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

Ensuring that a competency-based recruitment and appointment process is in place for appointments will help public agencies meet their mandates.

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

Centralized Recruitment

To establish a platform to further increase opportunities for efficiencies and consistencies across the government, as of September 2019, the Public Agency Secretariat (PAS), will be coordinating the recruitment process for public agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).

The centralized recruitment function will strengthen board governance by reducing timelines, and increasing certainty of processes and responsiveness to ensure the appropriate skills and competencies are represented on boards.

The choice of who participates in the processes, and in what role, varies depending on the public agency. The public agency's Mandate and Roles Document lays out the parameters of the processes.

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.