Accueil » 29-3 ( 1974) » La gestion du personnel dans les ministères du gouvernement du Québec

La gestion du personnel dans les ministères du gouvernement du Québec

James Iain Gow


Cette étude porte sur la situation et les pratiques des services de personnel dans les ministères du gouvernement du Québec en 1972 telles que décrites par les responsables eux-mêmes.


Personnel Management in the Departments of the Government of Quebec

The point of departure of this study in the observation that personnel management in government departments receives much less study than do the activities of central management and control agencies. In Quebec, the history of recent: reforms had dealt above all with the creation of the Civil Service Commission (1965), the Civil Service Department (1969) and the Treasury Board (1970). The Treasury Board acts for the Executive Council (Cabinet) in matters dealing with organization, establishment, working conditions and general administrative policy. The Civil Service Department has two main functions, to negociate contracts with civil servants' associations and to elaborate and coordinate government personnel policy. The Civil Service Commission has the usual role of guardian of the merit system ; it also has responsibility for the classification plan.

The working hypothesis of this study is that government departments retain all personnel management tasks which have not been assumed by central management and control agencies. In order to try to test this hypothesis a questionnaire was sent, in the summer of 1972, to the directors of personnel in all Quebec government departments except the Civil Service Department. In all, written replies covering some fifteen departments were received, as well as some verbal comments in the course of interviews. The results give the impressions of the directors of personnel in the departments concerned. No additional research has yet been con-ducted to test these impressions against actual practice. This would be desirable for it is likely that both the central agencies and the department personnel officers have some impressions which are not supported by the facts.

In terms of overall impressions it was found that the Treasury Board and the Department of Finance were viewed by the great majority as countrol agencies. The Civil Service Department and the Civil Service Commission were viewed as agencies of both control and service, a reputation which is somewhat surprising in the case of the Commission.

Over the entire range of personnel activities, the personnel directors report considerable initiative which falls to them. The classification framework is prepared by the Civil Service Commission but the classifying of positions is mainly done by the departments. Likewise, the departments must do their own planning for manpower requirements subject to Treasury Board approval. In competitions fornew appointments or for promotions, they provide the majority of the members of examining boards, under Civil Service Commission supervision. The Commission delegates a varying amount of authority to the departments in these matters but it always verifies the application of the law and the classification requirements. Each department alos must develop its own training programme within the general policy established by the Civil Service Department. Over the entire field of staffing procedures and practices, it appears that most departments do not as yet have thorough evaluation procedures to verify the degree of success or failure of these procedures and practices.

With respect to labour relations, the departments are mainly involved with the application, not the negociation, of collective bargaining agreements. The main control of this application comes through the grievance procedure. If a grievance cannot be settled within a department, it then goes to arbitration. At this stage the employer's side is represented by the General Directorate of the Civil Service Department (DGRT) ; the personnel service of the department where the grievance originated acts as adviser to the DGRT.

On the subject of occasional and contractual employees, all departments are governed by the regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission (in the case of occasional employees) or by the Treasury Board (in the case of contractual employees). The departments have considerable freedom in these cases because there are no permanent positions involved, no Civil Service Commission competitions and no fixed rules about wages etc., other than the going rates for similar jobs.

In conclusion, the replies to the questionnaires support the hypothesis of a considerable residue of departmental responsibility in personnel administration. In fact, the growth of central agency activity requires increased activity and competency at the departmental level. The Quebec Government has recognized the importance of the departmental directors of personnel by the creation of the Advisory Committee of Personnel Managers, which reports to all three central agencies.

Another conclusion to the study is that the Civil Service Department, while it has established itself as a service agency in the eyes of the other departments, does not appear to have overcome the problem of the dispersal of decision centers as it was supposed to do. One reason for this is the coexistence of the merit system, with the powers it entails for the Civil Service Commission, and the collective bargaining system, with its own structures for policy making and the arbitration of grievances.