Evidence of meeting #6 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was public.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Patricia Hassard  Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Senior Personnel and Public Service Renewal, Privy Council Office
  • Daphne Meredith  Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

No. Perhaps you could clarify, at the end, that you're not the deputy minister of Treasury Board; you're the chief financial officer who's responsible for 27 collective agreements. How does your role, in terms of being responsible for collective agreements, tie into budgets being done?

That way, perhaps we'd have clarity. At the moment it is confusing as to what your role really is. If you could, do it at the end.

Monsieur Gourde...

Yes, sir.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

On a point of order, Madam Chair, twice now in this meeting we've had a member opposite ask a question with respect to discussions that have taken place between Privy Council Office and...but I'd like to reference, if I may, page 1,068, chapter 20. I'd like to quote this briefly:

Particular attention is paid to the questioning of public servants. The obligation of a witness to answer all questions put by the committee must be balanced against the role that public servants play in providing confidential advice to their Ministers. The role of the public servant has traditionally been viewed in relation to the implementation and administration of government policy--

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

May I cut you off, Mr. Holder? I'll tell you why.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

No, Madam Chair, you cannot, because I am two sentences away. We're going to talk longer than this if you don't let me finish, please.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

Sorry; the clerk is telling me that this is not a point of order, this is a point of debate as to the interpretation.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

No, Madam Chair, in fact I would look to you, please, as chair, to challenge when someone asks a question that frankly is not appropriate.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

I think we did when they were asking the question. When Mr. Julian did, I had to allow Mr. Warkentin, and his point of order was well taken. His intervention was well taken, and Mr. Julian was advised that this is really dealing with...

That's why I came back that this is the chief human resources officer, so when you are asking questions, please couch them under the domain of demographics.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

But my point of order is to you, Madam Chair, because I think you do have the opportunity and the obligation to have an intervention to say that's not a question that is appropriate.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

Thank you.

We'll proceed.

Mr. Gourde, for five minutes.

March 29th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I have a concern about the people leaving for retirement. I think that you already said, earlier, that the average age of retirement was 57. Consequently, these are people with a great deal of experience.

Do they automatically have to leave their jobs, or can they stay on for a few years, given the challenges and the interests that they have? I am convinced that there are people who are very interested in continuing their careers. Is that possible?

4:50 p.m.

Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Daphne Meredith

Yes. There is no explicit age of retirement where people are forced to retire. They're quite able to stay on.

I'd like to correct something for the record. My colleague has just given me the age of retirement as it was in 2008-09. I guess that's an average over that year. I underestimated, because it's 58.6 years.

But yes, they can stay beyond that. It's their choice as to when they retire.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Thank you very much.

Regarding the people whose expertise you are losing, I am convinced that there is a process for transmitting knowledge to the next generation. The replacement of experienced employees must be done through a complete step-by-step process.

Could this create difficulties with human resources over the coming years? Could there be some sectors where you will not have enough time to train high-level managers or international representatives of Canada, for example? Are you going to be able to face this great challenge?

4:50 p.m.

Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat

Daphne Meredith

Thanks for the question. It is a very good question.

We are, as I mentioned, facing accelerated retirement now, 3.3% a year on average in recent years. So we do need to concentrate on how we are retaining the knowledge. Part of how we're trying to do it is anticipating retirements before they come up and ensuring that the knowledge and skills that those people have are explicitly being transferred through coaching or mentoring of new staff coming along.

Part of it is in identifying when people are going to be retiring. They do have flexibility, and sometimes people don't want to say when they're going to retire. That can be a bit of an issue for us.

I think trying to transfer skills person-to-person through coaching and mentoring, as well as ensuring that we have the kind of information systems that capture what we need from their corporate memories, are also important.

4:50 p.m.

Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Senior Personnel and Public Service Renewal, Privy Council Office

Patricia Hassard

I referred to a scorecard earlier. Perhaps I could just clarify that this is a scorecard that gives the results of deputies' commitments in the public service renewal action plans. We've had three of them so far, and the fourth one will be issued shortly. In it there will be a specific commitment for deputy ministers to assure themselves that knowledge transfer practices are taken into consideration for succession planning and talent management and for any of their critical positions.

So we're very aware of this as a live issue. We are asking that community to report on their efforts.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Yasmin Ratansi

One minute, Monsieur Gourde.