Directive on Digital Talent

The directive supports the development and sustainability of the Government of Canada’s digital community by advancing business intelligence and interdepartmental coordination related to planning, talent sourcing, talent management and leadership.

The requirements to inform, engage with, consult, and report to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Office of the Chief Information Officer of Canada (TBS-OCIO), do not impede the delegation of authority granted to departments to staff, procure, and make operational decisions, as laid out in other policy instruments. The requirements of this directive do not impose any additional approval steps by TBS-OCIO for departments in executing their authorities, nor are timelines for departmental operations expected to be affected.
Date modified: 2023-03-27

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Appendix: Mandatory Procedures on Digital Talent

A.1 Effective date

  • A.1.1These procedures take effect on April 1, 2023.

A.2 Procedures

  • A.2.1These procedures provide details on the requirements set out in section 4 of the Directive on Digital Talent.
  • A.2.2These procedures apply to any person whose primary or contracting function supports the development or delivery of Government of Canada (GC) digital initiatives, products or services. For the purpose of these procedures, digital talent does not refer to those supporting other mandate areas whose daily work requires the use of digital skills and tools. For the purpose of these procedures, scope of digital talent includes:
    • any employee that is classified in the IT group;
    • any person whose primary work function is or is expected to be covered under the mandate authorities of the Chief Information Officer of Canada, including all chief information officers and heads of information technology (IT), but not including corporate support functions, such as administrative professionals and finance;
    • cybersecurity;
    • information management;
    • data management for the development or delivery of a GC digital initiative, service or product;
    • data science and analytics for the development or delivery of a GC digital initiative, service or product; and
    • user‑experience research or service design for the development or delivery of a GC digital initiative, service or product.

Planning and reporting

  • A.2.3Departments are required to complete and submit the Annual Digital Talent Survey in accordance with instruction provide by the Office of the Chief Information Officer at Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS‑OCIO) and are encouraged to use TBS‑OCIO provided tools for data collection. The survey and the tools will be circulated in a manner and timeframe determined by TBS‑OCIO.
  • A.2.4Business owners of digital initiatives are required to submit a Digital Initiative Forward Talent Plan template to TBS‑OCIO if the following thresholds are passed. The forward talent plan does not in any way commit the business owner to any staffing, training, or procurement actions.
    • A.2.4.1The digital initiative is net new and requires the addition of the equivalent of 10 or more net new digital talent full‑time equivalents (FTEs) to a single department; or
    • A.2.4.2An existing digital initiative is being substantially expanded or upgraded and requires the addition of the equivalent of 10 or more net new digital talent FTEs in a single department.
  • A.2.5The Digital Initiative Forward Talent Plan template must be submitted to TBS‑OCIO by the business owner of the digital initiative if either of the conditions in 2.4 is met at the time when any of the following steps occur:
    • A.2.5.1When the new, upgraded or expanded digital initiative receives approval to proceed from the relevant departmental authority (for example, chief information officer, architecture review board, internal finance committee or internal human resources (HR) committee) and prior to initiating digital talent sourcing steps related to the net new portion of the digital initiative;
    • A.2.5.2If a concept case for digital projects is required for the initiative, submit the forward talent plan when the concept case is submitted;
    • A.2.5.3If a Government of Canada enterprise architecture review board (EARB) proposal is required for the initiative, submit the forward talent plan when the EARB proposal is submitted; or
    • A.2.5.4If a Treasury Board submission is being prepared for the initiative, submit the forward talent plan when the Treasury Board submission is submitted.
  • A.2.6Revisions to a submitted Digital Initiative Forward Talent Plan are required under the following conditions. TBS‑OCIO must be notified by email at GCTalentGC@tbs‑ of these changes:
    • A.2.6.1If a forward talent plan was submitted for an initiative along with the concept case for digital projects, an updated plan is required when an EARB proposal is submitted for the same initiative;
    • A.2.6.2The business owner is aware that there have been substantive changes to the forward talent plan after the initial plan is submitted; or
    • A.2.6.3A department elects not to proceed with a substantive component of a talent plan. This is to prevent TBS‑OCIO from launching recruitment campaigns or training activities on the basis of outdated needs assessments.

Digital talent sourcing

  • A.2.7The manager or the delegated authority overseeing the digital talent sourcing process, in collaboration with their HR advisor or contracting authority, is required to take the following actions:
    • A.2.7.1Prior to launching a department‑specific recruitment process for digital talent or initiating a contract for digital services:
      • A. with TBS‑OCIO‑led centralized talent recruitment and talent management pools to verify the availability of existing talent;
      • A. instances where the intent of a recruitment process is to make multiple hires or create a pool of qualified candidates, consult with TBS‑OCIO on the option to run a jointly coordinated recruitment process, leveraging TBS‑OCIO’s talent tools and processes;
      • A. a jointly coordinated recruitment process is not optimal or viable, inform TBS‑OCIO using the Department‑specific Recruitment Process template at the time the recruitment process is posted;
      • A.‑OCIO reserves the right to request follow‑up information on the outcome of these staffing processes. If TBS‑OCIO requests follow‑up information, the Department‑specific Recruitment Process Follow‑up Questionnaire will be used. This is expected to be a step that TBS‑OCIO pursues only in rare cases;
      • A. are strongly encouraged to use the IT Generic Work Streams and standardized job descriptions. If a department‑specific job description is created, departments are required to share a copy with TBS‑OCIO by sending it to the GCTalentGC@tbs‑ mailbox.
    • A.2.7.2In instances where the manager or the delegated authority overseeing the talent sourcing process intends to initiate a contract for digital services, the manager or the delegated authority, in collaboration with the contracting authority, is required to take the following actions:
      • A. and submit the Digital Services Contracting Questionnaire to TBS‑OCIO by email (GCTalentGC@tbs‑ at the time when any contract for digital talent or IT‑related services (including call‑up against an established contracting vehicle) is submitted to departmental procurement authorities for processing.
      • A. to concluding that a shortage of available or qualified digital talent is the primary rationale for contracting out, managers or delegated authorities must confirm with TBS‑OCIO that there is no available pre‑qualified talent in a TBS‑OCIO‑coordinated talent pool that could meet the need in the timeframe provided.
    • A.2.7.3Implement measures identified by TBS‑OCIO to advance diversity, inclusion and equity in the recruitment and development of the GC digital community, as appropriate.
    • A.2.7.4Check relevant Digital Initiative Forward Talent Plans (as required under section A.2.4) for your department.
    • A.2.7.5Ensure your division or unit’s long‑term talent plans are included in the departmental Annual Digital Talent Survey (as required under section A.2.3).

Digital executive roles and structures

  • A.2.8The delegated authorities responsible for the appointment of the departmental CIO, the designated senior official for leading IT, or equivalent senior digital role are required to take the following actions:
    • A.2.8.1Engage TBS‑OCIO by email (GCTalentGC@tbs‑ when a department becomes aware that a departmental CIO position or equivalent senior digital role will become vacant, prior to the selection of an HR vehicle for replacement or candidate selection.
    • A.2.8.2Engage with TBS‑OCIO by email (GCTalentGC@tbs‑ prior to making significant changes to the digital executive organization structure.
    • A.2.8.3Prior to finalizing the executive performance management agreement for the departmental CIO or equivalent senior digital role, engage with TBS‑OCIO to identify and verify government‑wide commitments.
    • A.2.8.4Encourage employee participation in TBS‑OCIO‑led executive talent management initiatives.

Enabling conditions

  • A.2.9Business owners of digital initiatives must work with their financial management advisors or equivalent to ensure that the fiscal parameters of an initiative, project, program, service, or operation reflect the intentional selection of the best options to support delivery through staffing or contracting.
    • A.2.9.1In the planning of new digital initiatives, programs, services or operations, every effort must be made to ensure the necessary financial flexibilities to allow for expenditures in staffing, where appropriate, and to avoid unnecessary dependence on contracting due to financial constraints.
    • A.2.9.2In cases where new or revised funding support is being sought for the digital initiative, all scoping and approval documentation, including memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions, must allow the necessary flexibility to source digital talent as needed, including fiscal structures to support staffing options.
    • A.2.9.3In cases where finance‑related barriers are identified that prevent departments from sourcing digital talent using staffing, engage TBS‑OCIO to verify if there are flexibilities or alternatives, as well as to report the situation for aggregated trend analysis.
  • A.2.10Managers and business owners of digital initiatives must work with their HR advisors to ensure that the organizational structure and staffing options available support digital service delivery and operations, balancing any HR‑related risks carefully against the risks of non‑delivery or artificial dependence on contracting out. Further guidance on flexibilities is provided in the Guidance on Enabling Human Resources Support for Digital Talent.
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