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Modernization Act only applicable to public agencies.

Businesses can breathe a sigh of relief as the recently implemented Public Service Modernization Act is not expected to affect them in any way.

"The Canada Public Service Agency was created in 2003 to put in place a new human resources management regime in the public service of Canada," explains the director of media relations at the Canada Public Service Agency, Sharon Bowles. "The Public Service Modernization Act is internal to government, so it only applies to government departments and agencies and it doesn't have any direct impact on any private sector business."

She explains that the agency was responsible for implementing the Act in various stages and that it was fully introduced on Dec. 31, 2005. The idea behind it is to support healthy and productive workplaces and to modernize some of the key human resource processes and management issues in the public service. They include supporting flexibilities in staffing, improving collaborative labour relations, clarifying managerial roles, and strengthening accountability, while also providing employees at all levels with access to continuous learning opportunities and training.

Ultimately, she believes public service employees across the country will benefit from the act since it touches on such a wide range of workplace issues.

"There was recognition that some of these fundamental areas in human resource management had really not been significantly updated in a long time and there was a need to do that," she says.

She adds that countless people within the agency are working closely with various departments to see how well the Act is being implemented, but indicates the work is on-going and change and results will take place over time.

"It's been implemented, but it's like anything else that's wide-ranging; it's a process, not an event," she says.

The Act represents the biggest change to the public service human resources management in more than three decades. Originally passed by parliament in November of 2003, the Act consists of four pieces of legislation. The first one is the Canadian Centre for Management Development Act, which was renamed the Canada School of Public Service Act on March 1, 2004. It calls for the establishment of a new Canada School of Public Service that would be responsible for integrating and delivering learning activities for all employees in the public service. The second part is the Financial Administration Act, which came into force April 1, 2005. Its job is to put the responsibility for certain aspects of human resources management on the shoulders of deputy heads, who are then subject to the policies and directives of the Treasury Board. It requires an annual report to parliament by the board's president. The Public Service Labour Relations Act also came into affect on April 1, 2005 and it aims to allow for the co-development of workplace improvements, enhance conciliation, provide for negotiated essential service agreements, and asks for the establishment of a new Public Service Labour Relations Board to provide research, analysis, and compensation, in addition to mediation services.


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Author:Ubriaco, Gianni
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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