Skip booklet index and go to page content

Report on Public Service Renewal Results

Letter from the Deputy Ministers

It’s our pleasure to provide you with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Report on Public Service Renewal Results. We’re proud to highlight some of the experiences of our department’s employees in promoting a respectful workplace, onboarding and recruitment, and other actions to renew the public service. This year, we took a different approach to the traditional report--we created short videos of public servants telling their stories of public-service renewal, in their own words.

Over the past year, we’ve continued to make strides toward a renewed-public service. We focused on creating a respectful workplace through big and small actions. From our mental-health strategy to small everyday actions, our department is working toward a psychologically healthy and safe work environment. Our focus on youth engagement and employee development helps make Environment and Climate Change Canada a great place for new recruits, and it will help address anticipated demographic changes in the public service. Through Blueprint 2020, we’re striving to create conditions that support innovation in our department. Employees have wholeheartedly embraced a vision of a renewed department by enthusiastically seeking opportunities to improve their workplace and enhance collaboration--within our department, with other departments, and with Canadians.

Our journey isn’t over. Although we’ve made great strides in public-service renewal, we are committed to continuous improvement. We are dedicated to seek out opportunities to work more effectively and efficiently. By taking smart risks, trying new approaches, and collaborating, we can continue making a difference in the lives of Canadians, providing them with a safe, clean, and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

Michael Martin
Deputy Minister

Stephen Lucas
Senior Associate Deputy Minister (Climate Change)


Michael Martin : I am proud to present Environment and Climate Change Canada’s 2016 Public Service Renewal Report. Throughout the past year, we’ve been working hard to promote a respectful workplace, improve on boarding and recruitment, and implement other actions to renew the public service. This year, we created short videos of public servants telling their stories of public service renewal, in their own words. I hope you enjoy learning about the progress our department has made towards a renewed public service.

Return to Table of Contents

Respectful workplaces

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is striving towards a workplace that supports respect, inclusion, mental wellness, and civility. Numerous studies have shown how the perception of respect is linked to productivity, efficiency, creativity and both mental and physical health, but to sum it up and keep it simple – it’s the right thing to do. Through a mental health strategy, a virtual tool, and a committee to engage employees and unions, ECCC is seeking to make broad reaching changes to improve mental health in the workplace and support wellness.  In addition, employees, managers, and individual teams are embracing this message of a respectful workplace, and are using new technologies to support respect through inclusion.

Mental Health Strategy

Environment and Climate Change Canada is working on building internal capacity to help implement a departmental Mental Health Strategy, and commit to creating a work environment that is psychologically healthy and safe for everyone.  ECCC launched a comprehensive departmental Mental Health Strategy in April 2016. It provides access to the tools and resources required to promote, maintain and improve mental health, build resilience, as well as support recovery from and living with mental illness. A dedicated team is overseeing the implementation of the strategy and alignment to the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, working in close collaboration with unions. To support awareness of mental health in the workplace, in-person and virtual learning events for employees are taking place throughout the department. A virtual wellness centre provides access to relevant information, tools, and resources for employees and managers. Available on the ECCC Intranet, this page includes: information about mental illness and stigma, links to mental health care and resources to help employees and managers deal with mental health concerns in the workplace and support mental health, and external resources for mental health. 

Respectful Workplace Committee

The Respectful Workplace Committee aims to identify and recommend departmental strategies, policies and activities to strengthen and promote respectful workplace practices to improve workplace quality of life of all ECCC employees. With representation from management and unions, the Respectful Workplace Committee operates across the department to promote a healthy and respectful workplace by hosting events, distributing learning materials, and interacting with staff. 

The second annual Respect Day took place on November 17th, to acknowledge the importance of respect in our workplace by promoting dialogue, awareness and recognition of a respectful workplace through a range of activities for all employees across the country. Employees were engaged in a variety of educational activities and kiosks, contests, quizzes, and armchair discussions about the importance of respect in the workplace. A quick, easy-to-use resource, the Dignity@Work feedback tool, enables supervisors to request anonymous feedback from their reports, peers and colleagues regarding their respectful behavior at work.

Everyday Actions

Small, everyday actions have the potential to create large strides towards the development of a healthy and respectful workplace. Modern technology provides the opportunity to explore creative ways to support professional development, efficient and effective work flow, and generally, a positive and productive “virtual” environment. This includes forming telework arrangements, using new communications technologies to engage with ECCC employees across Canada, and engaging employees across the country for discussions with senior management such as webcasts. 


Aïda Warah : We launched our mental health strategy along with a virtual wellness centre that provides tools to managers and employees. We focused on raising awareness and building capacity. We held many information sessions across the department, we published articles. We also engaged the youth groups about ways to reduce stigma. We also formed a joint working group that will guide and support the implementation of the strategy over the next few years. The response so far from everyone has been fantastic. Employees, managers, everyone wants to help, everyone wants to make a difference and we all believe that this focus on mental health is an excellent opportunity for the public service of Canada.

Mike Beale : Hi, I’m Mike Beale. For me, respect is about trying to make sure that every employee in the organization feels valued and appreciated for what they contribute to the team, because we are all part of one big team.

Todd Panas : Hello, I’m Todd Panas. As co-chair for the National Respect Committee for Environment and Climate Change Canada, I feel we are definitely making a difference as far as awareness and strong departmental action to change the much needed culture of the public service. Respect is all about bringing the humanity back to the workplace, and for every employee to wake up in the morning and wanting to go to work with a smile on their face, without any fear. I certainly want to thank Michael Martin, the Deputy Minister, and my wonderful co-chair, Mike Beale, for their ongoing support on this great initiative.

Return to Table of Contents

Recruitment and onboarding

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) values its people; it is implementing and experimenting with new ways to   provide on-the-job learning opportunities for employees, enhance its recruitment processes, and demonstrate that ECCC is a great place to work for the public servants of the future. To achieve this goal, ECCC is improving its hiring processes, ensuring that young employee and students are engaged and fully integrated into the workplace, and supporting employee development.  

Recruitment and Onboarding Processes

ECCC is striving to simplify processes to bring in talent, through several initiatives. These include: simplifying processes to generate speed in staffing through expanded fast-track classifications, maximizing technology to reduce steps in the student and casual employee hiring process and piloting the use of video interviews to assess candidates more efficiently. To support the public service adjusting to the future labour market, ECCC is mobilizing and maximizing talent through talent management, micro-missions and speed mentoring. 

Youth Advisory Committee

ECCC considers engagement of youth to be a key priority for the department, including engaging youth that work within the department. The recently-formed Youth Advisory Committee includes executive and youth representatives from most branches and regions, and seeks to determine what issues are important to youth within the department, encourage and facilitate youth engagement, and serve as a point of coordination and cohesion. It demonstrates that ECCC is open to new ideas, new innovations, new ways of thinking, and diversity in its many forms. Feedback from this committee will be used to provide support and advise several senior level officials in youth related engagement and initiatives.

Environmental Protection Branch Student Network

 The Environmental Protection Branch (EPB) student network was started by students for students with the aim of connecting students working at EPB to their peers. The Network also provides students opportunities to engage, eases integration into the workplace by introducing students to senior management, and helps them to understand EPB’s operations. The Network is very active in promoting social connections and building community amongst geographically dispersed students, and is creating an inclusive and open culture.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Action Network

The Environment and Climate Change Canada Action Network (ECCCAN) is a group of dedicated public servants committed to professional development and revitalizing the department’s culture. Members are keen to help employees connect with each other and get the most out of their workplace. ECCCAN holds annual events, like the national Celebration Breakfast, which focuses on peer recognition to put a spotlight on excellence in our work place. ECCCAN also runs an Annual Career Day, held in the National capital region, which brings people together to develop important networking skills that empower them to get the most out of their careers in the public service. This year, ECCCAN worked with the ECCC 2020 Team to deliver both career advice and activities, and the opportunity to hear innovative stories from around the department, with “ECCC Talks Innovation.” Through its various career-focused activities, ECCCAN offers its members the opportunity to attend stimulating learning events, network with colleagues from across the Department and build key professional skills and competencies.

Employee Development

ECCC also aims to provide multiple learning opportunities for employees to develop skills and competencies that the department will require in the future. Introduction to Lean training was offered in both official languages in several locations to help employees streamline their processes to work more efficiently. Micro-missions were offered to provide employees with opportunities to develop skills and competencies that they would not otherwise be able to develop. Coaching is offered to encourage personal and professional development guidance.


Philippe Gaignery : Bringing in talent can be quite a process. At Environment and Climate Change Canada, we have simplified, streamlined and are maximizing the use of technology. We're being more innovative and making our tools more user friendly. All this in order to be more efficient and responsive. By focusing on recruitment and onboarding, we are creating capability for the future.

Dilhari Fernando : Respect is about creating a sense of belonging by giving everyone a voice, providing interesting work and giving Canadians a say in how their country is shaped. I was just over the moon when I was asked to be the champion of youth engagement at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Our young employees are an important part of the committee that I chair. We give a lot of thought to what it means to respect the environment, on the importance of helping youth to articulate their vision for a greener, cleaner Canada. Respect is about being open to new ideas, new innovations, new ways of thinking, and diversity in all its many forms. Working with our young employees has taught me a lot about respect, for people, for places, and for traditions – eyes of the next generation.

Simon Ghosh : Hi, I’m Simon. When I was a student, my colleague, Chris Lee, and I started a student network in the Environmental Protection Branch. We noticed there was a lack of engagement opportunities for students beyond their immediate work and that was impacting how they saw the organization. So far we have worked to plan activities to support both student engagement and development. For example, we have been holding weekly lunch and learns with professionals across the department to showcase many of the exciting files and to provide excellent career advice to the students. Being a former student myself, I see the impact made by ECCC actively engaging and supporting student development.

Patrick Spicer : Hi, I’m Patrick, from ECCCAN--the Environment and Climate Change Canada Action Network, a group of dedicated public servants committed to professional development and revitalizing our department’s culture. ECCCAN holds annual events, like our national Celebration Breakfast, which focuses on peer recognition to put a spotlight on excellence in our work place. Our Annual Career Day, held in the National capital region, brings people together to develop important networking skills that empower them to get the most out of their careers in the public service. On behalf of the network, I hope to see you at our next event.

Helen Ryan : I am pleased to be here today to talk to you a bit about the job shadowing that I have going on in the Energy and Transportation directorate. 20 of my employees to date have spent the day with me, and essentially what we do is we meet first thing in the morning, and look at what is on my agenda for the day. We talk a little bit about expectations and then after each of the meetings we regroup again and talk about what went on in that meeting, and I try to provide some insight into what I was thinking and why I was making the decisions or giving the directions that I was giving to staff. At the end of the day, we meet again and we talk about whether or not the employee’s expectations were met, and I’m really pleased to say that so far, we have a perfect score of 10 on 10. We do have them complete an evaluation form, and for me, I think I really benefit from this, because I get to know my employees better, we get the opportunity to exchange on a variety of topics, and I get their insight in terms of how I interact with people, and how they see those interactions. So I think overall for the directorate it’s a win-win-win program.

Return to Table of Contents

Other actions to renew the public service

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is playing its part in creating a public service that is innovative, collaborative, and open. Internal initiatives such as the IdeAction Fund demonstrated that ECCC is seeking to encourage employees to take  steps to improve the workplace and service to Canadians. Through partnerships with those internal to government, ECCC is seeking to collaborate to conserve, improve and protect the environment, and support open data initiatives like the Federal Geospatial Platform. ECCC also seeks to partner with all Canadians to address climate change by through multiple engagement initiatives. By empowering employees, leveraging partnerships, and engaging with Canadians, ECCC aims to achieve its mandate of fostering a safe, clean, and sustainable environment for the present and into the future.

IdeAction Fund

ECCC’s innovation fund aims to provide employees with resources such as expert advice, support from senior management, and funding to start innovative projects that will improve the department or service to Canadians. Collaboration cafés were held across the department to help create the conditions for employees’ ideas to succeed, to connect employees with experts and their peers to hone their proposal ideas. Employees across the department submitted proposals which were evaluated by a council made up of employees from around the department.   These project proposals have the potential to increase ECCC engagement with Canadians, improve how we use and collect scientific data, and green the department.

Improving Enforcement through data sharing

The Enforcement Branch partnered with the Marine Security Operations Center (MSOC) and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) to track and analyze vessel traffic in the Arctic, and overlay this information on maps of Arctic protected areas. The combination of mapping and data allows for probability forecasts on when and where vessels will move through northern waters, meaning ECCC can better protect National Wildlife Areas through enforcement or compliance promotion. 

Federal Geospatial Platform: contributing to open maps

The Federal Geospatial Platform (FGP) is a collaborative effort across 21 departments and agencies – including ECCC.   Federal employees can now easily access maps to view geospatial (location-based) data, to support evidence-based decision-making. FGP aims to make geospatial information available in a coherent way to the public, academic institutions, the private sector and others to conduct research or produce products and applications, driving innovation and stimulating economic development. ECCC is a leader and key partner in this initiative by delivering an easy to use map viewer and data catalogue for geospatial data, supplying over 80 important geo-enabled datasets,, and helping to support the growing user community. The data is available to the public through the Open Maps section of the Government of Canada Open Data portal. 

Engaging Canadians in Climate Change

A key aspect of ECCC’s mandate is to take strong action on climate change. However, addressing climate change is a significant undertaking that requires partnering with many stakeholders, including Canadians and international players. ECCC has been working to engage Canadians in a conversation about climate change through multiple channels, including town halls, videos, and social media.

The #CanClimateAction/ActionClimatCan hashtag was created to launch the engagement process and to focus climate change engagement discussions on social media. From April until October 3 there have been 27 111 mentions of the hashtags!  In addition, Canadians were invited to submit their ideas and let others comment on them, enabling dialogue and sharing of ideas among citizens. Over 4,000 participants submitted ideas, almost 3,500 ideas were received and over 10,000 comments were posted. ECCC’s first Facebook Live was launched, and connected participants to an event at Algonquin College with Minister McKenna with climate innovators.   This engagement exercise is helping Canadians connect to the work of ECCC, and ensuring that the department’s work is informed by the ideas and knowledge of Canadians.

Integrating behavioural insights

Groups in the department are considering how behavioural insights could be applied to help achieve program objectives and offer better service to Canadians.  One example is a small test for increasing stakeholder engagement by applying nudges to information distributed to stakeholders about a Regulation.  The initial results suggested that changing the way information was communicated resulted in greater responses.  This example shows that there is potential for further application of this new way of thinking at ECCC.


George Enei : Environment and Climate Change Canada is continuing to change how we work to better deliver on our mandate, and improve the services we provide to Canadians. Employees have become more engaged, collaborative, and respectful; Blueprint 2020 employees are truly living, owning, and sharing the vision of a more nimble and agile public service. Through the IdeAction Fund, ECCC is helping move the innovative ideas of employees to action. The Fund is providing employees resources to implement new ideas, practices, and tools with the potential to strengthen or transform the workplace and how we best serve Canadians.

Jennifer De Bruyn : The IdeAction Fund aims to fund and support innovative ideas, pitched by employees in the department, to improve the workplace and service to Canadians. This initiative aims to empower employees to address problems and find solutions in their workplace. The Fund provides a way to take smart risks, share lessons learned from failure, and move toward solutions. Employees submitted many great proposals, and we are excited to watch these innovative ideas take root. Great things happen when we support the creativity of our employees.

Christian Marcoux : Monitoring vessel and human activities in Arctic Protected areas is a real challenge for Wildlife Enforcement Officers, With the changes in sea ice and the rise in shipping traffic in or near the Northwest Passage, Officers initiated an Intelligence project involving several other federal agencies. The intent of the project is to protect the pristine and sensitive environment and to respond to environmental threats. Since 2013 Wildlife Officers are now using real time satellite data, and surveillance platforms to monitor and enforce shipping activities in the arctic in relation to the department mandate. This is all possible because of the contribution and partnership with the Marine Security Operational Center, the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Daphne Leclerc-Ritchie : The Federal Geospatial Platform is a collaborative effort across 21 departments and agencies including Environment and Climate Change Canada. Through Canada’s Open Government portal, Canadians and Federal employees can now easily access maps to view the most relevant geospatial data to support collaboration, evidence-based decision-making and foster innovation. Environment and Climate Change Canada continues to be a leader and key partner to the Federal Geospatial Platform.

Tina Grznar : Canadians were invited to submit their “canclimateaction” ideas on our interactive website. They were able to comment and share ideas amongst each other. Over 4,000 Canadians participated. There were also a series of town halls that were organized across the country and Canadians were able to utilize some of the materials we developed and everything was able to be shared and showcased on social media using it in different and innovative ways.

Karen Muttersbach : Hello, I’m Karen. I am exploring the use of behavioural insights for increasing stakeholder engagement. Often referred to as ‘Nudging’. I ran a small trial, where we applied nudges to information being sent out on a Regulation. We had 18% of companies respond to us, which was great. But when we added further nudges, over 50% responded to us voluntarily. These initial results show the potential it has for my program and for the Department.

George Enei : This year, Environment and Climate Change Canada has achieved a great deal for both employees and for Canadians, yet we still face many challenges. We are proud to have launched great initiatives, such as e-Signatures and micro-missions that help us serve Canadians better and more efficiently, but it will take time for these initiatives to take root at ECCC. Employees are helping to change our culture and to embrace new ways of delivering the best information and services possible. We look forward to overcoming the obstacles and finding new opportunities for improvement in the year ahead.

Return to Table of Contents

Date modified: