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Succession planning and management guide

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Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject à to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.


Integrated human resources (HR) and business planning has become a critical component of modernizing HR in the public service by enabling organizations to determine their current and future needs and build for them. In order to enhance capacity for integrated planning, the interdepartmental HR planning working group was established and played a key role in developing the Integrated HR and business planning tool kit.

This tool builds on the work by the interdepartmental HR planning working group by providing information specific to succession planning and management strategies. Succession planning has been identified as a top priority among senior leaders in both the private and public sectors See endnote 1 . Trends such as the increasing diversity of the population, competition for skilled employees, and the ageing population reinforce the need to identify and develop skills in targeted areas and implement strategies to pass on corporate knowledge.

This tool is intended to provide departments and agencies with a road map of how to implement succession strategies adapted to their needs. The tool is primarily geared towards HR professionals. However, given that multiple players may be involved in the development and implementation of succession strategies, the tool may be of interest to other audiences, including senior leaders, managers, employees, corporate planners, and bargaining agent representatives. A streamlined version of the tool, entitled succession planning and management tool for managers, has been developed for managers.

This tool can be used to:

  • create a common understanding of succession planning principles and practices within your organization;
  • form the basis for developing tailored succession planning tools, templates, presentations, and/or workshops for your organization;
  • generate ideas about what kind of approach your organization may undertake to better plan and manage succession;
  • improve existing succession planning processes; and
  • serve as a general reference document.

The development of the tool involved a literature review of leading succession planning practices in both the public and private sector; focus groups conducted across regions and with various networks and stakeholders such as HR professionals, managers, functional communities, and bargaining agents; and the participation of over 40 departments and agencies.

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