What is PS Transitions all about?

  • PS Transitions: Collaborative Solutions for Recruitment and Retention is a conference organized by dynamic individuals with a personal and professional interest in building an environment conducive to attracting and sustaining the next generation of public service leaders.
  • PS Transitions is a meeting of minds that will be meaningful and practical to:
    • Senior Public Service Leaders
    • Middle Public Service Managers
    • Young Public Servants
    • The Academic Community – Students and Faculty

What will the focus be?

  • The emphasis is not just on identifying problems but also, and most importantly, on brainstorming solutions.
  • The primary objectives of PS Transitions are:
    • To propose solutions to problems encountered by young public servants in the transition from post-secondary education to employment within the federal public service.
    • To establish dialogue between current students, recent graduates, and public service leaders on issues pertaining to recruitment, and retention; and,
    • To discuss lessons learned, next steps, and solutions for transforming the federal public service into a true employer of choice, and achieving HR stability as the working population ages and enters retirement.

What topics will be discussed?

  • The conference will address the following key areas:
    • Presentation of Industry Canada / Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration Study
    • Discussion of Current Proposals for Public Service Reform
    • Attracting the Best and Brightest – Recruitment Initiatives
    • Managing the Corporate Knowledge Exodus – Retention Issues
    • Making the Ideal Outcome a Reality – Identifying and Discussing Next Steps


During June 2001, a group of alumni from Carleton University’s Master of Public Administration got together and discussed the possibility of organizing a conference aimed at bringing together representatives from across the country to brainstorm and develop collaborated solutions to some of the recruitment and retention challenges facing the policy community of the federal government. The group, subsequently named the Transitions Initiative, established a set of key principles that would guide them in their development of the agenda for PS Transitions: Collaborative Solutions for Recruitment and Retention. Because these principles lay at the foundation for the event, the Transitions Initiative believes it is important to explicitly state them.

  • Focus (Realistic Solutions to Real Challenges) – Assemble a combination of current public administration / public policy students, new policy professionals, middle public service managers, co-op coordinators, as well as senior government officials to identify specific current recruitment and retention challenges facing the government’s policy community and collaborate on developing practical solutions to address them. Such solutions will resonate among public service HR policymakers and managers as being both desirable and functionally possible.
  • Topic (Strategic and Tactical Recruitment & Retention Policy) – Broadly speaking, PS Transitions is concerned with recruitment and retention challenges facing the federal government. However, in the interest of producing meaningfully progressive solutions to whatever specific hurdles exist under this broad umbrella, the conference will afford considerable latitude for participants to decide on the root issues that they feel need to be addressed most. In an effort to ensure that the top-of-mind issues of participants are generally addressed as well as possible, these discussions would flow from issues identified in the initial working group sessions. That is, the initial discussions (recruitment on day 2, retention on day 3) provide participants the opportunity to further identify the specific recruitment and retention obstacles that they themselves will address.
  • Participants (Collaboration) – The Transitions Initiative is seeking a combination of 100 participants consisting of current students, new recruits, middle managers and senior officials. The Transitions Initiative has defined “new recruits” as anyone who has been in the policy community for less then three years. Therefore “new recruits” includes both recent post-secondary graduates and people who have been recruited into the government’s policy community either through jobs.gc.ca, secondments, interchanges, etc.


Our current official collaborative partners are the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, the Canadian Centre for Management Development, the Public Service Commission, and Industry Canada. Thanks to their support and involvement, there will be no registration fee for the conference! Why should you support PS Transitions?

  • Your support is an opportunity to convey your organization’s stewardship of progressive HR policy in the federal public service.

  • It is an excellent opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the next generation of public servants and leaders.

  • Your support is an investment in influencing how the federal public service changes – and it is an investment in risk mitigation.

  • Your financial support is a responsible investment in a positive step forward for a rapidly changing public service.

Your participation and support mean…

  • You are taking part in a Symbiotic exchange of ideas to Achieve common understanding and Direction for Canada’s public service!

Contact any one of the organizers for more details!


  • Industry Canada

  • Canadian Centre for Management Development

  • Public Service Commission of Canada

  • Carleton University School of Public Policy and Administration

Conferences (The links no longer work):

  • A New Magnetic North: How Canada can Attract and Retain Young Talent

  • Fonctionnaires sans frontières Colloquium “Transferring Leadership, Transforming the Public Service”

President of the PSC Speeches (The links no longer work):

  • The Changing HR Landscape:Challenges, Opportunities and Ideals

  • Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining the Best Talent

Other (The links no longer work):

  • Modernizing Human Resources Management in the Public Service

  • Recruiting for Canada’s Future Public Service

  • Insights into Recruiting the Next Wave

  • Bad bosses break morale of PS: survey

  • The Road Ahead: Recruitment and Retention Challenges for the Public Service (February 2002)

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