Ontario’s chief talent officer and associate deputy minister, Office of the Public Service Commission Treasury Board Secretariat, Brian Fior, was the guest speaker at the annual Ontario Public Service (OPS) Breakfast presented by York University’s School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) on Oct. 6.
More than 100 participants attended, eager to learn about OPS human resources priorities outlined in these extraordinary times faced with a multitude of policy challenges and a remote work environment.
In her opening remarks, SPPA Director Alena Kimakova acknowledged how the OPS adapted to the new conditions and maintained continuity in providing co-op and other valuable work placement opportunities for students of public policy and administration.
As the public service executive responsible for people and culture in OPS, Fior’s focus is on creating the conditions for public service innovation and excellence. This is done by “building an engaging workforce and culture, which is enabled by talented, diverse and inclusive leaders” he says In his role, he leads the OPS in delivering enterprising strategies, policies and programs to build a healthy, inclusive and productive workplace ethos.
During the event, Fior’s keynote speech “The Future is Now: Talent Management in the Ontario Public Service” addressed the need for leadership and diversity. Fior explained the strengths of building a strong leadership talent pipeline and a culture of effective leadership for continuous learning.
The drivers for transforming the OPS and the future of work, he says, are: being knowledgeable on the changing demographics and citizen expectations; employee expectations that reflect empathy, regular feedback, and flexible meaningful work; and the adaptability to unprecedented, and complex change, requiring agility, innovation and care in the workplace.
This vision for the future of the OPS is built on three pillars, said Fior, and includes passionately serving Ontarians; boldly enabling change; and actively empowering employees.
“We will be inclusive and diverse, innovative and creative, responsive and agile, accountable and responsible, people-centered, open and transparent, and collaborative and integrated,” he stated as his mission.
In his introduction of Fior, Professor Lorne Foster, director for the Institute of Social Research at York University, alluded to this commitment when he said, “I had a chance to talk with Brian about this and how he manages talent; he told me that he believes in maximum transparency, the importance of sharing information and ensuring everyone understands your expectations. This was something he always appreciated as a public servant and he was able to use this experience to enable the talent in others.”
Fior, who has been a dedicated public servant with many significant portfolios, including Chief Inclusion Officer & ADM, People Strategy and Organizational Performance, where he launched a new strategy for the public service The OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint, is an engaging and passionate speaker. He illustrated his vision of planning for talent at the OPS through a discussion of leadership pathways in order to diversify and nurture the talent pool through coaching and mentoring, provide opportunities for leadership development, succession plans and identifying qualified candidates from underrepresented groups in recruitment shortlist.
Participants were given the opportunity to engage with Fior in a Q-and-A session moderated by Professor Naomi Couto, director of the School’s executive-style Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law (MPPAL) program. The Q-and-A was followed by randomized Zoom breakout rooms for professional networking.
The OPS Breakfast provides an opportunity for faculty and students to meet SPPA alumni to help develop and broaden their networks. It is one of the key extracurricular activities the School provides for its undergraduate and MPPAL students during the academic year.