Canadian Public Service(PS) Right for Me?

Canadian MarioI need to get some of my thoughts down on this virtual paper/papyrus/parchment.

For about the last month and a half or so the topic at hand has been rolling around in my head, “Should I quit the PS ?”. Dont get me wrong the PS is an alright employer, I would never give them the great status but they’re a close second. 🙂

The reasoning I have been using to help make this decision is to weight the positive and the negatives.


  • Great pay for entry level.
  • Culture of support.
  • Huge networks of people.
  • Ability to take training and goto conferences at no cost.
  • Union Shop.


  • Being uni-lingual creates a HUGE glass ceiling for any promotion.
  • French training provided is a joke.
  • Horizontal movement is restricted by a unionized class system.
  • Seniority of time often overshadows quality of work, experience and dedication to tasks.
  • Union Shop.

If you look at the points above you may have noticed they’re mostly related to advancing in the workplace. This has always been a huge issue for me as I require/need new challenges. Not in the sense that I cant sit still(ADHD) but once I master one I need to build on that skill and move forward … a natural progression to becoming a Manager/Chief/Director.

Maybe my future is in the private sector, it gives me:

  • The chance to compete with peers.
  • Opportunity to work toward promotion.
  • Unilingualness is less of a factor.
  • Is usually more agile.
  • Ability to learn/use new technologies.
  • Higher income in the long term.

So you may be wondering what are the largest limitations to me becoming a Manager/Chief/Director ?

  • All Managers MUST speak/read/write in both official Canadian languages.
  • Because of the structure in the PS many people stagnate and stay in one position for years if not decades, this creates limited chances of promotion in ones own group.
  • Because of the unionised shop employees who are CS1’s can’t do the work of a CS2(This is the class system I mentioned earlier) or even apply/compete for open CS2 positions. This is often called “At-level opportunities”.
  • No vehicle/road-map is provided to move from a CS1 to a CS2.
  • Department of Shared Services has removed alot of the opportunities to move around in the IT groups of many departments.
  • You may have not heard of it before but its shaking the public service at its core, its called the “Canadian strategic and operating review” which basicly translates to layoffs and limited opportunities for promotions

I’d love to hear from others who have had to deal with this issue, who has left the public service ?

I think my next step is to speak to my manager and explain to him what I want out of my job. If I cant get what I want then why stick around … right ?