Performance Management Program Guidelines - Heads of Agencies and other Governor in Council (GiC) Appointees
Senior Personnel Secretariat
Privy Council Office
Last Updated November 2016
The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the Performance Management Program as it applies to heads of agencies and other Governor in Council (GiC) appointees eligible for performance pay, other than deputy ministers and chief executive officers of Crown corporations.
1.1 Program Objectives
The objectives of the Performance Management Program are:
- to encourage excellent performance by setting clear objectives and rigorously evaluating the achievement of results;
- to recognize and reward strong performance and identify under-performance; and
- to provide a framework within which a consistent and equitable approach to performance management can be applied.
1.2 Compensation Plan
The Advisory Committee on Senior Level Retention and Compensation, composed of senior executives from the private and other public sectors, was established in 1997 to provide independent advice to the government on the compensation and overall human resources management matters for public service executives and GiC appointees.
In February 1998, the government accepted the recommendations contained in the First Report of the Advisory Committee. As a result, a new compensation plan for heads of agencies and other GiC appointees was introduced.
As per the Committee’s recommendation, cash compensation for senior personnel has two components - base salary and performance pay. Performance pay has two elements - a variable amount (at-risk pay) which must be re-earned each year and a bonus for performance that surpasses expectations. As in the private sector, it would be expected that most senior personnel would receive some at-risk pay.
An effective performance management program is integral to the success of this compensation plan.
This program applies only to the agencies listed in Annex A and to heads of mission appointed by the GiC from outside the Public Service (see below). Certain GiC appointees performing quasi-judicial or other functions where the receipt of performance pay could be seen as a conflict of interest are not eligible to participate in the program.
To be eligible for performance pay, incumbents appointed by the GiC must normally hold their positions for at least three (3) consecutive months in the performance cycle. This period allows the incumbent sufficient time to achieve measurable results. If the period covered by the performance evaluation is more than three months and less than 12 months (a full performance cycle), performance pay, if approved, may be prorated.
1.4 Heads of Mission
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Development (DFATD) is responsible for the administration of the performance management program for heads of mission appointed by the GiC, in accordance with program guidelines, and for making recommendations on performance ratings and awards to the GiC.
For heads of mission appointed after January 1st, 2008, if their personal level exceeds that of the position, performance pay will be limited to the classification of the position.
2.0 Program Overview
The diagram below summarizes the performance management program.
The performance management process varies from one GiC appointee to another, depending upon factors such as reporting relationships and the nature of the organization and portfolio. The details of the process to follow are provided to each head of agency by the Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Senior Personnel, Business Transformation and Renewal), Privy Council Office.
3.0 Performance Agreements
The performance agreement is a mutual understanding between the appointee and the appropriate authority as to what is expected for the performance cycle. This performance agreement is comprised of individual commitments, as well as the related performance measures:
- Policy and Program Results: These commitments reflect the organization’s priority areas of focus during the performance cycle, related to business plans. They are challenging but achievable with effort through the individual’s own influence and control. They must also be results-oriented and measurable or clearly demonstrable. Commitments must be such that the individual will personally make a significant contribution to their achievement. Individuals are expected to develop commitments based on their organization’s business plans.
Each commitment must be accompanied by related performance measures which are observations or data that determine and define if and how well the commitments are met. They will form the basis of reporting at the end of the performance cycle.
- Management Results: Individuals with responsibility and accountability for the management of an organization will also be measured on their progress implementing the management conditions described in the Management Accountability Framework (MAF). The organizational and management accountabilities set out in the MAF (Annex B) translate into generic commitments and serve as benchmarks for expected performance of GiC appointees. As such, there is no need for GiC appointees to include specific management results in their performance agreements, unless they wish to highlight a particular initiative.
- Leadership Results: These commitments reflect the expected demonstration of the Key Leadership Competencies which are required to successfully carry out the responsibilities of the position. The Key Leadership Competencies (Annex C) are generic commitments and serve as a benchmark for expected performance of GiC appointees. As such, there is no need for GiC appointees to include specific leadership results in their performance agreements, unless they wish to highlight a particular initiative.
- Corporate Results: This commitment reflects a current Government priority. It will be identified on an annual basis by the Clerk of the Privy Council and the results will be evaluated and rewarded based on the contribution of the individual toward the corporate commitment.
Details on the corporate priorities are posted annually on the Privy Council Office website.
3.1 Changes to Performance Agreements
Changes may be made to the performance agreement during the performance cycle, in consultation with the appropriate authority.
4.0 Performance Evaluation
4.1 Input on Performance Evaluation
At the end of the performance cycle, each GiC appointee completes a self-evaluation assessing achievements against the agreed upon commitments (if the organization has a board of directors, the evaluation is completed by the board). GiC appointees also complete an evaluation of any subordinate GiC appointees in their organization in the same manner. In the case of heads of agencies, a summary of achievements should also be completed in addition to the full (self) evaluation for consideration by a committee of deputy ministers with portfolio responsibilities.
Additional information is sought by the Privy Council Office, where appropriate, to supplement the (self) evaluations, including:
- the input of the appropriate authority (for officers of Parliament);
- the comments of central agencies including the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer reporting on results in relation to the MAF and, if appropriate, the annual corporate commitment;
- for heads of agencies, the input of a committee comprised of deputy ministers with portfolio responsibilities that will present the input of the responsible Minister (where applicable) and review performance to ensure consistency in the application of the program and provide advice to the GiC; and
- for heads of mission, the input of a committee of DFATD senior officials led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
4.2 Performance Ratings
Performance ratings depend not only on each individual’s own performance against their commitments, but also on the relative scope and complexity of the challenges they faced. Ratings will be based on results achieved, as well as on the manner in which they were achieved.
Overall performance against the individual commitments is evaluated with the following possible results:
- Did not Meet /Unable to Assess:
Did not achieve performance expectations or unable to assess the performance during the cycle (due to leave, training, special assignment).
- Succeeded –
Did not fully succeed in meeting performance expectations. Or, while succeeded, it was in a position with performance expectations of less scope and complexity in relation to those of other GiC appointee jobs.
Has fully achieved the performance expectations.
- Succeeded +
Exceeded the performance expectations. Or fully succeeded in a position of greater scope and complexity in relation to those of other GiC appointee jobs.
Has surpassed performance expectations.
4.3 Performance Awards
The Performance Management Program provides the opportunity to earn the following performance-based compensation:
- Economic Increase:
An economic increase can be recommended annually by the Advisory Committee on Senior Level Retention and Compensation, and if applicable, would reflect a percentage increase in base salary. Eligibility for this increase is normally dependent upon the successful achievement of commitments. An economic increase can also be awarded in cases where performance is unable to be assessed for reasons such as leave, training, etc. Normally, no economic increase is awarded for performance that does not achieve expectations.
- In-Range Salary Movement:
Movement through the salary range, up to the maximum of the range, is earned through the successful achievement of commitments. Normal progression for successful performance is 5% per year. Higher or lower percentages may be approved based on the degree of performance against expectations. No in-range salary increase is awarded for performance that does not achieve expectations.
- At-Risk Pay:
The lump sum payment is equivalent to a percentage of base salary and must be re-earned each year, based on the extent (and manner) to which commitments were successfully achieved. The amount of this lump sum may vary, depending on the degree of success achieved, as outlined under the section on Performance Ratings. This payment does not increase an individual’s base salary but is included in average salary for pension calculations. At-risk pay can be earned regardless of an individual’s position in the salary range; however, no at-risk pay is awarded for performance that does not achieve expectations.
This lump sum payment is in addition to at-risk pay and is based on the individual’s demonstrated performance that has surpassed expectations. Like at-risk pay, this payment does not increase an individual’s base salary but is included in average salary for pension calculations. Bonuses can be earned regardless of an individual’s position in the salary range.
In implementing in-range salary increases, at-risk pay and bonuses, the salary used as the base for calculations is that in effect on the last day of the performance cycle; that is, March 31st. Economic increases apply to the upcoming fiscal year and are based on the salary following application of any in-range salary increase.
4.4 Performance Award Percentages
The Privy Council Office annually issues information on the range of performance awards available, according to performance achieved and the individual’s classification. This information can be found on the Privy Council Office website.
5.0 Approval and Feedback Process
Compensation for heads of agencies and other GiC appointees is approved by the GiC. Copies of the Order in Council authorizing payment are provided to the individuals concerned for forwarding to their compensation office for implementation.
Emphasis is placed on developing and sharing constructive feedback, including any recommendations for strengthening performance. The appropriate authority will provide performance feedback to heads of agencies and other GiC appointees.
To ensure transparency and understanding of the program objectives and results, as well as alignment in the organization, individuals are encouraged to share their performance commitments with their organization.
January - March
April - June
July - September
Annex A - Agencies
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
- Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
- Canadian Forces
- Canadian High Arctic Research Station
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat
- Canadian Space Agency
- Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
- Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
- Governor General, Office of the Secretary
- House of Commons
- Library and Archives of Canada
- Library of Parliament
- National Battlefields Commission
- National Film Board
- National Research Council of Canada
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
- Office of the Canadian Secretary to the Queen
- Parks Canada Agency
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- Royal Military College of Canada
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
- Status of Women Canada, Office of the Coordinator
Annex B - Management Results - Generic Commitments
These commitments reflect the core organizational and management accountabilities, as described in the Management Accountability Framework.
Leadership and Strategic Direction
Articulates and embodies the vision, mandate and strategic priorities that guide the organization while supporting Ministers and Parliament in serving the public interest.
Results and Accountability
Uses performance results to ensure accountability and drive ongoing improvements and efficiencies to policies, programs, and services to Canadians.
Public Sector Values
Exemplifies the core values of the public sector by having respect for people and democracy, serving with integrity and demonstrating stewardship and excellence.
Continuous Learning and Innovation
Manages through continuous innovation and transformation, to promote organizational learning and improve performance.
Governance and Strategic Management
Maintains effective governance that integrates and aligns priorities, plans, accountabilities and risk management to ensure that internal management functions support and enable high performing policies, programs and services.
Optimizes the workforce and the work environment to enable high productivity and performance, effective use of human resources and increased employee engagement.
Financial and Asset Management
Provides an effective and sustainable financial management function founded on sound internal controls, timely and reliable reporting, and fairness and transparency in the management of assets and acquired services.
Safeguards and manages information and systems as a public trust and a strategic asset that supports effective decision-making and efficient operations to maximize value in the service of Canadians.
Management of Policy and Programs
Designs and manages policies and programs to ensure value for money in achieving results.
Management of Service Delivery
Delivers client-centred services while optimizing partnerships and technology to meet the needs of stakeholders.
*Individuals should consult the Management Accountability Framework, available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca, for a complete understanding of the MAF elements and performance objectives.
Annex C - Leadership Results - Generic Commitments
These commitments reflect the expected demonstration of the Key Leadership Competencies required to carry out successfully the responsibilities of the position.
Create Vision and Strategy
Leaders define the future and chart a path forward. They are adept at understanding and communicating context, factoring in the economic, social and political environment. Intellectually agile, they leverage their deep and broad knowledge, build on diverse ideas and perspectives and create consensus around compelling visions. Leaders balance organizational and government-wide priorities and improve outcomes for Canada and Canadians.
Leaders inspire and motivate the people they lead. They manage performance, provide constructive and respectful feedback to encourage and enable performance excellence. They lead by example, setting goals for themselves that are more demanding than those that they set for others.
Uphold Integrity and Respect
Leaders exemplify ethical practices, professionalism and personal integrity. They create respectful and trusting work environments where sound advice is valued. They encourage the expression of diverse opinions and perspectives, while fostering collegiality. Leaders are self-aware and seek out opportunities for personal growth.
Collaborate with Partners and Stakeholders
Leaders are deliberate and resourceful about seeking the widest possible spectrum of perspectives. They demonstrate openness and flexibility to forge consensus and improve outcomes. They bring a whole-of-government perspective to their interactions. In negotiating solutions, they are open to alternatives and skillful at managing expectations. Leaders share recognition with their teams and partners.
Promote Innovation and Guide Change
Leaders have the courage and resilience to challenge convention. They create an environment that supports bold thinking, experimentation and intelligent risk taking. They use setbacks as a valuable source of insight and learning. Leaders take change in their stride, aligning and adjusting milestones and targets to maintain forward momentum.
Leaders mobilize and manage resources to deliver on the priorities of the Government, improve outcomes and add value. They consider context, risks and business intelligence to support high-quality and timely decisions. They anticipate, plan, monitor progress and adjust as needed. Leaders take personal responsibility for their actions and outcomes of their decisions.
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