MySchool News: Summer 2018

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Innovation in security: staying ahead in an evolving environment

Government of Canada Security Summit 2018

Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, addresses participants at the Government of Canada Security Summit 2018.

Security specialists from across the public service gathered this May in Gatineau for a full two days of learning and discussion at the Government of Canada Security Summit. As Michael Wernick, Clerk of the Privy Council, emphasized in his keynote address, experts must stay nimble and innovative enough to keep up with constantly evolving threats to security.

While incorporating the latest technology is part of this equation, the Clerk pointed out, many of the attacks that have generated recent headlines are startlingly low-tech. Just like in other fields, innovation in security is about thinking around corners and anticipating the unexpected.

"Innovation is actually about humans," he explained. "It's about human minds, human psychology, human feelings, human motivations and aspirations. Innovation's about behaviour."

Accordingly, participants in the Summit attended sessions on a wide variety of topics within the security field, including information security, infrastructure, law enforcement, fraud, cyber security, digital identity, contract security and business continuity management. Their focus ranged from workplaces and systems in public service organizations to municipal projects and nationwide initiatives.

In addition to presentations and panel discussions, the Summit featured an immersive simulation activity as an introduction to emergency management and planning. A tabletop exercise invited participants to role-play an emergency scenario together, giving them a taste of how these often chaotic situations can unfold.

The Summit showcased innovative best practices from organizations like Shared Services Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Bank of Canada, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment of Canada. TransUnion offered data modelling insights from the private sector, while a representative from the University of Calgary shared lessons learned from a ransomware attack.

Also featured were examples from other countries: the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the UK Government Security Group both outlined their challenges and innovations. Their valuable perspectives emphasized the global scale and impact of the security field, as well as offering best practices that might be applied in Canada.

Through the Summit, security professionals came together to bridge organizations and disciplines, exchanging ideas and forging new connections to build an even stronger community and a culture of innovation across the public service. As the Clerk noted, these shared values are what drive progress.

Addressing security risks while welcoming people and allowing them to move, gather and celebrate freely and openly is "extra difficult," the Clerk noted, "but extra rewarding." Events like this equip the Government of Canada's security community for the task.

The School is proud to contribute its own support to the security community, offering learning opportunities on this topic through GCcampus. Take a moment to browse the products available—anytime and anywhere.

Important guidance on the path to reconciliation

Participants in the June 6  the Indigenous Learning Series

From left to right: Lucie Veilleux, Elder
Reta Gordon and Natalie Bourdeau-Legris

Elder Reta Gordon has been actively sharing her culture since 1993 as a founding member of the Métis Nation of Ontario. She has represented the Nation at hundreds of gatherings over the past 17 years, including the “Witnessing the Future” event that launched the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where she presented then-Governor General Michaëlle Jean with a Métis sash. Even in retirement, she continues to do the important work of raising awareness about Métis culture.

On June 6, 2018, Elder Gordon visited the School to teach and provide emotional support and guidance during the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, which presents the shared history of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

In this activity, described by those who have participated as deeply moving, blankets are laid out on the floor to represent Turtle Island (Canada). Participants are asked to stand on the blankets, which are then gradually taken away, symbolizing the dispossession of the land. While this is happening, a narrative is read to recall the practices, policies, and legislative framework of the Doctrine of Discovery, as well as other historical facts and events that have taken place in Canada since 1492.

The School offers this interactive learning experience to all public servants as part of its Indigenous Learning Series, which provides a way for public servants to strengthen their cultural competence and awareness of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada. The Blanket Exercise will be held across Canada over the coming months, and an Elder is present at every session. Check out the calendar on GCcampus for the next session in your area.

Keeping learning plans evergreen

Learning plans help to align professional development not just with career goals, but with the objectives of your organization. Reviewing and updating your learning plan isn't just an exercise for the beginning of the fiscal year—it's a year-round part of the performance management cycle. Keep learning on the agenda for discussions with your employees and help them scout for new and relevant opportunities.

GCcampus is home to a wealth of resources, tools and learning opportunities for every level. Check out what's on offer, both for your own learning plan and for those of your direct reports. GCcampus also includes a suite of resources on the performance management cycle itself, offering job aids, courses and videos to equip you for every step of the process.

The School's key transition programs offer a suite of development possibilities for newly promoted managers and executives. From supervisors to assistant deputy ministers, the School offers a program to welcome newcomers to every level.

Talent management programs also offer executives an opportunity to develop their promising employees. These programs, available only to candidates identified through the talent management process, prepare participants to thrive in their future roles.

Take the time to explore the possibilities and find the best fit—for example, by checking out our video overview of the learning opportunities available to help you manage talent and build leadership capacity within your organization. The School is proud to provide the resources you need throughout the year.

Risk management: braving uncertainty

In a constantly evolving environment where transformation and change are not only constant, but essential to success, uncertainty is everywhere—and therefore so is risk. Risk is often impossible to avoid; every project, initiative and decision comes with the possibility of a negative outcome. Managing risk is about facing that possibility, working it into your plans, using it to your advantage and ultimately overcoming it.

Even if risk is inevitable, it can be controlled or reduced, and its outcomes can be planned for or mitigated. Long in practice among senior managers and financial experts, risk management is becoming increasingly critical as an approach for all public service employees. The recent call for innovation at every level also means increasing demand for the ability to gauge risks and brave them intelligently.

From search and rescue workers to administrative assistants to research scientists to deputy ministers, all public servants can benefit from understanding a proactive, systematic way to identify, assess and plan for the risks inherent in their duties.

As part of its transformation curriculum, the School offers a variety of resources on risk management to orient employees, managers and executives to this global approach. Courses, videos and online resources are available through GCcampus for reference by public servants at all levels and in all disciplines. Learning about risk management is an important step towards the creative and inspired work that creates public service excellence.

MySchool News has previously offered an overview of the transformation curriculum providing more information on the aspects of transformation addressed by learning opportunities at the School. These "pillars" of transformation include change management, technology savviness and business process management. The last pillar, project management, will be covered in the next issue—stay tuned!

Video highlight

Watch video of Leadership Learning: the right training for the right talent

Watch video of Leadership Learning: the right training for the right talent

Title: Leadership Learning: the right training for the right talent
Length: 3:07
Date: April 17, 2018

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.

Explore GCcampus

Visit GCcampus to check out the latest online courses, programs, commercial products and other resources for employees, specialists, managers and supervisors and executives.

Good to know

Learn the craft of government from the experts

In delivering learning to the next generation of public service leaders, the School is proud to be able to count on the expertise of distinguished fellows. These long-time senior executives and former deputy ministers know better than anyone what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of the public service—and now, as facilitators and speakers, they're sharing what they've learned with their future successors in the School's Executive Leadership Development Programs.

Among these distinguished fellows is Andrew Treusch, who served as Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency from 2012 until his retirement in 2016.

Mr. Treusch has had a long and varied career in the Public Service of Canada, which began in 1984 when he joined the Department of Finance Canada. Since then, he has worked in positions of increasing responsibility at the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Environment Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Visit the School's website to explore a growing list of distinguished fellows.

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