The Idea of the Public Service

AuthorTimothy Hadwen - David Strang - Leonard Marvy - Don Eady
ProfessionDirector, Legal Services Branch, Ontario Ministry of Labour - Associate Director, Management Board Secretariat - Solicitor, Ontario Labour Relations Board - Partner, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
 
e Idea of the Public Service
“An impartia l and eective public se rvice” is “one of the most honou rable tradi-
tions of our publ ic life.” Government employees work for the elected politicians
to help turn democratica lly determined goa ls into workable laws and policies,
and then to implement those laws and policie s in a neutral and fa ir manner.
ose functions nece ssitate a degree of non-participation in politics a nd a degree
of refraining f rom public speech; and those two aspect s of the public service have
received some judicial attention f rom the Supreme Court of Canad a. But, there
are other aspect s that warrant review.
Public serva nts, like all public ocia ls, including those working for Crown a gen-
cies, school boards , hospitals and many other publ ic institutions, a re certain ly
Fraser v. Canada (Publi c Service Sta Relati ons Board), []  S.C.R.  at  and
, per Dicks on J. quoting the MacDonnell C ommittee [Fraser]. See also United Public
Workers of America v. Mitchell,  S. Ct .  () at , per Douglas J.
Concerning t he constitutional convent ion of impartial ity, see Re OPSEU and Attorney
General for Ontar io, []  S.C.R.  at –, as discus sed in Chapter  at . Concern-
ing limits on sp eech, see Fraser, ibid., and Osborne v. Cana da (Treasury Board), [] 
S.C.R.  at –, a s discussed in Chapte r .
A primar y source of the descript ion that follows is the extensi ve Canadian politic al
science literatu re on the public service , much of which is listed in the bibl iography.
See especia lly Task Force on Public Service Values a nd Ethics (J. Tait, Chair), A Strong
Foundation: Rep ort of the Task Force on Public Serv ice Values and Ethics (Ot tawa: Cana-
dian Centre for Ma nagement Development, Februar y ) [Tait].

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