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ARCHIVED - A Guide to Effective Business Continuity in Support of the Year 2000 Challenge

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Appendix D  -  Business Function Prioritization Approach

1. How to Prioritize Business Functions

To prioritize business functions, departments must utilize a business model that accurately identifies all the functions performed by the organization (Appendix C - Functional decomposition approach). Once assigned a unique function identifier, business functions can then be prioritized using pre-determined criteria. Within the context of the Year 2000 Project, these criteria should be those provided by TBS to determine the "mission-criticality" of specific government functions (i.e. when using the TBS criteria, the higher the function scores the more "mission-critical" it is).

2. Score Business Functions

2.1 Process

The prioritization process consists of scoring functions, found at the lowest level of the business model, based on the TBS criticality criteria and developing a prioritized list of functions that will provide the required framework to structure and sequence business continuity activities.

The total score of a given function is achieved as follows:

  1. using the criteria found in Section D-1, functions should be scored against each criteria on the basis of their ability to have the identified impact. For example, the function "Pay employee" may score low on the criteria dealing with safety and environment but would score higher on economic well being of Canadians and employee morale;
  2. the proposed scale to score each function against the criteria is as follows:

    Low = 1 Medium = 3 High = 5
  3. 2 and 4 are used as intermediate values. 0 is used when the function does not have an impact in this area (Impact on safety, environment, etc.).

  4. to score a function, individuals should ask themselves: "Is the impact's likelihood for a given function low, medium, or high? They would then assign a score from 1 to 5 based on their best judgement (this approach respects the risk concepts because the weighting factor represents the impact and the scores the probability); and
  5. the weighting factors are applied to the total score achieved by a function in a given category. For example, if the total score of a function in the "Impact on Canadians" category is 25, this score would be multiplied by 5 to include the weighting factor assigned to this category. The scores from each category of criteria are then added to obtain the overall score for a given function.

2.2 Deliverable

The deliverable for this activity is a prioritized list of business functions.

3. Techniques and Tools

This table provides a summary of the techniques and tools used for this activity. Details of the techniques and tools can be found in the appropriate sections.

Table D-1: Business Function Prioritization Techniques and Tools


Techniques and Tools

Score Business Functions
  • TBS Criteria – See Section D-1 in this Appendix
  • Sample Prioritized Function List – See Section D-2 in this Appendix

4. Guidelines and Tips

The following are guidelines and tips that can facilitate the performance of this activity.

  1. Get function owners to score their respective functions against criteria, use groups to confirm the final ranking;
  2. Use workshops with all functional areas to achieve the final list; and
  3. Involve the governance structure quickly, as most organizations have not been culturally good at doing cross-functional business function prioritization, to make decisions.

Section D-1: TBS Criteria

The following table summarizes the criteria used to assess business functions as defined by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Weighting factors from 5 (High) to 1 (Low).

Table D-2: Mission-critical Criteria




Impact on Canadians


These criteria lead to the establishment of a government-wide mission-critical function. A government-wide mission-critical function has been defined as a service or function performed by a federal government department or agency:
  1. Which directly impacts the health, safety, security, or economic well-being of Canadians or their environment; and
  2. the loss or interruption of which, even for a short period, is deemed to be an unacceptable risk (recognizing that a Year 2000 failure is likely to take weeks or months to repair). Note: Where these criteria should be applied to business functions, it has been decided that financial systems will be deemed government-wide mission-critical.
  • Health
  Impact on the health/environment of Canadians. Sample business functions associated with this criteria include food inspection, drug management and testing, and other related functions from the "Health Canada" portfolio.
  • Safety
  Impact on the safety of Canadians. Sample business functions associated with that criteria include search and rescue functions.
  • Security
  Impact on the security of Canadians. Sample business functions associated with that criteria include law enforcement, correctional services, and other related functions from the Solicitor General's portfolio. Defence related functions are also associated with this criteria.
  • Economic well being
  Impact on the economic circumstance of Canadians. Sample business functions associated with that criteria include Receiver General functions, Pension, Welfare, and other functions that provide economical benefits to Canadians.
  • Environment
  Impact on the environment of Canadians and Canada. Sample business functions associated with that criteria reside within Environment Canada, environmental response groups in Fisheries and Oceans.
Impact on Obligations


These criteria lead to the establishment of a department-wide mission-critical function. Within the context of this guide, a department-wide mission-critical function has been defined as a service or function performed by a federal government department or agency:
  1. Which will impact a department's service levels, contractual obligations with third parties, obligation to obey the law, regulatory obligations, and their obligations to other government departments, other levels of government, and/or foreign governments; and
  2. that the loss or interruption of which, even for a short period, is deemed to be an unacceptable risk.
  • Service levels
  • Contracts
  • Legal/ Regulatory
  • To other government departments
  Within the Federal government.
  • to other levels of government
  Provincial, Regional, Municipal governments.
  • to foreign governments
Impact on Employees


  • Workload/ ability to cope
  • Morale/Stress
  • Union
Financial Impact


  • On government
  Impact on Federal government where revenue or operating expenditure is affected, or cost is increased.
  • on others

  Section D-2: Sample Prioritized Function List

 Section D-2: Sample Prioritized Function List

ID Code Function Name Relative Score Raw Score Category
5.1.2 SAR Detection of distress alters 1 169 GWMC
5.1.5 SAR SAR coordination 0,99 168 GWMC
5.1.4 SAR Search and rescue planning 0,98 166 GWMC
3.1.1 MCTS Detect and respond safety/distress calls 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.2 MCTS Respond to calls 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.3 MCTS Analyze situation 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.4 MCTS Alert proper agencies 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.5 MCTS Coordinate information process 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.8 MCTS Receive safety information from outside sources 0,94 159 GWMC
3.1.9 MCTS Broadcast safety information 0,94 159 GWMC
5.1.1 SAR Ensure SAR coverage by ressources 0,82 139 GWMC
2.2.2 MNS Provide electronic aids to navigation 0,80 135 GWMC
5.2.2 SAR Environmental response operations 0,79 133 GWMC
5.3.2 ER ER contingency planning exercising 0,79 133 GWMC
2.1.3 MNS Overflow outpout/forecast/control 0,77 130 GWMC
2.1.4 MNS Water level forecasting 0,77 130 GWMC
4.2.2 ICE Ice routing and dice charts info 0,77 130 GWMC
4.4.1 ICE Monitoring of ice conditions 0,77 130 GWMC
4.4.2 ICE Icebreaking for flood control 0,77 130 GWMC