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Public Service Modernization Act

Since its introduction in 2003, the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) is transforming the way the federal government hires, manages and supports its employees. Under PSMA and related legislation, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer has developed resources to inform deputy heads, managers and employees about policies that affect human resources management in federal organizations.


The PSMA is the most significant reform of federal human resources management in almost four decades. Its objectives:

  • create a more flexible staffing framework to manage and support employees and to attract the best people, when and where they are needed
  • foster more collaborative labour-management relations to ensure a healthy and productive workplace
  • clarify accountability for deputy heads and managers.

The central role of learning

The PSMA places great emphasis on providing employees at all levels with learning and training opportunities. As a result, the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) was established to deliver learning activities for all employees in the Public Service.

Improvements in labour relations

An important legislative component of PSMA is the Public Service Labour Relations Act which requires deputy heads to establish and promote an informal conflict management system. This system is designed to help departments and agencies:

  • build strong relationships
  • improve morale
  • improve communication
  • increase productivity
  • build confidence in management
  • provide both tangible and intangible savings
  • provide a fair, flexible, fast and effective way of handling employee disputes.
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