Public Service Renewal

Toward a charter of public service

by Ralph Heintzman. Posted June 10, 2014


Genuine renewal of the federal public service requires a new “moral contract” between the public service, ministers, and parliament in support of the values of a professional, non-partisan public service.

A new “moral contract” is required because the boundary between political and public service values has become blurred at the highest levels, a problem identified by the Gomery Commission, by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons, by the political parties themselves, and by leading scholars. As recommended by numerous task forces, commissions and experts, a new “moral contract” should take the form of a Charter of Public Service, which both houses of parliament unanimously committed to establish, in 2005.

In this paper, Ralph Heintzman argues for the implementation of a Charter of Public Service, which will have at least four key pillars:

  1. the values and ethics of public service;
  2. strengthening the deputy minister’s role as accounting officer;
  3. reforming the process for the appointment of deputy ministers; and
  4. new rules for government communications.

The paper concludes with 29 specific policy recommendations. Download the paper in both French and English below.

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