MySchool News - May 2015

MySchool News – May 2015

MySchool News is your source for the latest news and information about upcoming courses, events and other learning activities offered by the School.


Public Service Orientation—a common foundation

Flexible, comprehensive, self-paced foundational learning is now available to public servants at every level—newcomers and seasoned employees alike—through the reimagined Public Service Orientation, one of the School's core offerings.

This grounding in the basics of public service and the functions of government—previously offered as a blended course with online and classroom components—is now available as a diverse, evolving and carefully curated collection of online courses, tools and resources.

All public servants can refer back to this resource centre at any stage of their careers. Instead of reserving a set date and time to attend a course at the beginning of their employment, learners can now explore a variety of learning opportunities at their own pace, anytime and from anywhere.

A common understanding of topics like how government works, values and ethics, performance management, workplace well-being and occupational health and safety becomes even more critical to employees as they gain experience and take on additional responsibilities. Public Service Orientation also provides a window to employment benefits, networking opportunities, government social media tools and learning opportunities.

In addition to material developed by the School, the orientation now assembles the "best of the best" among the insights, tools and resources offered within the public service, in the private sector and from academia.

Among the resources available are videos capturing past events on perennially relevant topics, online courses from the School (two of which are required training for new public servants) and from leading private-sector suppliers, guides and wikis from communities of practice and interactive tools from other public service organizations.

You can also take the opportunity to explore other resources available through the School's learning application, like this participant in a discussion on GCconnex:

Found this awesome list on the School's newly revamped Public Service Orientation course. Looks like a trip to the book store is on my horizon :)
–Darlene Marion    
All this and more is at your fingertips. All you need to get started are your MyAccount login credentials. Check it out today—and stay tuned for ongoing additions to an already wide-ranging collection!

Presenting the best in private-sector online learning

The School is committed to connecting public servants with the latest innovative thinking from the private and academic sectors as well as from within the public service itself. In keeping with that goal, the School is proud to augment its own extensive catalogue of online courses with a large collection of learning opportunities from a leading third-party service provider.

These engaging and interactive courses are designed by industry experts to accommodate a wide variety of individual learning styles and take advantage of the latest insights and technology.

125 courses are now available through the School's learning application, with more to be added throughout the year. Topics include leadership, management, communications, career development and more. All of these resources are presented at no charge, and once a learner has logged on to the platform using their MyAccount credentials, they can launch any course with a click of their mouse.

The learning application, which hosts both these courses and Public Service Orientation, is accessible anytime and from anywhere, allowing public servants at every level to make learning part of their schedules.

Take a moment to discover the new learning options available to you. Log in to the learning application to explore these new offerings!

Coming up: 2015 Manion Lecture

There's still time to register for this year's edition of the School's flagship event! The Manion Lecture—a long-time source of practical leadership insight for public service executives—is offered at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa this year for the first time at no charge, with a live nationwide webcast extending this prestigious learning opportunity to public servants across Canada.

The 2015 guest speaker is Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and former prime minister of New Zealand. Join us on May 26 for a rare chance to learn directly from a global leader about the possibilities and the challenges of the emerging development agenda.

With the Millennium Development Goals set to expire this year, governments, citizens and society all have a role to play in establishing a new and ambitious vision for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future. Ms. Clark will share her vast expertise and experience on this subject as a celebrated player on the world stage.

Come and learn how the international community is working to build a better world for everyone. Register now!

Another session showcasing innovation and forward thinking—this time from master's students from across Canada—is also coming up on May 27 as the conclusion of the second annual Blueprint 2020 Student Paper Competition on the Future of the Public Service. Join grand prize winners Joanne Zuk (University of Manitoba), Russell Ferguson, Patrick Obendoerfer and Anisa Vengjeli (Carleton University) to discuss their winning papers on lean leadership and post-secondary recruitment. Visit the School's Web site for details and to register.

Learn from experience. Learn from experts: Meet Gabriel Cormier

Gabriel Cormier

Gabriel Cormier has dedicated his entire 31-year public service career to the field of procurement and contracting. He started as a purchasing and supply (PG) trainee at National Defence, working his way up to the Director level in that department in 2009. In 2014, he became President of the Canadian Institute for Procurement and Materiel Management and joined the School as an instructor.

He facilitates courses in procurement and contracting for both specialists and non-specialists, who range from administrative assistants to project authorities and managers. The universality of the contracting process means that his audience represents a broad cross-section of the public service, from science to social programs.

Gabriel aims to equip his learners to handle the procurement challenges that remain constant across all these disciplines. The framework of regulations, requirements and constraints imposed by the Government of Canada—over and above the legal requirements for contracting—make for a lengthy and sometimes complex process.

With many players whose roles and accountabilities can shift from phase to phase, a common understanding of who is responsible for what becomes essential. "One piece of feedback I often get is 'my manager should be taking this course,'" says Gabriel, "which leads me to believe that maybe they don't adequately understand the procurement process."

When this understanding is lacking, it leads to unrealistic expectations and pressure to rush through the process. A well-planned procurement process ensures that the statement of work is well written and that the evaluation criteria and evaluation plan are robust, facilitating smooth communication and a better fit with the contractor selected. As Gabriel emphasizes, "the key word is planning!"

"It's true that we lack time at the planning phase," he says, "but if we put the effort in at the planning stage, procurement officers wouldn't need to take additional time to solve problems and issues with the contractor at the contract administration stage, leaving them free to process more files in the pipeline. It's either pay now or pay later."

The process, however, is more than the sum of its parts. Gabriel tries to instill in his learners a view of procurement not just as a series of transactions but as a governance process: one that reflects core public service values, such as transparency, fairness and objectivity, as well as advancing socio-economic objectives like supporting Aboriginal business and employment equity.

Proactive, well-planned, "smart" procurement as advocated by Public Works and Government Services Canada delivers improved results for public service clients, contributes to the success of suppliers, increases the credibility of the process and—most importantly—produces greater benefits for Canada and Canadians. "At the end of the day," Gabriel points out, "the main goal is the public interest."

Gabriel believes that his role at the School will be an important one in promoting this goal. "We're looking at a common understanding of subjects all departments need to understand," he concludes. "Procurement is going to be one of them."

In the regions

Visit What's happening at the School for information on upcoming courses and activities in your region.

Featured courses

Here is a selection of courses offered by the School. Visit the Courses and Programs section of our Web site for other courses to meet your specific learning needs.



Human Resources

Information Management

Information Technology Management

Online Courses


Featured events

The School has a host of activities scheduled over the coming months, including the following.

Please consult the School's complete list of upcoming events.

Good to know

National Public Service Week—"Proudly Serving Canadians"

For close to 25 years, National Public Service Week (NPSW) has been celebrated across government organizations and across the country. Taking place this year from June 14 to 20, NPSW recognizes the valuable support public servants provide to the Government of Canada and to Canadians and promotes pride in public service excellence.

Every year, teams of dedicated champions and volunteers coordinate NPSW events in cities nationwide. Keep an eye on your departmental intranet over the coming weeks to learn what's planned in your organization.

Recognizing that pride in employee engagement and innovation is a cornerstone of public service renewal and the Blueprint 2020 vision, the School also offers a special series of armchair discussions in celebration of public service excellence. These events provide an opportunity for public servants to learn from each other, share their achievements and gain insight into common challenges.

Coming up on June 4, the next session of Public Service Proud will set the tone for NPSW by telling the story of RETScreen, a clean energy management software that has helped its 435,000 users worldwide save more than $8 billion and has had a remarkable impact in the fight against climate change.

Whether by attending the School's event on June 4 or joining your colleagues at local events during NPSW, take time to celebrate your successes and get inspired to reach for even greater achievements in the year to come.

Past issues

The School's activities and initiatives



Training to introduce you to Phoenix, the Government of Canada's self-serve pay and benefits system.



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