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About the Canada School of Public Service

The Canada School of Public Service, created on April 1, 2004, provides career-long learning for all public service employees to help them acquire the knowledge and develop the skills and abilities needed to be high-performing and innovative and to serve Canadians and Canada with excellence.

The School is situated within the Treasury Board portfolio to contribute to the achievement of management priorities across the public service. We support the transformation and modernization of public administration by advancing the development of shared values, culture change and innovation.

In 2014–15, the School delivered training to more than 212,000 registered learners across the country—a 63 percent increase over the past two years. Of those, over 169,000 registered for online courses, representing an increase of 149 percent over the past two years.

We are like a "corporate university" for the public service, with our headquarters in the National Capital Region and campuses across the country. We orient employees when they first enter the public service and provide training at key stages throughout their career—from taking on administrative specialities such as finance and human resources to becoming supervisors and managers and developing as executives. Departments continue to be responsible for mandate-specific training (e.g. law enforcement and regulatory compliance).

The School ensures that new public servants are provided with the fundamentals in terms of values and ethics, accountabilities and how government works—so that they understand what it means to be a public servant and how to do it well. The School helps advance government priorities by ensuring that public servants are equipped to meet the challenges faced by the government. The School can provide a pan-governmental vehicle for effecting change.

"If your rate of learning isn't as great as the rate of change [in the world], you are going to fall behind."
David Garvin, Professor, Harvard Business School, The Importance of Learning in Organizations

Transformation to an enterprise approach to learning

Global forces are compelling the transformation of large institutions around the world. These include an increasingly networked and interconnected globe; a need to maximize results for the resources used; technological advances; demographic shifts; and citizens' rising expectations for better and faster services tailored to their needs. The public service needs to be flexible and agile in order to anticipate and respond to the evolving needs of Canadians.

The School is therefore transforming itself to be able to meet the needs of a 21st century public service; one that is engaged, tech-savvy, mobile, open and connected.

Learning is fundamental to this transformation. Public servants need "just-in-time" learning opportunities, as well as support for continuous learning from leading experts and practitioners. Our learning model and delivery methods are changing to provide a range of learning opportunities free of charge to all public servants throughout their careers. Our offerings are accessible in both official languages where and when public servants need it from coast to coast.

The transformation is being achieved by moving from a fee-based model to a fully funded approach, drawing on a per capita reallocation from departments. Enterprise-wide, we are shifting to an approach that supports performance and talent management. The School is moving from traditional classroom-based training to greater and better use of modern technology. The full suite of tools includes eSchool, virtual classrooms, events, a speakers' series, webcasts and more.

The new approach to learning is intended to

  • ensure learning opportunities are accessible to all public servants;
  • align core training more closely with management priorities;
  • support departments in creating stronger links between talent/performance management and learning;
  • help ensure all managers and executives have essential management and leadership skills; and
  • support collaboration and partnership between learning institutions to leverage joint or complementary learning initiatives.

We are currently in year two of a three-year transformation plan. And even as the School undergoes this transformation, we continue to run full operations. When the transformation is complete, all public servants will have access—at no individual cost—to core learning and leadership development. As we launch new learning products, we test them and improve them. In this way, the full suite of learning products will be refined over time to be dynamic—responding to changing priorities, needs and perspectives. They will also be enriched as blogs, videos and chat sessions are added to the eSchool platform.

A move in the right direction

The School successfully delivered on its first year implementation commitments: a revamped Public Service Orientation as well as a new Manager Development Program. In 2014–15, there were more than 10,000 registered participants for Public Service Orientation and more than 1,200 registered participants for the Manager Development Program. In addition, more than 40,000 participants registered for security and emergency management training.

Most notably, we introduced a new online learning application, which incorporates learning products, blogs, videos and collaborative spaces for all public servants to access anytime, from anywhere. We delivered events featuring leading and innovative thinkers and practitioners from within the public service, as well as industry and academia.

"Organizations with strong learning cultures invest more in their learning and development and are realizing greater returns for their investment."
Learning and Development Outlook 2014, The Conference Board of Canada

Through 2015–16, the School has released and continues to release many new products and courses, including curricula for language maintenance, change and innovation, and executive development. We are revitalizing a specialized development curriculum for a range of administrative functions (i.e. functional communitiesFootnote1 ), such as human resources and finance, for release in the final quarter of 2016–17. We are also beginning the development of a new partnership strategy to help frame collaborative initiatives with academia, think tanks, the private sector and intergovernmental networks such as the Institute of Public Administration of Canada.

Public servants are responding well to the transformation. There is growth in registration and particularly in the use of online learning. Student course evaluations remain strong. We have also begun to see operational efficiencies and lower operating costs. As we shift in 2016–17 from cost recovery to a fully appropriated model, we will also be streamlining [INFORMATION WAS SEVERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT].

The Canada School of Public Service has developed a performance measurement framework to ensure that the School delivers value for money. A full evaluation will be conducted to assess the new business and funding model, including third party validation.

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