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Frequently asked questions about Public Service Orientation

1. What is the new Public Service Orientation?

A renewed Public Service Orientation is part of the School's commitment announced in Destination 2020 to help drive transformation and lay the foundations for a high-performing organization. The new Public Service Orientation is the first phase of this commitment and is available as of April 27, 2015. The new orientation is available online and covers a wide range of topics about public service values and the culture, role and structure of the public service as well as rules and policies that underpin the work of public servants. The one-day required classroom course Orientation to the Public Service (E131) was phased out in 2014. The non-mandatory half-day Orientation Workshops, however, will be offered nationwide.

2. What does the new Public Service Orientation include?

Within Public Service Orientation, new public servants will be directed to complete two required online courses: Values and Ethics and Who We Work For. Additional online courses that are strongly recommended (e.g. regarding security awareness, records management, occupational health and safety and performance management) are also available. Public servants can also access a broad range of other helpful online resources and tools throughout the orientation.

Public Service Orientation offers employees access to a diverse collection of resources to help them rapidly learn or refresh their knowledge on the fundamentals of the following topics:

  • Values and ethics
  • How government works (Westminster model)
  • Security
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Performance management
  • Information management
  • Access to information and privacy (ATIP)
  • Official languages
  • Finance
  • Blueprint 2020
  • Workplace wellbeing and employee benefits
  • Connecting to succeed (i.e. learning, networking, career management)

Resources include self-paced online courses, videos, online toolkits, government social networks and more. Learners will discover resources developed at the School, across government and by selected private-sector service providers.

3. How are the Orientation Workshops different from Public Service Orientation?

The Orientation Workshop is a half-day, in-person event offered to supplement the online content available through Public Service Orientation. These half-day events, which are not mandatory, allow new employees to

  • learn about public service operations, realities and possibilities, both in the National Capital Region and across Canada;
  • discuss and apply governmental priorities and policies;
  • establish a basic network and strengthen networking skills; and
  • listen to and interact with senior leaders to discover the range of career opportunities available and the advantages that make the public service an employer of choice.
4. What is different from the former program?

The new Public Service Orientation is available online and no longer includes the former program's one mandatory day of in-class training. With the new orientation, more online learning opportunities and resources are available to cover broader objectives linked to promoting public service values, instilling pride, setting expectations and supporting public service transformation. The new orientation brings together for the first time, in one place, all the fundamental training and information needed by new federal public servants.

5. Can we expect further changes to Public Service Orientation in the future?

Yes. The School is committed to offering the highest quality learning and work is ongoing to ensure that public servants have the best learning experience possible. The School will continue to consult with departments, policy centres, and horizontal communities, including federal councils, to ensure that the new Public Service Orientation is relevant and "evergreen." More online courses, activities, tools and resources could be added as a result of these consultations. All federal public servants are encouraged to provide their feedback.

6. What is the difference between Public Service Orientation and my department's orientation or training?

Public Service Orientation is part of a common curriculum that offers a shared foundation for employees across the government. Its content focuses on the "big picture"—the relationship between Parliament and the public service, how they operate and the common values and ethics shared by all public servants. You will learn how a typical department or agency is organized and how it functions in relation to Parliament and the central agencies of government. The orientation also strives to build awareness of where to locate information on the many aspects of the public service work environment, including other learning opportunities. Orientation sessions offered by a specific department or agency focus on its particular and mandate-specific functions.

7. Who can register for or access the new Public Service Orientation?

Although Public Service Orientation is essential for new federal public servants, it is accessible to all employees of the federal public service. However, each department's Mandatory Training Coordinator (RTC) is responsible for identifying the employees that must complete the two required online courses and for registering them for those courses.

8. Why do we need a new Public Service Orientation?

As part of the enterprise-wide commitment to learning described in Destination 2020, the School offers to new public servants a new online Public Service Orientation designed to instill pride in the work of the public service, understand our values and ethics and learn about what government does and how it works. Delivering this new orientation online will allow all federal public servants to access online learning, resources and tools wherever they work in the country and without incurring any travel costs.

9. When will the new Public Service Orientation be available?

The new Public Service Orientation is available as of April 27, 2015. The School will continue to consult with departments, policy centres and horizontal communities to ensure that the new Public Service Orientation is relevant and "evergreen." More online courses, activities, tools and resources could be added as a result of these consultations.

10. How do I register?

You don't need to register to access the new Public Service Orientation; it is available through the School's Web site. However, if you are a new public servant, you will have to be assigned to the Orientation Certification Path by your departmental Training Coordinator. New employees must complete the two required online courses in the certification path.

11. How much does it cost to register?

Public Service Orientation is offered at no charge to all federal public servants.

12. How do I access the new Public Service Orientation?

All federal public servants can access the new Public Service Orientation through the School's Web site.

13. Do I have to complete Public Service Orientation within a certain timeline?

The new Public Service Orientation is self-paced and can be accessed and referred to at any time. New federal public servants must complete the two required online courses within six months of their appointment to the public service.

14. Can I access Public Service Orientation from home or with a mobile device?

Yes, provided your home system or mobile device meets the minimum system requirements.

15. What is planned for public servants who don't have access to a computer or the internet?

If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, we recommend that you contact your department's Mandatory Training Coordinator (RTC) to discuss possible arrangements. The School will continue to work with organizations to identify solutions to possible online access issues.

16. Whom should I contact if I have questions on the new Public Service Orientation?

New employees should contact their organization’s Mandatory Training Coordinator (RTC) for more information. Other learners can contact the Client Contact Centre.

17. Whom should I contact if I have technical difficulties?

Please contact the School's Client Contact Centre.


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