Outstanding Achievement Award Program by submitting nominations:

  • Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Department of Justice Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • National Defence
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada