DFATD Learning Policy

  1. Issuing Authority

    This policy is issued under the authority of the Department's Deputy Ministers.
  2. Effective Date and Application

    This policy is effective as of June 30, 2008 and replaces the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development's (DFATD) Learning Policy dated April 21, 2005. It applies to all DFATD employees and is implemented in conjunction with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Learning, Training and Development and the TBS Directive on Required Training which came into effect as of January 1 and May 15, 2006 respectively.
  3. Context

    The Learning Policy supports Deputy Ministers' responsibilities related to government-wide required training, leadership/management development and employee professional development, as expressed in the TBS policy. It is also consistent with Deputy Ministers' desire, in the ongoing transformation of the department, to adopt leading-edge management practices, to strengthen organizational leadership and to promote innovation. Enhancing employee development — a priority area for public service renewal — is inextricably linked with a high performing organization.
  4. Policy Statement

    The competencies (knowledge, abilities and behaviors) of DFATD's workforce at Headquarters, Regional Offices and Missions, are key determinants for supporting the Government of Canada's (GOC) priorities and achieving DFATD's key and ongoing priorities. The Department values and is committed to creating a modern and cost-effective learning organization which supports employees' professional development, innovation, leadership/management development and knowledge transfer.
  5. Policy Objectives

    • 5.1 – To foster an intellectually stimulating learning environment in which employees can develop to their full potential in a skilled, well-trained and professional workforce;
    • 5.2 – To engage managers and employees in developing individual and organizational learning plans aligned with the TBS Management Accountability Framework and departmental business priorities, as well as with the employee's career objectives;
    • 5.3 – To promote learning as essential to the introducing and maintenance of new functions, responsibilities and technologies in order to ensure that DFATD meets the requirements of a 21st century foreign and international trade Ministry;
    • 5.4 – To maximize cost-effectiveness through the use of formal and informal development opportunities, appropriate pedagogical methods, including eLearning; and
    • 5.5 – To support joint union-employer learning initiatives, as defined together by the parties to meet their common missions, goals and learning objectives, as well as furthering the mandate and objectives of this department.
  6. Policy Commitments

    To be recognized as an innovative learning organization and comply with the TBS policy on learning, training and development, DFATD is emphasizing its commitment to:
    • 6.1 – Providing the Learning Advisory Services;
    • 6.2 – Providing programs and services that encourage the active participation of managers and employees in various learning opportunities in order to facilitate the acquisition and application of the necessary competencies (knowledge, abilities and behaviors) to perform their duties and manage their professional development;
    • 6.3 – Supporting managers in their responsibility to foster a learning culture by developing organizational learning plans and by supporting their employees' professional development through the completion of their Individual Learning Plans integrated into the Performance Management Program;
    • 6.4 – Fostering an environment where experimentation and innovation are seen as important parts of the learning process; and
    • 6.5 – Recognizing that managers and employees have a shared responsibility in identifying individual and organizational learning priorities and objectives, in making time available for participation in learning opportunities, and in reporting on the successful completion of training aligned with organizational/individual learning objectives.
  7. Policy Requirements

    7.1 Managers are responsible for:

    1. Providing support and assistance for the development, implementation and annual review of employee learning plans that are consistent with the goals and priorities of the organization, the employee's performance evaluation objectives and/or the employee's career aspirations;
    2. Encouraging and supporting employees to apply on-the-job what they have learned for their professional development by providing them with sufficient time for practicing and integrating their newly acquired knowledge and abilities;
    3. Serving as learning role models by being proactive as teachers, mentors, coaches and disseminators of knowledge, as well as by being learners themselves, receptive to innovative ideas and practices; and
    4. Providing employees with opportunities to share their learning in support of knowledge transfer.

    7.2 Employees are responsible for:

    1. Developing and implementing an Individual Learning Plan integrated into the Performance Management Program to align their learning objectives with business priorities and with their professional aspirations;
    2. Applying their learning on-the-job and providing feedback to managers and trainers on the quality of learning activities and its impact on their performance; and
    3. Taking primary ownership of their professional development by accessing the tools, resources and learning opportunities that best suit their learning style as well as by seeking out other professional development opportunities;
    4. Sharing their expertise by proactively participating in various knowledge transfer activities.

    7.3 The Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI), on behalf or along with other DFATD training providers, is responsible for:

    1. Aligning its programs and services with the GOC's and departmental priorities;
    2. Being the GOC Centre of Expertise for International Affairs Learning, Foreign Language and Intercultural Effectiveness;
    3. Serving training needs of DFATD as the primary provider of various learning opportunities for all departmental employees;
    4. Providing training on corporate services and corporate systems critical to the management of DFATD resources 
    5. Maximizing use of leading edge technologies to enhance learning opportunities and knowledge transfer, as well as to increase access to learning;
    6. Offering Learning Advisory Services in support of DFATD Learning Policy objectives;
    7. Maximizing quality, relevance and transfer of training through rigorous needs analysis, planning and evaluation;
    8. Producing comprehensive Annual Learning Reports covering all DFATD training activities;
    9. Fostering partnerships with other DFATD training providers, OGDs and other learning organizations; and
    10. Enhancing the partnership with the Canada School of Public Service to augment and enrich the learning opportunities for DFATD employees.
  8. Accountability, Monitoring and Reporting

    All learning opportunities should be recorded on the Individual Learning Plan, integrated into the Performance Management Program, to help employees be accountable for their professional development.

    CFSI, on behalf of all DFATD training providers, will respond to the monitoring and reporting requirements in respect of the TBS Directive on the Administration of Required Training.

  9. Definitions

    All definitions included in the Appendix of the updated TBS Policy on Learning, Training and Development are to be used in the interpretation of this policy.


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