Recruitment and appointments

Making sure the best people are appointed to serve as agency directors is critical to good governance.

Government policy

The Government of Alberta will use transparent, non-partisan and competency-based processes for the recruitment and appointment of directors to public agencies. Within this competency-based approach, effort will be made to encourage diversity among the individuals who submit their names for consideration to ensure the boards of Alberta’s public agencies represent the diversity of Alberta’s population.

Discussion

Ensuring that transparent, competence-based recruitment and appointment processes are in place for board appointments will help public agencies meet their mandates and increase Albertans' confidence in public agencies.

Successful recruitment and appointment requires a balance between knowledge, expertise and requirements of the public agency, and the responsibilities and needs of the minister. It is important for public agencies to develop a competency matrix and identify skill requirements for the board. Any existing gaps or special requirements must be communicated to the minister.

In other cases, the public agency may also produce a shortlist of applicants that meet these competencies for the minister's consideration.

In some cases, circumstances may exist whereby some or all of the processes outlined in the Public Agencies Governance Framework (Framework) (0.6 MB) may be modified or omitted with regard to the identification and recommendation of individuals representing the non-public member positions. This will be set out in individual legislation or approved by the responsible minister at the beginning of the appointment process.

The choice of who participates in the processes, and in what role, will rest with the minister and vary from public agency to public agency. In some instances, the processes will be largely carried out by the public agency. In others, the government will play a larger role. The Mandate and Roles Document should lay out the parameters of the processes, which should also be publicly available.

The following recruitment principles for public agency appointments are outlined in the Framework. In rare cases, circumstances may exist where some of the processes outlined in the framework may be modified or omitted. This will be set out in the public agency's enabling legislation or regulations, or approved by the minister at the beginning of the recruitment and appointment process.

Competency

Selection is based on a skill set that meets the needs and nature of the organization so that the board as a whole has the competencies to implement good governance practices and meet the public agency’s mandate.

Agency Engagement

The public agency is involved in establishing its governance needs, reviewing candidates, and advising on recommended candidates.  At a minimum, the chair or another board member will be part of the selection panel.

Transparency and Openness

The recruitment and appointment process is clear, publicly available and communicated to stakeholders.  Public agency vacancies must be publicly advertised, and should take reasonable steps to reach a large number of diverse and eligible candidates.  Appointments are publicly posted.

Consistency

The recruitment and appointment processes are applied consistently for all individuals appointed by the Government of Alberta to its public agencies.

Timeliness

Appointments are made and announced in a timely manner, to ensure legislative requirements are met and to limit any disruption to the operations of the public agency.

Diversity

The recruitment and appointment process recognizes the importance of diversity.  In order to ensure a constant and on-going pool of qualified candidates, the government will promote the value of board membership, increase public awareness of opportunities and actively recruit candidates from across the province.

Diversity means having a board composition that reflects the diversity of the broader population including: race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status and sexual orientation.

The choice of who participates in the processes, and in what role, will rest with the minister and vary from public agency to public agency. In some instances, the processes will be largely carried out by the public agency. In others, the government will play a larger role. The Mandate and Roles Document should lay out the parameters of the processes, which should also be publicly available.

The following recruitment principles for public agency appointments are outlined in the Framework. In rare cases, circumstances may exist where some of the processes outlined in the framework may be modified or omitted. This will be set out in the public agency's enabling legislation or regulations, or approved by the minister at the beginning of the recruitment and appointment process.

Representative boards

Some of Alberta's public agencies are governed by 'representative' boards where a certain number of director positions are legislatively allocated to specific stakeholder groups. Often, the selection of these individuals is assigned by the government to the stakeholder group. Once the stakeholder has nominated a director, the individual is generally appointed to the role by an Order in Council or Ministerial Order.

When vacancies arise, representative groups should be encouraged to consider the skills needed on the board, as described in the public agency's competency matrix, in their nominations. It is imperative that all representative members of boards understand their fiduciary obligation to work in the best interest of the public agency.

Pre-appointment conflict screening

Prior to being appointed to a public agency, potential directors must be screened for real or potential conflicts of interest. Before being appointed, individuals must review and agree to abide by the public agency's code of conduct.

During the screening process, it is critical to identify every potential or actual conflict of interest to determine if a conflict can be adequately managed. Where directors are appointed with manageable conflicts, the board should be made aware to make informed decisions about mitigation strategies. Where it is determined that a conflict cannot be mitigated to an acceptable level to the board or minister, the appointment should not proceed.

Competency Matrix

Each public agency should have a Board Profile or Competency Matrix that outlines the skills, experience and knowledge their directors require as a collective, and which identifies how each individual contributes to meeting these needs.  When vacancies arise, these matrices will allow for easy identification of the competencies required of the new recruit. The Board Profile or Competency Matrix should be developed by the public agency's governing body and endorsed by the minister.