Dear Ms. Qualtrough:
I am honoured that you have agreed to serve Canadians as Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
We promised Canadians real change – in both what we do and how we do it. Canadians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a strong and growing middle class. Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments, and it is my expectation that you will do your part in delivering on those promises to Canadians.
We made a commitment to grow our economy, strengthen the middle class, and help those working hard to join it. We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not. We committed to public investment to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. We committed to a responsible, transparent fiscal plan for challenging economic times.
I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.
It is my expectation that we will deliver real results and professional government to Canadians. To ensure that we have a strong focus on results, I will expect Cabinet committees and individual ministers to: track and report on the progress of our commitments; assess the effectiveness of our work; and align our resources with priorities, in order to get the results we want and Canadians deserve.
If we are to tackle the real challenges we face as a country – from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change – Canadians need to have faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen. I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians. We will direct resources to initiatives that have the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that allow us to meet our commitments to them. I expect you to report regularly on your progress toward fulfilling our commitments and to help develop effective measures that assess the impact of the organizations for which you are answerable.
I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are essential to deliver the real, positive change that we promised Canadians. No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves. Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians. It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect – they expect us to be honest, open, and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.
Our platform guides our government. Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on our commitments. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we fulfill our promises, while living within our fiscal plan. Other issues will arise or will be brought to our attention by Canadians, stakeholders, and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to your agenda when appropriate.
As Minister, you will be held accountable for our commitment to bring a different style of leadership to government. This will include: close collaboration with your colleagues; meaningful engagement with Opposition Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the public service; constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society, and stakeholders, including business, organized labour, the broader public sector, and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors; and identifying ways to find solutions and avoid escalating conflicts unnecessarily. As well, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.
Canadians expect us, in our work, to reflect the values we all embrace: inclusion, honesty, hard work, fiscal prudence, and generosity of spirit. We will be a government that governs for all Canadians, and I expect you, in your work, to bring Canadians together.
You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Peoples and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.
As Minister of Public Services and Procurement, your overarching goal will be to ensure that the services provided by your portfolio are delivered efficiently, and in a way that makes citizens feel respected and valued. At the same time, I expect that you will ensure that the government’s internal services are held to an equally high standard and that procurement processes reflect modern best practices. The delivery of government services, including procurement practices, should reflect public expectations around transparent, open, and citizen-centred government and should serve our policy goals of sustainable economic growth that grows the middle class.
Canada’s Public Service is one of the most highly rated and respected institutions of its kind in the world. This is because of its people – the women and men whom we ask to do ambitious work serving Canadians. As Minister of Public Services and Procurement, you will play an important enabling role, to deliver the tools and resources public servants require in order to deliver our government’s ambitious agenda.
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:
- Ensure that public servants are paid accurately and promptly for the highly valued work they do on behalf of Canadians. Working with the President of the Treasury Board, the Working Group of Ministers on Achieving Steady State for the Pay System, the Privy Council Office, and our public service union partners, you will help ensure the pay system is stabilized and able to perform within service standards.
- Bring forward a new vision for Canada Post to ensure it provides the high-quality public service that Canadians expect at a reasonable price. This should build on the recent work of the Task Force on the Future of Canada Post, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, and additional input the Government has received from Canadians to date. Critical to fulfilling this commitment will also be the renewal of the organization by filling vacant leadership positions through timely, open, transparent, and merit-based selection processes, and the development of a stronger and more constructive relationship between the Corporation, its workers, and the communities in which it operates.
- Modernize procurement practices so that they are simpler, less administratively burdensome, deploy modern comptrollership, encourage greater competition, and include practices that support our economic policy goals, including innovation, as well as green and social procurement.
- developing initiatives to increase the diversity of bidders on government contracts, in particular businesses owned or led by Canadians from under represented groups, such as women, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities, and take measures to increase the accessibility of the procurement system to such groups while working to increase the capacity of these groups to participate in the system;
- developing better vendor management tools to ensure the Government is able to hold contractors accountable for poor performance or unacceptable behaviour, particularly in large scale procurements;
- publishing clear metrics to measure government performance on the competitiveness, cost, and timeliness of procurements;
- making government data more readily available to vendors to encourage more and better bids; and
- ensuring prompt payment of contractors and sub-contractors who do business with your department.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board to improve the delivery of information technology within the Government of Canada, including the renewal of Shared Services Canada (SSC) so that it is properly resourced and aligned to deliver common IT infrastructure that is reliable and secure, while at the same time providing departments what they need in order to deliver services that are timely, citizen-centred, and easy to use. This work should build on and complement recent reviews of SSC and the Government’s IT strategic plan.
- Work with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to ensure the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard get the equipment they need on time and on budget, as outlined in the Government’s new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged and under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
- Ensure the timely and orderly transition of Parliamentary operations as part of the renewal of the Parliamentary Precinct. As one of the Government’s largest public infrastructure projects, it will also be important to ensure we not only meet but exceed standards for accessibility, and environmental sustainability.
- Support the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, along with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation leadership, as well as local stakeholders, to develop the vision for a national space for Indigenous Peoples at 100 Wellington. This space, on the ancestral land of the Algonquin people, is to be used by and for Indigenous Peoples – their voices must be heard through comprehensive consultation, and they must be involved in leading the project.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, who is responsible for Service Canada, to establish new performance standards and set up a mechanism to conduct rigorous assessments of the performance of key government services and report findings publicly. As well, support the President of the Treasury Board in the development of a new service strategy that aims to create a single online window for all government services with new performance standards.
- Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to implement a modern Fair Wages Policy.
- Continue to implement reforms that will: enhance the quality and capacity of services delivered by the Translation Bureau and promote the economic vitality of Canada’s translation and interpretation community as the Government and industry adapt to rapid digital transformation.
- Support the Minister of Science to bring forward a new vision for federal science infrastructure, including recapitalization, taking into account the advice of the Chief Science Advisor.
These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments.
I expect you to work closely with your deputies and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your departments is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your deputies will brief you on issues your departments may be facing that may require decisions to be made quickly. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions, so that issues facing your departments are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner, and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our government.
Our ability, as a government, to successfully implement our platform depends on our ability to thoughtfully consider the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your deputies, whose roles, and the role of public servants under their direction, are to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.
We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.
As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. Open and Accountable Government has been developed to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well. I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law. Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. In turn, please know that you can count on me to support you every day in your role as Minister.
I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country. Together, we will work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada