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ARCHIVED - Management Trainee Program Policy (Archived)

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Policy Objective

The objective of the MTP is to develop highly qualified managers, eligible for appointment to positions at the EX-minus-2 level upon completion of the Program. This is to be done by giving participants experience in a variety of operational settings which will allow them to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to be Public Service leaders. Graduates of the Program will comprise a pool of middle managers with extensive knowledge of the functions, operation and values of the Canadian Public Service from which senior management positions can be filled in the future.

Policy Statement

As part of a larger renewal effort, the Management Trainee Program (MTP) is designed to enrich the pool of middle managers who have the potential to become future leaders of the Public Service. The MTP is an entry level program that generally runs on a 5 year (60 month) cycle, although a shortened 4 year program is possible. The Program recruits and develops qualified university graduates, as well as individuals already employed by the federal government, interested in management careers in the Public Service.

The Program operates under the authority of Treasury Board as the employer, is managed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), and is administered by departments.


This policy applies to departments and agencies listed in Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Policy Requirements

The five constituencies of the MTP are:

  • Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)
  • Public Service Commission (PSC)
  • Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD)
  • Participating departments and agencies, and
  • Management trainee.

Each has its own particular roles and responsibilities which are as follows:

Treasury Board Secretariat

The Human Resources Branch (HRB) of the Secretariat acts as the policy centre for the MTP on behalf of the Treasury Board. Subject to the strategic direction of the Treasury Board, TBS will:

  • seek approval for the resources necessary for the sound functioning of the MTP; - create and monitor classification standards for the Program;
  • determine the terms and conditions of employment;
  • define the MTP policy by formulating Program objectives and operating principles to meet Public Service needs, in consultation with the PSC, CCMD and participating departments and agencies;
  • ensure that the operating principles of the MTP are consistent with Public Service policies including other management training; and,
  • evaluate the Program as appropriate.

The Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission is responsible for the management of the marketing, promotion, recruitment, development and placement components of the MTP on behalf of the Treasury Board. Subject to the policy established by Treasury Board the PSC will:

Market and Promote the MTP by:

  • identifying departmental staffing requirements;
  • developing and implementing a marketing strategy aimed at university students and public servants to stimulate interest in the Program;
  • developing and implementing a marketing strategy geared at placing up to 100 candidates each year, including active promotion of the Program and its benefits to managers across the Public Service;
  • consulting with departments to plan and execute the annual recruitment and selection activities.

Place trainees by:

  • Matching and placing suitably qualified candidates in participating departments, including co-ordinating initial relocation for candidates;

Support the development of trainees by:

  • assisting with career planning and providing advice to help ensure trainees are matched with appropriate assignments; - co-ordinating central agency assignment opportunities and assignments for non-participating departments which are compatible with the developmental needs of trainees, and providing advice and assistance to all parties in negotiating these assignments.

Manage the MTP by:

  • consulting with departments, CCMD and TBS to establish, maintain and update operating principles and guidelines to meet Program objectives;
  • developing guidelines and tools for departments to use in the assessment of trainees for Promotion and Selection Boards, and assisting where necessary;
  • providing overall support to departments in the delivery of the Program, including the provision of an orientation and/or refresher course for Departmental MTP Co-ordinators;
  • maintaining a management information base on aspects of the Program relevant to the needs of the MTP co-ordinator, the PSC and TBS;
  • managing salary and non-salary dollars for assignments within central agencies and for small organizations requesting funds;
  • co-ordinating all aspects of the graduation of trainees from the Program;
  • developing the legal instruments with respect to the Public Service Employment Act, necessary to ensure the smooth operation of the Program;
  • monitoring Program performance and advising the TBS on feedback received from various sources such as departments, trainees, universities etc., regarding Program design, in order to ensure that the MTP meets its objectives.

Canadian Centre for Management Development

CCMD is responsible for the development, delivery and evaluation of the formal training component of the MTP. Subject to the strategic direction of the Treasury Board, CCMD will:

  • consult with departments, PSC and TBS to develop and deliver training which enables participants to acquire: a common orientation to government and the Public Service, a broad understanding of the socio-economic factors which influence decision-making and an understanding of other contemporary management issues;
  • in consultation with departments, TBS and the PSC, determine the frequency and timing of CCMD courses and ensure that participants are advised;
  • review courses periodically to ensure that they continue to meet Program objectives.

Participating Departments and Agencies

To ensure the smooth and effective functioning of the Program participating departments and agencies will:

  • identify a contact person to be known as the MTP Co-ordinator;
  • promote the MTP and provide information on the Program to managers and potential candidates;
  • establish departmental procedures for determining the number of trainees required annually;
  • identify executives or equivalent level managers to assist in the selection process and to act as mentors for trainees;
  • ensure that trainees have and follow individual development plans reflecting service-wide MTP requirements, departmental competencies and individual needs;
  • provide assignments which are consistent with the objectives of the Program service-wide and which provide a meaningful challenge to both trainees whom they sponsor and to trainees from other departments who may come on assignment to them;
  • ensure that assignment objectives and performance indicators are clearly identified and that work performance is frankly and accurately assessed in detail;
  • request the assistance of the PSC, if required, in identifying assignments outside the home organization;
  • maintain the obligations of a home organization for trainees on assignment outside the department including maintaining communication with them, passing along significant departmental information, periodically reviewing their progress and arranging for smooth re-entry;
  • provide trainees with a five year plan, and ensure they receive annual assignment descriptions, as well as regular evaluations throughout the MTP cycle;
  • provide the PSC with regular reports on trainee activities, including promotion board results and Performance Review Reports;
  • ensure that upon individual completion of the Program, participants are appointed to positions reflecting their qualifications; in the case of trainees who successfully complete all aspects of the Program, this should be to a position at the EX-minus-2 level, unless the deputy head has agreement to operate a four year version with an EX-minus-3 outcome; - assist trainees in identifying a mentor and provide advice as required to managers and trainees; - organize MM2 and MM3 promotion boards; provide training on promotion boards to departmental managers.


To ensure the smooth functioning of the Program trainees will:

  • actively seek out assignments and other learning opportunities consistent with their development plan;
  • participate in the development of a five year plan and annual assignment descriptions;
  • take full advantage of the training and assignment opportunities provided to further their career objectives;
  • develop and expand upon a network of contacts;
  • maintain communication with their Departmental Co-ordinator;- provide on a timely basis, all necessary documents pertinent to the promotion board ; - attend all mandatory CCMD and departmental training courses.


In monitoring the MTP, TBS will rely upon management information from the PSC, CCMD, departments and agencies, trainees and periodic program evaluations.


Salary Administration Policy - Compensation Volume


Enquiries about this policy should be referred to the Departmental MTP Co-ordinator at departmental headquarters who may in turn, as appropriate, direct questions to:

Management Trainee Program
Recruitment and Development Programs Division
Recruitment Programs and Priority Administration Directorate
Public Service Commission

Management Trainee Program
Human Resources Branch,
Treasury Board Secretariat

Appendix A - Management Trainee Program Policy Administration

1. Purpose

This appendix presents guidelines for the consistent application of the Management Trainee Program policy.

2. Definitions

Ab Initio
(Ab Initio) - non-employee status conferred on external candidates who take initial language training prior to appointment to the Public Service as a trainee (MM classification group). Candidates who accept Ab Initio (AIO) status are not deemed to be trainees.
Departmental Co-ordinator
(Co-ordinateur ministriel) - an individual designated by a department to administer the Program within the department and attend to trainees' concerns.
Extended leave
(cong prolong) - any continuous leave or combinations of leaves exceeding 60 consecutive working days (3 months).
(externe)- a participant in the MTP recruited from outside the Public Service.
Home Organization
(ministre d'attache) - a department or agency that assumes responsibility for a trainee, sponsors the trainee for the duration of the Program, and co-ordinates the final placement of the trainee.
(interne) - a participant in the MTP recruited from within the Public Service.
Management trainee
(stagiaire en gestion) - an individual recruited externally or internally to the Public Service and appointed to the Public Service under the MTP. They are classified in the MM group. Also referred to in this policy as "trainee".
Public Service
(Fonction publique) - the departments and agencies listed in Part I, Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

3. Operating Principles

The selection, education and assignment phases of the MTP will operate in a manner consistent with the following principles:

3.1 Selection

Each year, up to 100 candidates are accepted into the Program. These people must:

  • have recently obtained a master's degree from a recognised university if applying from outside of the Public Service; or have a bachelor's degree and no more than three years experience if applying from within the Public Service;
  • show commitment to developing a professional management career in the federal Public Service;
  • demonstrate the potential to develop the skills required to be effective Public Service managers;
  • be bilingual to the C-B-C level, or show both the willingness and ability to become bilingual. Those not meeting the language requirements at the time of recruitment are provided with up to twelve months of government-sponsored language training before appointment to the Program;
  • be willing to relocate and travel as required;
  • successfully complete a rigorous recruitment process.

3.2 Training and Development

The educational component of the MTP is an integral part of the Program that is mandatory for all participants. Its purpose is to provide trainees with a common orientation to government and the Public Service and to ensure that they acquire a broad understanding of the factors that influence government decision making. Formal training provides a foundation of knowledge to enable trainees to succeed in the Program and perform well in their home organizations. It includes courses provided by the Canadian Centre for Management Development (CCMD) as well as a Management Orientation Program run either by departments or by Training and Development Canada.

The educational component is interspersed throughout the Program's 60 month cycle, which allows trainees to continually expand their understanding of contemporary management issues, and to actively reflect upon what is learned in assignments.

3.3 Language Training

Candidates who are not bilingual and who were recruited after March 1995 must complete language training and obtain a C-B-C level before formal entry into the Program and, in the case of those not already employed by the government, before appointment to the Public Service. External candidates on language training have Ab Initio status and will not be retained in the MTP or, with certain exceptions, in the Public Service generally, if they do not meet the C-B-C level within a maximum of 52 weeks. PSC co-ordinates language training for "ab-initio" candidates who do not meet the C-B-C requirement.

Candidates who are not bilingual and who were recruited before March 1995 must complete language training and obtain a B-B-B level before exiting the Program. Language training must be completed at any time during the 60 month cycle within a maximum of 52 weeks. Since trainees may require up to a year for training purposes, departments must ensure that training is provided for within the prescribed period.

3.4 Assignment

On-the-job assignments form the core of the Program curriculum by allowing participants to apply the theories, principles and practices, presented during the educational phase. To develop knowledge, abilities and managerial skills, assignments must be progressively more challenging and should require trainees to work in a variety of different situations.

4. Home Organizations

Trainees are sponsored by one department or agency throughout their time on the Program, although they can have assignments in other departments and/or agencies. The sponsoring department or agency, also called the home organization, retains the responsibilities of an employing organization including the commitment to offer trainees having completed all requirements for successful graduation, positions that are consistent with the EX-minus-2 level.

All assignments must be approved by the home organization although sponsorship of a participant may be transferred to another department or agency at any time, provided that all parties agree.

5. Graduation

To be considered an MTP graduate, participants:

  • must complete 60 months of progressively more responsible assignments (including time spent on language training for trainees appointed before March 16, 1995, and exclusive of time spent on extended leave);
  • must be assessed "fully satisfactory" or higher during this period, with the exception of one lesser assessment;
  • must complete all mandatory CCMD training;
  • must complete the middle management orientation course;
  • must meet Official Language proficiency requirements;
  • must have experience in supervising or leading groups/teams;
  • must meet additional department-specific requirements as set by the home organization.
  • should have worked in the home department;
  • should have worked at a location outside and inside the National Capital Region;
  • should have worked in a central agency;
  • should have experience in serving the public;
  • should have experience in at least one of finance, human resources, material management, or policy development position; and,
  • should have experience in a related operational department (optional).

Upon graduation trainees are expected to assume a managerial position at the EX-minus-2 level.

6. Termination

Participation in the MTP terminates under any of the following circumstances:

  • after five years (60 months) from the commencement of the Program exclusive of time spent on extended leave or official language training;
  • when a participant withdraws from the Program voluntarily;
  • upon premature termination of an assignment without the consent of the PSC's MTP program office or the departmental MTP co-ordinator who arranged the assignment; or,
  • when a trainee exhibits continued poor performance (i.e. has more than one evaluation of less than fully satisfactory) or fails to comply with the requirements for continuing participation as outlined in this policy or in any of the individual's assignment agreements.

7. Four Year (48 month) MTP

A department or agency can apply to the Secretary of Treasury Board for the authority to operate a four year (48 month) Program with an expected target outcome of EX-minus-3 for successful graduates. Once approved, the department or agency must inform the PSC so that it may recruit accordingly.