Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why House of Commons, The was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017):
- The House of Commons helps employees plan securely for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit)
- The House of Commons offers exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers (up to 93% of salary for up to 52 weeks) as well as parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (to 93% of salary for up to 37 weeks) -- additionally, employees have the option to extend their leave to an unpaid leave of absence and can take advantage of onsite daycare when they are ready to return
- In addition to 4 weeks of starting vacation allowance, the House of Commons offers a variety of alternative work arrangements to help employees balance work and their personal lives, including flexible hours and telecommuting
House of Commons Administration has its career points in good order
For Emma-Leigh Boucher, working on Parliament Hill is a family tradition. Her mother and her grandfather (legendary journalist Charles Lynch) both worked on the Hill. So in 2011, when she learned of a temporary opening for a com- munications advisor at the House of Commons Administration, she applied for the position and was hired.
Boucher has since reinvented herself as a Procedural Clerk. "I predict I will stay in this job until I retire, because it offers so much variety," she says.
"Our employees take tremendous pride in supporting this institution," says Marc Bosc, Acting Clerk, who reports to the Speaker of the House of Commons. "They're very service-oriented in supporting the Members of Parliament in carrying out their legislative duties. It's not unusual, when we have our long-service awards every spring, to honour employees with 35 or 40 years of service to the House of Commons."
Over 1,500 full-time employees work for the House Administration. This includes not only employees in Procedural Services such as clerks, but corporate services such as IT, finance, printing, transportation, trades, maintenance and food services. "All of these functions keep the place ticking on a day-to-day basis," says Bosc.
Although Boucher started as a communications advisor, a two-day introductory course on parliamentary procedure piqued her interest in becoming a procedural clerk. She won the job competition for such a position in 2013.
Under the Procedural Services Career Management program, procedural clerks may rotate into new positions every couple of years. Boucher worked a year with the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage before taking 15 months of maternity and care and nurturing leave with her newborn daughter.
The House of Commons Administration tops up mat-leave payments for new mothers (up to 93% of salary for up to 52 weeks) as well as parental leave for new fathers and adoptive parents (up to 93% of salary for up to 37 weeks). Boucher was then able to place her daughter at the Children On the Hill Daycare.
In 2015, upon returning to work, she became a Procedural Clerk for the Table Research Branch. "We respond to urgent and more long-term research requests," she explains. "We often research the content of the Speaker's ruling on a question of parliamentary privilege or a point of order."
Boucher enjoys the writing, research and people interaction that go with her role. "Everyone here is truly interested in parliamentary procedure. I have a 'pinch-me' moment on a weekly basis, where I think, 'Wow, I can't believe I get to work here.'"
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why House of Commons, The was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- The House of Commons manages a summer student employment program, offering positions in a variety of disciplines including information services, finance, procedural services, the Office of the Clerk and human resources
- Each year, the House of Commons selects 40 students from CEGEPs and high schools across Canada to participate in a dedicated Page Program -- students have the opportunity to witness the legislative process firsthand and work on a part-time basis during their first year of study at a university in the National Capital region
- The House of Commons established the Next Gen Network, an informal bilingual group that facilitates networking events for employees -- events include regular meetings and activities with leaders on the Hill and discussion forums on subjects affecting Next Gen members
At the House, young professionals work at the heart of democracy
The employees of the House of Commons Administration are diverse professionals in fields as distinct as procedural services, broadcasting and finance. But the overall goal for the 1,500-plus staff is the same: provide Members of Parliament with the first-rate support, services, infrastructure and impartial, expert advice they need to carry out their work on the Hill and in their constituencies.
While visitors may associate Parliament with history and tradition, there's nothing hidebound about how the House operates behind the scenes. This is especially true of the IT department, where the rapid pace of technological change helps drive increasing demand for connectivity and security.
Prospective employees can follow typical pathways, including job postings and university recruiting drives, to find such work. But other routes are particular to the House, notably the Page Program.
Each year, the House selects 40 students from high schools and CEGEPs across Canada to work at least 15 hours a week during their first year of study at one of the universities in the National Capital Region.
The Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Program, which he believes provides young people with an opportunity to witness history. "It is one in which the institution benefits greatly," he adds. "This place often casts a spell on those who work here, and a great many Pages have embarked on distinguished careers on Parliament Hill."
As a first-year university student in Ottawa, Marc Bosc worked part-time as a page in the House of Commons. He has risen from that entry-level position to the top job of Acting Clerk reporting to the Speaker of the House and overseeing the workforce responsible for the smooth operations of the legislative process. And while Bosc has seen many changes at the House over the decades, one thing has remained constant - the unwavering sense of pride he feels serving Canada's pre-eminent democratic institution.
"Every day as I walk up Parliament Hill, I look at the Peace Tower and think 'Wow, I work here,'" says, Bosc, who started full-time in 1986. "There's only one House of Commons and what we do here is unique."
The House also maintains a summer student employment program, giving individuals registered as full-time students in their next academic term the opportunity to gain workplace experience in a variety of fields. For Adriana Lashley, it was ideal.
In May 2015, Lashley began working in Human Resources Services before returning to university to complete her degree. She rejoined the HR department full-time in January 2016 and with the title Officer, Learning and Organizational Development was soon engrossed in challenging projects. These have included work on revamping the on-boarding process and updating the annual review process.
"I really feel I've grown professionally," says Lashley. "I've had lots of opportunities to take on larger-scale and more complex projects. Everyone here really wants you to succeed. Anything your managers, co-workers, your team can do to support you, they do."
While on-the-job training is indispensable, the House also encourages informal learning. It established, for instance, the Next Gen Network, a bilingual group that facilitates networking events for employees, including regular meetings and activities with leaders on the Hill and discussion forums.
Many of the employees' skills and abilities are in demand elsewhere. But the current turnover rate is just 5.5 per cent and in 2016, the House recognized 76 employees who'd achieved 20-plus years of service. "Some people work their entire careers here," says Bosc. "Employees are extraordinarily loyal."
Maybe that's thanks to the competitive salaries and benefits. Or the wide assortment of employment opportunities and avenues for advancement. Or perhaps the flexible work and leave schedules.
According to Bosc, it's all of the above, and more. A shared sense of purpose and a feeling of being part of history in the making are also conducive to a workplace culture like no other.
Lashley agrees: "The House is a truly interesting combination of tradition and evolution. I'm proud to say the work we do matters."