New TBS Policy on the Planning and Management of Investments


  • The Office of the Comptroller General recently informed Deputy Heads of Treasury Board approval of a new Policy on the Planning and Management of Investments, and a new Directive on the Management of Projects and Programmes, as well as a number of updates to instruments under the assets and acquired services policy suite. The policy reset is done in two phases by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS):
    • Phase 1 was completed in April 2019 and targeted the planning and life cycle management of assets, investments and projects, and increased contracting limits.
    • Phase 2 is upcoming in 2020 (exact timing to be confirmed) and will focus on procurement, real property and materiel management.
  • The Policy on the Planning and Management of Investments is a new overarching policy that integrates numerous policy instruments to streamline, align and clarify policy requirements, strengthen the planning and management of investments, and codify project management best practices. Since some major governmental projects have recently failed due to poor planning and/or project management (e.g. Phoenix and Email Transformation Initiative), the new policy instruments are more prescriptive, to increase the maturity level of planning and project management across the Government of Canada.


  • Departments have until October 2019 to transition to most of the new requirements (see below).
  • As for the other requirements, current major projects with an end date after April 2020 are subject to the new requirements and have until April 2020 to transition; major projects closing before April 2020 are exempted.
  • New policy requirements related to project management –
    • In effect as of April 2019:
      • Increase of the project approval authority limit for departments from $1M to $2.5M. Treasury Board approval is required to manage and spend funds for a project over $2.5M.
      • Necessary to submit a concept case to the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada for review of the possible initiation of any IT enabled project over $2.5M. A concept case is a brief document outlining a problematic and describing the future state and desired business.
    • As of October 2019, Deputy Heads will be responsible for:
      • Ensuring that the department’s processes, systems, controls and governance for the planning and management of investments or projects are commensurate with their scope and level of risk and complexity, and include an effective internal challenge function.
      • Nominating a Senior Designated Official (SDO) for project management responsible for supporting the Deputy Head to put in place the processes, systems, controls and monitoring for departmental project management.
      • Nominating a project sponsor at the outset of the launch of the project.
      • For highly complex projects, appointing an Assistant Deputy Minister, or equivalent, as the sponsor and signing an appointment letter establishing its responsibilities. Gatineau 2 is the only project in this category at LAC.
    • Project sponsors are:
      • The single point of accountability for the initiation, planning, implementation, transition and close out of the project.
      • Responsible for ensuring that project decisions are documented during the course of the project life cycle. The policy and directive require the project sponsor to complete new project documentation for major projects (total budget >$2.5M), such as the concept case, the benefits realization plan, the gating plan and the transition plan, in addition to the documentation already required (i.e. business case, project charter, project management plan and close out report).
  • New policy requirements related to procurement include:
    • Updated contract entry limits to bring them closer to current economic values.
    • Amended approval requirements for contracts with former public servants.
    • New requirements for accessibility considerations in procurement planning for goods and services, and to ensure that deliverables incorporate accessibility features.
  • Current situation at LAC
    • Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada, nominated the SDO for project management, and the Office of the Comptroller General has been informed, as requested. The SDO is Julie St Laurent, Director, Corporate Planning and Accountability, Corporate Services.
    • A Project Management Governance Framework has been developed by the SDO and was recommended for approval by the Resource Planning and Management Committee on July 3. The framework is based on a gating approach and provides oversight based on the value, risk and complexity of the project. The gating approach establishes checkpoints at the end of each project phase to ensure that the project is ready to continue to the next phase, minimizing risks and silos.
    • LAC currently manages seven (7) major projects that have a total budget over $2.5M and which will transition under the new policy.
  • Next steps:
    • The Project Management Governance Framework will be presented for approval at Management Board on September 16, 2019.
    • Phase 2 of the policy suite reset will bring forward three new directives for the management of procurement, real property and materiel.
    • The Deputy Head will need to nominate an SDO for each of these functions after adoption of the directives.

Key messages

  • LAC is on track to comply with the new policy requirements by October 2019, with the development and implementation of its Project Management Governance Framework.


Alexandre Geoffrion, Manager, Planning, Performance and Project Management
Tel.: 613-219-5280

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