Operating Principles of the Public Service Commission

1. Preamble

Given that the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) gives broad latitude to the Commission on its internal operations, the purpose of the operating principles is to provide guidance for its operations within the scope of responsibilities provided under the PSEA.

2. The Commission Guiding Principles and Authorities

2.1 The following principles will guide the Commission in all its deliberations and ensure respect of due process:

  • 2.1.1 Leadership: The Commission provides strategic leadership to the organization in establishing its vision and mission, by approving policies that respect the spirit and the letter of the PSEA and ensuring that they are implemented.
  • 2.1.2 Values and ethics: The Commission establishes and nurtures a culture valuing trust, open debate, self-examination, fairness, transparency and respect for all. It engages in practices which are effective, efficient and ethical, and in line with the Public Service Commission Code of Conduct.
  • 2.1.3 Collegiality: The Commission is fully cognizant of its collective responsibilities under the PSEA and works together as a governing entity of the organization in fulfilling these responsibilities.
  • 2.1.4 Collaboration: The Commission ensures that mechanisms and processes are in place to ensure that employees and stakeholders are actively committed and involved, on an ongoing basis, in shaping its values, policies, programs and services.
  • 2.1.5 Accountability: The Commission is ultimately responsible for the transactions and affairs of the Commission and is accountable to Parliament.
  • 2.1.6 Bilingualism: The Commission supports and encourages the use of both official languages.

2.2 The mandate of the Commission is described in the PSEA, under section 11:

  • "(a) to appoint, or provide for the appointment of, persons to or from within the public service in accordance with this Act;
  • (b) to conduct investigations and audits in accordance with this Act; and
  • (c) to administer the provisions of this Act relating to political activities of employees and deputy heads"

2.3 The Commission also has the authority to delegate and organize its internal activities to service organizations under section 13:

"Any power or function of the Commission under this Act, other than under section 20 or 22, may be exercised or performed by any Commissioner or employee of the Commission authorized by the Commission to do so and, if so exercised or performed, is deemed to have been exercised or performed by the Commission."

2.4 Subordination of the Operating Principles to the Commission's Decisions

As the Record of Decision (RoD) of the Commission may, from time to time, include decisions that will impact on the operations of the Commission, it is hereby confirmed that the Operating Principles are subordinate to Records of Decision. Should there be any conflict or contradiction between a RoD and the Operating Principles, the RoD will take precedence.

3. The Commission's Governance Framework

3.1 The Commission

  • Is composed of the President and the Commissioners.
  • Provides strategic direction to the organization in establishing its vision, mission and core values, and ensuring their implementation.
  • Subject to the limits of the PSEA, delegates, at its discretion and under its conditions, certain of its authorities to the President, the Commissioners and Commission employees within the organization.
  • Provides advice on external communications, including relationships with parliamentarians and deputy heads.
  • May delegate any power or function, other than under section 20 or 22 of the PSEA, to any commissioner or employee of the Commission.

3.2 The Commissioners

  • Attend meetings of the Commission.
  • Participate in the Commission's discussions and make decisions.
  • Participate in any activities as requested by the Commission.

3.3 The President

  • Generally, presides over the meetings of the Commission.
  • Acts as the spokesperson for the Commission with key stakeholders.
  • Is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission.

3.4 Commission Meetings

  • Regular participants at Commission meetings are:
    • Vice-Presidents
    • Corporate Secretary
    • General Counsel
    • Director General, Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
    • Secretary, Committees, Corporate Secretariat.
  • The Commission will use meetings as the prime forum to conduct its business.
  • Commission meetings will be held regularly, at the Head Office of the Commission or at such other place as determined by the President, in consultation with the Commissioners.
  • A Commissioner may be designated to preside over a meeting of the Commission in the President's absence.
  • Under normal circumstances, notice of meetings of the Commission shall be given not less than 48 hours before the time when the meeting is to be held.
  • Notwithstanding such notice, the President or any Commissioner may call an emergency meeting of the Commission when urgent matters of business require it.
  • The quorum for a meeting of the Commission is a majority of the members of the Commission. Commissioners may attend meetings either in person, by teleconference or by any other electronic means acceptable to the Commission.
  • The Commission may request the presence of any invitees needed to address issues of interest for the Commission.
  • The Commission may hold its meetings in camera.
  • All agendas, minutes and records of decisions shall be in both official languages.
  • Decisions of the Commission are captured in Records of Decision.
  • Vice-Presidents may recuse themselves when a subject may put them in real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.

3.5 The Vice-Presidents

  • Provide advice to the Commission.
  • See to the implementation of the Commission's decisions.
  • Report to the Commission on the implementation of the Commission's decisions.
  • The Vice-President for the Corporate Management Branch participates as an observer only when a subject may put the Vice-President in a real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.

3.6 The Corporate Secretary

  • Ensures the implementation of the governance process as formulated in these operating principles.
  • Serves as custodian of Commission Records of Decisions and minutes of meetings, and as guardian of corporate memory.
  • Ensures appropriate information flow between the Commission and meeting participants.
  • Provides support to the Commission, including co-ordination of activities relating to the conduct of formal and informal Commission business.
  • Appends the committee structure and Terms of Reference for each committee of the Commission to this document and isreviewed by the Corporate Secretary, as required.
  • Co-ordinates invitees' presence.

3.7 The General Counsel

  • Is a Justice Department representative assigned to the Commission.
  • Provides legal advice to the Commission, and any other advice required.

3.8 The Director General of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs

  • Provides support and co-ordinate the Commission's and the President's public communications.
  • Provides advice on communication strategies to the President and the Commission.

3.9 Decision-making Procedures

  • Decisions of the Commission are generally made at meetings of the Commission unless otherwise delegated, pursuant to section 13.
  • A Record of Decision should reflect the fact that decisions are made at a Meeting of the Commission and should also reflect the date on which the decision was made when it was signed.
  • The Commission works towards a consensus on all decisions.

3.10 Committees of the Commission

  • The Commission may create committees, as it sees fit, in order to meet its obligations.