Staffing Committee

Memorandum to members of the Agency management committee

October 26, 2007

Canada Revenue Agence du revenu
Agency  du Canada
Assistant Commissioner Sous-commissaire



Please ensure that this memorandum is shared directly with all employees and managers within your respective Region or Branch.
On May 10, 2007, certain recommendations for improvements to the Competencies and Resourcing components of Competency Based Human Resources Management (CBHRM) were discussed and approved by the Agency Management Committee (AMC).  The purpose of this memorandum is to apprise you of these changes. 

Work on the implementation of many of these recommendations is already underway and action plans are in place for the remainder.  Further information will be shared to update you as the specific changes come into effect and how these changes have an impact on you. 

It is important to highlight two of these significant changes that have a direct impact on both managers and employees and take effect as follows:

  • Effective immediately, a final Job Competency Profile must be submitted with any request for classification of a new job.  The Job Competency Profile will be approved by the responsible Assistant Commissioner at the same time as the classification decisions for that job. 
  • Effective December 31, 2007, a Pre-Qualification Process (PQP) will be mandatory for any formal selection process initiated where a completed Job Competency Profile exists for the position being staffed.  This requirement does not apply to informal selection processes involving call letters to staff positions on a temporary basis or for Permanent Lateral Moves. 

While many Regions and Branches have been actively involved in using PQPs, some areas have been less involved.  Now that over 93 percent of employees have a completed Job Competency Profile and Observe and Attest (O&A) is well underway, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is ready to move ahead with PQPs. 


As you are aware, one of the reasons for the creation of the Canada Revenue Agency was to have more direct influence and authority over the management of Human Resources (HR).  CBHRM was established as the foundation for human resources management in the Agency.  From the beginning, there has been a continual will to "get it right" and to ensure that we strive to be as effective and efficient as possible in human resources management.  Over time, it has become apparent that aspects of our current resourcing and recourse systems required some reviews as well as assurances that what was originally intended, still continues to be the right direction for the Agency.  This message was communicated from various stakeholders including employees, managers and unions.

To this end, over the past several months, there has been significant effort focused on identifying opportunities for improvements, particularly within the areas of resourcing and recourse.  In addition to the direction established and recommendations proposed by the CBHRM Advisory Committee, a number of working groups were established to review:

  • Job Competency Profiles – the competency catalogue, structure and use of the JCP;
  • Role of Competency Consultants – in the assessment of competencies;
  • Individual Feedback – the provision of Individual Feedback as part of recourse on a selection process.  

These working groups have been comprised of managers and employees from across the Agency as well as representatives from both our bargaining agents, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE).  These representatives worked together to bring forward concerns and suggestions for improvement. 

Competencies and Job Competency Profiles
Certain changes are being made to the structure of job competency profiles.
The category of Organizational Competencies will be removed from the Job Competency Profiles.  The specific competencies will be regrouped as follows:

  • Client Services Orientation and Conflict Management will become Behavioural Competencies.
  • As the cornerstone to CBHRM, a core foundation has been developed to describe "CRA Values and Ethics" which will define the corporate culture for CRA.  This foundation will include:  Supporting CRA Values, Supporting Employment Equity and Diversity, and Commitment to Learning and will be augmented by Official Languages and Sustainable Development.  This foundation will apply to all Agency employees.

As well, the following three Behavioural Competencies will be removed from the Competency Catalogue:

  • Achievement Orientation – this competency focuses on achievements for one’s personal success.
  • Risk Taking – the Agency’s priority is with Risk Management rather than Risk Taking.
  • Stamina Stress Management – is difficult to assess.

Additional tips will be added to the Competency Catalogue to provide further clarification.
The following technical competencies will be removed from the Competency Catalogue:

  • Competencies specifically developed for Customs - Handling Restricted/Prohibited Goods, Personal Protection Techniques and Inspection Techniques.
  • Communicating in Multiple Languages - while this competency is important in certain geographic areas, the focus has been to provide this service on a voluntary basis.
  • Computer Accounting Software – is not being used.

The remaining technical competencies will be reviewed for possible consolidation or removal, based on business needs, for example, duplicate or similar Information Technology competencies.
Further important changes have been approved by the Agency Management Committee:

  • A review of the definition and progression scale has been undertaken to address concerns with regard to Analytical Thinking (level 3), Developing Others (level 4) and Decisiveness (level 4).
  • The number of competencies in a Job Competency Profile will be reduced from a common average of 18 to a maximum of eight behavioural and five technical competencies.
  • The stretch level will be removed from the Job Competency Profile, as the benefits of using the stretch in terms of career development have not been realized. 
  • Standardized tools for assessing technical competencies will be reviewed to ensure they continue to meet business needs of the organization.
  • The value of results achieved from assessments using locally developed tools should be recognized and therefore a review of their use and life span will be undertaken. 

Pre-Qualification Processes - First Line Supervisors

For two competencies in particular, Developing Others and Conflict Management, challenges have been experienced with regard to assessment of level 3 for First Line Supervisory positions.  It is recognized that the required levels for these competencies can only be demonstrated while occupying the position. 

A review of the job competency profiles pertaining to these jobs was therefore undertaken and it has been confirmed that a level 3 is appropriate for these jobs.  

After much consideration of options, the working group recommended that individuals who are able to demonstrate an active behaviour at level 2 will be considered to be qualified for purposes of acceptance into a pool and consideration for future placement.  This recommendation also stipulates once the individual is appointed, there is an expectation for the individual to develop these two competencies in order to achieve the required levels within a six to 12 month period.  This expectation will be formalized through a commitment in their Individual Learning Plan and further re‑assessment of these competencies will be conducted within the six to 12 month period.

Where the individual does not demonstrate the required levels for these competencies within this period, the issue will be addressed through the performance management process. 

To ensure fairness and transparency with respect to placement, the levels achieved for these two competencies will not be used as placement criteria.
Additional information will be issued shortly explaining how this recommendation can be incorporated into selection processes.

Role of the Competency Consultant
The Agency Management Committee is finalizing the recommendations of this working group for decision. 

Individual Feedback
This working group was tasked with the objective of reviewing the Individual Feedback process and identifying ways to improve and enhance the value of Individual Feedback.

I approved these recommendations and an action plan is being developed for implementation.


I believe it is important to highlight that the broader federal public service is following our lead on the use of competencies in human resource management particularly with respect to the creation of generic jobs and competency profiles as well as performance management.  This is an important role for our Agency and we must be careful to ensure that we are taking this role seriously doing our utmost to ensure its success. 
I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have been involved in moving CBHRM forward within our Agency. 
We commit to keeping you apprised of progress on the implementation of these recommendations and their impact on you and our organization. 

Original signed by

Lysanne M. Gauvin

Assistant Commissioner
Human Resources Branch