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‘Data’ is not the plural of ‘anecdote’
The Environment and Climate Change Canada Economics and Social Science Services Professional Development Program (EC-PDP) is a three-year professional development program based on progressing through three levels of classification from EC-02 to EC-05, each step lasting at least twelve months. The purpose of the evaluation was to produce an objective, independent third-party analysis of performance and efficiency to inform and make recommendations to the department’s senior management team to support decisions on the future of the initiative. The evaluation was based on available documentation, surveys of EC staff and unit managers, group interviews, and qualitative staff feedback.
Competition in EC recruitment is a justification for an EC development program. However, the specific objectives of the program could be better articulated around the three notions of recruitment, retention, and development.
The evaluation concludes that the EC-PDP performs well as a recruitment tool. As a retention strategy, however, the results are more mixed both in terms of retention during the program as well as after graduation. There is ample evidence that EC-PDP participants are not getting special development treatment; in fact, there is no development advantage to being included in the program. The program raises several equity issues relative to predictability, fairness, and transparency. Also, no consideration is currently given to diversity and inclusion concerns in the EC-PDP.
The evaluation recommends that be EC-PDP be redesigned around the notion of professional development, that a systemic analysis be conducted of diversity and inclusion considerations, and that a formative evaluation of the renewed program be conducted three years after the beginning of its implementation.
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