Policy Management Framework

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1. Effective date

This framework was approved on March 12, 2018, by the Management Board of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and takes effect on the same day.

2. Application

This framework applies to all activities related to policy-making at LAC. It covers both strategic-level and operational-level policy instruments in all stages of their life cycle, pertaining to both LAC’s program functions and corporate functions. This framework supersedes the Policy Management Framework approved in 2013. 

3. Definitions 

See Appendix A.

4. Context

The development, implementation, and review of policy instruments are crucial activities for LAC to successfully carry out its legislative mandate. Policy instruments define the rules for LAC’s day-to-day activities, including programs and services, and provide high-level and long-term perspective on complex issues. These instruments align LAC activities and link professional practices and standards with the Library and Archives of Canada Act, as well as other legislation and Government of Canada policies, all while supporting an informed approach to risk-management. 

The Policy Management Framework provides the foundations of LAC’s policy architecture, development, and implementation. Since the approval of the initial Framework in 2013, major policy suites have been approved, and policy development and policy management activities have been integrated across business units and operational areas. The result has been a strengthened policy culture at LAC.

To reinforce this culture, to respond to the priorities expressed by the Clerk of the Privy Council, and to strengthen LAC policy capacity, the institution prioritizes policy processes that are simple, results-focused, and that foster collaboration. More precisely, this Framework enables: 

  • Policy processes that strive for simplicity, using a streamlined approach from idea to implementation.
  • Evidence-based approaches that ensure sound policy development, implementation, and review. 
  • Improved collaborative approaches throughout the policy development life cycle that ensure policy instruments draw on a broad range of input and expertise while supporting openness, inclusivity, and transparency. 

5. Purpose 

The Policy Management Framework provides essential support for the delivery of LAC’s mandate, underlines the importance of policy in providing orientation and guidance in decision-making, and streamlines the continuum from policy development to implementation. 

The purpose of this Framework is to: 

  • Establish overarching principles that support policy development, implementation, and management  throughout all phases of the policy life cycle at LAC;
  • Support policy development and implementation based on evidence-based analysis, high-quality advice, and creative solutions;
  • Support integrated policy instruments, reflected in LAC activities within the Government of Canada context; 
  • Establish consistent, coherent, and effective roles and responsibilities across LAC to ensure policy instruments are clear and concise;
  • Ensure horizontal integration through consultation and oversight; and 
  • Encourage the simplification and rationalization of policy instruments.

6. Principles

The principles guiding the development, implementation, and management of LAC policy instruments are as follows: 

6.1 Evidence-based

LAC policy instruments are based on sound research and analysis, with a focus on measurable results in order to be effective and accurate. Sound analysis and data are necessary for both developing and reviewing policy instruments. 

6.2 Relevant

In order to maintain their relevance, LAC policy instruments must maintain their alignment with the overall direction of the Government of Canada, its laws, and its priorities; with LAC’s mandate, priorities, and activities; and with professional standards. Overall relevance is ensured through regular reviews of instruments and revocation of those which have become irrelevant or outdated. 

6.3 Sustainable 

LAC policy instruments are viable, risk-managed, and enduring. They are cognizant of and responsive to the operational needs, obligations, and commitments of LAC as a federal institution, including potential implications for stakeholders, while also being easily adaptable to changing environments.

6.4 Coherent

LAC policy instruments are developed from an institutional perspective using a systematic approach. In doing so, policy instruments are coordinated, integrated, streamlined, structured, and formatted within a common architecture and hierarchy, using accepted formats, templates, and best practices.

6.5 Open 

LAC policy instruments are developed and implemented through a collaborative and consultative approach. Policy instruments are written in plain language and are made available to all staff, stakeholders, and the broader Canadian public in a timely manner, as required.

7. Roles and responsibilities

See Appendix B, Table 2 for a graphical description of the governance surrounding the development, approval, implementation, and review of policy instruments at LAC.

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada has the primary responsibility for oversight of policy instruments at LAC. As Deputy Head, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada approves policies and directives related to corporate functions when required by central agencies.

The Management Board (MB) is responsible for the overall direction and prioritization of policy development activities and for approval of strategic-level policy instruments.

The Operations and Oversight Committee (OOC) and Resources Management Committee (RMC), in their respective areas of responsibility, assess strategic policy instruments and make relevant recommendations to MB. They also oversee the development, implementation and review of strategic instruments by providing comments and direction. These two governance committees may also approve operational instruments based on recommendations of sector heads.

Sector heads, at their discretion, may approve an operational policy instrument (i.e., standards, procedures, guidelines, and tools) within their respective areas of responsibility or refer such instruments to the relevant governance committee for approval. In addition: 

  • The ADM Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and review of strategic policy instruments in their area of responsibility.
  • The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for the implementation of strategic policy instruments pertaining to program functions. The COO supports the planning, development, implementation and review of strategic policy instruments pertaining to program functions. 
  • The Corporate Secretary (CS) supports MB in integrating and implementing policy orientation and prioritization. The CS is responsible for the planning, development and review of strategic policy instruments pertaining to program functions. Finally, the CS is responsible for the management and support of LAC’s policy framework. 
  • The Director General of Communications is responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and review of strategic and operational instruments in their area of responsibility. They are also responsible for directing strategic instruments to the appropriate governance committee for recommendations to MB.

Directors general (DG) are responsible for the planning, development, approval, and implementation of operational-level policy instruments under their respective areas of responsibility.

The Director, Strategic Research and Policy (SRP) Division, supports the CS, provides advice and recommendations to senior management on strategic and policy issues, and provides advice and support to promote conformity and sound overall policy management within LAC. SRP is also responsible for the publishing of new policy instruments on LAC’s Intranet and website. 

The Policy Renewal Coordination Group (PRCG), as a consultative body, provides advice and recommendations on policy instruments and issues to SRP and when required, to OOC, RMC and/or senior management. PRCG must be consulted on strategic-level policy instruments, and it is recommended that PRCG be consulted on operational-level policy instruments as well.

8. Monitoring, evaluation and review

SRP will review the Policy Management Framework and assess its effectiveness five years following its effective date, or as required. 

9. Corrective measures 

Non-compliance with the Policy Management Framework may result in corrective measures being taken by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada or MB.

10. Enquiries

Please address any questions about this policy framework to:

Director, 
Strategic Research and Policy Division 
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0N4

bac.politiques-policy.lac@canada.ca

Appendix A

  • Definitions
    Corporate functions [fonctions organisationnelles]
    Activities and services related to LAC as a Government of Canada institution where LAC compliance is required by Government of Canada central agencies.
    Directive [directive]
    Formal and standardized instructions that require or prohibit specific actions by LAC staff. Directives explain how policy objectives must be met by governing activities and guiding decision-making. 
    Framework [cadre]
    A policy foundation that supports the effective and consistent implementation of all policy instruments that flow from it. A framework functions as the underlying structure from which related policy instruments can be understood in strategic terms. LAC policy frameworks provide context, rationale, principles, and a broad direction for the institution.
    Guidelines [lignes directrices]
    A document that explains, advises, and provides guidance on how LAC staff members can either satisfy the provisions of a higher-level policy instrument, or accomplish some aspect of their work in relation to satisfying the provisions of a given policy instrument.
    Operational policy instrument [instrument de politique opérationnel]
    An internal standardized document focused on the implementation, in the day-to-day work of LAC, strategic orientations defined in frameworks, policies, and directives. As lower-level policy instruments, these operational instruments generally have a limited scope and low to moderate impact on specific operations or activities. These instruments can be either a standard, a procedure, a guideline, or a tool. 
    Policy [politique]
    Formal direction on a given topic or issue that imposes specific responsibilities with respect to the expected outcomes, and the types of measures required to realize these outcomes.  
    Policy architecture [architecture de politique]
    A comprehensive, structured mapping of policy instruments arranged in a hierarchical order.
    The Policy Renewal Coordination Group (PRCG) [Groupe de coordination du renouveau des politiques (GCRP)]
    The PRCG is a forum for representatives from all LAC sectors to gather and share information about policy issues. The group provides advice and support to the Strategic Research and Policy Division and, ultimately, to all senior management. The PRCG is also a consultative and engagement committee. It exists in order to leverage LAC staff expertise and experience in support of sound policy development, and to strengthen LAC’s policy culture.
    Policy direction [direction de politique]
    Decisions that have been recorded and made by senior management that provide principles, a vision, or perspective on a given strategic or operational topic that determines how the topic will be addressed in the future.
    Policy hierarchy [hiérarchie de politique]
    A system that ranks policy instruments according to their importance or impact. At LAC, the policy hierarchy flows from framework, to policy, to directive, to standards and procedures, to guidelines and other lower-level policy tools.
    Policy instrument [instrument de politique]
    A standardized internal document intended to control and/or guide the actions of LAC staff in the conduct of their activities. Policy instruments include, frameworks, policies, directives, standards, procedures, guidelines, and tools.
    Policy suite [ensemble de politique] 
    Hierarchically related policy instruments associated with the same function or area.
    Program functions [fonctions de programme]
    Activities and services required to fulfill LAC’s mandate according to the LAC Act.
    Strategic policy instrument [instrument de politique stratégique]
    An internal standardized document that provides high-level and long-term perspective on complex issues that impact the institution. These instruments generally include a formal statement of position, broad objectives, extended agenda, or other expressions of LAC’s institutional mandate. Frameworks, policies, and directives are all examples of Strategic Policy instruments. 

Appendix B: LAC policy instruments at a glance

  • Table 1: Definitions

    Note: Directives and standards may fall under either strategic or operational governance, depending on the nature of the policy need. Governance can be negotiated between the parties involved.

    Framework

    Level: Strategic

    Application: Mandatory

    Objective: Vision

    Definition: A policy framework provides context, rationale, principles, and broad strategic direction. It supports the effective and consistent development and implementation of all policy instruments that flow from it.

    Essential content:

    • Context
    • Principles 
    • Broad direction
    • Roles and responsibilities

    Policy

    Level: Strategic

    Application: Mandatory

    Objective: Outcomes

    Definition: A policy is a formal direction that imposes specific responsibilities with respect to the expected outcomes and types of measures to be taken to realize them.

    Essential content:

    • Context
    • Requirements
    • Outcomes
    • Monitoring, evaluation  and review
    • Roles and responsibilities 

    Directive

    Level: Strategic

    Application: Mandatory

    Objective: Approach

    Definition: A directive is a formal and standardized instruction that requires or prohibits specific action by LAC staff. Directives explain how policy objectives must be met by guiding decision-making and governing activities.

    Essential content:

    • Context
    • Statement and requirements 
    • Required actions or methods
    • Roles and responsibilities

    Standard

    Level: Operational

    Application: Mandatory

    Objective: Requirements

    Definition: A standard is a set of operational or technical measures, procedures or practices that provide detailed information on how LAC staff are expected to carry out specific activities.

    Essential content:

    • Detailed instructions for application of a higher-level policy instrument, e.g., specifications, technical requirements, documentation requirements or controlled vocabularies.
    • Roles and responsibilities

    Procedures

    Level: Operational

    Application: Mandatory

    Objective: Process

    Definition: A procedure sets mandatory instructions — often step-by-step — that explain in detail the authorized and specific way to do something.

    Essential content:

    • Required steps for application of policy instruments.
    • Roles and responsibilities

    Guidelines

    Level: Operational

    Application: Optional

    Objective: Guidance

    Definition: A guideline provides guidance, advice or explanation on how LAC staff may satisfy the provisions of a higher level policy instrument, or how to accomplish some aspect of their work in compliance with the provisions of a given policy instrument.

    Essential content:

    • Detailed interpretation
    • Preferred approach based on best practices
    • Roles and responsibilities

    Tool

    Level: Operational

    Application: Optional

    Objective: Additional information

    Definition: A tool contains information in various formats which is useful in order to perform operational activities. At LAC, policy tools include mechanisms or examples such as recognized best practices, handbooks, communications products and audit products.

    Essential content:

    Examples:

    • Best practices
    • Communication and/or verification products
    • Models/templates
    • Check lists 
    • Roles and responsibilities
  • Table 2: Governance for development, approval, implementation, and review of policy instruments

    Note: Directives and standards may fall under either strategic or operational governance, depending on the nature of the policy need. Governance can be negotiated between the parties involved.

    • A sector head may, at their discretion, approve an operational-level policy instrument or refer it to a governance committee for approval. 
    • In addition to provide recommendations to Management Board, Governance committees provide comments and directions for strategic-level development, implementation and review.   
    • Most strategic-level instruments of corporate functions are development by central agencies.  
    Program functions
    Level Strategic Instrument (Framework, policy, directive) Operational Instrument (Standard, procedures, guidelines, tools)
    Planning, development and review Corporate Secretary supported by Chief Operating Officer Operations Sector
    Consultation with PRCG? Required Recommended
    Recommendation for approval Operations and Oversight Committee Director 
    Approval Management Board Director General
    Implementation Chief Operating Officer Director General
    Corporate functions
    Level Strategic Instrument (Framework, policy, directive) Operational Instrument (Standard*, procedures, guidelines, tools)
    Planning, development and review ADM and Chief Financial Officer
    Director General of Communications 
    Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Sector; Communications Branch
    Consultation with PRCG? Required Recommended
    Recommendation for approval Resources Management Committee Director 
    Approval Management Board Director General
    Implementation ADM and Chief Financial Officer
    Director General of Communications
    Director General
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