A city street, rapid motion is implied through lens flaring and blurring.

Title: Five-Year Human Resources Regime Review 2015-2020

Organization: Parks Canada Agency

Date: February 2022

Version: Final 1.4

Final Report

Table of contents

Key messages

  • Greater consistency would enhance the operationalization of the HR Regime.
  • Our review revealed a maturing HR Regime. Processes and systems are evolving to address past deficiencies and to meet the changing needs of the Agency and its employees.
  • This time of unprecedented change presents a unique opportunity for the Agency to reflect upon and revitalize its 20-year-old values and operating principles.

1. List of acronyms

Acronym  Description 
BIPOC Black, Indigenous and people of color
CVE Centre for Values and Ethics
EADI Equity, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion
EE Employment Equity
FUS Field Unit Superintendent
HR Human Resources
HRD Human Resources Directorate and Employee Wellness
ITPR Independent Third Party Review
OCOL Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
OL Official Languages
PCEO President & Chief Executive Officer
PCX Executive-level positions
PSES Public Service Employee Survey
PSPM Public Service Performance Management
RCGT Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting Inc.
TM Talent Management
VP Vice President
YESS Youth Employment Skills Strategy

2. Restrictions and limitations

Parks Canada Agency (Parks Canada, "the Agency") has engaged Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Consulting Inc. (RCGT) to perform the Five-Year Human Resources (HR) Regime Review.

This report was prepared for Parks Canada based on information and representations that were provided to us by Parks Canada personnel. It summarizes RCGT's assessment of whether the Agency's HR Regime is aligned with the values and operating principles that govern the management of HR and whether adjustments are required to drive consistency. This report is not to be used for any other purpose, and RCGT specifically disclaims any responsibility for losses or damages incurred through the use of this report for a purpose other than as described in this paragraph. It should not be reproduced in whole or in part without RCGT's expressed written permission.

This report, and the supporting work performed by RCGT, does not serve as an affirmation that operational processes and controls and/or technologies of Parks Canada are without defect and does not guarantee that such operational processes, controls, and/or technologies are immune from fraud, abuse, or misstatement. None of the work performed by RCGT or the contents of this report constitute any legal opinion or advice.

RCGT reserves the right, but will be under no obligation, to review and/or revise the contents of this report in light of information which becomes known to us after the delivery date of this report.


3. Executive summary

RCGT was contracted in March 2021 to conduct the fourth review of the Agency's HR Regime covering the period 2015-20. The review assessed whether the Agency's HR Regime is aligned with the values and operating principles that govern the management of HR and was further used to draw conclusions on whether adjustments are required to drive consistency.

The review was structured around eleven (11) themes covering a total of eighteen (18) criteria. Through the review, RCGT noted the following key findings:

  • Recent initiatives launched by the Human Resources and Employee Wellness Directorate (HRD) are having a positive impact on the HR Regime;
  • Need to further clarify HR roles and responsibilities to ensure accountability and compliance;
  • Awareness of the Agency's values and operating principles, flexibilities, and manager accountabilities could be improved; and
  • Opportune time to modernize the values and operating principles to improve clarity and relevance, including a comparative review of the values and operating principles and the Agency's Values and Ethics Code.

These findings resulted in the following four (4) recommendations:

  1. Revitalize values and operating principles and improve awareness;
  2. Document and communicate the Agency's flexibilities;
  3. Implement a compliance framework that includes monitoring and reporting of HR activities at all levels of the organization; and
  4. Clarify accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities of HR professionals to drive compliance and alignment with the HR framework and strategy.

4. Introduction

4.1 Background and context

Parks Canada Agency acts on behalf of the people of Canada, to protect and present Canada's natural and cultural heritage, while expanding public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment. Parks Canada wishes to ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of parks across the nation for present and future generations. 

The Agency oversees 47 National Parks and Park Reserves, 1 National Urban Park, 5 National Marine Conservation Areas, and 171 National Historic Sites of Canada. The Agency operates under a decentralized model comprising a National Office and multiple Field Units. 

The parks and sites are organized into 36 geographically based Field Units managed by 34 Field Unit Superintendents (FUS) who are accountable to seven (7) Executive Directors grouped by portfolios: Atlantic, Québec, Ontario and Waterways, Prairies and Northwestern Territories, Alberta, and British Columbia. The Executive Directors ultimately report to the Senior Vice-president of Operations. Operational human resources services (e.g. mainly staffing and general advice to support HR operations) are largely the responsibility of the FUS, although several specific services are provided by the National Office as well as functional oversight and guidance.

Parks Canada is highly decentralized in terms of its organizational structure. In addition to the corporate functions found in many other federal departments or agencies, the Agency employs individuals in various fields of work such as ecosystem specialists, archaeologists, lock operators, interpreters, asset managers, community managers, wardens, planners, historians, maintenance workers, etc. The Agency's geographically dispersed work locations (including remote and rural locations), as well as its substantial seasonal employee base, creates a unique human resources environment for the organization.

At peak season (i.e. between May and October), Parks Canada employs approximately 8,000 active employees, including over 3,600 temporary employees (terms, seasonal, and casuals) and approximately 1,800 students. This workforce is largely unionized.

National Office, with approximately 10% of the employee base, consists of six directorates, which provide legislative, operational policy, planning, program direction, financial management, and human resources functions and services. The vast majority of employees work outside of the National Capital Region; this includes employees working in satellite offices located in Halifax, Quebec City, Cornwall/Ottawa, and Winnipeg (with small branch offices in Calgary and Vancouver).

Under the Parks Canada Agency Act, the President and Chief Executive Officer (PCEO) has the delegated authority for HR management, to be reviewed every five (5) years (subsection 35 (1)). The successful implementation of the HR Regime is the responsibility of all managers and supervisors within Parks Canada. Three (3) reviews have been carried out by third parties since 1999; the most recent completed in 2014

The values and operating principles (refer to Appendix A, Scoping Guidance) have been in place since 1999 (section 16(1b) of the Act), and are reflective of the Agency's mandate and foundational for Parks Canada's HR management:

  • Values: Competence, Fairness, Respect
  • Operating Principles: Effectiveness, Accountability, Consistency, Openness, Efficiency, Adaptability, and Simplicity

The Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation (OIAE) was responsible for the contracting process and acted as the formal liaison with RCGT to conduct the fourth review of the Agency's HR Regime, covering the period 2015-20.

It is important to note that, during the period under review (2015-20), there has been a renewal at the senior management level in several key positions, as well as within HRD. As such, many structures and processes reflected in this report were established under past leadership. The direction of the HR Regime has shifted under new leadership, and was taken into consideration and built upon in our recommendations.

Through the conduct of this review, the Parks Canada project team provided us with exceptional assistance, responsiveness, transparency, and support. We also express our gratitude to every individual who shared their perspectives and experiences with us through interviews and focus groups.

4.2 Objective and scope

Objective

The objective of this independent review was to carry out the fourth review of Parks Canada's HR Regime. This review assessed whether the Agency's HR Regime is aligned with the values and operating principles that govern the management of HR and was further used to draw conclusions on whether adjustments are required to drive consistency.

Scope

The scope of work addressed the following areas:

  • Providing sound evidence on the compliance and alignment of the HR Regime at Parks Canada over the past five (5) years (2015-20). This includes a review of Parks Canada's values and operating principles pertaining to HR, including all aspects of HR management across the organization; and
  • This report requires a balanced view of general conclusions and recommendations concerning compliance with values and operating principles, while simultaneously providing an in-depth analysis on topics of high significance and priority.

Prior to the establishment of the contract, the OIAE, with support from HRD, led a scoping exercise. The purpose of the scoping exercise was to identify particular areas of focus or concern which should be considered to ensure that the review targets the areas of highest risk and priority for the Agency. This resulted in the themes, review criteria, and scope framework outlined in the Review Criteria section below. The full scoping guidance document can be found in Appendix A.

Notably, the following items were identified as falling out of scope of this review:

  • In-depth examination of the processes and challenges related to pay issues due to the body of work that have been addressing the Phoenix pay systemFootnote 1; and
  • Organizational classification, given the number of different occupational groups that carry out the work at the Agency.

The review included any important contextual issues surrounding the out-of-scope items above as they arose.

4.3 Approach and methodology

Our methodology was broken down to include three (3) Project Delivery Phases, which are further supported by end-to-end Project Management and Quality Assurance activities.

Phase A - Planning Phase B - Execution Phase C - Reporting
  • A.1 Work Plan
  • A.2 Planning Interviews and Preliminary Document Review
  • A.3 Data Collection Instruments
  • B.1 Review Procedures
  • B.2 Preliminary Findings
  • B.3 Summary of Findings
  • C.1 Draft Report and Supporting Evidence
  • C.2 Final Report
  • C.3 Final Report Presentation

RCGT used three (3) types of data collection instruments: Planning and in-depth interviews to encourage open discussion, focus groups with employees and students, and a review of documentation and data.

RCGT engaged with a total of 66 individuals across all levels of the organization, representing both National Office and Field Units. Parks Canada coordinated activities related to proposing the representative sampling and the scheduling of interviewees and focus groups attendees across the Agency. RCGT confirmed that representation and participation in interviews and focus groups were sufficient to effectively address the review criteria and carry out the activities outlined in the review program.

RCGT made three (3) documentation requests, with some supplemental information also provided as required. A total of 180 documents were reviewed.

It is important to note that the findings presented in this document are limited to what was observed through the documents reviewed and interviews conducted.


5. Review and assessment

The HR Regime was assessed against eleven (11) themes which were further divided into eighteen (18) Review Criteria,Footnote 2 Findings, Impacts, and Opportunities are included for each theme, as presented below. While findings are discussed theme-by-theme, many themes and review criteria are inter-related. As such, some themes make explicit reference to analysis and findings that fall under other related themes in support of the values and operating principles.

Throughout the review, we observed many positive attributes and practices of the HR Regime. To present a balanced view of our observations, findings include areas where expectations were met, as well as opportunities for improvement that build upon positive initiatives underway.

5.1 Values and Operating Principles Relevance

Our expectation for high performance in values and operating principles relevance would include:

  • Periodic, deliberate review of the values and operating principles considering the changing Canadian landscape and societal values; and
  • Demonstration that the Agency's values and operating principles continue to resonate with current employees.

It is important to provide further context and understanding of the values and operating principles. To this end, we refer to the preamble when they were established, available on the Agency's public website:

The values and operating principles have been developed with input from employees across Canada. Accordingly, they reflect an understanding of our enduring mandate and the distinctive circumstances in which we work. They apply to all employees at all levels of the organization and will be brought to the attention of third parties as guidance for their interaction with Parks Canada employees.

(…)

Values are the enduring beliefs that determine our actions, attitudes and the choices we make. Operating principles guide the ways in which our values are implemented. Together they are the basis for ensuring the integrity of our Human Resources policies, practices, and procedures.Footnote 3

Further, the last bullet of the Agency's charter reads as follows:

To serve Canadians, working together to achieve excellence guided by values of competence, respect and fairness.Footnote 4

The original intent of the values and operating principles was that they applied to all employees at every level of the agency. This is reinforced by the connection to the last bullet of the Agency's charter.

Values at the Agency should define the behaviours that support the mission and mandate of the organization.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The existing Values & Operating Principles remain reflective of the core values and ethics of the Agency.
  • Values and operating principles are documented on the external website.
  • There is an opportunity to increase outbound communications referencing the values and operating principles to all staff.
  • Employees tend to confuse the Code of Values & Ethics and the Agency's values and operating principles. While they appear to be similar, they serve different purposes. Values and operating principles govern the management of human resources and services to the public, while the Code of Values & Ethics address employee behaviour.
  • Language of the values and operating principles are over 20 years old and would benefit from a modernization considering government and policy changes in terms of reconciliation, inclusion, and diversity, as well as anti-racism.
  • Values and operating principles are often referred to as HR values and operating principles, but should be labelled as Agency values and operating principles as stated in the Parks Canada Act (Section 16).
  • Values and operating principles can be amended through a fair and transparent process, similar to their initial inception in 1999.

Impact ("So What")

The language of the values and operating principles dating from 1999 does not fully reflect the societal changes that have taken place during the period under review. Notably during the period under review (2015-2020), there has been increased awareness on societal and environmental matters, leading to an expectation that organizations have values that reflect current society and to which employees can relate.

As the values and operating principles apply to all employees, there is an opportunity to increase awareness and referencing of the values and operating principles in order to reinforce the associated expected behaviours. This will support consistency when carrying out the initiatives and programs of the HR Regime.

It is important to note that based on legal advice obtained, values and operating principles can be amended following a fair and transparent process and ultimately approved by the PCEO. While there is no provision that prescribes a process establishing or amending the charter, there is an expectation to follow a fair and reasonable process which mitigates any potential recourses.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Conduct an exercise to revitalize the values and operating principles ensuring they remain reflective of today's society;
  • Ensure the proper labeling of the values and operating principles as stated in the Parks Canada Act legislation; and
  • Engage with stakeholders by replication of the initial process of 1999, giving employees and bargaining agents notice and an opportunity to make representations.

These opportunities are further explored in our recommendations section.

5.2 Communications

Our expectation for high performance in communications would include:

  • The existence of a documented communications strategy and framework to guide communication efforts, priorities, and approaches;
  • The skilful use of tone and channel to effectively capture the attention of team members in various roles and locations; and
  • Mechanisms to ensure key messages are received and internalized by audiences.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency internally communicates HR information including objectives, responsibilities, and guidance documents to support an effective HR function.
  • Efforts are made to periodically communicate HR information to employees at all levels (the "what").
  • HR communications covered a wide range of topics such as objectives for programs, responsibilities, policy, guidance, and support material.
  • Parks Canada implemented an intranet site in 2015, which acts as a central hub for communications across the Agency.
  • HR forums were held between 2016 and 2019 to provide opportunities to network and exchange on relevant topics between HRD and Human Resources Managers working in Field Units.
  • PSES results during the review period relating to communications are on par with the core public service.
  • Communications are perceived as hierarchical, with limited feedback mechanisms.
  • There is a need to develop a clear HR communications strategy.
  • There have been initiatives undertaken to improve feedback mechanisms, with an opportunity to further improve them.
  • There is an opportunity to assess effectiveness of communications by implementing mechanisms to track and validate understanding from the intended recipients.
  • There is an opportunity to account for seasonal operational cycles as well as local specificities when sending HR communications to ensure they are received and prioritized.

Impact ("So What")

While we observed some positive communication practices, without a clear HR communications strategy their effectiveness is limited.

The current approach to communications means that the feedback loop is never closed, which is the key component of effective communications. This limits the ability to validate clarity and understanding, which in turn can lead to a loss of critical information, reducing the intended impact of communications.

It is important to note that since 2019, HRD has implemented some feedback mechanisms to engage with the Field Units, through meetings between HRD executives and their extended management teams with Human Resources Managers, HR Communities of Practice, as well as executives participation in regional scrums. These activities provide an opportunity for National Office HR, Human Resources Managers, and Field Units to share crucial information for improved decision making and Field Unit support.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Continue to improve the current HR communication strategy and approach for the Agency to ensure it reaches the target audience with a clear message;
    • Communicate with purpose, find the tone and ways to engage with the intended audience - for example, Field Unit HR manager, Senior management, or agency-wide staff;
    • Customize communications approach, means, and channels, taking into consideration remote locations where internet bandwidth may be limited;
    • Determine when communication requires consultation with HR stakeholders, or input of information and data are to be considered.
  • When sending HR communications with action items, implement a tracking mechanism to ensure they are completed and monitor effectiveness; and
  • Build upon the existing Agency-wide communications calendar to identify the best moments within the Agency seasonal cycles to optimize the absorption of information by the recipients.

5.3 Awareness

The 2014 five-year HR Regime Review identified that "increasing awareness of the values and operating principles" was an area that required attention (through education) to ensure sustainability and relevancy as the workforce shifted. At that time, it was noted that the executive management committee was aware of this issue.

Our review sought to assess whether employees at all levels were aware of the Agency's established values and operating principles, and how they were reflected in the HR Regime. Our expectation for high performance in this area would include:

  • Clear, consistent, highly visible, and memorable communication of the values and operating principles through various channels (e.g., meeting materials, e-mails, Intranet content, physical artifacts) that would reach employees at all levels;
  • Employees' ability to describe, in their words, the values and operating principles and their applicability to their role; and
  • Mechanisms to ensure key messages are received and understood by audiences.

To assess this theme, our review analyzed documents with the expectation that the values and operating principles would be cross-referenced throughout relevant documentation and easily accessible.

During the interviews, we assessed the extent to which employees at various levels were aware of the values and operating principles. We further probed how individuals experienced and applied the values and operating principles as employees in their interactions with the organization. It is important to note, however, that although we took a critical approach to test this criterion, the fact that employees can or cannot list them or refer to them is weighed against the observed embodiment of the values and operating principles.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
Employees at all levels are aware of the values and operating principles and how they are reflected in carrying out HR-related activities (i.e., the HR Regime).
  • Most individuals consulted are aware of the existence of the values and operating principles.
  • Familiarity with the values and operating principles varied as we consulted individuals at different levels of the organization, suggesting an opportunity for more broadly distributed and effective communications.
  • The values and operating principles are referenced on the Agency's external web page.
  • Limited referencing is done on the intranet or through periodic communications.
  • The values and operating principles should be referenced during new employee onboarding, as 3,693 new hires (employees and managers) did not receive this information as part of onboarding during the period under review.
  • At times, employees consulted confused the values and operating principles with the Agency's Values and Ethics Code.
  • Senior management are aware of the opportunity to revisit values and operating principles to ensure relevancy in the context of social (or societal) changes that occurred during the period under review (2015-20).

Impact ("So What")

If employees are not aware and reminded of the values and operating principles, and if there is limited communications and control mechanisms to ensure awareness, the Agency will be limited in its ability to ensure proper adherence. As a result, there may be an impact on how the values are balanced to one another when making decisions. Without awareness, employees may act in ways that are not consistent with, or do not respect, the values and operating principles.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Develop a clear strategy to promote and enhance awareness, carried through the key HR functions and supported by senior management. This strategy is linked to the opportunities under the values and operating principles relevance theme (Section 5.11);
  • Embed the values and operating principles into the Talent Management Framework, through defined criteria in managers' performance review as they carry out the regime;
  • Ensure that values and operating principles are appropriately and consistently referenced in letters of offers, training and onboarding material, as well as addressed in any orientation training;
  • Ensure consistency in the naming conventions used (i.e., values and operating principles instead of HR values and operating principles) to avoid confusion (connected to the opportunities under the values and operating principles relevance theme); and
  • Communicate the values and operating principles using memorable graphics and compelling storytelling to aide knowledge retention.

5.4 Talent Management

Our expectation for high performance in talent management (TM) would include:

  • Evidence of a TM Strategy or plan;
  • Data collected to inform TM needs and orientations;
  • Supporting TM documentations such as communications, training and educational presentations, and curriculums;
  • Strong employee sentiment (greater than 75% agreeing or strongly agreeing) that the Agency does a good job of supporting career development (as per Public Sector Employee Survey (PSES) results);
  • A lower proportion of employees intending to leave the Agency within the next two (2) years to pursue opportunities in other federal organisations or outside of the core public service as compared to the core public service (as per PSES results); and
  • Demonstration of new initiatives to enhance TM regime in response to employee feedback obtained via the PSES.

The TM framework for all employees has gone through incremental improvements during the 2015-20 period. During the review period, a more systematic approach to performance and TM for the PCX classification (Executive-level positions) was implemented. We observed evidence of formal succession planning exercises for some managerial and HR roles. In October 2020, the Agency launched the Public Service Performance Management (PSPM) application. The PSPM introduces more rigour and consistency to performance management.

Additionally, a new Directive on Performance and TM for Executives was implemented in April 2021. While this falls beyond the review timelines, it is an initiative worth acknowledging as it will provide alignment in the HR Regime activities. We also understand that a TM program for non-PCX employees is planned for development in the future.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency demonstrates a commitment to a performance management culture to attract, retain, and develop employees.
  • In October 2020, the Agency launched the PSPM application. The PSPM introduces more rigour and consistency to performance management.
  • Based on analysis of PSES results for the period under review (2015-2020), Parks Canada had strong performance in several TM-related questions during the reporting period. Results remained relatively stable throughout the five (5) year review period, on par with the core public service.
  • Results of the PSES during the review period demonstrated that 22-27% of employees intended to leave their roles in the next two (2) years, on par with the core public service. Of this population, only 23-26% were intending to leave to pursue employment outside the Agency, which was significantly lower than the results for the core public service.
  • PSES results during the review period demonstrated that the number of employees intending to pursue another position within the Agency increased from 21% in 2017 to 35% in 2020.
  • Only 57% of 2020 PSES respondents agreed with the statement, "My department or agency does a good job of supporting employee career development". These results speak to an opportunity to reaffirm the Agency's commitment to a performance management culture to attract, retain, and develop employees.
  • TM activities were not consistently carried out across the organization during the period under review. Demonstrated commitment to a performance management culture differed greatly depending on location, manager, and role.
Criterion b)
A talent management regime is in place that supports the current and future career development needs of employees and the Agency.
  • Documentation provided evidence of a maturing TM regime (e.g., enhanced clarity of direction for annual performance discussions, formal TM and succession planning exercises for PCX).
  • We observed evidence of the Agency's intentional shift beyond performance assessments and towards a broader consideration of learning needs for all employees. This was evidenced by the evolution of the Performance Management Form over time and the implementation of the PSPM in 2020.
  • There is an opportunity to define an Agency-wide TM strategy, as this was not in place for the period of the review (2015-20).
  • There is a need to collect and analyze data on TM for the Agency.
  • Employees' feedback on the TM regime (as revealed through PSES results as well as interviews) suggests there is an opportunity for the regime to be further developed to more effectively meet the career development aspirations of a significant portion (over 40%) of the Parks Canada team members consulted in the PSES survey.

Impact ("So What")

An organization-wide TM regime is a powerful tool that can be used to align employees' skills and potential with the organization's strategic objectives. Enhanced commitment to a performance management culture can better equip individual team members to work in the direction of the Agency's goals, while at the same time deepening employees' sense of meaning, growth, and accomplishment. This is essential to creating a positive employee brand proposition, attracting and retaining talent, and to help mitigate risks of losing high-performing employees for a lack of engagement as well as spending a disproportionate amount of time managing poor performance versus developing employees.

To achieve these results, promoting a performance management culture should be a constant practice at all levels of the organization, with all managers fully equipped to carry out their critical roles in the TM regime. By officially implementing a TM regime, the Agency will have the ability to gather critical information on its current and future talent needs, while at the same time influencing the behaviours that are aligned with the values and operating principles.

Opportunities ("Now What")

Under the theme of TM, the following improvement opportunities exist for Parks Canada. These may be considered as part of an Agency-wide TM program, which we understand is planned for development in the coming years.

  • Align the TM Framework with the values and operating principles and a focus on developing people management skills to positively influence and maintain the Agency's culture:
    • Schedule the "Management 101" training modules periodically at all supervisory levels to equip managers with the knowledge necessary to implement and maintain a TM program for their employees; and
    • Ensure that TM material and communications reference the values and operating principles appropriately and consistently and that their connection to the HR Regime are reflected as part of training modules.
  • Conduct an exercise to; 1) identify future TM needs and trends, while 2) gathering TM data to inform decision making and initiatives:
    • Define leading indicators for TM and begin tracking them to support future talent and skills needed (e.g., HR analytics skills);
    • Implement a succession plan which provides compelling development opportunities by identifying critical roles and skills and developing a career journey map to supplement the career development offerings;
    • Address the changing workforce demographics and expectations in connection with Equity, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion (EADI) initiatives; and
    • Consistently identify and communicate short term assignments that benefit both the organizational and individual development needs.
  • Explore and include as part of the TM regime taking advantage of non-traditional types of employment when applicable and possible.

5.5 Integrity and Respectful Workplace

Safety and well-being of all Parks Canada team members is of the utmost importance. The Agency ensures that any infringement on employees' integrity is addressed by the proper HR functions (labour relations; work place harassment and violence - as of January 2021) or the Centre of Values and Ethics in a timely manner. Addressing problems promptly and involving the right parties is key to creating a respectful workplace. Managers need to be aware of existing tools and resources and should be ready to act dilligently in order to ensure resolution of such occurrences within the workplace. Our expectations for high performance under the theme integrity and respectful workplace would include:

  • Accessible tools and mechanisms for employees to submit complaints or grievances related to integrity and respectful workplace situations in a timely manner;
  • Demonstration of a consistent approach in addressing and reporting on integrity and respectful workplace situations across the Agency;
  • Clear, consistent, and accessible process documentation, tools and training for HR specialists and managers; and
  • Consistent and responsive guidance provided to managers as part of the resolution process in addressing these situations.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency addresses situations of integrity and respectful workplace in a formalized and consistent manner.
  • A formal grievance process was in place during the 2015-20 review period for situations relating to integrity and respectful workplace.
  • There was an overall increase in the number of formal grievances related to workplace harassment between 2015 and 2020, from 10 to 14.
  • Field units have also received a number of complaints related to integrity and respectful workplace situations, however, National Office has not been able to collect and report on this data for the Agency during the period 2015-20.
  • Roles and responsibilities, as well as timelines, are well defined in the documented grievance processes.
  • Training, in addition to mandatory training, was provided to managers to equip them in addressing harassment and discrimination.
  • The approach to addressing workplace harassment and discrimination complaints and grievances has been centralized within National Office since the adoption of Bill C-65Footnote 5 in January 2021.
  • Some employees feared retaliation for going through the formal complaint process. As a result, some favored reporting cases to the Centre for Values and Ethics (CVE) instead of to HRD.
Criterion b)
Managers are equipped and supported when addressing issues related to integrity and respectful workplace situations
  • Support materials were provided to managers to explain processes around addressing allegations and situations of disrespect.
  • Progress has been made in terms of new EADI initiatives aiming to prevent situations of disrespect.
  • There is a need to provide managers with more periodic trainings and information sessions relating to this topic.
  • There is an opportunity to shift to a preventive approach to support management.

Impact ("So What")

While there are formal approaches in addressing situations around integrity and respectful workplace (including workplace harassment – implemented in January 2021), complaints submitted have not been appropriately captured and reported for the period under review (2015-20). During that same period, employees also made use of the informal conflict resolution mechanisms offered by the CVE. The use of the CVE, coupled with limited reporting on complaints from field units in the Human Resources Management System, has prevented the Agency from obtaining important data for reporting and monitoring purposes. As a result, the Agency has been exposed to potential risks in terms of compliance, and poses limitations to informed decision making and providing consistent guidance across the Agency.

Employee confidence in management to address situations of integrity and respectful workplace has been impacted due to inconsistent approaches across the organization. While information and guides exist (the "what"), the fact that managers don't always know "how" limits their confidence and ability to deal with these situations in an effective manner.

It is important to note that since the implementation of Bill C-65 in January 2021, the complaint and grievance processes for workplace harassment and violence, which falls under the integrity and respectful workplace theme, are now centralized within National Office. Bill C-65 also outlines requirements regarding implementation of a central data registry and the reporting of cases for the Agency (Section 35 of the Act). HRD has recently implemented this new process and put in place the mechanisms to formalize and consistently address harassment and discrimination. For instance, modifications have been made to the instrument of delegation in order that all cases are dealt by National Office. The Centre for the Prevention of Harassment and Violence in the Workplace, which reports to the HRD, is now responsible for the prevention of harassment and violence in the workplace and the resolution of formal incident notices. The Centre also provides support to parties involved in incidents. The CVE provides resources and services related to informal conflict resolution mechanisms complementing the HRD service offerings, while remaining confidential for the CVE. In addition, there is an increase in prevention activities through training and education offered by HRD.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Continue with efforts to create awareness around Bill C-65 by educating on harassment prevention, as well as monitoring data related to complaints and cases;
  • Building on reporting requirements for Bill C-65, explore ways to improve data collection and reporting of complaints for all remaining integrity situations across the Agency;
  • Under the TM theme, and as part of the HR Management 101 suite, ensure that the training currently under development related to the application of Bill C-65 (harassment complaint procedure), the collective agreement grievance process (Section 16), and harassment process (Section 17) are included. This will increase awareness and ensure consistent application of the process;
  • Look for opportunities to implement Agency-wide reporting and monitoring on situations of disrespect, to enhance data analysis and improve support offered to Field Units, as well as to inform decision making;
  • Become proactive in the handling of these situations by raising awareness on the behaviours that go against the Agency's values so that managers can identify and correct before impacting other individuals;
  • Find new ways to re-introduce the HR Management 101 training periodically to support managers (and new managers) in preventing and dealing with situations; and
  • Regularly communicate and remind managers of the resources available to them to increase awareness.

5.6 Equity, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion (EADI)

Our expectation for high performance in this area would include:

  • Strong employee sentiment (greater than 75% agreeing or strongly agreeing) that the Agency respects individual differences and supports a diverse workforce (as per PSES results);
  • Strong employee sentiment (greater than 75% agreeing or strongly agreeing) that the Agency implements activities and practices that support a diverse workforce (as per Public Sector Employee Survey (PSES) results);
  • Employment Equity (EE) values meeting or exceeding the targets established by the Agency and improving year-over-year;
  • Demonstration of new initiatives to enhance EADI in response to EE results, employee feedback obtained via the PSES, and other channels; and
  • Demonstration of consistent application of Official Language (OL) requirements and efforts to address any known gaps.

Fostering a representative and inclusive workplace is a key objective for the Agency. For the period under review, the HRD organizational chart displayed (amongst other key points) functional responsibility for EADI. In 2015, the Agency adopted a National-level Champions model, which has since evolved into a Co-Champion model.

The Agency's most recent 2018-21 EE Plan includes specific numerical targets to address under-representation and a framework of measures to support managers in their development of plans to create a representative workforce and an inclusive and healthy workplace. EE Agency-wide data are monitored and reported through the EE Dashboard (launched in 2016).

The 2021-24 EE Plan was under development at the time of this review. Also, in 2021, the Agency initiated work on Parks Canada's first Accessibility Plan, as well as the development of a Diversity and Inclusion action plan. Lastly, in September 2021, PCA hired a Senior Director, Values, Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion, reporting directly to the PCEO. These positive initiatives are taken into account in the identification of opportunities below.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency fosters, promotes and celebrates the diversity of the Parks Canada team.
  • The Agency's leadership has prioritized EADI during the review period.
  • The appropriate governance structures, roles, and responsibilities were in place to foster, promote, and celebrate the diversity of the Parks Canada team.
  • PSES results from 2015-20 positively align very closely to those of the core public service: 76-80% somewhat or strongly agreed that the Agency respects individual differences and supports a diverse workforce, and 74-78% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that the Agency implements activities and practices that support a diverse workforce.
  • Through our interactions with employees throughout the organization, a sense of engagement and willingness to participate in the conversation for the benefit of the organization was observed.
  • Managers noted some systemic barriers (access to positions, certain qualifications, remote locations) that have not been addressed and lead to inconsistencies in applying some of the policies and initiatives related to staffing, official languages and EADI.
  • Some interviewees shared experiences of perceived discrimination, raising an opportunity to improve the Agency's EADI culture.
  • There is an opportunity to adapt more effectively the roll-out of EADI programs and initiatives to reflect the unique realities of some designated groups in the field.
Criterion b)
The Agency fosters both a representative and inclusive workplace by acting upon information built from the collection and analysis of equity data.
  • Several EADI initiatives were implemented during the review period (2015-20).
  • Representation of women at Parks Canada surpassed the Agency's EE targets and grew from 47.4% to 49.6%. This is a positive trend when compared to the more modest labour market availability increase from 45.8% to 46.1% over the same period.
  • Representation of Indigenous peoples decreased slightly from 8.2% to 7.7% over the review period but continues to be slightly above the Agency's targets and labour market availability (7.6% in 2019-20).
  • Through land claim agreements and site co-management between Indigenous groups and Field Units there are efforts underway to increase hiring of Indigenous peoples (local populations).
  • There remain representation gaps in some EE occupational groups for each designated group.
    • Representation of visible minorities did not meet EE targets during the review period. Representation increased from 4.3% to 5.1% from 2015-20, but did not keep pace with growth in labour market availability from 9.7% to 12.3% over the same period.
    • Representation of persons with disabilities did not meet EE targets. Representation has remained steady between 3.0% and 3.2% over the review period. It has constantly fallen below labour market availability, which increased significantly from 4.9% to 8.4% during the review period.
  • The need for centralized data for the Agency hinders the ability to effectively report on progress and inform senior management decision-making on the matter.
  • EADI initiatives can better address how to hire, retain, and replace personnel in remote areas and other community groups that have barriers to employment.
Criterion c)
The application of OL requirements is consistent.
  • We observed evidence of several new and ongoing initiatives to improve the consistent application of OL requirements across the Agency.
  • The appropriate governance structures, roles and responsibilities are in place to foster the bilingualism of the Parks Canada team.
  • PSES results for 2020 demonstrated that 93% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that the material and tools provided for their work were available in their language of choice (compared to 94% in the core public service).
  • No concerns were raised surrounding consistent application of official languages with respect to the HR Regime through interviews.
  • Only 65% of 2020 PSES respondents (compared to 75% in the core public service) agreed that senior managers used both official languages in their interactions. It should be noted that this score improved from 60% in 2019.
  • In 2018-19, the Office of the Commissioner for Official Languages (OCOL) reported on a follow-up of its 2012 Audit of Parks Canada. This audit followed up on the nine (9) recommendations from 2012. These audit findings identified gaps in established policies or activities regarding official languages. These gaps have been partially addressed at the time of the current review.
  • There is an opportunity to conduct an in-depth review of the bilingual skills of all its employees to verify that there is sufficient capacity to provide services of equal quality in English and French, as recommended in the follow-up of the 2012 OL audit.

Impact ("So What")

The EADI approach is well designed and planned in terms of objectives (promoting and celebrating diversity) and focus on implementing specific changes to both the workforce and workplace that will help achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Increasing engagement with the Field Unit HR and management as a conduit to develop and implement EADI initiatives can lead to better awareness and application of EADI throughout the Agency. Improved data gathering, analysis, and reporting would allow for the tracking and monitoring of the implementation and outcomes of these initiatives to ensure effective integration as well as the identification of areas for improvement.

Good data analysis can identify improvements needed to reach EADI targets as part of continuous improvement. It can also assist in identifying which HR functions (staffing, TM, compensation etc.) can better contribute to integrate EADI into the operational aspects of the organization. Lastly, it can reveal areas that require training, support mechanisms, and increased communications.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Improve the organization's EADI awareness by further engaging the Field Units, people from diverse backgrounds and targeted groups when planning execution and rollout, to identify and address potential barriers, optimizing the desired outcomes by carrying out the activities more effectively and encouraging more initiatives at the Field Unit levels;
  • Leverage PSES data to review existing processes, policies, and forms with an EADI lens to identify barriers and leverage flexibilities to become a leader in this space;
  • Build upon and improve communication regarding anti-racism initiatives and ensure their effective implementation and translation into anti-racism organizational culture change throughout Parks Canada;
  • Collect, leverage, and learn from EE data to ensure compliance and monitoring of EE targets and initiatives more effectively through the various levels of the organization;
  • Continue to further integrate EADI in all key aspects of the HR function through TM and other initiatives to all employees while holding managers accountable for hiring, developing, and retaining a diverse staff;
  • Explore opportunities to leverage tools and technology, such as remote work, to reach a more diverse talent pool; and
  • Establish a periodic assessment of language requirements of certain roles, for example review of bilingual imperative roles, to ensure language requirements are still relevant to specific roles and do not become a barrier for certain groups.

5.7 Use of Flexibilities as a Separate Employer

Our expectation for high performance in separate employer status would include:

  • Clear and accessible documented definition of the available flexibilities, tailored to the needs of HR specialists and managers;
  • Demonstration that HR specialists and managers are familiar and comfortable leveraging flexibilities in a variety of situations within the boundaries of their HR delegated authorities and legislative framework, and are confident in which resources / tools can support them in doing so; and
  • Documented rationale when flexibilities are utilized, describing the intended benefits as well as the specific flexibility cascaded down by a policy or process.

The Agency's authorities as a special operating agency are outlined in the Financial Administration Act (Schedule II and V), the Public Service Employment Act (Provisions of Part 7 on political activities) and the Parks Canada Agency Act (Section 13).

Under section 12(1) of the Parks Canada Agency Act, The Chief Executive Officer, under the direction of the Minister, has the control and management of the Agency and all matters connected with it.

In regards to employees and HR management under section 13(a), the Chief Executive Officer has the "power to appoint, lay-off or terminate the employment of the employees of the Agency; under 13(b) establish standards, procedures and processes governing staffing, including the appointment, lay-off or termination of employment otherwise than for cause, of employees; and 13(3c) provide for any other matters that the Chief Executive Officer considers necessary for effective human resources management in the Agency."

It is important to note that the above authorities are framed by requirements under the overall public service function, namely the Official Languages Act, Employment Equity, Pay Equity, Accessibility, Canada Labour Code, Collective Bargaining.

Within these boundaries, the President & Chief Executive Officer (PCEO) can exercise flexibilities to support the Agency's mandate. Through the delegated authorities, the Agency can choose how to operationalize HR management - for instance, electing to align with the core public sector, or to be unique if necessary and permissible.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency understands how it can exercise and leverage its flexibilities as a separate operating agency, in the context of its HR Regime.
  • We observed documented evidence of the legislative framework, which was readily available upon request.
  • General reference is made to the flexibilities within recent documentation (HR Management Framework, presented in February 2021).
  • Interpretation of flexibilities varied by manager, some preferring to avoid risk by following the prescribed steps as they view "rigidity" as compliance and "flexibility" as a potential risk.
  • There is a need to document the definition and application of flexibilities.
  • An opportunity exists to increase awareness, understanding, and application of flexibilities by HR managers and delegated managers.

Impact ("So What")

Without a clear definition at the senior management level, as well as a documented and communicated approach, the Agency may be limited in taking advantage of the benefits of flexibilities as they relate to efficiency and effectiveness. As noted during interviews, there is an expectation by senior management at the Agency that the flexibilities should be exercised by supervisors and managers within the boundaries of their HR delegated authorities and legislative framework. However, the limited information and guidelines currently available to managers prevents their appropriate and consistent application.

The use of flexibilities supports the Agency in carrying out its mandate.

As an example, the Office of the Chief Human Resource Officer at the Treasury Board Secretariat has undertaken a full review of its Staffing Policy suite, defining and showcasing several of its own flexibilities, notably the extension of the two-year limit for interchange assignments in the core public service. A similar approach to the policy suite refresh would allow Parks Canada to increase awareness on the use of the flexibilities and support their consistent use and application.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Document and communicate flexibilities in alignment with HR instrument of delegation and legislative framework;
  • Document the rationale when electing to exercise a flexibility, linked to the Agency's strategic outcomes, values, and ultimately its mandate; and
  • Use programs, initiatives, policies, and procedures to communicate and prescribe the use of flexibilities, as well as the instrument of delegation when decisions on their application should be made at lower management levels.

5.8 Governance

Our expectation for high performance in governance would include:

  • The existence of clearly documented HR accountabilities covering all relevant roles across the Agency;
  • Demonstration of clear, consistent, and recurring communication of the HR accountabilities through various channels;
  • Demonstration that individuals in various roles and locations hold a consistent understanding of HR accountabilities;
  • The completion of centralized monitoring activities to ensure consistent application of HR accountabilities across the Agency; and
  • Clear documentation of HR risks and demonstration of mitigation strategies.

RCGT did not review the different types of governance committees in place at the Agency, but rather assessed whether the outcomes and directives of those committees are documented, communicated, and applied. We also assessed whether HR risks are consistently mitigated across the Agency.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
HR accountabilities are clearly identified, communicated, and consistently applied across the organization.
  • HR accountabilities are clearly defined in the instrument of HR delegation.
  • Documentation of amendments to the instrument was observed, however, there is an opportunity to communicate the amendments more broadly.
  • There is a need to improve monitoring at all levels across the Agency to ensure appropriate application and understanding of HR delegations.
  • Lines can blur in some instances between HR and Field Units responsibilities, where Field Unit HR Managers perform tasks that would normally fall under Field Unit managers' responsibilities.
  • Operational requirements often compete against HR compliance requirements and directives.
Criterion b)
Risks associated with HR-related Governance and HR management in a decentralized environment are identified and mitigated as part of decision making.
  • HR risks have been identified and mitigation strategies are in place.
  • Authorities in decision making are documented in the instrument of HR delegation by delegation level (the "what").
  • There is an opportunity to increase the communication and training provided with updates and refreshers to ensure the information is well understood and integrated and applied by managers (the "how").
  • While there is evidence of tracking with respect to completion of training, there remains an opportunity to establish targets for initial training and refreshers beyond this initial training to managers.

Impact ("So What")

The implementation of a monitoring framework would support the consistent and appropriate application and use of authorities. It is currently difficult to validate that managers maintain the knowledge and information to effectively exercise authorities and make appropriate decisions. Without this monitoring mechanism, the Agency is at risk of potential decisions being made that could have major financial, cultural, or reputational impact.

It is important to note that in 2017-18 a risk framework for HR was developed, in collaboration with Corporate Planning, which included extensive consultations with the extended management team. Many of the risks identified are still prevalent today and have served to inform some of the risk mitigation strategies showcased in the 2021-22 Departmental Plan.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Continue to update the instrument of delegation as required and ensure it is well communicated to managers;
  • As part of TM initiatives for managers, provide regular refresher training (and even re-certification type of training) to ensure changes to HR delegations are communicated and understood and to clarify accountabilities, where required;
  • Implement tracking, monitoring, and assurance mechanisms to ensure that the delegations are being applied appropriately and consistently.

5.9 Strategic HR Management

Our expectation for high performance in strategic HR management would include:

  • The existence of an HR Strategy detailing how the Agency will adapt and evolve to future needs, supporting the organizational wide strategy; and
  • Evidence that organizational objectives cascade into HR planning activities.

Strong HR planning ensures adequate resources are present to support the strategic goals and orientations through the operational plans, which aims to ensure the best fit between the organization and employees at all levels.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
HR management is integrated with business planning.
  • We observed evidence of HRD undertaking HR planning activities throughout the review period.
  • Each Field Unit takes responsibility for its HR planning activities, which is focused on operational responsiveness.
  • HR managers in Field Units are part of the HR planning activities, mainly in relation to staffing.
  • There is an opportunity to improve the consistency of HR planning across Field Units.
  • There is a need to collate data more systematically from all Field Unit's business plans and monitor that HR components are rolled into HRD's business planning activities.
  • There is an opportunity for improved alignment between planning activities and seasonal operational cycles.
Criterion b)
The Agency actively identifies future HR needs, as well as opportunities for recruitment.
  • Short to medium term HR needs are identified through business planning.
  • HR needs relating to specific populations/designated groups and locations are identified and planned for (e.g., Inuit Employment Plan).
  • We observed documents describing approaches, risks, and strategies relating to future HR needs.

Impact ("So What")

While a departmental plan exists, there is an opportunity to develop a long-term Agency-wide strategic HR plan. Without this, the Agency will be challenged to develop and implement an HR strategic management plan in alignment with the organizational objectives that respects and leverages the values and operating principles.

There is also a need for an integrated, consistent, and common approach to HR planning so that it can be rolled up with HRD to enable Agency-wide workforce planning. This would support the Agency having a clear picture of the current state of the organization. Without, it limits the ability to align efforts to ensure a best fit between employees at all levels, as well as HR resources to address needs of the organization. Finally, the continued absence of integrated HR planning may hinder the effective attraction, retention, and skills development of the employees to fulfill the mandate of the Agency

It is important to note that, in response to observations made in the 2014 HR Regime review, HRD has created an HR vision and framework. This is supported by the development of capacity planning and progress monitoring on a quarterly basis. While it falls outside the current review period, it is important to acknowledge that the 2021 HR framework is working to address the risks mentioned above.

Opportunities ("Now What")

Through the mechanisms currently under development, there is an opportunity to:

  • Improve the integration of HR planning activities at the Field Unit level as part of overall strategic planning exercise at the Agency
    • Leverage technology, for example, to provide a planning template to the Field Units from a central system of record where it is created and allows for access across the Agency and sharing of information.
  • Expand the reporting capability to include operational information once data is gathered from Field Units.

5.10 Staffing

Our expectation for high performance in staffing would include:

  • The existence of a formal, documented staffing process;
  • Clear, consistent, and accessible policy and process documentation, tools, and training for HR specialists and hiring managers;
  • Demonstration of efforts made to minimize unnecessary restrictions and streamline processes to promote timely and equitable staffing;
  • Consistent and responsive guidance provided to hiring managers through the staffing process; and
  • Demonstration that HR specialists and managers are familiar and comfortable leveraging flexibilities related to staffing and are confident in which resources / tools can support them in doing so.

In the National Office, all staffing actions are centralized under HRD, which offers HR staffing advice and support to all National Office Directorates. Hiring managers in National Office have access to Expresslane, which provides a streamlined approach for high-volume, non-complex transactions. The Field Units each run their own staffing processes, with support from HRD when requested. The staffing regime is supported by over 30 related policies. The policies, tools, and resources that support the staffing process are not easily accessible to managers.

The separate employer status provides the Agency with flexibilities to develop its own staffing regime, make quick decisions, and effectively onboard employees in large volumes, which supports the seasonal nature of the Agency's operations. As previously noted, it is broadly acknowledged that these flexibilities are not being leveraged to their full potential through the existing staffing regime.

The Parks Canada team is aware of opportunities to improve the existing staffing regime. Accordingly, a Staffing Modernization Initiative is planned to be implemented in early 2022, which is positioned to improve staffing process efficiency and responsiveness. There is a goal to bring scattered information and resources into a single integrated Intranet presentation and reduce the number of policies around staffing. By transitioning to a "values and principles" based process and increasing awareness and support around flexibilities in the upcoming years, a renewed staffing regime will better equip hiring managers to staff the right fit for the job, support a diverse and inclusive workplace, and meet operational needs in a timelier manner.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Criterion a)
The Agency's staffing processes and tools are efficient, respond to the needs of the clients, and facilitate strategic and timely hiring.
  • The Agency is aware of the opportunities to improve its existing staffing regime.
  • The staffing process is supported by numerous documented policies and tools.
  • Field Units have developed the capacity and competencies to support high volume staffing activities to support the seasonal operations.
  • Information and resources to support the staffing process need to be more easily available in a central location.
  • Some processes require manual forms, which inhibit efficiency and responsiveness.
  • Interviewees found the staffing process to be time consuming, heavy on the administrative side, with multiple manual steps and interventions.
  • Guidance provided to hiring managers regarding staffing processes is inconsistent between HR specialists across the organization.
  • Processes and templates for letters of offer are not consistent, which sometimes may cause misunderstandings and unnecessary stress on the hiring manager, as well as risks of not meeting contractual obligations.
  • There is an opportunity to clarify roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of delegated managers across the Agency as part of staffing processes.
Criterion b)
The Agency's staffing processes and tools are designed to effectively address identified talent needs and representation targets.
  • HR Managers in National Office and Field Units have a clear understanding of operational talent needs and priorities in their respective locations.
  • Programs exist for representation targets (e.g., the Youth Employment Skills Strategy program).
  • There is an opportunity to include explicit consideration of long-term talent needs and representation targets in the staffing process.
  • There is an opportunity to ease some requirements (lengthy, paper-based forms, cumbersome process for low-risk transactions, requirements that are not true requirements for the role) to the staffing process to effectively address identified talent needs.
  • Some security and language requirements encountered during the staffing process create barriers to recruiting individuals from some populations (e.g., Indigenous, visible minorities).
  • There is an opportunity to deliberately cascade representation targets into individual hiring managers' performance objectives.
Criterion c)
The Agency leverages existing flexibilities available to achieve staffing objectives.
  • The Casual Worker Policy provides one (1) example of a staffing policy that exercises flexibility. Within this policy, the duration for casual workers is established at 120 days, compared to 90 days in the core public service.
  • The staffing framework and related policies need more clarity and definition (the "what" and the "how") on where greater flexibilities can be applied.
  • Many policies, such as the student bridging policy, are based on the existing federal government policy and would benefit from being updated in order to align with Parks Canada's unique flexibilities around hiring.
  • Most hiring managers interviewed were not aware of or did not leverage staffing-related flexibilities. For those that were aware, some expressed hesitancy from using them given low risk tolerance within the Agency.

Impact ("So What")

While current process supports the Agency in filling vacant roles, the challenges of the current staffing regime can prevent the Agency from ensuring that the right people at the right time and in the right roles are selected. The absence of central monitoring of staffing activities limits the opportunity to detect opportunities for continuous improvement.

The current staffing processes have been designed with seasonal operational needs in mind. However, they do not explicitly consider strategic and long-term business needs for talent, nor address the unique requirements associated with meeting the identified EADI representation targets.

By collecting more data and information, HRD will be able to assess the trends in labour market, changing regulations, the evolution of the HR function, as well as the societal changes (in terms of anti-harassment movement, Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) focus and environmental matters) to adapt its staffing activities so they support the Agency in the long-term. This trends analysis can also use historical data at the Agency to inform the future needs.

It is important to note that we observed an initiative to streamline and reduce the number of letters of offers that was launched in 2021.

Opportunities ("Now What")

The staffing modernization will bring efficiencies through a single staffing policy along with a more user-friendly experience for managers. To complement the staffing modernization initiative, the Agency has the opportunity to:

  • Include monitoring mechanisms and metrics for the different staffing steps to ensure efficiency and adherence:
    • Hiring Manager Satisfaction
    • Recruiting Yield Ratio
    • Selection Ratio
    • Time-to-Start or Time-to-Fill
    • Time to Hire
  • Develop, as part of the HR 101 learning modules, an "effective staffing practices" module for current and new managers, which remains up to date with changes;
  • Standardize data collection across the Agency to enhance the HR data analytics capacity by collecting:
    • Hiring and retirement patterns
    • Transfers and promotions
    • Employee turnover
    • Years of service
    • Employee demographics
    • Education
    • Skills and qualifications
    • Past work experience
  • Further opportunities that encourage more local hiring through mechanisms such as language training, bilingual non-imperative appointments, and telework; and
  • Once redefined for staffing, integrate the flexibilities into the overall Staffing strategy to prescribe their use in the situations where they are most required.

5.11 Maturity of the HR Function

Consistent with the Agency's practices, the documentation lays out that the current HR operating model is decentralized, with two streams of HR professionals. National Office has HR staff reporting into HRD, while the HR structure within the Field Units has an HR manager (and support HR staff) reporting to the FUS.

HR staff in National Office, in addition to the strategic function of the directorate, provide advice, support, and oversight, as well as operational support and execution for select HR functions such as compensation, classification, and occupational health and safety, while the HR staff in the Field Units, reporting to the FUS, ensure execution of the day-to-day HR activities at the local level, which includes local staffing and first level grievance handling.

The main objective of the HR function at the Agency is to help deliver its mandate and priorities across the organization. The intent of the current HR model is to provide the Field Units with the ability to carry out the HR regime while allowing the HRD within National Office to analyse and implement larger scale corporate programs and report to central government bodies.

Findings ("What")

Criterion Findings
Views on current HR maturity
  • The Agency employs committed and passionate HR professionals in both National Office and Field Units.
  • HR Community of Practice and HR scrums are in place to share knowledge.
  • Opportunity to improve the support provided by HRD to the Field Units.
  • There is a need to implement collection of HR data at all levels of the organization.
  • We observed examples of information not shared with National Office by Field Units.

Further, as highlighted in previous sections and presented in the table below, challenges exist relating to important HR functions. These challenges indicate opportunities to improve consistency and standardization of HR activities and processes, improve the maturity level of HRD, and ensure alignment of the HR Regime with the values and operating principles.

Section Relevant Findings
5.3 Awareness
Page 12
  • There is varied familiarity with the values and operating principles as we consulted individuals at different levels of the organization, suggesting an opportunity for more effective communications.
5.4 Talent Management
Page 14
  • TM activities were inconsistently carried out across the organization during the period under review. Demonstrated commitment to a performance management culture differed greatly depending on location, manager, and role.
  • Beyond the grievance process, the approach to addressing harassment and discrimination was decentralized and inconsistent for the period under review (2015-2020). This has positively changed in 2021 with the implementation of Bill C-65Footnote 6.
  • There is an opportunity to adopt consistent reporting and monitoring of cases, as this was not in place from 2015-20.
  • The level of support and communications provided from HRD to Field Units was not always consistent.
5.5 Integrity and Respectful Workplace
Page 17
  • Employee's confidence in management to address situations of disrespect, as observed in interviews, has been eroded due to inconsistent approaches across the organization.
  • Some employees fear retaliation for going through the formal complaint process, which prompts them to favor the Centre for Values and Ethics (CVE) instead of reporting cases to HRD.
5.6, Equity, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion (EADI)
  • The need for centralized data for the Agency hinders the ability to effectively report on progress and inform senior management decision-making on the matter.
5.7 Use of Flexibilities as Separate Employer
Page 21
  • Interpretation of flexibilities varied by manager, some preferring to avoid risk by following the prescribed steps as they view "rigidity" as compliance and "flexibility" as a potential risk.
5.8 Governance
Page 22
  • There is a need to improve monitoring at all levels across the Agency to ensure appropriate application and understanding of HR delegations.
  • Lines can blur in some instances between HR and Field Units responsibilities where Field Unit HR Managers perform tasks that would normally fall under Field Unit managers' responsibilities.
5.9 Strategic HR Management
Page 24
  • There is an opportunity to improve the consistency of HR planning across Field Units and Business Units.
5.10 Staffing
Page 25
  • Guidance provided to hiring managers regarding staffing processes is inconsistent between HR specialists across the organization.
  • Processes and templates for letters of offer are not consistent, which sometimes cause misunderstandings and unnecessary stress on the hiring manager as well as risks of not meeting contractual obligations.
  • There is an opportunity to clarify roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of delegated managers across the Agency as part of staffing processes.
  • When hiring managers were aware of flexibilities, they expressed an aversion toward using them due to a perception of low risk tolerance within the Agency.

Impact ("So What")

The current reporting structure has benefited the Agency's operational requirements, with Field Unit HR managers located within Field Units in order to make the appropriate and timely day-to-day decisions based on their in-depth knowledge and understanding of the operational context.

To ensure the HR model is operating optimally, a monitoring framework that includes data gathering and analysis, assurance activities, and feedback mechanisms is needed. It is also essential that the roles and responsibilities of all involved are clearly documented, shared, understood, and agreed to.

These challenges pose important risks in the Agency's ability to be accountable for and deliver the HR Regime in terms of the following:

  • Consistency: There is an opportunity to improve the consistency of the HR Regime delivery across the organization through standardization of processes and activities that are currently executed differently in the Field Units;
  • Compliance: There is an opportunity to gather, monitor, and audit (as required) critical HR data and processes to ensure adherence to standards, inform decision making and reporting, and address gaps that could potentially be detrimental to the organization;
  • Efficiency: There is an opportunity to streamline some activities and processes that can save time and effort in their execution;
  • Effectiveness: While there is Agency-wide monitoring in terms of the applicable government requirements, there is an opportunity to better assess the effectiveness of HR initiatives; and
  • Oversight: HRD has an opportunity to improve its oversight function through a system of records and centralized information management for its activities at all levels.

Opportunities ("Now What")

There is an opportunity to:

  • Further clarify and document roles and responsibilities of HRD and HR professionals in the field units to ensure a common understanding;
  • Ensure that inherent risks associated with accountability and compliance are mitigated through proper HR tracking and monitoring;
  • Leverage efficiencies through the implementation of standardized and consistent processes; and
  • Stimulate collaboration and knowledge sharing via HR communities of practice.

5.12 Observations from previous regime reviews

We observed trends in the observations from 2009 and 2004 (see table 2 below), which covers the same themes and are in alignment with the themes covered under the present review:

  • Awareness (2009, 2014)
  • Talent Management (2004, 2009, 2014)
  • Staffing (2004, 2009, 2014)
  • Integrity and Respectful workplace (2004, 2009, 2014)
  • HR Maturity (2009, 2014)

For the 2014 Review, we did not observe any evidence of a Management Response and Action Plan (MRAP) to formally address the opportunities for enhancement from the previous review:

  • Sustaining the Agency Values and operating principles
  • Formalizing HR Strategy and Performance Scorecard
  • Ensuring consistent HR Advice and Support

It is important to note that we have seen renewal commitment from HRD and Senior Management to different HR initiatives starting after 2019, which are taken into consideration and built upon in the recommendations.

Table 2: Overview of previous review recommendations
Values 2004 2009 2014
Competence
  • Re-engineer staffing and resources processes, taking full advantage of Agency's flexibilities
  • Address employee expectations for learning and development opportunities
  • Targeted succession planning based on sound HR planning
  • Expand on competency-based management for all Parks Canada work streams
  • Recruitment strategies in place to address gaps in required talent and competencies
  • Develop plan to address specific learning and development needs, vs. CSPS training
  • Formal approach for Career Planning
  • Formal approach for Performance Management
Fairness
  • Implement and communicate well-developed redress mechanisms for employees (grievance, ITPR)
  • Increase awareness of various redress avenues available to employees
 
Respect
  • Innovate in collective bargaining (separate employer)
  • Implement action plan in response to Parks Canada's Employee surveys
  • Adopt new strategy on harassment and discrimination
  • Implement study on correlation between job satisfaction and high perceptions of harassment and discrimination
  • Formal approach for transfer and retention of corporate memory
  • Addressing harassment at Parks Canada
Other  
  • Continue to reengineer HR business processes and implement service standards
  • Develop lessons learned for use for HR performance measurement
  • Reconfirm language and positioning of values & operating principles (change management approach)
  • Formalizing HR Strategy & Performance Scorecard
  • Consistent HR Advice & Support

6. Conclusions

6.1 Overarching findings

The review assessed whether the Agency's HR Regime is aligned with the values and operating principles that govern the management of HR in order to draw conclusions on whether adjustments are required to drive consistency.

While RCGT has taken a critical approach to assess the criteria, it is important to note that we observed most elements of an effective organization, such as a mandate driven culture, passion and engagement from the individuals we interacted with, and a willingness to discuss the themes of this review in a collaborative manner. As such, the assessment aims to encourage the continued modernization of the HR function and the activities of the HR Regime that supports the Agency's mandate.

Processes are, for the most part, in place when it comes to how the values and operating principles are aligned and applied through HR programs and initiatives. However, there are instances where the lack of awareness, compliance monitoring capacity and capability, and feedback mechanisms have negatively impacted the efficiency and effectiveness of the HR Regime and the HRD.

By strenghtening these areas, many of the risks to compliance and accountability as they relate to HR legislation and policy requirements will be mitigated. If accountable delegated managers at different levels across the organization are applying HR practices inconsistently and there is limited information on how their areas of responsibility carry out work, then this could put compliance and specific Values and Operating Principles at risk of not being respected.

It is important to note that, since 2019, there have been various programs and improvement initiatives implemented, notably the HR Modernization, TM Framework, the EADI co-Champions, and the Staffing modernization currently in development. These initiatives provide more clarity in the roles and responsibilities for managers as well as establishing monitoring and tracking of key HR activities. As a result, the above mentioned risks can begin to be mitiagted. These initiatives have been taken into consideration in the development of our recommendations.

RCGT has summarized the overarching observations and findings, organized by theme, in table 3 below.

Table 3: Overarching Findings
Overarching Findings Description
No ability to track compliance due to a lack of system records

Themes impacted:

Integrity
Respectful Workplace
Talent Management
Staffing
HR Maturity
Strategic HR Management
EADI
  • While there is compliance at the overall organizational level in terms of the applicable government requirements, there is an opportunity to implement control mechanisms to monitor and ensure compliance at the operational level.
    • The need for more corporate or functional monitoring/reporting of HR activities hinders the ability to obtain the proper picture of the organization to support timely decision making.
  • Access to information may be challenging in some instances by managers and employees, as information is not centralized in a single repository.
    • Examples of managers having to search different systems or platforms to get information (e.g., Staffing, PeopleSoft, Labour Relations).
    • This was also evident as part of RCGT's documentation requests, where Parks Canada had to reach out to different sources and HR Managers to gather the requested information across the Agency.
  • Limited HR information could be found on the Agency's intranet.
Managers need more clarity on their accountabilities

Themes impacted:

Integrity
Respectful Workplace
Talent Management
Governance
  • While managers' accountabilities are documented with appropriate levels of authorities as outlined in the HR instrument of delegation, the approach to HR communications and awareness needs to ensure complete clarity, common understanding, and consistency in their application, notably for supervisors and managers upwards.
  • There is an opportunity to conduct further monitoring to ensure a consistent, fair, and transparent application of the HR delegation of authorities.
  • Difficult to assess compliance, proper level of decision making and potential risks before situations arise.
Flexibilities are not well understood and leveraged

Themes impacted:

Talent Management
Equity Accessibility Diversity and Inclusion
Separate Employer Status
Strategic HR Management
Staffing
  • Our review observed a need for more awareness of the actual flexibilities and how to exercise them in the context of the HR Regime.
    • Respondents had difficulty naming the flexibilities or accessing any information about them.
    • Some managers tend to equate "rigidity" to compliance and "flexibility" to taking a risk, reinforcing the perception of risk avoidance.
HR Maturity is impacted due to the current lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities

Themes impacted:

Strategic HR Management
Governance
  • Lack of clarity with respect to roles and responsibilities exposes Parks Canada to risks in terms of accountability and compliance, while also affecting its ability to align the HR Regime with the Agency's values and operating principles.
    • There is need to ensure implementation of Agency-wide reporting and monitoring for HR activities to ensure compliance and accountability.
  • While the National Office HR role is to provide functional support, advice, and oversight, the focus on policy making and reporting prevents the proper oversight through monitoring and functional support.
  • There is an opportunity to implement mechanisms (reporting, information, and feedback) to ensure that programs, policies, and initiatives are consistently applied and functioning as intended across the agency.
  • There are opportunities to improve feedback mechanisms in support of the HR Regime in order to provide the appropriate data, to properly inform, develop, coordinate, and to plan the roll-out of programs and policies.
Limited Awareness of Values and operating principles

Themes:

Awareness,
Talent Management
Communications
Values and operating principles

 
  • Documented examples of values and operating principles exist within the organization;
  • There is an opportunity to increase awareness and understanding of the values and operating principles for Parks Canada employees since their adoption in 1999. This is especially the case for employees or managers hired during the 2015-20 reporting period.
    • There were limited communications within the past five years, with no validation of understanding and awareness from the intended recipients. This was exemplified by the manner in which information was published on the intranet, or an overview communicated by email, where employees then needed to pull the information amid competing operational priorities, peak seasonal cycles, and other communications.
    • There is a need to reference the values and operating principles in more documents, such as policies and guidelines, or as part of communications to employees and managers across the Agency.
    • Interview findings also supported that senior management and employees at all levels recently hired at Parks Canada were not made aware of the values and operating principles during onboarding, with some respondents mistakenly confusing them with the Agency's code of values and ethics.
  • Findings supported that the current values and operating principles would benefit from a modernization or refresh exercise to better align with current societal changes and to remain relevant, as the language dates back to more than 20 years ago.
  • The need for further awareness was observed under the theme of EADI, where managers needed more skill development and tools to carry out the activities in alignment with the values and operating principles.

7. Recommendations

During the engagement, we collected information on the current state as well as the vision on how HRD can continue to ensure alignment between the HR Regime with the values and operating principles through its service delivery model. Table 4 below summarizes the current state, findings, and analysis.

Table 4: Gap Analysis
Current State Vision Analysis
  • Renewed efforts and commitment with ambitious goals to align HR Regime with values and operating principles.
  • HRD staff are considered as amongst the best-in-class HR professionals.
  • Current communications approach hinders overall awareness on key aspects of the HR Regime (values and operating principles, flexibilities, accountabilities).
  • Need for a system of record to allow for tracking and monitoring of activities to inform decision making.
  • Current HR operating model presents a risk to the organization in terms of compliance.
  • Recognition from Senior Management of the value of the HR function.
  • High-performing business partner in which Field Units HR and National Office HR work as one team.
  • HRD is the "go-to" place for HR information and direction
  • Information is available for all HR professionals.
  • HRD embraces its full oversight and responsibility of the function.
  • Provides clear accountabilities for carrying out the HR Regime.
  • Develop a clear path forward in terms of future needs of the Agency.
  • Dated values and operating principles language and how it's communicated prevents full alignment of a more modern HR approach.
  • More opportunities should be created for National Office HR and Field Units' HR in which they have space to work collaboratively.
  • Centralized information management and monitoring of operational activities are key to properly assess performance, effectiveness, and inform decision making.

In order to bridge the gaps, RCGT presents four overarching recommendations which address the opportunities identified in the themes. These recommendations are summarized in table 5 below.

Table 5: Recommendations
Recommendations Description Theme addressed
1. Revitalize Values and operating principles and improve awareness
  • Values and operating principle will be reflective of today's social landscape;
  • Values and operating principles will drive workplace culture and behaviours by being aligned with the Agency's vision, mission, and mandate;
  • The language should allow for evolution so it adapts to shifting realities; and
  • A review cycle should be instated to pro-actively ensure relevancy over time.

Leading Practices

  • Intentional communication of one set of values throughout the organization on an ongoing basis (e.g., should be embedded in all management training sessions, key leadership meetings, forums and HR team meetings);
  • Communications leverage memorable imagery/graphics and inspiring storytelling to promote engagement with and retention of the content; and
  • Demonstration of strong purpose, values, and ethics that resonates with employees.
Overarching findings:
  • Awareness
Review Themes:
  • Awareness
  • Talent Management
  • Communications
  • Values and operating principles
  • Separate Employer Status
2. Document and communicate the Agency's flexibilities
  • Documenting flexibilities can facilitate their integration into operational needs;
  • Can serve to prescribe the exercise of the flexibilities, clarifying accountabilities of their use within the boundaries of HR authorities and legislative framework; and
  • Implementation and use can be supported by HR functional areas.

Leading Practices

  • Flexibilities should support the strategic outcomes of the Agency;
  • Their application should be monitored and tracked as part of compliance; and
  • Should be reviewed periodically to ensure relevancy and alignment.
Overarching findings:
  • Awareness
  • Flexibility
  • Accountability
Review Themes:
  • Separate Employer status
  • Governance
  • Strategic HR Management
3. Implement a compliance and monitoring framework that includes monitoring and reporting of HR activities at all levels of the organization
  • Will provide insight to inform decision making;
  • Requires the implementation of a system of records, providing an authoritative data source;
  • Leads to increased efficiencies by using technology solutions to automate tasks, reduce errors, and streamline processes;
  • Can improve the ability to collect data and exchange HR information across the organization; and
  • Data exchange can be used as an engagement mechanism with Field Units.

Leading Practices

  • Identify and prioritize solutions that will allow HRD to start collecting and centralizing information;
    • For example, possibility of interim solution through MS Office 365, or managed services through a Protected B compliant service provider; and
  • Develop HR Data analytics capabilities.
Overarching findings:
  • Compliance
  • HR Maturity
Review Themes:
  • Integrity
  • Respectful Workplace
  • Talent Management
  • Staffing
  • HR Maturity
4. Clarify and document accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities of HR professionals across the organization to drive compliance and alignment with the HR framework and strategy
  • Ensure standardization of processes and activities to drive consistency in their application;
  • Will result in efficiencies made through streamlined approaches and activities;
  • Improve effectiveness of initiatives through performance measurement;
  • Benefits compliance through risk mitigation;
  • Brings alignment of the HR Regime with the values and operating principles;
  • Leads to an increase in HR maturity;
  • Improve the degree of awareness of the Agency's values and operating principles and flexibilities; and
  • Facilitate coordination efforts of National Office activities with Field Units through engagement mechanisms.

Leading Practices

  • Engage with internal stakeholders to co-design initiatives when applicable as well as gather critical data for decision making;
  • Continued collaboration through the HR community of practice as knowledge dissemination conduit; and
  • Document HR operating model for clarity and optimization opportunities.
Overarching findings:
  • Accountabilities
  • Flexibilities
Review Themes:
  • Talent Management
  • Equity Accessibility Diversity and inclusion
  • Separate Employer Status
  • Governance
  • Strategic HR Management

Appendices

Appendix A: Scoping Guidance

Human Resources Regime Review 2015-2020

Scoping Guidance

The Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation is seeking the Senior Management Committee's review and endorsement of the proposed scoping framework for the Human Resources Regime Review (2015-2020).

Context

As stated in the Parks Canada Agency Act, the President and Chief Executive Office (PCEO) must, every five (5) years, assess whether the Agency's Human Resources (HR) regime is aligned and consistent with the values and operating principles that govern the management of human resources. The most recent review was conducted for the period 2009-2014. The Agency is now embarking on a review for the period of 2015-2020.

Objectives

The objective of this independent review is two (2) fold:

  1. To assess whether the Agency's HR Regime is aligned and consistent with values and operating principles; and
  2. Determine whether adjustments are required in order to improve the consistency between the HR Regime and one (1) or more of its values and operating principles.

Approach

To ensure that the review abides by principles of objectivity, independence and neutrality, the Office of Internal Audit and Evaluation (OIAE) will manage the contract for the consultant who will lead to review. Prior to the establishment of the contract, and in order to ensure that the review targets the areas of highest risk and priority for the Agency, the OIAE, with support from the Human Resources Directorate led a scoping exercise to identify particular areas of focus or concern which should be considered for this review. This resulted in the scope framework outlined below.

Proposed scope & exclusions

The following are the proposed initial areas/themes of focus for the review. While the areas/themes are highlighted in only one (1) of the values or operating principles, it is recognized that the work and findings will be inherently overlapping or overarching in nature.

Values Definitions
Competence Competence refers to the knowledge, abilities, personal suitability and other qualities required to perform effectively in the workplace. Competence resides in individuals, working independently or as a member of a team, and in the organization as a whole.
Respect Mutual trust, recognition of accomplishments, self-esteem and regard for others are important elements of respectful working relationships
Fairness Fairness means that our activities and decisions are just, timely, impartial and objective.
Themes Lines of Enquiry
Awareness
  • Employees at all levels are aware of the values and operating principles and how they are reflected in carrying out human resources-related activities (i.e., the HR Regime).
Talent Management
  • The Agency demonstrates a commitment to a performance management culture to attract, retain and develop employees.
  • A talent management regime is in place that supports the current and future career development needs of employees and the Agency.
Integrity
  • The Agency addresses harassment and discrimination in a formalized and consistent manner.
Respectful workplace
  • Managers are equipped and supported when addressing allegations and situations of disrespect.
Equity, Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion
  • The Agency fosters, promotes and celebrates the diversity of the Parks Canada team.
  • The Agency fosters both a representative and inclusive workplace by acting upon information built from the collection and analysis of equity data.
  • The application of official languages requirements is consistent.
Operating Principles Definitions
Accountability The requirement to be answerable for carrying out our responsibilities in accordance with these human resources values and operating principles.
Efficiency Making the best possible use of human resources, time, and money.
Effectiveness Achieving the expected results.
Consistency Acting in a similar manner in similar circumstances.
Adaptability Adjusting to circumstances while encouraging innovation and creativity.
Simplicity Making things as uncomplicated as possible.
Openness Ensuring straightforward and honest communications.
Themes Lines of Enquiry
Separate Employer Status
  • The Agency understands how it can exercise and leverage its flexibilities as a separate operating agency, in the context of its HR Regime.
Governance
  • HR accountabilities are clearly identified, communicated and consistently applied across the organization.
  • Risks associated with HR-related Governance and HR management in a decentralized environment are identified and mitigated as part of decision making.
Communication
  • The Agency internally communicates HR information including objectives, responsibilities and guidance documents to support an effective HR function.
Strategic HR Management
  • HR management is integrated with business planning.
  • The Agency actively identifies future HR needs, as well as opportunities for recruitment.
Staffing
  • The Agency's staffing processes and tools are efficient, respond to the needs of the clients and facilitate strategic and timely hiring.
  • The Agency's staffing processes and tools are designed to effectively address identified talent needs and representation targets.
  • The Agency leverages existing flexibilities available to achieve staffing objectives.

In addition to the above, the review will include an assessment of the existing values & operating principles to determine whether or not they remain reflective of the core values and ethics of the Agency twenty years later. The review will also have an opportunity to define key flexibilities that the Agency should be making use of as a separate operating agency.

Exclusions

The work will not examine in-depth the processes and challenges related to pay issues due to the Phoenix pay system, however the review will include, as it arises, the important contextual impact that pay issues have had on employees. In addition, organizational classification will not be addressed as part of the scope of this review given the number of different occupational groups that carry out the work at the Agency, however similar to pay issues, contextual information may be included.

Methodology

In light of the current context within which we are operating (COVID-19 pandemic), the majority of the work for the review is expected to occur virtually. The review will include:

  • Documentation review;
  • Data collection and analysis;
  • Interviews; and
  • Benchmarking against comparable organizations.

Appendix B: Summary of findings

The following tables provides a summary of the findings of the report, mapped to the values and operating principles.

Table D.1: Conclusions by Values and Operating Principle
Value and Operating PrinciplesFootnote 7 Summary of Key Findings
Values  
  1. Competence
Awareness
  • Most individuals consulted are aware of the existence of values and operating principles.
  • The values and operating principles have not been effectively and consistently communicated to ensure visibility, understanding and familiarity throughout the organization.
Talent Management
  • The Agency's talent management regime is maturing, and employee voluntary turnover intention (as measured by the Public Sector Employee Survey (PSES) is lower than that of the core public service.
  • The Agency lacked a formal talent management strategy during the review period, the talent management regime was inconsistently delivered across the Agency, and fewer than 60% of PSES respondents agreed that the Agency did a good job of supporting employee career development.
  1. Respect
Integrity
  • A formal grievance process is well documented, with clear responsibilities and timelines.
  • Beyond the formal grievance process, the approach to addressing harassment and discrimination was decentralized, inconsistent, and poorly monitored.
Respectful Workplace
  • Managers have been provided with resources to support them in managing situations of disrespect.
  • There is a lack of periodic training to proactively equip managers to deal with disrespect, and fewer that 62% of PSES respondents agreed that the Agency did a good job supporting the resolution of interpersonal issues.
  1. Fairness
Equity, Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion (EADI)
  • The Agency's leadership has prioritized EADI established the appropriate governance structures. Numerous EADI initiatives were undertaken during the review period and PSES results relating to EADI were closely aligned with the core public service.
  • Systemic barriers challenge the operationalization of some EADI initiatives and the Agency continues to miss its employment equity (EE) targets for visible minorities and persons with disabilities. In addition, some findings of the 2012 Audit of Official Language remained unadressed when revisited in 2019.
Operating Principles  
  1. Accountability
Governance
  • The instrument of delegation clearly defines HR accountabilities, is accessible to managers, and considers HR risk when defining level of authority.
  • Communication and training relating to changes in HR accountabilities are limited, there is a lack of central monitoring of compliance with delegations, and there are some areas where accountabilities are not consistently well understood (e.g. between HR Managers and line managers in the Field Units).
  1. Efficiency
Strategic HR Management
  • The Human Resources Directorate and Employee Wellness (HRD) engages in HR planning, and Field Units HR Managers are involved in Business Planning activities and are closely familiar with operational requirements in the short- and mid-term.
  • There is not a systematic approach for collating data relating to HR needs from individual business plans to ensure these needs are supported through HRD's plan. In addition, evidence of long-term HR planning was not observed.
Staffing
  • The staffing process is supported by many documented policies and tools, and HR specialists have become adept at conducting high volume staffing to meet operational needs. A staffing modernization initiative is planned to address the known shortcomings of the existing staffing regime.
  • The complexity of the current staffing process, its associated policies and forms are a significant pain point for hiring managers. Requirements of the process present challenges to timely and equitable hiring, and do not reflect the flexibilities that Parks Canada has at its disposal.
Separate Employer Status
  • Reference is made to the flexibilities within the HR Strategy, and managers are aware that the Agency has some flexibilities relative to the core public service
  • Definitions and application of flexibilities in the Parks Canada context were not well documented. Understanding and application of flexibilities were low overall, and there was a high degree of variability between managers. There is a perception that following the practices of the core public service is less risky than applying flexibilities (especially from a labour relations perspective).
  1. Effectiveness
  1. Consistency
  1. Adaptability
  1. Simplicity
Communications
  • HR-related communications are centralized through a single role, who collaborates with the corporate Communications function and coordinates sharing of information on a variety of topics.
  • Communications are viewed as being hierarchical, with limited feedback mechanisms to ensure messages are well received and understood.
  1. Openness


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