Hello all. This post will be the first of a recurring series. I searched the Government of Canada web archive for interesting articles and papers. After providing some historical context and a quick summary, I will then ask the readers to consider if the ideas posed are still relevant. Also, are there new ideas to augment the findings?

The first paper discussed is Executive Succession Reconsidered: Planning for Public Service Renewal, published in October 2002 by the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC).

Historical Context

In 2002, Jean Chretien was in his 9th year as Prime Minister, the first contingents of Canadian troops had been sent to Afghanistan and the Canadian Olympic hockey team won their first gold medal in 50 years.


The PSC paper discusses the aging executive cadre in 2002 and poses a question about whether executive feeder groups are sufficient to provide adequate supply as executives and their successors retire. As feeder groups, the authors surveyed managers and professionals on their interest in executive level work, whether those surveyed feel they are ready for executive-level work, and also to identify some of the gaps in the feeder groups. The paper concludes that there was a sufficient supply to meet demand, but the authors provided the following suggestions for succession planning:

– language training is a major capacity issue, especially among English-speaking and visible minority employees;

– other important areas of capacity-building include improving knowledge of working at the political level or with senior management, and leadership skills;

– greater support for training and development – both in time and other resources -could go a long way in preparing feeder employees for executive positions; and

– using a two-pronged approach to succession planning would be highly effective: incorporating general issues (such as increasing awareness of development programs and opportunities) and more specific ones (such as targeting employment equity groups and functional communities).

Your Turn

Does the supply still meet demand?
Do the same suggestions still apply?
Are there any new gaps?

Thanks for reading. Have an awesome month.

Craig Sellars
Craig Sellars is a passionate Canadian public servant and biologist. Connect with Craig on Twitter @CraigSellars.