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CFIA leadership competency dictionary


Price of admission competencies for all employees

Service orientation

Focuses one's efforts on discovering and meeting the client's needs, while balancing CFIA's key business and strategic priorities. Acts with the stakeholder's needs in mind by establishing rapport with the other party. Puts oneself into the mindset of the stakeholder to facilitate delivery of solutions that meet their underlying needs.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Values and ethics

Creates and promotes a culture of integrity, transparency, fairness and respect. Acts and behaves consistently with personal integrity as well as concern for and sensitivity to fundamental values of the organization and the Public Service. Makes sound ethical judgment in an ethically complex work environment and in the face of pressures and constraints. Addresses infractions to underlying principles of Values and Ethics to sustain and enhance the ethical culture of the organization.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:


Promotes across CFIA the safeguarding and using of all Agency resources, including human, financial, scientific data and other information and material resources effectively and economically by ensuring decisions and operations are either standardized and/or are implemented in compliance with applicable policies, procedures, standards and regulations.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:


Works co-operatively with others. Fosters respectful, mutual understanding and rapport with others. Contributes to the success of the team by being helpful to others, willingly doing his or her share of the work, and contributing to team activities.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Agency-wide EX competencies

Strategic thinking

Identifies the range of industry, government, policy, market, business and/or scientific opportunities, trends and issues likely to impact CFIA's ability to fulfill its role. Understands CFIA, industry and government context of food safety, animal health or plant protection and envisions possibilities of how these could impact how the Agency delivers on its mandate: develops a vision for CFIA and connects people to it. Translates CFIA's strategies into concrete actions that can be effectively executed. Identifies priorities for the organization, develops necessary business plans, and aligns daily work with long-range visions and directions of CFIA.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Shapes and embeds CFIA's strategy into the broader government context
Level EX 3 - Implements CFIA's long term direction and strategy
Level EX 2 - Anticipates emerging Agency needs and provides clear directions for executing CFIA's mandate
Level EX 1 - Establishes short to medium term priorities for unit
Level EX minus 1 - Identifies and corrects misalignment and gaps and targets actions to current organizational strategies
Level EX minus 2 - Considers Agency needs when setting own and team priorities


Makes sound, courageous and timely decisions that consider available evidence, weighs information based on relevancy, and accurately identifies the consequences of decisions or actions against desired outcome based on available information. Knows what results are important and focuses efforts and/or resources to achieve them, in alignment with the objectives of the organization. Delivers on commitments through actions and decisions that reflect personal accountability, confidence and business acumen.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Makes innovative strategic decisions that redefine Agency goals
Level EX 3 - Makes decisions to maximize Agency success despite uncertainty
Level EX 2 - Makes sound decisions despite conflicting priorities
Level EX 1 - Makes decisions in risky situations, under pressure or in a crisis
Level EX minus 1 - Improves decision making in own area by infusing discipline and rigour
Level EX minus 2 - Shows resolve and takes responsibility for team decisions

Stakeholder relationship building

Develops relationships with stakeholders by encouraging open discussion and regular exchange and sharing of ideas even when it is difficult to do so, or with individuals vying for same resources or with diverging agendas. Builds mutually beneficial relationships with traditional and non-traditional partners and stakeholders.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Develops strategic, senior-level relationships and networks with external stakeholders in support of government goals
Level EX 3 - Develops new networks with external stakeholders in support of Agency goals
Level EX 2 - Cultivates a broad range of key contacts
Level EX 1 - Initiates new working relationships
Level EX minus 1 - Maintains existing working relationships
Level EX minus 2 - Works cooperatively with others

People development and management

Motivates and manages employee development, work activities and performance with the goal of optimizing efficient use of talent and resources. Inspires commitment to excellence by creating excitement about the work and demonstrates personal conviction, strength of character and belief in the team.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Creates a learning organization where employee efforts is optimized and talent is cultivated
Level EX 3 - Inspires commitment to mandate and enables employee growth and development in support of Agency operations
Level EX 2 - Models a passion for CFIA's corporate objectives and builds talents to sustain Agency activities
Level EX 1 - Fosters group cohesion, shared purpose and development
Level EX minus 1 - Empowers employees in their work and their development/career
Level EX minus 2 - Capitalizes on and grows individual talent

Organizational awareness

Understands, learns and effectively uses the different factors that impact CFIA's performance, such as power relationships in one's own organization or in other organizations (clients, partners, etc.). Appreciates the roles, perspectives and agendas of others, as well as the relationship dynamics that play out and impact the broader objectives.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Understands and navigates effectively the implicit "ways of the government" and partner organizations
Level EX 3 - Operates effectively in a broad spectrum of political, scientific and policy environments (is versatile and effective)
Level EX 2 - Understands and uses organizational politics appropriately
Level EX 1 - Understands and uses Agency culture
Level EX minus 1 - Understands and uses CFIA's informal structures
Level EX minus 2 - Understands and uses CFIA's formal structures

Change leadership

Sells, energizes and alerts groups to the need for changes in the way things are done, in new directions, new strategies and new approaches, and leads them forward in a manner that is consistent with business objectives. Creates a culture where flexibility and openness to new ideas and new methods are encouraged; leads transformation with courage and conviction.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Creates an environment that fosters a culture of transformation, innovation and change across the Agency and partner organizations
Level EX 3 - Champions transformation and change across the Agency
Level EX 2 - Manages large change initiatives by anticipating and adapting overall transformation goals and strategy
Level EX 1 - Explains and sells changes; fosters acceptance of and commitment to change in others
Level EX minus 1 - Adapts operational plans to change agenda; applies rules, procedures and processes flexibly as appropriate, in support of change
Level EX minus 2 - Accepts need for change and listens new ideas or responses to business issues

Program expertise

Risk management

Leverages CFIA's capacity to prepare for, mitigate and manage issues and emergencies and to support success through science-based risk assessments. Uses performance metrics, quality control and/or assurance techniques (as appropriate) and establishes review mechanisms to quantify risks, and suggest mitigating solutions.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Instills a risk management mindset and culture across the Agency
Level EX 3 - Shapes broad risk management strategies for Agency and partner organizations
Level EX 2 - Develops new risk management approaches that can be implemented within or even outside CFIA
Level EX 1 - Implements risk management strategies
Level EX minus 1 - Ensures adherence to risk management approaches in unit's work
Level EX minus 2 - Understands risk management procedures and importance

Engaging others (partnering with others)

Advances the successful solution to an issue by assuring the ongoing and active commitment and participation of partners and stakeholders. Deploys appropriate approaches at all organizational levels that lead to individuals and teams to contribute and work together over the longer term, encourages interactive collaboration, develops cohesive plans and executes projects in a manner that capitalizes on the strengths of all parties.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Uses advanced engagement strategies to ensure the sustained collaboration of partners with competing agendas across government in the attainment of broad organizational goals
Level EX 3 - Uses engagement strategies to ensures the sustained collaboration of partners across the Agency
Level EX 2 - Manages integrated project teams with interested parties to the benefit of delivering on cross-departmental projects
Level EX 1 - Communicates with partners for maximum engagement
Level EX minus 1 - Monitors partner engagement
Level EX minus 2 - Shares project and other key information

Delivery expertise

Operational effectiveness

Shows commitment to continuous improvement by aligning systems and processes to CFIA's goals of generating scientific, health, social and environmental benefits to Canadians. Implements and monitors efficient work practices, manages and allocates financial and people resources to execute business plans and leverage operational targets. Organizes effectively the activities of others (and self), including developing and coordinating operational plans and achieving business goals according to approved principles and within agreed parameters.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Drives a culture of excellence and high performance across the Agency
Level EX 3 - Defines strategies that drive business performance across units to maximize future success
Level EX 2 - Implements systems that enhance current performance
Level EX 1 - Optimizes and improves performance
Level EX minus 1 - Sets standards of excellence for team goals
Level EX minus 2 - Focuses on disciplined execution

Holding people accountable

Holds self, team, and organization accountable to standards of performance. Manages poor performers appropriately, with the long-term "good" of the individual and organization in mind. Demonstrates a strong outcome-oriented mindset for performance improvements, and a strong bias for taking action even during ambiguous and/or high risk situations to address current or future problems or opportunities.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Fosters organizational performance and enforces broad standards
Level EX 3 - Manages employee performance and enforces standards and consequences
Level EX 2 - Creates clear linkages between accountabilities and organizational goals
Level EX 1 - Monitors diligently individual and team performance
Level EX minus 1 - Holds others accountable
Level EX minus 2 - Holds self-accountable

Corporate expertise

Building organizational capacity

Realigns - proactively and quickly - the people or processes of CFIA so that the correct systems are in place, and the correct measures and information are supplied to support CFIA's vision and values and focus people's attention appropriately. High Performance CFIA leaders develop a sustainable organization by planning for and establishing the requisite structure, infrastructure, policies/accountabilities and/or governance frameworks required to execute on current and future strategies. It includes a concern for making sure the Agency has the requisite people, processes, procedures, data, tools and equipment to respond to increasing business demands.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Creates organizational systems to enhance future organizational capacity
Level EX 3 - Aligns organizational systems to enhance current organizational capacity
Level EX 2 - Modifies existing systems to support the strategy and upcoming demands of a branch or unit
Level EX 1 - Embeds agility into CFIA work practices
Level EX minus 1 - Manages team's priorities
Level EX minus 2 - Enhances the human capital of CFIA

Influencing others

Persuades, convinces or negotiates effectively with others. Wins agreement or gains the attention of others for the Agency's agenda. Honesty, professionalism, and knowledge are seen as essential for credibility and for effective influencing within CFIA and with stakeholders.

Illustrative behavioural indicators:

Level EX 4 and above - Uses coalitions and deep understanding of other party to influence
Level EX 3 - Uses complex influence strategies
Level EX 2 - Uses indirect influence
Level EX 1 - Calculates impact of actions or words on audience when convincing others
Level EX minus 1 - Is tenacious: takes multiple actions to persuade
Level EX minus 2 - Focuses on logic: States facts to persuade

Annex 1 - Competencies alignment

Previous TBS New TBS CFIA specific
Values and Ethics Uphold Integrity and Respect Values & Ethics
(Price of Admission)
Strategic Thinking Create Vision & Strategy Strategic Thinking
Engagement Collaborate with Partners and Stakeholders Stakeholder Relationship Building (Collaborating)
Influencing Others
Service Orientation (Price of Admission)
Action Management Achieve Results Decisiveness
Operational Effectiveness
Risk Management
Holding People Accountable
People Management Mobilize People People Development and Management
Building Organizational Capacity
Engaging Others
Team Work (Price of Admission)
Financial Management (Achieve Results) Stewardship
(Price of Admission)
  Promote Innovation and Guide Change Change Leadership
    Organizational Awareness
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