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:

  • Develops means to better reach out to clients and partner organizations involved in food safety, animal health or plant protection to stimulate an exchange of information and keep them and CFIA "in the know".
  • Encourages modification to existing CFIA policies, programs and services to ensure that they remain relevant and responsive to client needs.
  • Ensures that employees consult with various clients to discuss their ideas and proposals.
  • Communicates feedback from clients with front line staff.
  • Ensures that client service becomes the focus of attention in operational planning.
  • Fine tunes the CFIA's approach, as appropriate, based on clients' needs and feedback.
  • Fosters an atmosphere of trust and support with clients by providing high-quality service.
  • Fosters in others the ability to take a long-term perspective in addressing client's business problems.
  • Continually seeks information from multiple sources about client underlying or future needs.
  • Seeks out a deeper understanding/more customized solution for the client, develops understanding of the possibilities, potentials and risks of their business and identifies the internal or external sources or partners able to address them.
  • Thinks and acts with the client in mind, refers them to other business units or CFIA partners to provide solutions when required.
  • Shows a genuine interest in 'connecting' with the client, to know more about them in order to enhance the relationship and provide better service.
  • Understands the value chain and capitalize on where CFIA can add value to its clients.
  • Collaborates with others within CFIA business lines to provide the best service for the client, without regard for personal or team credit.
  • Defines value of service from the point of view of the client.
  • Regularly follows up with clients in a timely fashion.
  • Listens carefully to clients to understand their needs and requirements.
  • Keeps clients informed, provides useful advice, information and expertise.

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:

  • Demonstrates integrity and respect in interactions with others.
  • Builds and promotes a bilingual, diverse and inclusive organization, free from harassment and discrimination.
  • Shows commitment to citizen-focused service and the public good.
  • Makes decisions in an impartial manner.
  • Acts with transparency and fairness in all dealings.
  • Keeps promises and commitments made to others.
  • Shows basic awareness of and concern for fundamental values and goals of CFIA and the Public Service as a whole.
  • Seeks guidance on details and special fields of workplace norms (Conflict of Interest etc.) and grasps the rationales behind them.
  • Takes responsibility for one's own actions and for own mistakes once cognizant of them.
  • Learns from ethical failure and from ethically successful initiatives of others.
  • Seeks full understanding of facts and interests of all concerned when confronting ethical issues and dilemmas.
  • Dialogues constructively and transparently.
  • Depicts a thorough understanding of the relevance of fundamental values of the Agency (through key documents, organizational missions and mandates, etc.) to everyday work and consistently attempts to apply them.
  • Acts in support of an open and safe workplace atmosphere in which individuals feel encouraged to safely raise, discuss and address ethical issues.
  • Openly acknowledges own errors of judgment without being prompted by others.
  • Recognizes workplace practices and conventions that diverge from espoused ideal norms of the workplace; questions and challenges the discrepancies.
  • Practices and fosters in others ongoing, creative inquiry into the practical meaning of fundamental values of the Agency and the Public Service.
  • Models ethically exemplary conduct in proportion to one's formal rank of authority; holds oneself to a higher standard than one's subordinates.
  • Promotes dialogue on relevance of ethics and values to daily issues and relevance of daily issues to the public good and food safety, animal health or plant protection.
  • Coaches ethical judgment in others.
  • Gives regular feedback to subordinates on ethical conduct and seeks regular feedback on own conduct.
  • Widely communicates nature and importance of own ethical perspective on work.


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:

  • Appropriately maintains CFIA property and assets (e.g., office equipment, budgets, information databases, etc.).
  • Identifies wasteful practices, or opportunities for greater efficiencies.
  • Monitors the use of CFIA resources or assets by employees, suppliers, or clients.
  • Takes responsibility for the careful use and protection of assets and information under one's control.
  • Ensures compliance with legislation, policies, and practices applicable to the appropriate and effective use of resources.
  • Ensures that there is an adequate internal control system over CFIA assets, liabilities, revenues and expenditures.
  • Establishes and aligns authority, responsibility and accountability with CFIA objectives.
  • Ensures processes and infrastructure are developed and in place to provide managers with integrated financial and non-financial performance information, a mature approach to risk management, appropriate control systems, and a shared set of values and ethics.
  • Builds public confidence in the effectiveness and integrity of the systems and information used to administer programs.


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:

  • Cooperates with others.
  • Actively supports team decisions.
  • Is a good and willing team player: accepts doing his or her share of the work.
  • Shows sensitivity to the views of team members.
  • Works co-operatively with colleagues and others.
  • Shares all relevant or useful information, knowledge and experience which might help the team to work effectively.
  • Works harmoniously with others; is responsive to team requests.
  • Keeps relevant people informed about the status of ongoing work.
  • Expresses positive attitudes and expectations of others in terms of their abilities and contributions to team projects, etc.
  • Speaks of team members in positive terms.
  • Expresses opinions and disagreement with tact and diplomacy.
  • Genuinely values others' input and expertise; wants all members of a group to contribute to a process.
  • Displays willingness to learn from others, including subordinates and peers.
  • Encourages and supports others to express diverse views and make effective contribution to the team.
  • Works productively with a broad range of individuals and treats their ideas and opinions with respect.
  • Seeks and accepts feedback openly about his or her contribution to team activities or projects.
  • Develops complete solutions by listening to, and including other's point of view.
  • Shares the credit and recognition for successful projects and solutions with other team members.
  • Encourages and supports team members to express diverse views and makes effective contribution to the team, making them feel valuable and important.
  • Acts to promote a friendly team climate regardless of personal likes or dislikes.
  • Builds good morale or cooperation within the team to build cohesiveness.
  • Promotes open communication and positive resolution of team conflict.
  • Assists work groups to achieve consensual solutions.
  • Achieves team objectives through interpersonal skills, by finding common grounds and handling delicate interpersonal disagreements effectively.

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
  • Keeps current with trends and issues affecting the Agency, partner organizations and the government and contributes to adapting CFIA strategy accordingly.
  • Promotes an organizational-wide perspective to strategic planning and program implementation.
  • Leverages a government wide system's view to plan for and address complex food safety, animal health or plant protection issues and programs.
  • Fosters proactive thinking across the Agency, with partner organizations and other governments to address anticipated strategic scientific, policy, investigation, compliance, enforcement and or program issues that cut across multiple organizations, agencies and partner organizations and establishments.
  • Contributes to rethinking the Agency's mandate and the vision in light of current and emerging national and international political, food safety, animal health or plant protection, scientific and or policy realities.
  • Identifies government and key stakeholder's critical issues and assumptions about the future and ensures to consider these when developing organizational strategies.
  • Identifies, analyses, and interprets complex, emerging governance, regulatory, corporate, policy and or food safety, animal health or plant protection and policy issues and provides direction on how CFIA will address such issues over the long run.
Level EX 3 - Implements CFIA's long term direction and strategy
  • Implements Agency-wide priorities and programs through a deep understanding of Agency long term operational plans and priorities.
  • Conducts effective environmental scans (e.g., organizational readiness, external factors, food safety, animal health or plant protection trends, etc.) that inform potential problems with Agency long term direction or strategy.
  • Uses advanced cost-benefit thinking when implementing strategic priorities.
  • Establishes cross-functional plans and goals that positively impact the execution of CFIA's strategy.
  • Understands program interdependencies and the need to integrate activities across functions/areas related to operational planning, policy or program implementation and evaluation.
  • Recognizes opportunities and risks associated with emerging scientific, policy, inspection, and investigation and compliance issues.
  • Identifies strategic opportunities for enhancing the success of CFIA.
Level EX 2 - Anticipates emerging Agency needs and provides clear directions for executing CFIA's mandate
  • Broadens others' planning horizons by engaging them to think beyond Agency's current research, science, enforcement, compliance and investigation practices, and about their impact on current operations.
  • Applies or creates new models or frameworks that explain, inform, or give context / meaning to business, market, operational, scientific, policy problems, events, decisions or situations.
  • Understands what future factors (e.g., technological and scientific breakthroughs, government policy, demographics, and industry trends) could affect CFIA's operational priorities and programs.
  • Translates CFIA program objectives, mandate, vision and food safety, animal health or plant protection policy into concrete direction and plans that span multiple years.
  • Seeks out broad perspectives in order to find innovative solutions.
  • Develops detailed business plans that support the Agency priorities.
  • Provides input to the general long term directions and strategy of the Agency
Level EX 1 - Establishes short to medium term priorities for unit
  • Develops operational and policy objectives that are effective and valid for the short to medium-term.
  • Adapts plans and strategies to reflect changes in unit's operations, policies, business context, etc. as required.
  • Effectively evaluates the risks and benefits of different courses of action on operations over the medium term and acts on them.
  • Translates branch strategy into simple, meaningful explanations that others can grasp and implement in their quarterly and yearly plans.
  • Integrates branch needs into a short to medium term business plan that articulates and executes the strategies.
  • Identifies interdependencies in cross-functional projects and sets priorities that ensure coherent implementation of plans.
Level EX minus 1 - Identifies and corrects misalignment and gaps and targets actions to current organizational strategies
  • Actively monitors team's activities, plans and work progress and results to date to ascertain congruence with business plans and CFIA's strategic imperatives.
  • Realigns short term work activities and processes with changes in the Agency.
  • Links current programs to longer-term perspectives and business plans.
  • Tracks changing division and or Branch priorities, analyzes impact on unit work plans and adapt work plans.
  • Coordinates information from multiple projects to form a comprehensive perspective.
Level EX minus 2 - Considers Agency needs when setting own and team priorities
  • Understands the Agency's strategic goals and reviews own and work unit's actions against these goals when planning work activities.
  • Understands how changes in the immediate environment may impact unit's operations.
  • Develops project work plans with a thorough understanding of the functional area.
  • Links information across individual work to form a comprehensive perspective and cohesive work plans.
  • Tracks changing unit priorities and analyzes impact on staff activities.
  • Translates unit direction into concrete project activities.
  • Redesigns staff work activities to meet changing project needs.


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
  • Makes and implements strategic decisions based on principles, values and sound scientific, policy and operational arguments.
  • Takes educated risks by being innovative and creative when making decisions.
  • Easily makes strategic decisions which can have significant consequences for the organization, consistent with CFIA values and that withstand public scrutiny.
  • Encourages, supports and defends subordinates and others in making operational, program, scientific or policy decisions during crisis despite ambiguity or potential risks.
  • Develops new policy and/or programs that redefine Agency directions that focus on enhancing CFIA-wide outcomes.
  • Creates, aligns, and integrates Agency structures, systems, programs and teams to better achieve objectives and inform decision.
Level EX 3 - Makes decisions to maximize Agency success despite uncertainty
  • Commits significant resources in the face of uncertainty to reach challenging work objectives while minimizing the risks associated to health of Canadians.
  • Creates a work environment that stimulates and motivates people to propose and implement broad reaching initiatives that enhance how CFIA operates.
  • Develops new policy and/or redefines program directions despite adversity.
  • Champions initiatives with significant potential paybacks, and possible adverse consequences, based on an assessment of the risks and benefits, overall business impact, and alignment with CFIA strategy objectives.
  • Promotes a mindset of focusing on high performance and achievement of results across the function.
Level EX 2 - Makes sound decisions despite conflicting priorities
  • Makes and implements bold and courageous yet sound decisions with confidence where required information is incomplete, contradictory and/or ambiguous.
  • Consistently realigns, reassesses and strategizes on ways to manage and resource complex projects that cut across multiple Agency functions, programs or operational areas.
  • Identifies and addresses opportunities, challenges, risks and roadblocks in multifaceted projects or programs, so that Agency objectives can be accomplished.
  • Proactively seeks and implements efficiencies in Agency operations, programs or services.
  • Focuses employees, stakeholders and partners on continuous improvement, efficiency and value for money.
  • Effectively manages and aligns resources under shifting priorities to meet expected results within time, budget and quality standards.
  • Initiates and manages a broad range of cross-divisional projects in order to achieve desired results.
Level EX 1 - Makes decisions in risky situations, under pressure or in a crisis
  • Makes difficult, time-sensitive decisions even when only limited information is available.
  • Makes the right call: stays true and is not influenced by undue interferences or threats.
  • Acknowledges personal responsibility for outcomes of decisions made during crisis.
  • Acts promptly and with confidence when a situation requires a quick decision.
  • Keeps composure during difficult times, in an emergency or under pressure; and acts decisively to resolves business issues.
  • Promptly decides what activities and projects need to be done even though they may not be easy or have popular support.
  • Selects an appropriate response by seeing beyond the obvious and superficial through steadied observation rather than emotion.
  • Anticipates delays and potential problems, plans for contingencies when scheduling work and adjusts time frames accordingly.
  • Shows a significant level of effort to achieve objectives and maintains commitment even in the face of adversity.
  • Sets priorities and makes timely decisions that address risks to the organization.
Level EX minus 1 - Improves decision making in own area by infusing discipline and rigour
  • Uses cost-benefit analytics to ensure that the costs of business undertakings are quantified, monitored and controlled.
  • Follows through on the unit's decisions and actions from planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating to reporting.
  • Acts and implements sound decisions despites differing stakeholder perspectives.
  • Knows when to stop collecting data when sufficient information is obtained.
  • Accepts ownership and responsibility, takes accountability for own and unit's performance, and regularly conducts reviews or audits to find improvements.
  • Coaches others on how to weigh appropriately available information when choosing the best protocol.
  • Seeks feedback from stakeholders to improve decision making and makes adjustments to activities and/or processes.
Level EX minus 2 - Shows resolve and takes responsibility for team decisions
  • Promptly and efficiently leads others in making key decisions, accomplishing work assignments and duties.
  • Can be counted on and assumes responsibility for his or her team's decisions, actions and results.
  • Holds self and others accountable for decisions, actions and commitments.
  • Uses sound judgement in making decisions: is comfortable making "leaps of faith" when experience and data point to in logical direction.
  • Works tenaciously to attain objectives established in team's or own work plan.
  • Honours commitments made by him or herself or his or her unit to others; follows through on commitments and reports on progress diligently.
  • Meets established standards to deliver timely, consistent and quality results.

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
  • Creates alliances with competing stakeholders within and outside CFIA to help promote mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Develops high level strategic networks of senior individuals to help support Agency goals.
  • Seeks new strategic alliances by openly sharing information and offering help to other departments' ADMs, VPs and or DMs.
  • Coaches others on how to identify and develop impactful relationships with high ranking external stakeholders.
  • Provides strategic advice on the value and types of partnership arrangements that CFIA should be pursuing.
  • Mines information on food safety, animal health or plant protection trends and opportunities to inform the broader mandate and promotes CFIA as a collaborative agency.
Level EX 3 - Develops new networks with external stakeholders in support of Agency goals
  • Develops a rich/vast network of senior individuals that directly enhance CFIA's corporate reputation and visibility.
  • Seeks new alliances by openly sharing information and offering help to others.
  • Provides direction to others on how to develop relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Creates alliances with competing stakeholders within and outside CFIA to help promote mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Mines information on food safety, animal health or plant protection trends and opportunities to inform the broader mandate and promotes CFIA as a collaborative agency.
Level EX 2 - Cultivates a broad range of key contacts
  • Broadens number of internal and external contacts with stakeholders through traditional and new approaches, such as social media, associations, industry committees, etc.
  • Enthusiastically takes on accountability/participation for government horizontal initiatives.
  • Develops and uses network to obtain business intelligence.
  • Reaches out to partners outside CFIA to better position the Agency and creates new opportunities and networks.
Level EX 1 - Initiates new working relationships
  • Seeks new relationships outside own unit and identifies new partnerships that better position CFIA's programs and activities.
  • Identifies and creates opportunities to meet new individuals through networking, participating in cross-functional, multi-stakeholder groups, etc.
  • Identifies opportunities to make new relationships with CFIA and or government organizations.
  • Encourages the development of trust with stakeholders by promoting open, constructive discussions.
Level EX minus 1 - Maintains existing working relationships
  • Keeps contacts active by sharing information and communicating frequently and openly with stakeholders.
  • Actively maintains relationships to perform more effectively in regular duties.
  • Actively collaborates with stakeholders in professional and/or scientific or like associations.
  • Strives for outcomes that benefit all parties whenever possible.
  • Actively seeks the input of others and values different perspectives.
  • In the spirit of cooperation, shares resources and information readily and whenever possible.
Level EX minus 2 - Works cooperatively with others
  • Builds effective, collaborative work relationships through positive communications and outreach.
  • Role models for team members working collaboratively and none defensively with others.
  • Maintains relationships to perform more effectively in regular duties.
  • Deals proactively with interpersonal or personal matters that could affect performance.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of partners' roles and responsibilities and balances own needs with those of partners.
  • Assumes responsibility for agreements made in collaborative arrangements.

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
  • Identifies high potential employees and cultivates corporate talent in support of Agency's direction and operations.
  • Ensure that the Agency's systems, processes and practices are aligned with its mandates and operational excellence targets.
  • Implements succession management and other strategies to recruit, retain and develop employees to meet current and future needs.
  • Implements broad-based people-management strategies for the future.
  • Implements HR strategy to ensure workforce capacity and diversity to meet current and future needs.
  • Seeks and heeds early warning signs around resourcing and succession planning, adapting HR plans and strategies as required.
Level EX 3 - Inspires commitment to mandate and enables employee growth and development in support of Agency operations
  • Creates momentum for the mandate of the Agency and employees' contribution and work.
  • Takes action to ensure that others endorse CFIA's mandate.
  • Creates an engaged and energized work climate to help support Agency goals.
  • Reminds employees of the Agency's "raison d'être" in a way that unites others and inspires a sense of common purpose and direction both within the group and beyond.
  • Understands and identifies a group training or developmental need and establishes new programs or materials to meet it.
  • Coordinates efforts and activities of multi-function teams effectively.
Level EX 2 - Models a passion for CFIA's corporate objectives and builds talents to sustain Agency activities
  • Demonstrates a genuine passion for CFIA's contribution to food safety, animal health or plant protection of Canada and advocates its value proposition to citizens, establishments, industry, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Facilitates the group's process of discovery and learning by defining food safety, animal health or plant protection goals in a way that they can embrace as their "own."
  • Combines clarity of purpose with personal conviction, optimism and a sense of determination that the Agency can be the best.
  • Ensures that others clearly understand and endorse the group's mission, goals and direction and support them.
  • Coaches, challenges, and provides opportunities for growth by identifying new team assignments, or sharing expertise between teams (job shadowing, cross team assignments, etc.).
  • Develops HR strategy for division's replacement planning.
  • Coordinates work to maximize individual strengths and address areas for development.
  • Optimizes diversity among team members to build strong teams with complementary strengths.
Level EX 1 - Fosters group cohesion, shared purpose and development
  • Communicates a collective purpose and creates a clear line of sight to CFIA's mandate and agenda.
  • Fosters a climate of solidarity amongst employees by treating each person as a valued team member.
  • Involves others in planning for and implementing work plans, and in so doing gains their buy-in.
  • Rewards the contribution of team members; profiles individual and group accomplishments and talents across different functions, as appropriate.
  • Creates an engaged work climate where staff understand the goals and objectives of the group or of the change project.
  • Shares information and the broad context to enrich the teams' understanding of the mandate and how their work makes a difference.
  • Values diversity and recognizes the unique skills and contributions of all team members.
  • Evaluates individual performance fairly, taking account of diversity.
  • Identifies opportunities that challenge and encourage the development of people.
  • Provides regular feedback; acknowledges success and the need for improvement.
  • Develops and supports individual career plans and learning opportunities.
  • Ensures an appropriate cascade of corporate objectives into the performance objectives of employees.
Level EX minus 1 - Empowers employees in their work and their development/career
  • Assigns decision-making authority to front line employees or by those most responsible for the outcome.
  • Enables employees to realize they can succeed in challenging situations.
  • Encourages employees to act autonomously and take calculated risks when appropriate.
  • Explains to staff on how they fit into the big picture at CFIA and why what they do matters to the organization.
  • Works in close collaboration with training unit to find training and learning solutions for staff of the unit or Branch.
  • Delegates full authority and responsibility with the latitude to do a task in their own way in order to develop specific characteristics, including the opportunity to make and learn from mistakes in a non-critical setting.
  • Helps employees prioritize work and ensures a manageable workload.
  • Understands the career aspirations of employees, helps them establish realistic career objectives and supports their related development plans.
Level EX minus 2 - Capitalizes on and grows individual talent
  • Works one-on-one with staff to better understand their strengths and contributions in their current role.
  • Solicits and listens to ideas and concerns of employees to implement co-operative and collaborative approaches.
  • Provides employees with the necessary authority and responsibility levels for delegated assignments.
  • Recognizes individuals' achievements, knowledge and capabilities.
  • Demonstrates an openness to others' ideas or to being influenced about another person (e.g., believing that others have something valuable to say or offer, no matter what position(s) they hold).
  • Gives within a developmental context, detailed instructions and/or on-the-job demonstrations e.g., volunteers to show how to do the task.
  • Ensures positive on-boarding experience to foster enhanced engagement and maximize new employee contribution.

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
  • Recognizes and addresses the reasons for ongoing organizational behaviour; uses broad understanding of context to provide advice on CFIA future directions.
  • Understands the "psychology" of partner organizations, what guides their behaviours, mindsets and cultures, and uses this information to the benefit of Agency goals.
  • Recognises underlying problems, opportunities, or external political forces affecting CFIA's operations, such as strategic change initiatives, current policy, industry or scientific trends, food safety, animal health or plant protection changes, national or historical issues that affect the Agency's operations.
  • Seeks to change CFIA's culture and practices to improve the success of the organization.
Level EX 3 - Operates effectively in a broad spectrum of political, scientific and policy environments (is versatile and effective)
  • Demonstrates deep understanding of political, social, scientific context within which CFIA operates.
  • Operates with ease in a variety of social, political and other contexts.
  • Quickly adapts to varying cultures and circumstances within the organization.
Level EX 2 - Understands and uses organizational politics appropriately
  • Recognises, describes and effectively uses ongoing power and political relationships within the organization (alliances, rivalries) with a clear sense of positive organizational impact. Uses this understanding when implementing new initiatives, proposing new ways of doing things, etc.
  • Anticipates issues, challenges and outcomes and effectively operates to best position the Agency/branch/program.
  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of CFIA's past and future when providing advice on policy/program direction.
  • Uses relationships, partnerships and alliances within the organization to create a broad positive impact.
Level EX 1 - Understands and uses Agency culture
  • Recognizes unspoken organizational limitations, what is and is not possible at certain times, in certain Branches, or in certain situations.
  • Quickly recognizes and adapts to varying cultures and circumstances within CFIA or partner organizations.
  • Recognizes and uses elements of the corporate culture (language, etc.) that will produce the best response.
  • Works to create a "one CFIA" culture of excellence.
Level EX minus 1 - Understands and uses CFIA's informal structures
  • Demonstrates a good understanding of the unwritten and informal structure, culture and rules.
  • Recognizes key actors, decision-influencers, etc. and acts on them to advance his or her projects. Applies this knowledge when formal structure does not work as well as desired.
  • Uses the informal structures of an organization to advance his or her work.
Level EX minus 2 - Understands and uses CFIA's formal structures
  • Recognizes and/or uses the formal structure or hierarchy of the organization.
  • Understands chain of command, positional power, rules and regulations, policies and procedures, Standard Operating Procedure etc.
  • Demonstrates understanding of the general environment within with the institute, branch or program operates.
  • Understands how one's own area relates to CFIA's broader goals, policy issues, etc.

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
  • Spearheads the development and implementation of broad change strategies, developing or adjusting Agency systems and processes to facilitate the change across the Agency and employee transition.
  • Promotes a climate of continuous transformation that will keep the Agency agile and "best in class" in relation to all facets of food safety, animal health or plant protection.
  • Encourages and leads innovation and change amongst others to achieve greater results through creative action.
  • Role models behaviours in support of innovation and provides a safe environment for creativity and responsible risk-taking.
Level EX 3 - Champions transformation and change across the Agency
  • Champions new change initiatives across functional Agency boundaries even where there is significant resistance/limited support.
  • Encourages and personally sponsors the exploration of new ideas and creative thinking in self and others.
  • Draws on new ideas or solutions from across government, not just from one's own area, to solve problems.
  • Acts in a way that helps others generate breakthrough ideas, fresh perspectives and new opportunities.
  • Provides the necessary tools and support to enable innovation.
  • Ensures ongoing communication strategies are in place to facilitate understanding and commitment to change.
Level EX 2 - Manages large change initiatives by anticipating and adapting overall transformation goals and strategy
  • Develops and implements effective strategies to transition from the current to future situation.
  • Develops comprehensive plans to implement change in operations and monitors adherence to milestones.
  • Translates Agency change strategies into specific and practical goals, processes and time frames.
  • Develops contingency plans for major resistance and/or unforeseen issues in implementing change.
  • Encourages adaptability to change and exploration into new ways of doing things.
  • Engages and supports employees and stakeholders through periods of change.
  • Perseveres in the face of resistance and roadblocks to innovation.
Level EX 1 - Explains and sells changes; fosters acceptance of and commitment to change in others
  • Publicly describes the need for change in the organization as a positive outcome.
  • Personally exemplifies or embodies the desired change through strong, symbolic actions that are consistent with the change.
  • Repeats message for Agency transformation wherever possible to foster engagement and excitement.
  • Defines an explicit vision for change, defining the burning platform for change.
  • Is a true agent of change: wins the heart and mind of employee for the change initiative.
  • Addresses change and obstacles with a positive outlook, composure and resilience.
  • Celebrates the effort whether things go right or wrong and follows through with implementation of lessons learned.
  • Takes efforts to deliver the message or vision for change to everyone affected.
  • Involves others in planning for and implementing changes and in so doing gains buy-in for change.
Level EX minus 1 - Adapts operational plans to change agenda; applies rules, procedures and processes flexibly as appropriate, in support of change
  • Shifts unit's attention and priorities in response to needs in the business.
  • Easily adapts to changes in priorities, assigned responsibilities and management styles.
  • Suggests changes in work processes and procedures and is enthusiastic about changes.
  • Remains energized and motivated in a changing environment.
  • Deals well with setbacks - adapts approaches to surmount obstacles.
Level EX minus 2 - Accepts need for change and listens new ideas or responses to business issues
  • Proposes a non-traditional approach when there is evidence or sound thinking which substantiates the viability of this approach.
  • Actively contributes to brainstorming sessions in his/her work area to generate new ideas.
  • Demonstrates willingness to change ideas, procedures and processes when explained "why".
  • Adapts to others' styles and/or work habits.
  • Understands other people's points of view can be as good and as reasonable as one's own.
  • Questions and challenges current processes with the intent of continuously improving CFIA's scientific, policy, compliance, investigation or enforcement procedures.

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
  • Coaches and explains to others the importance of embedding risk management mindset in all Agency dealings.
  • Aligns Agency systems and processes to support risk management principles.
  • Support others who identify improvements in the Agency risk management processes.
  • Develops crisis and emergency risk management planning strategies that impact multiple units, government organizations and industry, scientific and or political stakeholders.
Level EX 3 - Shapes broad risk management strategies for Agency and partner organizations
  • Creates a risk management plan and selects appropriate controls or countermeasures to measure risks.
  • Implements planned methods for mitigating risks and carefully monitors outcomes across the government.
  • Understands risk mitigation measures and horizontally communicates appropriate risk options and recommended solutions.
  • Provides leadership and support to the design, implementation and evaluation of food safety, animal health or plant protection performance measures, risk management and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Maintains complete knowledge of the subject content by drawing on and applying current research / literature and/or by interacting with the professional community in their area of expertise.
  • Recommends alternative solutions, methodologies and strategies for risk mitigation and management across the function.
  • Implements sound risk management strategies and solutions across the function.
Level EX 2 - Develops new risk management approaches that can be implemented within or even outside CFIA
  • Develops and manages the implementation of Risk Management Plans to identify, analyze, plan, track, evaluate and control food safety, animal health or plant protection risks on a continuous basis.
  • Leads the development and/or implementation of Emergency Management Plans for the Agency.
  • Proposes effective ways to reduce complex risks in Agency investigation, compliance, and enforcement operations, and prioritizes the risk management procedures based on their importance.
  • Assesses the vulnerability of key assets like information, finances, personnel, material, etc. to the identified threats.
  • Determines the expected consequences of specific threats to CFIA and industry operations.
  • Develops and implements business continuity plans and communication strategies.
Level EX 1 - Implements risk management strategies
  • Embeds risk management procedures, policies in unit's operations.
  • Establishes review mechanisms to quantify risks, and suggest mitigating solutions.
  • Assists in the development and/or implementation of Emergency Management Plans for the unit.
  • Coaches and assists others with the on-going monitoring of risk and assists with the implementation of risk response or mitigation strategies.
  • Is key contributor of scientific and policy practices for assessing and managing food safety, animal health or plant protection risks.
  • Conducts effective risk assessment reviews and evaluates potential risk and losses.
Level EX minus 1 - Ensures adherence to risk management approaches in unit's work
  • Monitors team activities for the application of regulations and policies governing risk management.
  • Acts on food safety, animal health or plant protection threats or risks by implementing RM guidelines diligently through his or her team's operations.
  • Uses performance metrics, quality control and or assurance techniques (as appropriate) effectively to review implementation of risk management approach in unit's work.
Level EX minus 2 - Understands risk management procedures and importance
  • Is familiar with scientific and industry practices for assessing and managing risks.
  • Understands regulations and policies governing risk management.
  • Identifies the different organizational standards and protocols involved in risk management.
  • Identities food safety, animal health or plant protection threats or risks and proposes potential solutions.
  • Is aware of the importance of risk and emergency management procedures to the viability of CFIA operations and mandate.

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
  • Works horizontally across government to improve inter-team cohesion and effort towards the desired achievement of Agency mandate.
  • Brings a whole-of-government perspective to the work of stakeholders and own team.
  • Promotes cross-government collaboration in ambiguous situations where areas of responsibility are not well defined to attain organizational goals.
  • Goes across government structures to maximize alignment and collaboration between programs and teams.
Level EX 3 - Uses engagement strategies to ensures the sustained collaboration of partners across the Agency
  • Promotes cross-function collaboration: Goes across Agency structures to maximize alignment and collaboration between programs and teams.
  • Seeks solutions that reflect an "enterprise-wide" mentality.
  • Provides coaching and direction to others on how to collaborate with stakeholders and how to set the rules of engagement for an effective collaboration.
  • Liaises openly and transparently with others to build sustained effort and commitment to ensure Agency objectives attainment.
  • Provides coaching and direction to others on how to collaborate with stakeholders vying for same resources.
Level EX 2 - Manages integrated project teams with interested parties to the benefit of delivering on cross-departmental projects
  • Sets up and manages work teams from across the organization to move ideas into action and ensure sustained participation in projects.
  • Seeks to secure resources across the Agency to secure the delivery of key projects, programs or policy initiatives.
  • Works to reach out to other stakeholders and establishes broad coalitions that benefit all parties.
  • Works at implementing solutions that benefits all involved parties.
  • Shares knowledge and communicates lessons learned from different partnering arrangements to promote sound business planning.
  • Coaches others on how to develop proposals and work plans for effective inter-team collaborative arrangements.
  • Manages effectively cross-functional team collaboration.
Level EX 1 - Communicates with partners for maximum engagement
  • Optimizes communication by sharing information, enlisting the help of others and maximizes alignment between programs and teams.
  • Proactively celebrates results with stakeholders to further encourage a collaborative mindset across CFIA's partners.
  • Builds interest and teamwork within the integrated team through careful consideration of the purpose of the interaction (needs and feelings of target audience, desired business impact of each audience, etc.).
  • Expresses optimistic expectations of cross-team members, partners and stakeholders and understands the sensitivities surrounding different individuals and adapts language, tone, style and content of communications appropriately.
Level EX minus 1 - Monitors partner engagement
  • Makes sure that partners keep focus and commitment to projects.
  • Correctly interprets clues of wavering engagement in other parties and acts appropriately to reenergize all parties.
  • Keeps team members informed of project progress on a regular basis to motivate their participations.
Level EX minus 2 - Shares project and other key information
  • Ensures that project reports, goals and objectives are clearly understood, useful and timely for other parties to continue their work.
  • Is receptive and responds in ways that communicate clear understanding and cooperation in inter-branch teams.

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
  • Champions the on-going spirit of continuous business improvement and efficiency across the organization.
  • Articulates a vision for operational excellence that spans the whole of the Agency.
  • Translates government priorities into Agency strategies, outcomes and objectives to enable the organization's success.
  • Acts with energy and determination in achieving overall objectives towards a high performing organization.
  • Creates a work culture in which all systems and processes support high levels of excellence and are used to motivate employees to achieve goals.
Level EX 3 - Defines strategies that drive business performance across units to maximize future success
  • Thinks ahead: Drives operational excellence in upcoming projects that span more than one work unit.
  • Aligns personal, organizational, and functional strategies to mobilize the organization to capitalize on latent and emerging trends and/or demands.
  • Commits significant resources in the face of uncertainty to deliver increased future value to CFIA.
Level EX 2 - Implements systems that enhance current performance
  • Diligently aligns systems and processes to CFIA's goals of generating scientific, health, social and environmental benefits to Canadians.
  • Identifies significant personal and/or organizational resources to achieve performance standard, managing any associated difficulties, and/or uncertainties.
  • Stands by initiatives that benefit the larger organization even if they are controversial.
  • Diligently seeks new opportunities to improve business outcomes, using innovative (unique/original/untried) approaches to overcome obstacles and surpass performance.
  • Uses a cost/benefit analysis and measurement to commit resources to improve organizational performance.
Level EX 1 - Optimizes and improves performance
  • Conducts post-mortems on projects to implement improvements for the next time.
  • Takes the lead or the responsibility for delivering efficiently on initiatives.
  • Acts to optimize work processes.
  • Applies effective problem solving to establish and maintain new performance standards.
  • Encourages process improvement by reviewing current approaches and suggesting improvements and or consistency.
  • Enforces standards to maximize or raise performance; insists on high performance for self and others.
  • Implements tools that assure quality in executions.
Level EX minus 1 - Sets standards of excellence for team goals
  • Establishes clear metrics to make accomplishments visible and measurable.
  • Links individual accountabilities to organizational purpose and objectives, by helping others understand why they are being asked to do what they are doing.
  • Communicates specific and adequate directions regarding standards of performance; makes needs and requirements clear.
Level EX minus 2 - Focuses on disciplined execution
  • Develops and implements detailed work plans for the group or project team - including tasks, priorities, accountabilities resources and schedules and milestones.
  • Manages people and financial resources in a manner that is ethical and transparent, and that brings maximum benefit to the team.
  • Prepares to implement actions by ensuring that mandate is clear and manageable with present resources.

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
  • Enforces Agency standards to maximize performance.
  • Encourages adherence and appropriately enforces agreed upon standards of high performance and supporting behaviours across the Agency
  • Challenges current organizational goals on the basis of how they contribute to or detract from CFIA's ability to fulfill its mandate and recommends new goals.
  • Evaluates the pros and cons of a business situation critical to CFIA's mandate, and uses this analysis to cut losses based on a balanced view of costs and benefits.
Level EX 3 - Manages employee performance and enforces standards and consequences
  • Enforces consequences and takes action.
  • Confronts others openly and directly about performance problems.
  • Reviews performance against clear standards or expectations.
  • Issues clear warnings about the consequences of non-compliance with standards of performance.
  • Addresses performance problems in a timely way by addressing others openly and directly about performance problems and holding them accountable for taking action for improvement.
Level EX 2 - Creates clear linkages between accountabilities and organizational goals
  • Insists on compliance with standards; mentions possible consequences for non-performance.
  • Links individual accountabilities to organizational purpose, and objectives, by helping others understand why they are being asked to do what they are doing.
  • Insists on high performance for self and others.
  • Demands high performance, quality or resources.
  • Imposes new, different, or higher standards of performance with little input from others.
  • Uses new/more precise ways of meeting goals by demonstrating clear understanding of the performance expectation of the role and of the process.
  • Acts to set and to achieve goals that are specific and measurable and that support CFIA's success.
Level EX 1 - Monitors diligently individual and team performance
  • Holds peers and colleagues to high standards of performance and collaboration.
  • Diligently monitors performance against clear standards.
  • Explicitly delegates details of routine tasks in order to free self for more valuable or longer-range considerations.
  • Sets and monitors performance objectives; establishes clear metrics to make accomplishments visible and measurable.
  • Ensures disciplined execution of team projects and plans.
  • Implements changes to work processes to improve failing performance.
  • Works to reduce barriers within CFIA to better implement operational plans.
Level EX minus 1 - Holds others accountable
  • Promptly addresses performance deficiencies: has difficult conversations with ineffective/unproductive employees to correct the issue.
  • Encourages self and coaches others to do something better, faster, at lower cost or more efficiently to improve quality, customer satisfaction, morale, revenues, etc.
  • Establishes clear boundaries and accountabilities.
  • Plans and organizes own (and/or other's) time to improve delivery and performance.
Level EX minus 2 - Holds self-accountable
  • Drives personal efficiency; depicts a "can-do" attitude even in the face of adversity.
  • Holds self-accountable for own performance.
  • Takes ownership of decisions and actions.

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
  • Develops enterprise-level standards and measures as well as the business strategy.
  • Redesigns the structure, governance and/or operations of CFIA to better meet long-term objectives.
  • Creates new systems to support long-term strategy.
  • Adapts organizational structure to support future business requirements.
  • Promotes an organizational perspective; fosters and leverages a system's view to address complex business issues.
Level EX 3 - Aligns organizational systems to enhance current organizational capacity
  • Makes significant, lasting changes in climate, culture or focus of the organization.
  • Aligns the form of the organization (people, structure, process and culture) with the purpose of the organization.
  • Adapts organizational structure to support current requirements.
Level EX 2 - Modifies existing systems to support the strategy and upcoming demands of a branch or unit
  • Anticipates future demands, opportunities and adapts structure accordingly.
  • Makes information available that was previously inaccessible to increase organizational effectiveness.
  • Changes metrics, job responsibilities, information reported, awards, etc. to align with strategy.
  • Eliminates unnecessary bureaucracy and inefficiency in divisional work processes and procedures.
Level EX 1 - Embeds agility into CFIA work practices
  • Adapts the decision making processes to the requirements of the situation.
  • Establishes methods for open communication and decision making to support the strategy.
  • Makes efficient usages of CFIA's processes and resources.
  • Continuously improves CFIA's processes and systems and drives consistency, as required.
  • Ensures that individual team members understand how "what" they are doing connects with "why" they are doing it (i.e., CFIA's goals).
Level EX minus 1 - Manages team's priorities
  • Prioritizes team's involvement on several initiatives simultaneously, organizing work to maximize efficiency.
  • Encourages nimbleness in team's functions; easily adapts priorities, work and team composition to attain objectives.
  • Infuses clarity in team structure and accountability.
  • Optimizes team's schedule and time management by taking time to organize the work environment.
Level EX minus 2 - Enhances the human capital of CFIA
  • Gets the right people in place to address current and future problems or opportunities.
  • Reviews training and development and performance management procedures to support business goals.
  • Makes hiring or training decisions to address current opportunities.
  • Continually upgrades the capability of the organization by making good staffing decisions.

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
  • Assembles 'political' coalitions to help in negotiations.
  • Appropriately uses complex negotiating techniques to reach a goal or have an effect.
  • Uses an in-depth understanding of the interactions within the other party to move toward a specific agenda (e.g., may give or withhold information among individuals to have specific effects).
Level EX 3 - Uses complex influence strategies
  • Builds "behind-the-scenes" support for ideas.
  • Builds linkages between one's proposal and other initiatives in the organization, with the intent to take advantage of these initiatives' momentum to persuade others.
  • Involves others in planning for and implementing change, and in so doing gains their buy-in.
Level EX 2 - Uses indirect influence
  • Uses indirect strategies during negotiation, in order to persuade, such as establishing using experts or other third parties.
  • Knows who to go to, who is important for a decision and who has influence with other people; uses this knowledge to build support for an idea.
  • Gets influential individuals (internal experts or third parties) to take ownership or leadership of an initiative; knows when to bring in key stakeholders or partners to succeed with a project.
  • Uses chains of influence (gets A to show B so that B will tell C).
Level EX 1 - Calculates impact of actions or words on audience when convincing others
  • Adapts arguments to appeal to the interest and level of others.
  • Anticipates the effect of one's approach on persuading people (both emotions and logic).
  • Uses a variety of tactics to create a specific impact.
  • Builds personal credibility over time by being honest and trustworthy, as well as knowledgeable.
Level EX minus 1 - Is tenacious: takes multiple actions to persuade
  • Prepares and presents solid business cases to gain support.
  • Does not get discourage: uses two or more well-crafted arguments to persuade.
  • Includes careful preparation of multiple and coherent sets of data for presentation or during debate.
Level EX minus 2 - Focuses on logic: States facts to persuade
  • Uses logic, science, and facts and available information in a discussion or presentation to persuade (e.g., appeals to reason, data; uses concrete examples, demonstrations, etc.).
  • Appropriately uses direct persuasion in a discussion or presentation.
  • Makes sound use of concrete examples, visual aids, demonstrations, etc.

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