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Evaluation of the Canadian Foreign Service Institute

(January 2007)

(PDF Version, 255 KB) *

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations and Symbols

CBS
- Canada-based Staff
CFSC
- Centre for Intercultural Learning
CFSD
- Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management
CFSI
- Canadian Foreign Service Institute
CFSL
- Centre for Language Training
CFSM
- Management Services, Canadian Foreign Service Institute
CFSS
- Centre for Corporate Services Learning
CIC
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CIDA
- Canadian International Development Agency
CSPS
- Canada School of Public Service
DFAIT
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
DG
- Director General
DMC
- Departmental Management Committee
DND
- Department of National Defence
FLT
- Foreign Language Training
FSD
- Foreign Service Directive
FSDP
- Foreign Service Development Program
FSO
- Foreign Service Officer
FTE
- Full-time Equivalent
GLI
- Global learning Initiative
HAM
- Area Management Office, Human Resources Branch
HCM
- Human Resources Branch
HOM
- Head of Mission
HRMS
- Human Resources Management System
IMS
- Integrated Management System
IPT
- Individual Professional Training
IT
- Information Technology
LES
- Locally Engaged Staff
LMS
- Learning Management System
MCO
- Management and Consular Officer
OAG
- Office of the Auditor General
OD
- Organization Development
OLT
- Official Language Training
PAFSO
- Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
PSC
- Public Service Commission
PSMA
- Public Service Modernization Act
PWGSC
- Public Works and Government Services Canada
RCMP
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
S Branch
- Corporate Services Branch
SERV
- Service Centre, Employee Services Division
SXMT
- Training Division, Information Management and Technology Bureau
TD
- Temporary Duty
TOWH
- Training Outside Working Hours
ZIE
- Evaluation Division, Office of the Inspector General

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Executive Summary

Background

The Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI) is the primary training source for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). DFAIT employs nearly 10,000 personnel located at headquarters and at more than 270 offices in 180 countries. Approximately 55 percent of departmental personnel are locally engaged staff (LES) - citizens of host countries - working mostly in administrative and support positions but also as trade officers, public affairs officers, and mission administration officers. The remaining 45 percent are rotational Canada-based staff (CBS), spending portions of their career at headquarters and portions on assignments at missions lasting from two to four years, and non-rotational staff at headquarters.

Prior to 1992, DFAIT employees received training on an ad hoc basis. A study conducted at that time identified the potential benefits associated with the development of a formal training program for new foreign service officers (FSOs). Consequently, the CFSI was established on April 1, 1992 to provide these benefits.

The CFSI's mandate was revised in 1997 and again in 2002. The current mandate is contained in the Deputy Minister's Learning Policy announced in 2002. The ten services provided under the authority of the revised mandate include statements which support organizational learning, partnership with other government departments for learning activities, development and monitoring of training models/programs within DFAIT to ensuring international reach and quality of product delivered.

The Institute is a bureau of the Human Resources Branch (HCM), DFAIT. CFSI is organized into four Centres:

  • Centre for Corporate Services Learning (CFSS): The CFSS provides training to DFAIT personnel on corporate service competencies in such areas as enterprise resource planning systems (e.g., the Integrated Management System and the Human Resources Management System); information management and technology; orientation; occupational health and safety; financial management, property and materiel management; and, locally engaged personnel management. The CFSS also provides training services in support of the In-Canada Program for LES, the Management Consular Development Program and the Administrative Assistant Program.
  • Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management (CFSD): The CFSD provides training to new foreign service officers under the Foreign Services Development Program (FSDP), and courses primarily for rotational staff in trade, security, diplomacy and general management skills.
  • Centre for Language Training (CFSL): The CFSL provides training in official languages and training in over 50 foreign languages. CFSL serves primarily DFAIT.
  • Centre for Intercultural Learning (CFSC): The CFSC provides training, information services and research related to intercultural effectiveness, including pre-posting training to a number of government departments, non-government and private sector organizations. Almost 90 percent of CFSC's services are funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help CIDA-funded organizations in their work abroad. CFSC also provides pre-posting training to DFAIT personnel.

Evaluation Scope and Objectives

In 2005, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada mandated the Evaluation Division (ZIE) to conduct an evaluation of CFSI. This study represents the first comprehensive and independent review of CFSI since 1995. The evaluation focused on developing an accurate profile of the Institute and on answering strategic level questions relating to the Institute's relevance, success, and cost-effectiveness.

The evaluation scope included the entire life span of the Institute, with a detailed examination of the available data within the last fiscal year - 2004-2005. Nearly 100 stakeholders were interviewed and more than 240 documents were reviewed.

Findings and Conclusions

The findings of the evaluation portray an established and mature institution offering a comprehensive range of professional development programs and courses generally characterized by a high level of quality. The Institute represents a substantial investment for DFAIT. Over the years, this investment has helped create a workforce of executives, FSOs, MCOs, LES, and non-rotational headquarters staff possessing a high level of standardized knowledge and skills in a range of competencies, from information technology to mission management.

Relevance: There is a perception among some DFAIT personnel that CFSI has become disconnected from the front line work of the Department. The CFSI plays an important role within the Department, and potentially the Government of Canada, therefore it is crucial that the mandate of the Institute be renewed, and its role strengthened. The fundamental rationale remains sound for a departmental training operation providing education services through a single cohesive vehicle, such as a Centre of expertise, from which other government departments can benefit. Responsibility for identifying employee performance requirements and ensuring employee development lies with departmental managers. The CFSI needs to meet the learning needs identified by managers, assuming the role of a demand-driven operation to strengthen the Institute's utility and relevance.

The evidence also showed that CFSI's practices are not fully integrated with the DFAIT human resources policies and practices relating to training and learning (e.g., policies and practices regarding assignments record keeping). This affects quality and efficiency of learning in the Department.

There is a desire on the part of DFAIT senior management to continue to solidify the Department's central position within the Government of Canada with respect to International affairs by attracting to CFSI personnel from other government departments to create a Centre of excellence in International affairs training. Yet, to date, CFSI has not succeeded to tailor or market its programs to other government departments and it has failed to negotiate agreements for shared training even with close partners such as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Success: The Institute offers an impressive range of well-regarded training services, such as the Head of Mission (HOM) pre-departure program, courses in International affairs topics, the Management Consular Officer (MCO) program, the LES In-Canada program, Intercultural training for CIDA, and foreign language training program. CFSI also offers a good range of both instructor-led and self-directed online courses for which it is recognized internationally as a global leader. However, gaps have been identified in the CSFI suite of training services representing desired subjects for which training is currently not offered (e.g., training on political reporting, training on new treaties and declarations, and training on International development). The evidence showed weaknesses in CFSI's capacity to systematically and rigorously plan and evaluate training.

Cost-effectiveness: The evaluation found evidence of inefficiency as a result of accumulated structural and strategic factors. A number of CFSI's courses duplicate courses offered to DFAIT employees by the Canada School for Public Service (CSPS), and the provision of some courses and related services (who does what) is arbitrary. Accordingly, CFSI needs to rationalize the services offered within the full range of training available to DFAIT employees. In addition, changes in several administrative areas will improve the Institute's efficiency allowing more to be accomplished, at higher quality levels, reaching more trainees.

Recommendations

Detailed recommendations stemming from the analysis are contained in the main report. In summary, it is recommended that:

Relevance:

  1. CFSI renew its mandate. Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.
  2. CFSI modify its organizational structure in line with its renewed mandate and training services, including complementary services with a view to consolidating its suite of activities and unifying its image within the Department. Action: HCM and CFSI.
  3. DFAIT reaffirm departmental managers responsibility for the professional development of their employees, including substantive and functional training, training related to posting preparation, Individual Professional Training (IPT), Training Outside Working Hours (TOWH), and foreign and official language acquisition. Action: DFAIT Management Committee.
  4. DFAIT review all policies related to the training of personnel, and CFSI review its activities to be consistent with DFAIT policies. Action: DFAIT Management Committee, HCM and CFSI.
  5. CFSI renew/create relationships and agreements regarding training activities with key agencies and departments to strengthen coordination/partnership. Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

Success:

  1. CFSI conduct a full departmental training needs assessment every three to five years, beginning immediately. Action: CFSI.
  2. CFSI ensure flexibility and accessibility of current and future training courses and programs, within a structure that provides a common core of required training. Action: CFSI.
  3. CFSI centralize and strengthen its capacity for program and course planning and evaluation. Action: CFSI.

Cost-effectiveness:

  1. CFSI rationalize its courses within the broad environment of training available to DFAIT and to the Government of Canada employees. Action: CFSI.
  2. CFSI maximize cost-effectiveness when choosing and implementing pedagogical methods associated with each CFSI course or program, particularly maximizing use of online training. Action: CFSI.
  3. CFSI consolidate and improve administrative functions, and review human resources requirements to maximize cost-effectiveness. Action: CFSI.
  4. CFSI is accommodated in a single location. Action: CFSI.

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1.0 Introduction

1.1 Institute Profile

1.1.1 CFSI Overview

Established in 1992, the Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI) is the primary training source for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT). The CFSI supplies substantive training services to all levels of Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), including heads of mission (HOM), and to all other departmental personnel, as required. The Institute offers training in approximately 50 different languages. In a typical year, employees may receive instruction in 15 different languages, depending on the requirements that year. The CFSI provides pre-posting Intercultural training as well as training in a wide range of corporate and administrative areas.

DFAIT employs nearly 10,000 personnel located at headquarters and at more than 270 offices in 180 countries. Approximately 55 percent of departmental personnel are locally engaged staff (LES), citizens of host countries working mostly in administrative and support positions, but also as trade officers, public affairs officers, and mission administration officers. The others are rotational Canada-based staff (CBS), spending portions of their career at headquarters and portions on assignments at missions lasting from two to four years, and non-rotational staff at headquarters.

Prior to 1992, DFAIT employees received training on an ad hoc basis. A study conducted at that time noted the potential benefits associated with the development of a more formal program of training for new FSOs. Consequently, the CFSI was established on April 1, 1992. A news release published on September 30, 1992 defined CFSI's role as follows:

"to support the Department's goal of establishing a work environment that encourages training and development of all personnel, throughout their careers. It will help to develop the skills, knowledge and motivation of Canada's foreign service personnel in the effort to promote the interests of Canada in the world."

Today, the Institute provides: instructor-led, classroom-based training; user-directed, online training; and, live, remote training (wherein an instructor in Ottawa is connected by telephone and computer with up to six students at missions). Since 1996-1997, CFSI has published an annual report, called Report on Learning, describing training activities for the year. According to the Report on Learning 2004-2005, CFSI provided a total of 42,659 student-days of training, representing substantial growth since 1999-2000 (the first year such statistics were reported) when CFSI supplied approximately 23,000 student-days. A student-day is defined as a day spent in training by a single individual.

1.1.2 Intended Results

The current mandate of the Canadian Foreign Service Institute is defined in the Deputy Minister's Learning Policy, announced in 2002:

[The Canadian Foreign Service Institute is] committed to:

  • being a Centre of Excellence in organizational learning and working with the [Canada School of Public Service] and other partners in offering the best array of learning opportunities;
  • providing advice and guidance to Senior Management on the establishment and attainment of Departmental learning objectives;
  • providing information, services, tools and advice in support of the development, design, delivery and evaluation of formal training courses, organizational development activities and informal learning initiatives;
  • creating an increased awareness of the critical role of managers (Supervisors, Directors and Directors General) in promoting, enhancing and sustaining opportunities for formal and informal learning;
  • providing Managers with the support necessary for the development of Divisional and Bureau learning plans;
  • working with Divisions and Bureaus to systematically capture the "lessons learned" or "best practices" from significant events or activities in order to transfer critical knowledge more effectively;
  • using technology as a means of promoting learning and transferring knowledge;
  • continuously evaluating and improving on its training and learning support services - including, where appropriate, the confirmation of skill acquisition following the completion of learning activities;
  • providing an annual scorecard of the learning events and activities taking place throughout the Department;
  • developing and supporting strategic alliances with other governmental learning institutions to share information, expertise, materials and facilities, in areas of common interest.

The Institute does not have a published statement of intended results. However, a simple logic model of CFSI results might appear as follows:

CFSI results

1.1.3 Organizational Structure

The Institute is a Bureau of the Human Resources Branch (HCM), DFAIT. Currently CFSI is organized into four Centres:

  • Centre for Corporate Services Learning (CFSS): The CFSS provides training to DFAIT personnel on corporate service competencies in such areas as enterprise resource planning systems (e.g., the Integrated Management System and the Human Resources Management System); information management and technology; orientation; occupational health and safety; financial management, property and materiel management; and, locally engaged personnel management. The CFSS also provides training services in support of the In-Canada Program for LES, the Management Consular Development Program and the Administrative Assistant Program.
  • Centre of Learning for International Affairs and Management (CFSD): The CFSD provides training to new foreign service officers under the Foreign Services Development Program (FSDP), and courses primarily for rotational staff in trade, security, diplomacy and general management skills.
  • Centre for Language Training (CFSL): The CFSL provides training in official languages and training in over 50 foreign languages. CFSL serves primarily DFAIT.
  • Centre for Intercultural Learning (CFSC): The CFSC provides training, information services and research related to intercultural effectiveness, including pre-posting training to a number of government departments, non-government and private sector organizations. Almost 90 percent of CFSC's services are funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help CIDA-funded organizations in their work abroad. CFSC also provides pre-posting training to DFAIT personnel.

Until recently, a fifth Centre entitled Management Services (CFSM) was providing some common services including: maintenance of the physical facilities, financial services, staffing support, and common development and support. The ten positions associated with this Centre were redeployed as follows: two staff moved to HAM; five report to CFSS; and, three positions (the director and two senior officers) were vacated.

The Institute is headed by a Director General (DG) and four directors, one managing each Centre. Overall leadership is provided by a recently constituted Governance Committee comprised of senior officials representing DFAIT, the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), CIDA, the Department of National Defence (DND) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

1.1.4 Human, Financial and Materiel Investments

A total of 42,659 student-days was provided within DFAIT by CFSI in 2004-2005. Of this total, 41,972 student-days were attended by DFAIT employees and 687 student-days were attended by others (e.g., spouses, contractors, and employees of other government departments not including CIDA).

As demonstrated in the chart below, the three largest segments of CFSI student-days dispensed to DFAIT employees were in the following subject areas: Corporate Training (20.3% of student-days), Foreign Language Training (FLT, 17.9% of student-days); and Official Language Training (OLT, 22.1% of student-days). The remaining CFSI student-days were provided to DFAIT employees in International Affairs Training (9.4% of student-days), Individual Professional Training (IPT) and Training Outside Working Hours (TOWH, 6.0% student-days combined), Management Training (5.2% of student-days), Organization Development (OD, 2.5% of student-days), and Intercultural Training (0.8% of student-days).

DFAIT Student Days, 2004-2005

DFAIT Student Days, 2004-2005

Based on current statistics in the DFAIT Human Resources Management System (HRMS), an additional 8029 or more student-days of training were consumed in 2004-2005 by DFAIT employees outside of the Institute. This figure includes only reported student-days and likely underestimates the true figure considerably. This estimate represents 15.7 percent of all student-days of training taken by DFAIT employees in 2004-2005 (see chart, above). The training included: Information Management and Technology Bureau (SXMT) training; Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) training; the Global Learning Initiative (GLI) training provided to trade commissioners at headquarters and at missions; Service Centre, Employee Services Division (SERV) training; some Consular Division training; security training; Trio training; and, ad hoc training commissioned by individual managers at headquarters and abroad.

CFSI also provided in 2004-2005 an estimated 6,000 student-days of Intercultural training to 2,723 employees of CIDA-funded organizations.

The DFAIT appropriation allocated to CFSI in 2004-2005 was $13.6 million. As shown in the table below, CFSI's departmental appropriation has fluctuated over the years with overall moderate growth since 1994-1995 when the figure was $10.1 million. In 1999-2000, the first year that related statistics were recorded in the Institute's annual report, approximately 23,000 student-days training was provided against a departmental appropriation of $8.8 million. This compares to 42,659 student-days against a departmental appropriation of $13.6 million in 2004-2005.

CFSI Departmental Appropriations, 1994-1995 through 2004-2005 ($000,000s)
1994-
1995
1995-
1996
1996-
1997
1997-
1998
1998-
1999
1999-
2000
2000-
2001
2001-
2002
2002-
2003
2003-
2004
2004-
2005
10.19.89.48.87.58.811.611.213.313.413.6

CIDA contributed $3.8 million to CFSI in 2004-2005 in support of the Intercultural training for employees of CIDA-funded organizations. Thus, CFSI's total 2004-2005 expenditure, comprising the DFAIT appropriation and the CIDA contribution, was $17.4 million. This amount covered 87 occupied full-time equivalent staff positions (FTEs), payments totaling $5.2 million to CFSI's three largest contractors which provided FLT, OLT and Intercultural training, as well as operational expenses including equipment costs, travel costs, and payments to other contract instructors and suppliers.

CFSI's classrooms, offices and adjunct space occupy a total of 9,204 square metres. Most of this space is in the Bisson Centre in Gatineau where virtually all FLT, OLT and Intercultural training is conducted. The remaining space is found mostly in the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa where CFSS, CFSD, and the Director General's office are located. The cost of CFSI's accommodations, absorbed by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) on behalf of the Crown, is currently estimated at $2.3 million per year.

1.2 Evaluation Context

1.2.1 Evaluation Overview and Objectives

The present study represents the first comprehensive, independent review of CFSI since 1995. In 2005, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs asked the Evaluation Division (ZIE) to conduct an evaluation of CFSI. ZIE decided that the evaluation would proceed in two phases. Phase I focused on determining the appropriate scope and methodology for the evaluation, culminating in a Project Plan completed in December 2005. Phase II continued the work of Phase I, completing the data collection and generating evaluation findings and recommendations. During Phase I, a preliminary analysis was undertaken focusing on the question of whether foreign language training could be cost-effectively offered by CFSI hiring permanent employees (FTEs) as opposed to contracting instructors. The finding of this analysis suggested that foreign language training could be cost-effective through having permanent employees; this finding is incorporated into the main findings and recommendations of this report.

The evaluation examined the life span of the Institute, with a detailed analysis of the last full fiscal year where data was available, 2004-2005. Nearly 100 stakeholders were interviewed and more than 240 documents were reviewed, focusing on strategic issues respecting the mandate and operations of the Institute.

The Institute was the subject of an evaluation in 1995 when an extensive study of the learning function within the Department was conducted. While CFSI was not the sole focus of that study, CFSI had become a significant element in DFAIT's overall training strategy. Thus, the Institute was referenced extensively in the evaluation. The 1995 study acknowledged the accomplishments of the Institute to that date; the FSDP was well established as well as foreign language programs, corporate programs, Intercultural training (in partnership with CIDA), and some management training. The study also noted several areas where improvements were warranted and recommended, including enhancing and strengthening capacity in providing training advice to branches, transferring responsibility for training budgets to branches, greater usage of learning technologies, the installation of an electronic learning management system, and organizing CFSI's courses by subject (as opposed to organizing courses by career path). It is notable that while progress was made, all of these issues are still of concern and are reflected in the present report.

Much has changed in the DFAIT training environment since 1995. The international policy scene has evolved significantly and the mandate of the Department has evolved correspondingly. For example, DFAIT's emphasis on trade is stronger, security concerns are greater, and the Department has moved substantially in the direction of programming involving grants, contribution agreements, and a wide range of partnerships. Other government departments have become increasingly involved in International Affairs, with DFAIT playing a coordinating role.

The knowledge and skills required of DFAIT personnel have evolved in parallel with these changes, consequently having a major impact on departmental training. Not only must employees keep abreast of international issues and trends, but they must remain current with departmental policies, programs and systems, and must be increasingly proficient in accessing the world through the internet. Enhanced skills associated with Canada's increasing emphasis on its presence abroad are required, including strengthened third language proficiency.

Two policies recently announced by the Government central agencies also impinge on departmental training. The Policy on Learning, Training and Development effective January 1, 2006, stipulates that all new employees and all new managers must take the required mandatory training offered by CSPS. Functional specialists in finance, human resources, internal audit, procurement, materiel management, real property, and information management must either demonstrate proficiency or take related mandatory training offered by CSPS. For many years, the Public Service Commission (PSC) offered the official language training to government personnel without charge to home departments. As of April 1, 2007, the PSC will no longer deliver official language training; this function will be transferred to CSPS. CSPS will only provide official language training without charging home departments in rare cases (language training resulting from a non-imperative staffing action). The impact for DFAIT of implementing these policies include: (1) DFAIT new employees, new managers, and functional specialists will receive required training (some previously provided by CFSI) from the CSPS; and, (2) DFAIT will be responsible for most of the official language training.

Lastly, the state of the art in training and development has shifted. In particular, the use of technology and various forms of online training has increased to become part of the training mainstream.

1.2.2 Evaluation Questions and Approach

The evaluation focused on developing an accurate profile of the Institute and on answering strategic level issues of relevance, success, and cost-effectiveness versus conducting a pedagogical evaluation.

The current evaluation is broader that a pedagogical evaluation. The evaluation examined whole training programs and clusters of courses rather than specific training courses and programs. It is important to note that a pedagogical evaluation can measure training success through the utilization of the Kirkpatrick training and evaluation framework - a four-level evaluation model(1).

All costs were considered in assessing the cost-effectiveness of CFSI and its programming. These include management and other administration costs, accommodation costs, instructors fees/salaries, and travel costs. Cost-effectiveness was considered at the level of courses and across the Institute operations as a whole.

The relevance question was critical given the length of time since the last evaluation of the Institute and the significant changes that have occurred in the Department since the Institute's inception. The question was addressed in the context of the range of possible alternatives as well as other training and related activities occurring within DFAIT and between key partner departments and agencies.

Specific evaluation questions were detailed in the September 15, 2005 evaluation terms of reference and refined in the December 2, 2005 project plan as follow:

Relevance:

  • Renewed CFSI mandate. What should be the strategic mandate of the Institute in the coming years, and what is the most appropriate structure for the achievement of this mandate?

Success:

  • Achievement of course objectives. To what extent are training objectives being achieved?
  • Achievement of Institute objectives. To what extent have the Institute objectives been achieved?

Cost-effectiveness:

  • Course-level cost-effectiveness. How cost-effective are CFSI courses and programs as currently delivered?
  • Centre- and Institute-level cost-effectiveness. How cost-effective are the Centres' and the Institute's service models?
  • Are there more cost-effective approaches/alternatives to achieving CFSI expected results?
  • How efficient are CFSI management/information systems for monitoring and reporting on results achieved?

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2.0 Methodology

The evaluation methodology included: a file, document and literature review; interviews with a wide range of departmental personnel, other stakeholders and external informants; an independent efficiency review; and, an independent review of CFSI's online courses.

2.1 Description of the Evaluation Methodology

2.1.1 File, Document and Literature Review

More than 240 documents were systematically reviewed. These included a full range of CFSI documentation: CFSI annual reports from 1996-1997 through 2004-2005; CFSI program evaluation reports and related materials, from strategic evaluations to individual course evaluations (at all levels), reviews and audits; additional CFSI reports and related documents; CFSI curricula, calendars, program and course descriptions and materials, and promotional materials; CFSI course records; CFSI supplier contracts; and, CFSI financial records and control systems. Concurrently with the evaluation, the Department conducted an audit of CFSI's contracting practices from which the evaluation also drew.

Additional documents included: related HCM documents and records; materials, including mandates, organizational structures, curricula, calendars and reports from sister institutes within Canada (e.g., CSPS) and abroad; and, related published articles and papers.

2.1.2 Interviews

In-depth interviews, focus groups and consultations were conducted with a total of 96 individuals. Most contact with interviewees and other key informants was face-to-face, typically meeting the interviewee in his or her office. In some cases, interviews were conducted by telephone. In a few cases, where necessary, contact was via e-mail correspondence. Interviewees included:

  • 29 DFAIT headquarters senior executives, including both deputy ministers and all assistant deputy ministers;
  • 4 current HOMs;
  • 7 CFSI managers, including the DG and current directors and acting directors;
  • 10 additional DFAIT senior personnel;
  • officials representing 10 other government departments with an interest or potential interest in CFSI's activities, including the President of CSPS, the Senior Vice-President of CIDA, the Director of Professional Development for DND, and the Director of Personnel for CIC;
  • 15 current participants and graduates of the FSDP;
  • 4 Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) representatives;
  • senior officials at sister institutes in the United States and Australia; and,
  • training managers in other Canadian government departments.
2.1.3 Analysis of CFSI Operational Efficiency

In addition to examining indices such as cost per student-day, a study of CFSI operations in relation to the perspective of a private sector educational institution was undertaken in order to ascertain CFSI operational efficiency (i.e., maximum learning per dollar spent). Officials at LaSalle College were asked to examine and comment each of the four CFSI Centres, where possible, and across the entire Institute in other cases, pedagogical approaches, administration and course design and delivery. LaSalle College is a Canada-based private college with branch institutes around the world. LaSalle College offers programs in such areas as fashion design and restaurant management with an emphasis on working internationally. LaSalle also offers foreign language instruction. Overall, this component sought to answer the question: Where can significant gains in cost-efficiency be attained?

2.1.4 Analysis of CFSI Online Training

In order to assess CFSI online training, a representative from Athabasca University was approached to examine and comment on CFSI courses offered via the online learning portal. Athabasca University was the first University in Canada to fully utilize online teaching methods, and is acknowledged as one of Canada's leaders in this area.

2.1.5 Steering Committee

The evaluation received input from a steering committee at key points during the process. The committee reviewed and approved the work plan as well as presentations of findings and recommendations contained in this report. The steering committee was chaired by the Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada who is currently the Deputy Minister of International Trade Canada. Members were representatives of DFAIT, CIDA and CSPS.

2.2 Limitations of the Evaluation

The evaluation did not generate any new quantitative data (i.e., no employee or trainee surveys were conducted). Instead, as a strategic exercise, the evaluation drew primarily from qualitative information and opinions provided by a comprehensive range of interviewees. All descriptive statistics and figures contained in this report, including those presented in Chapter 1 and those employed in the operational efficiency analysis, were provided and verified by CFSI. No secondary verification was undertaken. Conclusions and recommendations stem from a synthesis of qualitative observations rather than from an analysis of survey findings or others types of quantitative data.

The evaluation focused on broad strategic issues. Study resources did not permit a detailed examination of course designs and pedagogical methods.

A direct comparison between CFSI and a private educational institution was not the intention of the operational efficiency analysis, given the widely differing purposes, clientele, and environments of the two organizations. Interpretations respecting CFSI's operational efficiency based on this analysis are made in awareness of these differences.

The analysis of CFSI online training and the comparison of CFSI with sister institutes in the Canadian Government and abroad were limited by study resources. Nevertheless, each exercise was felt to be adequate to provide the necessary support to the evaluation conclusions and recommendations.

2.3 Rigour of the Evaluation

Throughout the analysis the evaluation made use of, and triangulated, multiple sources of information stemming from the two main data sources: documentation and interviews. The focus of the evaluation was at a strategic, high level, avoiding detailed findings and recommendations regarding individual courses and activities (which would have required trainee survey data), and concentrating the findings and recommendations on the broad programs and approaches of the Institute. At this level, the evaluation is considered rigorous.

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3.0 Key Findings

3.1 Continued Relevance of the CFSI

3.1.1 Mandate

Analysis of the evaluation data indicate that CFSI has, in large measure, assumed responsibility for defining departmental employee learning requirements. Over time, departmental managers who are mandated to determine both the desired activities and results of the department as well as the nature of employee capacities required to undertake and achieve these results have largely relinquished to CFSI the task of delineating employee learning requirements. Consequently, CFSI personnel have taken on implicitly the responsibility of defining employee learning requirements essentially by producing an annual calendar of courses. This situation has increased the risk of a disconnect between CFSI activities and programs, and meeting the needs of the ever-changing nature of the Department's front-line work.

The Institute official mandate has not been particularly helpful in clarifying the role of the Institute. Senior CFSI management consider that the CFSI mandate is contained in the 2002 departmental learning policy (as noted in Chapter 1). This may be the case, yet the CFSI web site describes the CFSI mandate in terms of a statement approved by the DFAIT Management Committee (DMC) in 1997 as follows:

The Canadian Foreign Service Institute has functional authority for Departmental training and is responsible for:

  1. recommending to Executive Committee the policy and framework for the management and coordination of training;

  2. designing and delivering corporate training;

  3. monitoring all departmental training, and with the involvement of the Office of the Inspector General, assessing its effectiveness in annual reports to Executive Committee. These reports are also to be forward-looking and form the basis of CFSI's annual business plan which is to be approved by Executive Committee;

  4. providing advice and assistance to Bureaus on their specific training needs; reviewing Bureau training projects that cost $50,000 or more; promoting inter-Bureau cooperation to achieve the highest level of common training;

  5. supporting foreign policy objectives by 

    1. providing training on a cost recovery basis to other organizations, and
    2. organizing occasional seminars or colloquia on substantive issues.

The two statements differ from one another, although there is overlap. A critical examination of the objectives contained in both lists suggests that the Institute is, in fact, adhering to some items from each list while also carrying out activities not appearing in any of the objectives. In short, CFSI lacks a single, meaningful statement of a mandate endorsed by the Department senior management and has thus been left to develop its own purpose and identity.

The CFSI role has been less clear over the years through the addition of various services and responsibilities. CFSI controls a $250,000 annual fund allocated to IPT and TOWH. Departmental employees need to apply to CFSI for up to $2,000 for training identified by the employee and approved by his/her manager. CFSI in turn approves or denies the request. Many departmental personnel either do not know that the fund exists or have had a negative experience with it (e.g., denial of a request). CFSI personnel, for their part, generally do not want this responsibility.

The Centre for Intercultural Learning (CFSC) migrated in the mid-1990s to DFAIT from CIDA, where it was known as the Briefing Centre. Today CFSC continues to serve mainly CIDA clientele. Interviewees agreed on the appropriateness of continuing to house CFSC within CFSI. However, it is essentially a separate organization from CFSI, remains unconnected to related training operations in the Department such as CFSL and SERV (who provide practical pre-posting training to DFAIT personnel), and appears not to have made serious inroads in assessing and meeting the needs of DFAIT personnel.

Considering that the Public Service Commission (PSC) did not offer official languages part-time courses in the 1970s, DFAIT created the Official Languages Maintenance Program which was eventually integrated into the CFSI suite of courses.  In 1999, due to the long waiting list for the PSC courses and also due to the duration of the PSC curriculum, CFSI created the Ab Initio accelerated courses for beginners to meet DFAIT's training needs. Eventually, departmental executives who could not afford to wait in the queue for the centrally provided courses started to attend the Institute official language training. Today, the OLT program provides more training than the foreign language training program.

In the area of administrative and corporate skills, CFSI and the Corporate Services (S) Branch share the design, development and delivery of training programs, based in part on the framework contained in a memorandum of understanding between the two parties dated December 20, 1995. Typically, in the initial stages, CFSI helps identify budget requirements and may work with technical teams to create training materials. For example, CFSI partnered with the S Branch on a recent Integrated Management System (IMS) upgrade, and in 2002, CFSI loaned staff to the S Branch for almost three years to head the training team for Signet 3. CFSI identified budget requirements and provided training leadership for approximately four years for the InfoBank project. The InfoBank and Signet 3 projects reimbursed CFSS for the cost of the FTEs loaned to the projects.

Notwithstanding the good working relations between CFSI and the S Branch, the question of which party is ultimately responsible for a given program can vary according to whether or not the S Branch has funding for training associated with a corporate system. For example, CFSI developed within its existing budget the above mentioned IMS upgrade training; this became essentially a CFSI program. However, InfoBank training was provided by the InfoBank project (within the S Branch) and not by CFSI because the InfoBank project budget included a sum for training. Corporate training is also provided by SMXT, Trio, SERV, and other functional areas within the Department. There is a lack of systematic policy respecting who provides training on which corporate topics.

The CFSI OD services emerged from a series of ad hoc requests from managers familiar with the Institute training. As noted earlier, these services have generally been well received. However, they constitute an area of activity grafted unsystematically onto CFSI core professional development program with neither executive approval nor any attempt to coordinate with similar departmental services such as Counseling and Consultation Services or other HCM services.

Lastly, instead of CFSI being recognized as a single entity, (e.g., the Government Centre of excellence in International Affairs training, as suggested by one senior departmental official), it is operating under four distinct Centres. Each Centre interfaces with clients separately, has its own student registration system, and has its own marketing materials with unique logo and design. This situation, has evolved over the years in the absence of efforts to firmly define the Institute vision and mission as a single identity. Among the four Centres there is a certain amount of further confusion and overlap; some courses and programs are not clearly lodged in one area or another but, rather, 'spill over' between areas, and courses are differently organized by the individual Centres. One Centre organizes or clusters courses by subject, another by target audience.

In conclusion, in the absence of a clear mandate from the department, in an effort to meet demands as they arise, and as a result of too much independence among the Centres, CFSI has become an arbitrary mix of core training services and add-on services lacking focus and cohesion.

3.1.2 Departmental Policies and Practices

Learning effectiveness in an organization is related in part to the extent to which learning is integrated with the management practices of the organization. Learning is also linked to many of the organization policies and procedures, some of which may be outside of the learning institute control. The analysis demonstrated several instances where a lack of integration between CFSI training and departmental policies and procedures was detrimental to learning effectiveness. The most significant example is the foreign language acquisition.

Although the quality of the CFSI foreign language instruction and testing is high, the Department's record is poor with respect to the placement of adequately proficient personnel in language designated positions abroad. A recent analysis conducted by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) indicated that only 30 percent of language designated DFAIT positions overseas were properly filled. Much of this problem can be accounted for by apparent inconsistencies in the language designation process. Positions abroad designated as requiring foreign language proficiency at a given level may not, in practice, require that level, while some non-designated positions may need an incumbent with a higher level of language proficiency and may, indeed, be filled by such an individual (who would not show up in a count of filled positions). The problem can also be traced to other human resources practices. For example, although attempted in the past, the department no longer tries to hire for third language proficiency. The evaluation also identified that language proficiency is inconsistently employed as a criterion in selecting rotational personnel for assignments. These practices result in a substantially higher need for foreign language training within DFAIT. Furthermore, once a foreign language training requirement has been identified, the employee in question may have difficulty freeing himself or herself from his or her present duties in order to attend full-time to language training.

A second related issue stems from a lack of integration between the Institute various registration and student record keeping systems and the departmental human resources record keeping system (i.e., PeopleSoft). There is no link between, and no current way of linking, course completion or other proxies for proficiency with the Department's performance appraisal system. This means, among other limitations, that there is no accurate departmental list of who has completed what FLT and to what proficiency level.

3.1.3 Coordination with Other Government Departments

Part of the CFSI growth over the years has stemmed from adding to its calendar training in management skills and in various functional specialties such as procurement, finance, and materiel management. Because courses in these areas were developed internally, they naturally have a strong DFAIT flavour and focus on departmental issues. Courses in nearly all of these topics are offered by CSPS to managers and employees representing all government departments. Much of the courses covered by CFSI are common to all of the Public Service and thus covered centrally. By providing in-house training in these areas, CFSI has tacitly supported the isolation of DFAIT personnel from personnel representing other government departments and the benefits of cross-pollination that could derive therefrom. Also, by duplicating available training, CFSI has expended resources unnecessarily.

CFSI has allowed DFAIT personnel to remain isolated from personnel representing DFAIT natural partners (e.g., CIDA, DND and CIC). Even though CIDA personnel attend CFSI programs, they do so in isolation from DFAIT employees. Few CIDA employees attend regular CFSI courses. DND operates its own foreign language training centre for military attachés virtually mirroring the approach and courses provided by CFSI, but employees from the two departments do not take training together. CIC has developed and provides to its FSO complement of FSDP, nearly identical to that provided by CFSI.

Finally, few employees from other government departments, including those involved in international work, take training from CFSI. Representatives of other government departments report that they are largely unaware of CFSI suite of courses, and, where they are aware, do not find CFSI courses sufficiently geared to their needs.

3.2 Success

3.2.1 Institutional Presence

It was found that the foreign ministries of like-minded countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States have training institutes similar to CFSI. While each is unique, most provide a developmental program for new foreign service officers; training in a variety of International affairs and trade related subjects, area studies (detailed educational modules concerning specific countries or geographic regions), and foreign language training. An examination of these institutes did not lead to a conclusion that there is a single best model. Nor did any particular country learning institute provide an approach that appeared obviously superior or otherwise worth emulating by CFSI. Rather, the analysis confirmed that the Insitute range and mix of instructional methods is generally in line with international standards, and there are many ways to meet the training requirements of a foreign ministry. It is incumbent on the organization to assess learning needs and develop approaches that fit the organization circumstances.

Within the Government of Canada, CSPS provides centralized training to personnel from all departments and agencies in management, functional specialities (finance, human resources, internal audit, procurement, materiel management, real property, and information management), and a variety of subjects of interest (policy development, writing briefing notes, and teamwork skills) to a wide range of public servants. Virtually, every Canadian government department and agency has a training capacity focusing typically on substantive topics specific to their mandate. Some departments and agencies also provide training on what could be considered generic subjects (e.g., management and functional specialities, which either requires customization to fit the needs of departmental personnel or are simply more conveniently provided locally).

The most common departmental training model is one in which a relatively small training division conducts training needs assessments, provides core training in such areas as orientation, health & safety and departmental information technology (IT) systems, and provides other training in substantive areas either on a regular basis or by request. Notably, line managers are ultimately responsible for determining the skills and knowledge required of employees to succeed in their work performance. Line managers are also responsible for ensuring that training needed to acquire these competencies is made available to their employees. The requesting manager typically funds the training. Several departments and agencies operate large, formal learning institutes for specialized occupations such as the Canadian Forces members, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers, customs officers, fisheries officers, flight technicians and Coast Guard personnel. In these cases, employees are required to graduate from extensive pre-employment training programs before taking up employment positions.

CFSI falls somewhere between a typical departmental training division and a larger formal training institute. The FSDP is a three-year training program combining work experience with classroom training designed for FSOs at the start of their careers. Other CFSI programs and courses are more akin to those offered in other large departments (i.e., specialized courses geared to enhancing employee capacity to execute current and anticipated job duties). With FLT and OLT added to the mix, CFSI constitutes a mid-sized government training facility; the lion's share of DFAIT training expenditures flows through the CFSI budget, and CFSI offers a broad range of courses and programs. Not surprisingly, as a result, CFSI has attained a solid presence within the department.

3.2.2 Quality of Training and Related Services

The CFSI trainees report satisfaction with many of the available topics and with the instructional quality associated with numerous CFSI programs. Participants appreciate learning from senior DFAIT personnel who are well versed in a subject area. Participants also value the Institute knowledgeable and helpful staff. Within the array of CFSI services, the analysis of the data collected identified several programs or clusters of courses as high quality training programs. These include:

Head of Mission Program (and other Management Courses). The HOM pre-departure program is seen as focused, relevant, and excellent posting preparation for both seasoned and first time heads of mission. The Institute also provides training uniquely related to mission management at junior levels either as stand alone courses (e.g., Managing Staff Abroad, Program Managers Abroad) or as part of general management courses (e.g., Directors' Orientation Program).

International Affairs Courses. CFSI offers courses in a variety of substantive areas relating to the core work of the Department. Many of these are taken by new FSOs in the context of the FSDP. Others are targeted to more senior employees requiring information in specific disciplines. Topics include Excelling as a Desk Officer, Negotiation Skills (Bilateral and Multilateral), Foreign Direct Investment Promotion, Canada and the Middle East Conflict, Responding to Natural Disasters, Advocacy and Influence Strategies, and Situation Management Strategies. CFSI continues to broaden its range of services to meet departmental priorities. Currently, the Institute is expanding its "International Affairs Curriculum" based on a recently developed competency profile of FSOs linked to the four levels of this group. The new curriculum is aimed not only at FSOs but also other DFAIT and government partner employees involved in International Affairs.

Specialized Training. CFSI offers several comprehensive programs for other selected employee groups in the Department. Two examples of these programs are the eight-month Management Consular Development Program and the Administrative Assistant Program, both of which have received positive evaluations.

Locally Engaged Staff Training. Each year, three to four In-Canada programs are delivered for LES, traveling from missions abroad. The LES In-Canada program has proven to be an effective vehicle not only for training but also for orienting locally engaged staff to DFAIT and to Canada generally. The LES In-Canada program is aimed at relatively new employees (with one to five years of experience).

Online Corporate Training. In 2004-2005, approximately nine percent of CFSI student-days were provided via online training. Subject matter included mostly corporate and administrative services. CFSI utilizes a variety of online methods from simple, interactive, self-directed modules to more sophisticated self-directed modules involving video clips and other enhancements, to instructor-led remote training.

CFSI online training has been recognized within Canada by, among others, the CSPS. CFSI online training has also been recognized abroad (e.g., by the United States Foreign Service Institute and at the annual meeting of the Heads of Diplomatic Institutes) as an example of state-of-the-art use of technology in effectively meeting the challenges associated with training a workforce around the globe. The present analysis found CFSI instructional strategies and technologies well suited for the chosen subject matter. Online courses are found to be well tailored, well designed, and learner-centred. They are highly cost-effective.

Foreign Language Training. CFSI provides training in nine primary foreign languages and roughly 40 additional languages, as needed. Three streams of foreign language training are available: Professional Proficiency (six to 20 months full-time), Social Integration (one to three months full-time or part-time), and Maintenance (two hours per week). In 2004-2005, students were registered in Professional Proficiency classes in the following languages: Spanish; Japanese; Russian; Mandarin; Portugese; Arabic; German; Italian; Indonesian; and, Ukranian. The average number of student-days per student across these languages in 2004-2005 was 91. The highest student-day average was in the Mandarin class at 169. In the same year, the average number of student-days per student in Social Integration classes was 22.

Eighty-five percent of FLT student-days provided by CFSI in 2004-2005 were delivered through classroom based, instructor-led training. All instructors are contracted through a central supplier. CFSI also offers online modules; in 2004-2005, 479 student-days (5% of all FLT student-days) were provided online. CFSI offers to full-time FLT students the opportunity to take part in a seven-week program of in-country immersion in Japan, China, Jordan, Italy, Germany or Mexico to supplement its classroom based programs. In 2004-2005, 25 students were provided FLT in the context of the immersion program, representing ten percent of all FLT student-days in that year.

CFSI also assists DFAIT personnel in acquiring foreign language instruction through external means. In 2004-2005, CFSI assisted 16 employees in arranging private tutoring, and four employees in registering in language courses at universities abroad.

Other countries make use of a similar, mixed model, but in some cases a greater variety of teaching approaches are employed. For example, the US Foreign Service Institute employs a number of language instructors full-time as a complement to its contract instructors. Some countries contract out significant portions of their language training to private institutes either at headquarters or in the target country. Some countries make fuller use of in-country immersion wherein the employee is posted one year early to attend language school and absorb the culture of the country.

Generally, students rate CFSI foreign language training highly. Students are tested against international standards and generally score well. Exceptions to this finding occur in cases where students fail to regularly attend classes or are unable to devote sufficient time to foreign language training.

Intercultural Training. Intercultural Effectiveness training is designed to enhance people skills and knowledge to perform effectively in another culture. The main Intercultural Effectiveness pre-departure course is a three-day course. Intercultural Effectiveness training is provided as part of CFSI regular schedule and on a customized basis to professionals posted anywhere in the world, for virtually any type of developmental or diplomatic assignment. Nearly three quarters of intercultural trainees are people employed by agencies funded by CIDA who undertake developmental work overseas. Fourteen percent in 2004-2005 were DFAIT employees and 13 percent represented other government departments or non-government organizations. As the primary client for this service, CIDA reports a high level of satisfaction. CIDA renewed its service agreement with CFSI for 2005-06.

Other Services. CFSI provides other services outside of training. Some of these services are considered effective and popular among clients. Occasionally, CFSI provides advice to branches, bureaus, divisions, and missions developing their own training programs. For example, the Tokyo mission recently developed the Tokyo Learning Initiative with the assistance of CFSI. CFSI also provides OD services.

In 2004-2005, 12 headquarter divisions and 12 missions received CFSI OD services in such areas as conflict management, the development of learning plans, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, performance management, and mission effectiveness. Typically one or two contract consultants and/or a CFSD staff conduct the session. The Department also has an employee assistance program and a new informal conflict management system, both of which also provide related services. CFSI OD services are not formally coordinated with these units.

3.2.3 Developmental Needs

As noted, CFSI offers training on a wide range of subjects. In addition to the core programs, CFSI is receptive to DFAIT clients proposing a topic for course development or another learning initiative as long as a sponsor and a clear target population are identified. Examples of courses developed at the request of DFAIT managers include: Introduction to Islam; Economics for Foreign Policy Practitioners; Personal Safety in Dangerous Environments; several Advocacy-based programs (working with the North America Bureau); International Law; Canadian Economy Primer; Foreign Direct Investment; and, Science and Technology.

Despite the wide range of course content some subjects desired by departmental personnel are still not listed. Senior managers and other personnel report gaps in the learning required to function effectively and progress in the department. In the most recent Learning Survey (2003), only 36 percent of DFAIT personnel agreed with the statement "my job related training needs are met", and 28 percent were neutral on the question. Unmet training needs were specifically cited by interviewees in this study in such areas as: trade (various sub-specialties); foreign policy (various sub-specialties); investment; economic policy; economic reporting; international economics; political reporting; international trade laws; international organizations; international energy markets; new treaties and declarations; regional issues (e.g., trade and security issues in India and China) and area studies; international development; and, in human resources topics such as staffing, staff relations and classification. Notably, most of these are core areas for the Department as opposed to generic Public Service topics.

With an increased emphasis on program management, including grants and contributions programs under the Treasury Board Transfer Payment Policy, training in general program management is required, as well as program management knowledge and skills related specifically to the international program arena.

The CFSI practice has been to provide advisory and other complementary services on request, based on availability of resources. For example, CFSI assisted the European Branch and the Asia-Pacific Branch in developing branch-wide learning plans. However, interviewees also cited unmet needs regarding complementary services, such as assistance in acquiring and/or developing specialized training, assistance in the creation of individual employee learning plans, and "clearinghouse" assistance in researching, screening, locating, and accessing external learning opportunities including world class training in specialized areas, conferences, and other events of interest.

Finally, it must be noted that it is a significant challenge for any organization with offices located world wide to deliver a common level of training services to all its employees. The challenge is greater still when the number of offices is as large as the DFAIT, and when offices are located in every corner of the globe. CFSI has not fully risen to this challenge. Yet with more than half of its employees outside of Ottawa, the Department must continue attaining the goal of providing an adequate amount of training, at the similar quality levels, to employees at missions.

3.3 Cost-effectiveness

3.3.1 Planning and Evaluation

Needs Analysis. CFSI's record in conducting needs assessment has lacked consistency over the years. CFSI was inaugurated on the basis of a strategic analysis demonstrating the need for a basic program of training for DFAIT FSOs. Since then, courses have been added to the CFSI calendar for a variety of reasons as noted above, typically a need is identified and CFSI may respond with a course. The need may have been identified by an individual executive, corporately, or in the context of a strategic study. CFSI has also undertaken from time to time Department-wide needs analysis, but these have generally been limited to informal meetings with branch management teams. Beginning in 1999, CFSI undertook an annual Learning Survey. These were useful exercises, however, by 2003 the response rate had dropped to nine percent, therefore the Learning Surveys were discontinued.

What is apparently missing is a process of systematically assessing the level of knowledge and skills required of the workforce and the learning needs of employees to meet the evolving goals and priorities of the Department, and its associated activities. As a result, there is an inconsistency between the CFSI course calendar and the essential competencies of departmental personnel. CFSI has never formally analyzed International Affairs training needs of employees in other government departments.

Training Evaluation. At the other end of the training cycle, CFSI was also found to be inconsistent in the evaluation of its courses and programs. CFSI makes a practice of asking every trainee to complete a post-course evaluation form - Level 1 evaluation. For a number of courses, CFSI also administers knowledge acquisition tests - Level 2 evaluation. For example, all foreign language training is followed by language proficiency testing and the award of a proficiency level, and corporate courses such as security training and some IT courses are followed by tests requiring a passing mark in order to obtain the desired clearance and/or password. These processes are useful to course designers and instructors in enhancing elements of courses being delivered. However, they are of relatively little value in determining the impact and cost-effectiveness of training with respect to performance on the job. To determine the impact and cost-effectiveness, an independent Level 3 course evaluation, utilizing the Kirkpatrick evaluation training model described previously in this report, is required, typically involving a survey of graduates and their direct supervisors. CFSI has commissioned 14 such course evaluations over the years, but many other courses have yet to be evaluated at Level 3. More notably, CFSI does not subject its courses and programs to a regular cyclical Level 3 evaluation protocol.

3.3.2 Service Standards

Flexibility and Service Orientation. As a byproduct of its growth, CFSI has become inflexible. For example, the FSDP has certain mandatory elements associated with the completion of the program; participants must acquire a minimum of 50 (recently reduced from 60) credits over the three-year program period by taking courses selected from a menu. Failure to acquire adequate credits results in a lack of credit for completion of the program on the employee's record. There is no mechanism for assigning to program participants, credit for equivalent training completed prior to the FSDP.

Foreign language training, while acknowledged as high level of quality (see preceding Chapter), is provided by CFSI primarily through classroom training. Despite the availability of some alternatives, interviewees expressed an interest in being offered more options to cover all circumstances of those needing to acquire foreign language proficiency. In particular, there is a desire for greater access to private, university instruction and self-study, and more opportunities for extended (e.g., one year) in-country immersion.

CFSI offers limited brokerage services, as noted previously. CFSI has no formal mechanism to advise and assist departmental employees interested in courses, programs, conferences or other events outside of DFAIT. CFSI is supply-driven, focused on building its products and ensuring uptake thereof, instead of being demand-driven, operating to serve the needs of the Department.

Course Delivery Efficiency. CFSI employs a wide range of learning methodologies in the provision of its training. At the low-cost end of the continuum, CFSI develops self-directed training courses which are accessible on the Institute's website. Once developed, further incremental cost associated with the provision of these courses are modest, no matter how many trainees take the course. At the other end of the continuum are instructor-led classroom courses with a low student/instructor ratio, multiple instructional staff, and/or high contract instructor fees. In between, CFSI offers a variety of instructor-led courses either via remote training to missions or to relatively large classes at headquarters.

The supplier currently under contract with CFSI for delivering foreign language training provides instructors on an as-needed basis. The supplier currently charges a combined (preparation plus instructional time) rate of $48.09 per hour. This is comparable to, or lower than, rates typically charged by Ottawa-based private language instruction firms. However, private language instruction firms usually provide their own classroom space whereas CFSI supplies classroom facilities to contract instructors.

It was beyond the scope of this study to assess the value for money associated with each course. It is assumed that low cost means are applied to simple subject matter while high cost means are applied to specialized, sophisticated training requirements. However, the evidence suggests that a more systematic approach to the selection of learning methodologies in relation to subject matter and target audience needs, and greater care in analyzing the cost-benefit potential of each contract instructor is warranted. Otherwise, CSFI is vulnerable to potential cost inefficiencies related to its choice of pedagogical approaches and resources.

Service to Posts. The unique nature of foreign service including global dispersion of DFAIT personnel, and the requirement for a third language proficiency, distinguishes it from other Canadian government departments. Having over half of departmental employees located outside of Canada presents a unique training challenge.

Most CBS take CFSI courses while in Ottawa between postings. A relatively small number of LES attends LES In-Canada training annually. Otherwise, CBS and LES alike are limited to CFSI online courses, including instructor-led, remote training, and occasional live training at regional locations (e.g., when a new system such as IMS is rolled out). Consequently, some missions organize their own training, such as the Tokyo Learning Initiative. Regardless, heads of mission and other overseas personnel report that training is notably less available at missions than it is at headquarters.

Foreign Service Officer Training. Foreign Service Officers report mixed levels of satisfaction with the FSDP. Generally, FSOs appreciate the attention received early in their career via the provision of the FSDP. They also appreciate getting to know colleagues, interacting with senior departmental officials, and much of the practical information and skills they acquire in the program.

However, FSDP participants and managers have several complaints. According to some interviewees, Trade is not well represented in the program. Many participants find the program too rigid (one size fits all - also refer to Section 3.3.2 Service Standards of this report) requiring to take courses in areas which they already have considerable knowledge or for which they have little usage. Participants claim that some training is poorly timed; some course modules are provided to some trainees either too late (after the trainee has already had to learn the skill on the job) or too early (where the trainee has forgotten most of what was learned when it is eventually needed). Participants fear the program is moving further in a direction fostering an "up or out" mentality whereby FSOs are forced to pass various courses or risk falling behind in their careers. Lastly, participants stated an interest in temporary duty (TD) assignments as part of the program.

CIC provides to its FSOs a program similar to the FSDP operated by CFSI. CIC officials have declared an interest in integrating the two programs; essentially CIC FSOs would attend a customized version of the FSDP at CFSI. This has not come to fruition, however.

3.3.3 Administrative Efficiency

As noted above, CFSI has inherited (or has created or acquired of its own volition) a variety of services and programs. Moreover, CFSI has evolved from a single institute into four distinct organizations (i.e., the four Centres, CFSD, CFSS, CFSL, CFSC). Notwithstanding the "multiple identity" concern discussed previously, this situation has created inefficiencies and duplications in systems and personnel. A recent analysis of the Institute computer systems found a lack of cohesion and compatibility among the systems used by the four Centres, not to mention the added costs associated with creating or purchasing four systems instead of one.

Even with its many systems, CFSI does not have an electronic learning management system (LMS), which is the trend in modern colleges and training centres today. An LMS automates and links administrative tasks such as student registration, teaching assignments, classroom assignments, billing, student course completion and performance, and courses equivalencies. An LMS can generate up-to-the-minute reports on classroom usage, student-teacher ratios, and instructor costs. Currently, in the absence of an LMS, this kind of information is difficult for CFSI to amass. Data collection regarding basic facts of CFSI operations during the conduct of this evaluation was unexpectedly difficult, and reliable figures in some areas were not available.

In FY 2004-2005, CFSI employed 87 FTEs: 10 in managerial positions, 25 in administrative support positions and 52 in pedagogical positions responsible for certain clusters of courses, testing. An additional 21 positions were vacant. Most CFSI personnel have no teaching duties. Nearly all CFSI instructors are hired under contracts paid out of the Institute operational budget. The exception to this rule is the corporate training area (CFSS) where some pedagogical staff teach courses in addition to managing programs. The analysis showed that it could be equally cost-effective to have FTEs teaching some of the more common foreign languages. Likewise, potential savings are gained when a permanent employee undertakes teaching duties, eliminating the need for contracting out.

3.3.4 Physical Plant and Systems

CFSI currently operates in three locations. The DG's office and CFSD are located in B2 in the Pearson Building. CFSS is located in B0 in the Pearson Building. CFSL and CFSC are both located at the Bisson Centre. This separation contributes to the isolation of the four Centres, as well as to duplication of services across the four Centres (by inhibiting shared services). The distance between the Bisson Centre and the Pearson Building also causes inefficiencies by necessitating considerable travel both for students and for CFSI staff.

Additionally, some of the space occupied by CFSI's various operations appears to be underutilized at times. The analysis estimates a 78.8 percent average daily occupancy rate for rooms in the Bisson building. Owing to current classroom assignment practices, Bisson classrooms can lay dormant for significant periods during the day.

Perhaps because the CFSI accommodation costs do not appear in its yearly budgets, accommodation costs tend to be overlooked in the assessments of the Institute costs. Yet, the analysis suggests that there are efficiencies to be gained as it pertains to accommodation costs. A single location housing the entire CFSI operation would be a marked improvement over the current accommodation arrangement.

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4.0 Conclusions and Recommendations

The findings of the evaluation of the Canadian Foreign Service Institute portray a mature and established Institute offering a comprehensive range of professional development programs and courses generally characterized by a high level of quality. The Institute represents a substantial investment on the part of DFAIT. This investment, over the years, has helped create a workforce of executives, FSOs, MCOs, LES, and non-rotational headquarters staff possessing a high level of standardized knowledge and skills in a spectrum of requisite areas, from IT to mission management.

The Institute has created and delivered a number of particularly effective and well-regarded programs including the Head of Mission program, courses in International Affairs topics, the MCO program, the LES In-Canada program, Intercultural training for CIDA and foreign language training through an expanding range of both instructor-led and self-directed online courses.

At the same time, the evidence points to gaps in services, inflexibilities, inefficiencies, and what has become a blurred role within the Department. Due to a lack of significant senior leadership steering, CFSI has become disconnected from the front line work of the Department. Departmental managers expect CFSI to outline a requisite suite of training subjects, and have thus relinquished responsibility for defining departmental learning needs. CFSI has built its suite of courses to include training offered elsewhere (e.g., management training and Public Service functional specialist training). Simultaneously, CFSI currently lax in the application of training needs assessments and training evaluations, and has allowed inefficiencies to enter into aspects of its operations.

CFSI will never, and should never attempt to be the sole source of training for the Department. Indeed, a modern organization fosters learning through a variety of training and alternative means. Learning opportunities exist outside of the Department, particularly in the form of training provided by CSPS. Considering that CFSI is the Department primary source of training it has a role to play in nurturing a learning culture. CFSI is a strong Institute, with many essential building blocks in place, which needs to be consolidated and enhanced through a systematic program of renewal and rejuvenation.

4.1 Relevance

Given CFSI's place of importance within the Department and, potentially, the Government of Canada, it is crucial at this juncture that the CFSI role is intentionally and vigorously renewed. The fundamental rationale remains sound for a departmental training operation providing a critical mass of training through a single cohesive vehicle creating a Centre of expertise from which the whole department can benefit. A sizeable operation increases cost-effectiveness through economies of scale, and is capable of establishing for itself credibility and a reputation as the "go to" organization within the Department for all things related to professional development.

CFSI can and should stay true to its original vision as the Department and the Government primary source of International Affairs training. CFSI also needs to acknowledge and advance its primary role as the training provider for the Department, similarly to other Canadian government departments and agencies. In light of findings pointing to the softening over the years of the CFSI mandate, it is crucial to clarify the Institute role. Responsibility for identifying employee performance requirements and ensuring employee development lies with departmental managers. With responsibility must come both accountability and influence over financial resources (i.e., training dollars). CFSI's role is to meet learning needs stemming from managers direction - a demand-driven operation - and to generally enable and facilitate the learning required by the Department.

The evidence showed that CFSI practices are not well integrated within DFAIT policies and practices affecting training and learning. This impacts on the quality and cost-efficiency of learning in the Department. The problem can be addressed through a review of related policies leading to changes that ensure good linkages.

There is a desire on the part of DFAIT senior management to solidify the Department central position within the Government of Canada regarding International Affairs, by attracting to CFSI programs personnel from other government departments and agencies to create a Centre of excellence in International Affairs training. DFAIT and CFSI have the knowledge and skill-base required to create such a Centre. However, there has been little exchange between DFAIT and other departments/agencies except in specific isolated cases. This may be because DFAIT itself has done relatively little to foster such exchange. A limited number of DFAIT personnel attend courses at CSPS with other government personnel. CFSI has not attempted to tailor or market its programs to other government departments/agencies. CFSI has so far failed to negotiate agreements for shared training even with its natural partners.

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that CFSI renew its mandate.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

The following elements should be included:

  1. CFSI is the primary departmental instrument in support of career-long learning for all DFAIT employees;

  2. CFSI is a Centre of excellence in International affairs training for the Government of Canada;

  3. CFSI meet training needs of DFAIT as defined by the Department's mission, the direction of departmental managers, and the learning requirements of departmental personnel;

  4. CFSI provide continuously refreshed core training programs in International affairs, foreign and official languages, Intercultural effectiveness and corporate competencies;

  5. CFSI maximize quality and relevance of training through rigorous needs analysis, planning and evaluation;

  6. CFSI maximize cost-effectiveness of training using a full range of pedagogical approaches and training models including online and distance learning technologies;

  7. CFSI provide complementary services including facilitating access to CSPS and external learning opportunities, providing training advice and infrastructure (including individual learning plans, training needs analysis, design, delivery/contracting, course registration services, classroom accommodation, and course evaluation) to branch and bureau training offices and one-time initiatives, and generally serving the broad educational needs of the Department.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that CFSI modify its organizational structure in line with its renewed mandate and training services including complementary services with a view to consolidating its suite of activities and unifying its image within the Department.

Action: HCM and CFSI.

  1. Maintain the current Governance Board as a means to ensure that CFSI remains relevant and connected to the work of the Department.

  2. Appoint for a minimum period of three years a DG with strong capabilities related to leading and managing a professional development institution in a foreign service environment.

  3. Create one or more educational divisions responsible for the provision of training, with courses and programs clustered by broad subject area.

  4. Create a common professional services unit responsible for planning and evaluation and complementary services provided to the Department. Complementary services include:

    • capacity to provide to functional branches and other training providers in DFAIT such as SXMT, SERV and other branches assistance with training needs analysis, training design, training delivery and contracting, course registration services, classroom accommodation, and course evaluation;
    • capacity to provide to all branches assistance in developing individual learning plans and division, bureau and/or branch training plans; and,
    • capacity to provide high quality brokerage services (i.e., assisting individuals and groups in identifying and accessing state-of-the-art learning opportunities outside of DFAIT).
  5. Systematically assess the need for continued OD services and, if warranted, establish in consultation with the Human Resources Branch an OD capacity housed either within CFSI or under the umbrella of Counseling and Consultation Services or another appropriate division.

  6. Promotional materials and CFSI access points should be unified so that, irrespective of the type of training or complementary services desired, clients identify CFSI as a single, unified organization.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that DFAIT reaffirm departmental managers' responsibility for the professional development of their employees including substantive and functional training, training related to posting preparation, IPT, TOWH, and foreign and official language acquisition.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

  1. Reflect in managers performance reviews responsibility for employee professional development.

  2. Shift responsibility for determining how training resources are expended toward branch managers through cost-sharing arrangements (between CFSI and branches), branch allotments within the CFSI envelope, moving training dollars from the CFSI appropriation to branch training budgets and/or other methods, particularly regarding foreign and official language training, professional and management training, pre-posting training, and non-mandatory corporate raining.

  3. CFSI is accountable for the quality of the training provided to DFAIT employees.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that DFAIT review all policies related to the training of personnel, and CFSI review its activities to be consistent with DFAIT policies.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee, HMC, and CFSI.

  1. a. The desired result is full integration and coordination between related DFAIT policies and practices, and the achievement of improved capacity and training cost-effectiveness, including 100 percent fulfillment of language requirement positions abroad. Policies to be reviewed include:

    • the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Policy on Learning, Training and Development;
    • the Government of Canada policies and practices respecting the acquisition of second official language proficiency;
    • current departmental hiring policies and practices (e.g., third language requirements);
    • departmental rotation and assignment policies and practices;
    • policies and practices associated with designating positions at missions as language-essential; and,
    • any other pertinent departmental policies and practices related to training.

Recommendation 5: It is recommended that DFAIT/CFSI renew/create relationships and agreements regarding training activities with key agencies and departments to strengthen coordination/partnership.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

  1. Negotiate an agreement with CSPS to cooperate on the development and provision of International affairs training to personnel from other government departments as warranted.

  2. Renew the current agreement with CIDA for Intercultural, foreign language, and other pre-posting training.

  3. Negotiate an agreement with CIC to provide to their FSOs tailored FSDP training.

  4. Negotiate an agreement with DND to provide to their military attachés FLT.

  5. Work with CIDA and CIC to define and develop International affairs courses, in addition to Intercultural training, of interest to CIDA and CIC personnel.

4.2 Success

The Institute offers an impressive range of well-regarded programs such as the HOM pre-departure program, courses in International affairs topics, the MCO program, the LES in-Canada program, Intercultural training for CIDA, foreign language training, and a good range of both instructor-led and self-directed online courses. It was found, however, that there are gaps in the CSFI suite of courses, representing training on desired subjects which does not exist. The evidence showed weaknesses in CFSI's capacity to systematically and rigorously plan and evaluate training. This capacity needs to be strengthened.

Recommendation 6: It is recommended that CFSI conduct a full departmental training needs assessment every three to five years, beginning immediately.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Based on a systematic assessment of learning needs, create new courses as warranted.

  2. The needs assessment should be overseen by the CFSI governance board.

  3. Examine the need and desire for Intercultural pre-posting training for DFAIT employees.

  4. Complete a thorough re-analysis of foreign language requirements at all missions and apply the findings to determine foreign language training needs.

  5. Systematically assess needs and demand for International affairs training among employees in other government departments and create new courses as warranted.

Recommendation 7: It is recommended that CFSI ensure flexibility and accessibility of current and future training courses and programs, within a structure that provides a common core of required training.

Action: CFSI.

  1. The FSDP should provide mandatory job-orientation to an FSO including exposure to missions' programs and functions. The FSDP should also continue to require completion of a specified number of course hours. However, CFSI should grant equivalencies to trainees having taken similar training elsewhere, and should have minimal restrictions concerning choice of courses outside the required core group of courses. Consideration should be given to expanding the methods by which training is delivered to new FSOs, including the possibility of TD assignments as an optional part of the FSDP.

  2. Within all future programming linked to the International Affairs Curriculum no restrictions or requirements should be applied except those demanded by branch managers.

  3. Widen the range of methods by which employees can acquire foreign language proficiency, including potentially the use of FTE instructors, the facilitation of greater access to private and university instruction, and the use of extended in-country immersion.

Recommendation 8: It is recommended that CFSI centralize and strengthen its capacity for program and course planning and evaluation to ensure systematic, rigorous programs of regular training needs assessments and regular Level 3 training evaluations.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Establish at least one senior level position within CFSI to manage this function.

4.3 Cost-effectiveness

The evaluation found evidence of inefficiency as a result of accumulated structural and strategic factors. It was found that some of CFSI's courses duplicate courses offered to DFAIT employees by CSPS (e.g., management and functional specialist training), and that the providers of many courses and related services - who does what - are arbitrary. Accordingly, CFSI needs to rationalize its services within the full range of training available to DFAIT employees. Essentially, an examination of the course outline and materials for each CFSI course is required. In some cases, portions of a course may duplicate material taught elsewhere while other portions are unique to DFAIT. The exercise will link with the department-wide training needs assessment. In addition to course rationalization, changes in several areas will improve the Institute's efficiency allowing more to be accomplished, at higher quality levels, reaching more trainees.

Recommendation 9: It is recommended that CFSI rationalize its courses within the broad environment of training available to DFAIT and to the Government of Canada employees.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Ensure that DFAIT overall approach to training is consistent with the Government of Canada new policies on learning and second official language acquisition requirements. New employees, new supervisors, and, as needed, functional specialists will require mandatory training through CSPS.

  2. Identify additional DFAIT management learning needs that could be met by CSPS (e.g., much of the material currently covered in the CFSI Supervisor, Deputy Director, Director, Director General, Performance Management, and Results-Based Management courses), remove from the CFSI course calendar, and instruct and assist managers to attend CSPS courses. Reconfigure remaining courses, and group with Managing Staff Abroad, Managing Programs Abroad, the HOM pre-departure course and all International affairs professional courses and programs into an overall International affairs cluster of courses.

  3. Identify DFAIT corporate skills and other learning needs that could be met by CSPS (e.g., contract management, finance), remove from the CFSI course calendar and instruct and assist personnel to attend CSPS courses. Identify remaining courses that are best met by the Department's functional branches and SERV, remove from the CFSI course calendar and instruct and assist personnel to attend courses offered by these branches. Re-configure remaining courses in a Corporate cluster.

Recommendation 10: It is recommended that CFSI maximize cost-effectiveness when choosing and implementing pedagogical methods associated with each CFSI course or program, particularly maximizing use of online training.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Develop and apply an objective and comprehensive formula for determining the most cost-effective learning method for a given learning requirement and target audience.

  2. Maximize usage of online methodologies, especially self-directed and remote training with live instruction, resulting in significant growth in the percentage of CFSI training provided online, and improved reach to missions.

  3. Maximize the student/instructor ratio in classroom and other instructor-led training.

  4. Maximize usage of CFSI FTEs in teaching and facilitating training.

  5. Utilize contract instructors only as necessary to ensure full transparency with respect to, and control over, cost per student-day.

  6. Provide more live, instructor-led training at missions by utilizing pre-posting train-the-trainer to enable rotational personnel to train at posts.

Recommendation 11: It is recommended that CFSI consolidate and improve administrative functions, and review human resources requirements to maximize cost-effectiveness.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Create a common administrative services unit responsible for student registration, finance, contracting and related administrative functions.

  2. Install an automated learning management system (LMS), linked to the Department's human resources management systems and records, including personnel files, performance appraisal records, and records of proficiency in foreign languages and other core competencies.

  3. Conduct a human resources analysis to determine required numbers and levels of CFSI employees to increase the proportion of CFSI FTEs devoted to instruction, including potentially, FTEs devoted to common foreign language training, while reducing CFSI's overall personnel complement.

Recommendation 12: It is recommended that CFSI is accommodated in a single location.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Select/create CFSI's physical facility to match the redefined human resource complement and classroom space needs of the Institute, including the unique features associated with a professional learning institute.

  2. Depending upon site choice, utilize creative complementary measures such as a Pearson Building CFSI "storefront" office.

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5.0 Implementation Strategy

The following is provided as guidelines in the development of an action plan for the implementation of the report's recommendations.

Immediate Steps:

  • DFAIT Management Committee approve recommendations (all, or a subset).
  • Upon approval, create an ad hoc transition committee chaired by the DG of the Institute including all CFSI directors, the director of HAM, and other members as warranted.
  • Establish a critical path schedule for these steps to ensure the timely completion of the transition.
  • Establish a transition fund to cover one-time expenses associated with the implementation of recommendations.

Short-term Steps (1 to 6 months within DMC approval of recommendations):

  • Craft and gain DFAIT Management Committee approval for a new CFSI mandate (Recommendation 1).
  • Implement changes in policies and practices affecting management accountabilities to shift responsibility for employee professional development to managers (Recommendation 3).
  • Review departmental policies affecting professional development (Recommendation 4) and change as required.
  • Purchase and install learning management system (Recommendation 11).
  • Develop and institute research capacity (Recommendation 8).
  • Conduct rationalization exercise (Recommendation 9). During this period, interim measures may be required to ensure uninterrupted service between the old CFSI course calendar and the new.
  • Conduct a full, department-wide training needs assessment (Recommendation 6).
  • Conduct cost efficiency analysis on remaining courses (Recommendation 10).
  • Restructure CFSI including complementary and administrative services, and conduct and implement the results of a CFSI human resources' analysis (Recommendations 2 and 11).
  • Institute measures to maximize CFSI service flexibility (Recommendation 7).

Medium-term Steps (3 to 12 months within DMC approval of recommendations):

  • Arrange for shifting of responsibility from CFSI to the authority of branches, and for manager accountability for employee professional development (Recommendation 3).
  • Negociate training agreements and arrangements with other government departments (Recommendation 5).
  • House reorganized Institute in a single location (Recommendation 12).

Long-term Steps (12 to 18 months within DMC approval of recommendations):

  • Conduct training needs assessment in partnership with selected other government departments (Recommendation 6).

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Appendix A - Management Response

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that CFSI renew its mandate.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

The following elements should be included:

  1. CFSI is the primary departmental instrument in support of career-long learning for all DFAIT employees;

  2. CFSI is a Centre of excellence in International affairs training for the Government of Canada;

  3. CFSI meet training needs of DFAIT as defined by the Department's mission, the direction of departmental managers, and the learning requirements of departmental personnel;

  4. CFSI provide continuously refreshed core training programs in International affairs, foreign and official languages, Intercultural effectiveness and corporate competencies;

  5. CFSI maximize quality and relevance of training through rigorous needs analysis, planning and evaluation;

  6. CFSI maximize cost-effectiveness of training using a full range of pedagogical approaches and training models including online and distance learning technologies;

  7. CFSI provide complementary services including facilitating access to CSPS and external learning opportunities, providing training advice and infrastructure (including individual learning plans, training needs analysis, design, delivery/contracting, course registration services, classroom accommodation, and course evaluation) to branch and bureau training offices and one-time initiatives, and generally serving the broad educational needs of the Department.

Management Response:

The CFSI has initiated the process to obtain Deputy Minister approval of a new Mandate for CFSI. Presentation have been made to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources(HCM) Management Committee, the Human Resources Advisory Committee, the CFSI Governing Board, the former Management Committee and the Deputy Minister for International Trade (DMT). The mandate was submitted for approval in May, 2007.

Recommendation 2: It is recommended that CFSI modify its organizational structure in line with its renewed mandate and training services including complementary services with a view to consolidating its suite of activities and unifying its image within the Department.

Action: HCM and CFSI.

  1. Maintain the current Governance Board as a means to ensure that CFSI remains relevant and connected to the work of the Department.

  2. Appoint for a minimum period of three years a DG with strong capabilities related to leading and managing a professional development institution in a foreign service environment.

  3. Create one or more educational divisions responsible for the provision of training, with courses and programs clustered by broad subject area.

  4. Create a common professional services unit responsible for planning and evaluation and complementary services provided to the Department. Complementary services include:

    • capacity to provide to functional branches and other training providers in DFAIT such as SXMT, SERV and other branches assistance with training needs analysis, training design, training delivery and contracting, course registration services, classroom accommodation, and course evaluation;
    • capacity to provide to all branches assistance in developing individual learning plans and division, bureau and/or branch training plans; and,
    • capacity to provide high quality brokerage services (i.e., assisting individuals and groups in identifying and accessing state-of-the-art learning opportunities outside of DFAIT).
  5. Systematically assess the need for continued OD services and, if warranted, establish in consultation with the Human Resources Branch an OD capacity housed either within CFSI or under the umbrella of Counseling and Consultation Services or another appropriate division.

  6. Promotional materials and CFSI access points should be unified so that, irrespective of the type of training or complementary services desired, clients identify CFSI as a single, unified organization.

Management Response:

The CFSI staff is fully dedicated to the design, development, administration and delivery of an extensive array of several hundred courses and programs. The institute intends to establish a centralized unit for learning advisory services, needs assessment and evaluation and to provide learning advisory services. Such a client service center will provide one-stop shopping for employees and managers where they will have access to expert learning opportunities both within and outside of the department and who could help staff assess their learning needs and advise managers about division/bureau learning plans. The development of new organizational structure began in February 2007. The target completion date is 2007/08. Ideally, the unit would have a storefront location, like SERV on the lobby floor of the Pearson Building. Discussions with Corporate Operations Bureau (SPD) for lobby space are underway.

Recommendation 3: It is recommended that DFAIT reaffirm departmental managers' responsibility for the professional development of their employees including substantive and functional training, training related to posting preparation, IPT, TOWH, and foreign and official language acquisition.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

  1. Reflect in managers performance reviews responsibility for employee professional development.

  2. Shift responsibility for determining how training resources are expended toward branch managers through cost-sharing arrangements (between CFSI and branches), branch allotments within the CFSI envelope, moving training dollars from the CFSI appropriation to branch training budgets and/or other methods, particularly regarding foreign and official language training, professional and management training, pre-posting training, and non-mandatory corporate training.

  3. CFSI is accountable for the quality of the training provided to DFAIT employees.

Management Response:

This is a message that is being conveyed in discussions with senior management on CFSI renewed mandate and will be incorporated in advice to management and staff as they develop individual, divisional and bureaux learning plans. It is an intrinsic element of the DFAIT PMP process.

Partnering and cost-sharing has been going on for some time, for example, in the area of corporate services (IMS upgrade in 2002; the InfoBank and Signet 3 projects). Cost-sharing arrangements are discussed with client branches on a project-by-project basis. With respect to Performance reviews, Human Resources is planning to incorporate in the 2007/2008 Performance Management and Accountability (PMA) process a requirement that all managers reflect their responsibility for employee professional development. Consultations and various presentations on the CFSI renewal are underway.

Recommendation 4: It is recommended that DFAIT review all policies related to the training of personnel, and CFSI review its activities to be consistent with DFAIT policies.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee, HMC, and CFSI.

  1. a. The desired result is full integration and coordination between related DFAIT policies and practices, and the achievement of improved capacity and training cost-effectiveness, including 100 percent fulfillment of language requirement positions abroad. Policies to be reviewed include:

    • the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Policy on Learning, Training and Development;
    • the Government of Canada policies and practices respecting the acquisition of second official language proficiency;
    • current departmental hiring policies and practices (e.g., third language requirements);
    • departmental rotation and assignment policies and practices;
    • policies and practices associated with designating positions at missions as language-essential; and,
    • any other pertinent departmental policies and practices related to training.

Management Response:

Preliminary work has begun in CFSI in that policies are being updated as part of a process to update the information currently posted on the intranet. In addition, CFSI intends to develop a policy framework under which courses may be added and/or deleted. As well, discussions have begun with HCM Branch to ensure complementarity of Human Resources policies and training policies. The target date of completion is fall, 2007.

Recommendation 5: It is recommended that DFAIT/CFSI renew/create relationships and agreements regarding training activities with key agencies and departments to strengthen coordination/partnership.

Action: DFAIT Management Committee and CFSI.

  1. Negotiate an agreement with CSPS to cooperate on the development and provision of International affairs training to personnel from other government departments as warranted.

  2. Renew the current agreement with CIDA for Intercultural, foreign language, and other pre-posting training.

  3. Negotiate an agreement with CIC to provide to their FSOs tailored FSDP training.

  4. Negotiate an agreement with DND to provide to their military attachés FLT.

  5. Work with CIDA and CIC to define and develop International affairs courses, in addition to Intercultural training, of interest to CIDA and CIC personnel.

Management Response:

The CFSI has already initiated discussions with the Canada School of Public Service for the negotiation on an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will acknowledge their respective roles and expertise for training. It has entered into a new five-year administrative arrangement with CIDA for inter-cultural effectiveness training. This administrative arrangement was signed in April 2007. In addition, CIC has expressed interest in closer collaboration for training of its foreign service personnel. Consultations with key OGDs were initiated by the CFSI Governing Board in February 2007. The target completion date is fall, 2007.

Recommendation 6: It is recommended that CFSI conduct a full departmental training needs assessment every three to five years, beginning immediately.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Based on a systematic assessment of learning needs, create new courses as warranted.

  2. The needs assessment should be overseen by the CFSI governance board.

  3. Examine the need and desire for Inter-cultural pre-posting training for DFAIT employees.

  4. Complete a thorough re-analysis of foreign language requirements at all missions and apply the findings to determine foreign language training needs.

  5. Systematically assess needs and demand for International affairs training among employees in other government departments and create new courses as warranted.

Management Response:

Training needs and assessments will be a function of the new centralized unit that will be created with CFSI. The target completion date is in 2009.

Recommendation 7: It is recommended that CFSI ensure flexibility and accessibility of current and future training courses and programs, within a structure that provides a common core of required training.

Action: CFSI.

  1. The FSDP should provide mandatory job-orientation to an FSO including exposure to missions' programs and functions. The FSDP should also continue to require completion of a specified number of course hours. However, CFSI should grant equivalencies to trainees having taken similar training elsewhere, and should have minimal restrictions concerning choice of courses outside the required core group of courses. Consideration should be given to expanding the methods by which training is delivered to new FSOs, including the possibility of TD assignments as an optional part of the FSDP.

  2. Within all future programming linked to the International Affairs Curriculum no restrictions or requirements should be applied except those demanded by branch managers.

  3. Widen the range of methods by which employees can acquire foreign language proficiency, including potentially the use of FTE instructors, the facilitation of greater access to private and university instruction, and the use of extended in-country immersion.

Management Response:

A review of CFSI courses is underway. CFSI is working to incorporate greater flexibility where ever possible in all of its programs and courses, for example, granting equivalencies to FSDP trainees. While CFSI supports the idea of Tds, consultation to date with the HCM Branch, which is responsible for the FSDP assignments, indicate that in the current fiscal environment, TDs are unlikely. CFSI is not funded for FSDP assignments. The target completion date is in 2008.

Recommendation 8: It is recommended that CFSI centralize and strengthen its capacity for program and course planning and evaluation to ensure systematic, rigorous programs of regular training needs assessments and regular Level 3 training evaluations.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Establish at least one senior level position within CFSI to manage this function.

Management Response:

Pedagogical oversight as well as the planning and evaluation function will be conducted by professional staff in the proposed centralized unit. This unit will provide Institute-wide context for decisions on training and other services within the fiscal framework. This is to begin in 2007/2008.

Recommendation 9: It is recommended that CFSI rationalize its courses within the broad environment of training available to DFAIT and to the Government of Canada employees.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Ensure that DFAIT overall approach to training is consistent with the Government of Canada new policies on learning and second official language acquisition requirements. New employees, new supervisors, and, as needed, functional specialists will require mandatory training through CSPS.

  2. Identify additional DFAIT management learning needs that could be met by CSPS (e.g., much of the material currently covered in the CFSI Supervisor, Deputy Director, Director, Director General, Performance Management, and Results-Based Management courses), remove from the CFSI course calendar, and instruct and assist managers to attend CSPS courses. Reconfigure remaining courses, and group with Managing Staff Abroad, Managing Programs Abroad, the HOM pre-departure course and all International affairs professional courses and programs into an overall International affairs cluster of courses.

  3. Identify DFAIT corporate skills and other learning needs that could be met by CSPS (e.g., contract management, finance), remove from the CFSI course calendar and instruct and assist personnel to attend CSPS courses. Identify remaining courses that are best met by the Department's functional branches and SERV, remove from the CFSI course calendar and instruct and assist personnel to attend courses offered by these branches. Re-configure remaining courses in a Corporate cluster.

Management Response:

The CFSI is conducting an in-depth review of courses offered by it and by the Canada School of Public Service. Preliminary results suggest that there is surprisingly little duplication: the Canada School offers good generic overviews of government-wide policies; CFSI provides DFAIT-specific training that reflects departmental priorities and business practices. Generic and government-wide courses are being transferred to the Canada School for Public Service. This review is nearing completion. The target date of completion is 2007.

Recommendation 10: It is recommended that CFSI maximize cost-effectiveness when choosing and implementing pedagogical methods associated with each CFSI course or program, particularly maximizing use of online training.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Develop and apply an objective and comprehensive formula for determining the most cost-effective learning method for a given learning requirement and target audience.

  2. Maximize usage of online methodologies, especially self-directed and remote training with live instruction, resulting in significant growth in the percentage of CFSI training provided online, and improved reach to missions.

  3. Maximize the student/instructor ratio in classroom and other instructor-led training.

  4. Maximize usage of CFSI FTEs in teaching and facilitating training.

  5. Utilize contract instructors only as necessary to ensure full transparency with respect to, and control over, cost per student-day.

  6. Provide more live, instructor-led training at missions by utilizing pre-posting train-the-trainer to enable rotational personnel to train at posts.

Management Response:

Online training is an area where CFSI is generally recognized as an international leader; plans are under development to expand our online offerings. CFSI is also exploring and expanding access to alternative sources of training, for example more blended learning. This review is nearing completion. As to developing a comprehensive formula for determining the most effective learning method, the Systems Approach to Training (SAT) is used in the development of all new courses. Part of the SAT analysis is to determine the appropriate methodology for effective delivery of the course content to the target audience. This review is nearing completion. The target date of completion is 2007.

Recommendation 11: It is recommended that CFSI consolidate and improve administrative functions, and review human resources requirements to maximize cost-effectiveness.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Create a common administrative services unit responsible for student registration, finance, contracting and related administrative functions.

  2. Install an automated learning management system (LMS), linked to the Department's human resources management systems and records, including personnel files, performance appraisal records, and records of proficiency in foreign languages and other core competencies.

  3. Conduct a human resources analysis to determine required numbers and levels of CFSI employees to increase the proportion of CFSI FTEs devoted to instruction, including potentially, FTEs devoted to common foreign language training, while reducing CFSI's overall personnel complement.

Management Response:

The CFSI Management has been working over the past several months to design a restructured institution. It has struck a Departmental Working Group to review requirements for an Electronic Learning Management System (ELMS). This group is led by the Canada School of Public Service to establish its own. ELMS that would also meet the needs of other departments.

As part of the renewal and restructuring of CFSI, the management team is reviewing all of the FTEs. The new organizational structure designed and the implementation are pending HCM approval and space allocation.

Recommendation 12: It is recommended that CFSI is accommodated in a single location.

Action: CFSI.

  1. Select/create CFSI's physical facility to match the redefined human resource complement and classroom space needs of the Institute, including the unique features associated with a professional learning institute.

  2. Depending upon site choice, utilize creative complementary measures such as a Pearson Building CFSI "storefront" office.

Management Response:

The CFSI is housed in three locations in two buildings. Discussions have taken place between SPD and CFSI to identify potential locations for the Institute; moving into a single location is a longer term commitment. Nonetheless, CFSI is optimistic that the learning Advisory Services Center, to be created as part of the centralized unit, would have a visible presence like SERV on the lobby level. The business case was drafted in May 2007.

Consultation Process:

With respect to the consultation process which led to the development of the new CFSI's mandate, initially, the Management team drew on the recommendations set out by the evaluators. The directions for renewal and restructuring the Institute were presented to: The Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources (HCM) Management Committee; the departmental Management Committee; and bilateral meeting with the Deputy Minister of International Trade (DMT). The Institute continues to consult on its proposed direction, most recently in the context of Strategic Review, presentations were made to: The Human Resources Board, the Core Services Working Group and the Client Services Working Group.


1 Donald Kirkpatrick's (1959) model remains the most prevalent training evaluation framework used today and suggests the following to evaluate training programs:

  • reaction of participants (customer satisfaction);
  • learning (extent to which participants change attitudes, improve knowledge, and/or increase skill);
  • behavior (extent to which change in behavior has occurred); and,
  • results (outcomes that occurred as a consequence of program attendance).

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2012-11-04