This plan contains references to internal terms and applications used by Ontario Public Service staff.


Ontarians depend on a highly skilled Ontario Public Service (OPS) workforce to deliver effective policies, programs, and services to over 15 million people across the province focused on value and equitable results.

A large organization as complex as the OPS will only succeed with a strong human resources plan. With 29 ministries, the OPS works best when it functions as a single employer, with integrated, enterprise-wide human resources management planning and implementation.

This is what the People Plan is — a blueprint to address the fundamentals of attracting, developing, and retaining the talent needed to serve Ontarians with inclusion, integrity, and excellence. By focusing on our people, we can fulfil the public’s service needs and expectations.

Since the 2015–20 OPS Human Resources Plan, the OPS has adopted new ways of working and modernized the delivery of services, programs, and communications. As a future-focused organization, the OPS has moved many government services from in-person to online to help meet the needs and expectations of Ontarians looking for easy-to-use, accessible, digitally enabled services and programs. In addition, the OPS continues to directly deliver many critical programs in the areas of safety, correctional services, justice, and social services.

At the same time, the OPS has grown more diverse and is taking action — by way of the Leadership Pledge — to address historic inequities across the organization and combat all forms of racism and discrimination impacting underrepresented groups in the OPS. We are working to create an equitable organization — one that is inclusive, anti-racist, accessible, diverse, respectful, and free from workplace harassment and discrimination, and that supports well-being. Our mission has been, and remains, building and strengthening Ontario, its places, and its people.

Informed by lessons learned from previous plans, consultation, research, and the results of Employee Experience Surveys, and capitalizing on work underway, the People Plan lays out a path that will help see us through a period of challenge and change as we emerge from a pandemic.

The OPS Employment Value Proposition helps our organization achieve our goals of attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.

Employment value proposition

  • culture
  • work environment
  • career development and opportunity
  • total compensation (salaries, pensions, benefits)

Understanding public satisfaction with our services helps us identify what’s working well and where we need to focus. We regularly gather, measure, and assess Ontarians’ satisfaction with our organization, including the programs we deliver, the services we provide, and the priorities that drive us. This provides a foundation of data that helps us better focus on the needs of the public and fuels continuous improvements for our organization.

Like all employers, the OPS is facing a competitive labour market. The People Plan and our Employment Value Proposition will help the OPS better position itself as an employer of choice.

The Plan reflects the strategic choices we have made as an organization and identifies priorities that will focus our energy, efforts, and investments over the next three years to attract, develop, and retain top talent.

We all have a role to play in helping to carry out the initiatives under the Plan and the collective leadership of all OPS employees is crucial to our success.

As we complete our initiatives and achieve our priorities, new ones will be set and the Plan will continue to evolve; addressing new challenges and opportunities in alignment with our goals to attract, develop, and retain top talent.

Our mission and values

Mission — Taking pride in strengthening Ontario, its places, and its people.

Guided by our mission and governed by the rules set out in the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA), we serve the public interest and uphold the public’s trust. We support the government by providing honest, impartial, and objective advice, carrying out its decisions, policies, and administering services to the highest professional standards. We conduct ourselves with integrity and exercise responsible stewardship of public resources and information.

Along with this commitment to public service, we also share a set of values that guide us in how we carry out our work and engage with each other and the public.

Through consultation, the OPS values have been focused from eight to three values:

  • inclusion: respecting the dignity and human rights of every person so they feel welcomed, valued, and like they belong
  • integrity: demonstrating trust, honesty, accountability, and impartiality
  • excellence: delivering high quality and timely public services and programs

The values apply across the organization and help us to navigate the daily delivery of our plan; its goals, priorities, and initiatives.

Ontario Public Service People Plan 2023–2026

Our mission

Taking pride in strengthening Ontario, its places, and its people.

Our values

Every day, we are inclusive, act with integrity, and strive for public service excellence.

Our goals

We are a people-powered organization. Our goals are to:

  • attract
  • develop
  • retain

top talent that reflects Ontario’s diversity to ensure we achieve our mission.

Priorities and initiatives

To achieve these goals, we will focus on the following:

Our goals

Every day, OPS employees across the province deliver a wide range of important policies, programs, and services to Ontarians, from health care, to education, to taking care of the environment, and to keeping our communities safe. Ontarians expect a public service that is professional, inclusive, acts with integrity, and works in modern ways to provide excellent customer service.

As a people-powered organization, the skills and diversity of our workforce, along with how our employees experience the work environment, are the building blocks of our success. We want employees to recommend the OPS as a great place to work, where there are opportunities for growth through different experiences across ministries, sectors, and clusters over the course of their career, and where they feel they belong and can have long careers in service to the public.

Attracting, developing, and retaining top talent that reflects Ontario’s diversity will ensure we achieve our mission.

That is why the plan is rooted in the following goals over the next three years:

  1. Attract the best talent, building a skilled and diverse public service.
  2. Develop future-ready talent at all levels, strengthening competencies and capacity.
  3. Retain employees by strengthening the employee experience, creating a modern and equitable workplace culture.

Key performance indicators and targets

To assess the Plan’s progress towards our goals, a performance measurement framework was developed. For each goal, the following key performance indicators (KPIs) establish baselines and targets that will allow us to monitor progress over the course of the Plan’s lifecycle. We will establish a new baseline measurement when wrapping up the Plan in 2026.

Goals — MetricsBaselinefootnote 1Targetfootnote 2
Attract — Recruitment volumes — application indexfootnote 328.442.8
Develop — Satisfaction with career progression60.061.9
Develop — Opportunities for career growth60.161.9
Retain — Turnover rate6%4.2%
Retain — Employee engagement index69.273.1
Retain — Inclusion index73.275.4
Retain — Leadership index61.963.8

In addition to the overall key performance indicators, we will also measure our progress in achieving our priorities — these metrics are identified in subsequent sections.

Our strategic priorities

In pursuit of our goals to attract, develop, and retain top talent that reflects Ontario’s diversity, we have chosen to focus our efforts on three priorities as a start. We will assess, and potentially adjust, these priorities over time.

With the launch of the plan, our priorities are to help ensure that all employees:

  1. have a workplace that is modernizing
  2. are growing and developing
  3. feel they belong, are treated equitably, and their mental health is supported

Each priority will be realized through concrete initiatives that will help achieve our Plan’s goals. The priorities are described in more detail below along with some featured initiatives currently underway.

While our goals will persist over the life of the Plan, as we make progress on our strategic priorities, we may introduce new priorities and our operational initiatives may shift or evolve.

Modern working

Preparing the organization for tomorrow’s challenges requires us to assess how we are working, how best to provide services, and how we demonstrate our results to the public. Finding process efficiencies, moving services online, and updating our technology are some of the ways in which we are already working to modernize our work practices, talent management, and recruitment processes.

The Plan’s alignment with the OPS Service Framework is an example of how we are re-envisioning the way in which we work and deliver services to Ontarians. By promoting and instilling a digital first mindset in our organizational culture we will enable further transformation of the service experiences for both Ontarians and public servants alike.

Our OPS Service Framework guides delivery and this user-centric design approach has people and culture as one of the key pillars to success.

To be at the service of Ontarians and achieve service transformation across government, every ministry program must develop a relentless focus on the end user and be responsive to Ontario’s demographic and linguistic diversity. We will use data to drive decision-making and build products and deliver services that iterate and evolve over time.

Part of our service transformation will be realized through our commitment to using Lean methodology and other quality process improvements as a way to help streamline work and support workload management. Lean is about how to deliver effectively and to reduce unnecessary steps. The OPS is committed to Lean as modern workplaces have made it a cornerstone of their organizational culture.

As we look ahead, the ability of the OPS to attract and retain key talent will continue to be influenced by the total compensation expectations of employees (salaries, pensions, and benefits). That’s why we continuously review total compensation in the OPS to ensure that we remain competitive and aligned to government priorities in sustaining fiscal responsibility.

Workplace culture also has a critical role to play in recruiting and retaining employees. Where and how we work, the tools we use, and the programs in place to support employee well-being all have a bearing on how successful we will be in making the OPS an employer of choice.

We’ve begun redesigning our workplaces and how we access them. This includes initial initiatives already underway such as the Office Optimization Strategy, the Employee Workspace Reservation System (EWRS), which offers employees an easy way to reserve a workspace in designated OPS buildings, leaning out processes, and the periodic use of OPS touchdown centres in select communities.

Designing the future of work is a living, incremental process and we will continue to learn from other jurisdictions and monitor our organizational data. As a large employer with many lines of business and service channels, we need to make decisions in a thoughtful, evidence-based, and prudent way.

With the People Plan, we are committing to:

  • 1.1 Continuing the dialogue on the future of work and finding concrete, actionable ways of creating flexible and modern workplaces. This includes reviewing and updating the Flexible Work Strategy.

Human resources modernization

The leadership of the human resources community is critical to the success of the People Plan. Within the human resources organization, there are several planned modernization initiatives that will serve as crucial enablers of the large-scale changes that we want to see take root across the OPS over the next three years. Part of this work is already underway with the migration of the Workforce Information Network (WIN) to a modern cloud-based infrastructure and the recent expansion of the FORTE talent management application to all OPS employees.

Key human resources functions were recently organized under one Deputy Minister, within Treasury Board Secretariat, with an aim to improve its capacity and capabilities. While this work continues, the Human Resources organization is undertaking:

  • 1.2. Human Resources Modernization efforts to support the success of the People Plan, including the following key initiatives:
    • The multi-year Human Resources and Payroll Service Delivery Modernization program is redesigning human resources and payroll processes to be paperless, increase automation, and move more processes online.
    • The Digital Recruitment Modernization initiative will deliver a faster, better, more strategic recruitment process, allowing the OPS to be better positioned in a competitive labour market.
    • Responding to the needs of Franco-Ontarians, the OPS Bilingual Human Resources Initiative will improve the OPS’ capacity to deliver French-language services. Key priority areas being explored include recruitment, retention, training, and data management and collection for OPS designated bilingual positions.
    • A Review of the Human Resources Service Delivery Framework will ensure a sustainable human resources model that is aligned with the People Plan and positions the human resources community to deliver efficient, integrated, and one-employer human resources services.

We will measure our progress towards a modern work environment through Employee Experience Survey results for Employees have the supports, technology, equipment, and other tools they need to do their job well.

PriorityDescriptionBaselinefootnote 4Targetfootnote 2
Modern workEmployees have the supports, technology, equipment, and tools needed to do their job well.66.569.32

Growth and development

To provide effective public services, we need to invest in the right skills in the right jobs, and ensure that OPS employees, at all levels, are growing and developing.

To meet the needs of Ontarians, who expect easy-to-use, digital services and programs, the OPS must ensure that it is attracting and developing the right mix of skills today and for the future. This includes instilling a digital first work culture and fostering the development of a service-oriented organization focused on using Lean methodology and other quality process improvements to streamline work and support workload management. We will support staff with tools and training to develop the skills needed to design public services with and for the people who are expected to use them.

The Plan’s alignment with our delivery of services will help by setting a focus and the tone for growing our competencies as a customer-centric workforce offering accessible, seamless, digitally enabled services. It helps us to be grounded in our why.

The OPS boasts strong talent, but we recognize that there are skills we need to be future-ready. We also know that employees, generally, do not feel that learning and development are relevant or meet their needs with many reporting that they aren’t able to prioritize their learning. The OPS commits to developing essential skills — resilience, empathy, critical thinking, impact, and influence to prepare employees to thrive in a constantly changing environment.

The OPS needs to plan more deliberately for workforce succession in a competitive market for talent and in the context of new and emerging skills. Accelerating the professional development and career growth of our people is crucial. As well, the OPS continues to offer value for money for the public as the leanest provincial public service in Canada (5 public servants per 1,000 citizens).

The OPS has been focused on helping employees transition into manager and executive roles (for example, Advancing Into Management, Leadership Development Program) and on providing OPSers with self-service learning options (for example, LinkedIn learning, LearnON) and employee-driven talent management solutions (for example, FORTE). These efforts have been highly effective and will continue.

With the People Plan, we will focus on deepening leadership competencies. We recognize the transition to people leadership is just the beginning and leaders need help to continue learning as they grow in their roles. We will take a more intentional approach to employee learning rooted in future-ready skills and OPS priorities and will focus learning opportunities on what matters most for building a high-performing OPS and making space for people to learn.

Initial initiatives will include:

  • 2.1. A learning and development action plan for the entire workforce to reinforce the mission-critical objective of developing employees at every level. The action plan will set priorities, actions, and metrics to propel skills and capability in critical thinking, data and digital acumen, resilience, and other essential competencies for public service excellence.
  • 2.2. New training program for managers to build capability in managing business results, leading teams, developing employees, and creating inclusive and anti-racist workplaces.

The program consists of two distinct learning pathways. The first is intended to ground new managers in the fundamentals of managing (finance, procurement, people management, customer service) and of leading (emotional intelligence, team performance, coaching, inclusion). This pathway will be mandatory for all new managers.

The second learning pathway will be available to experienced managers to enhance their skills. The program replaces ministry-led manager development programs to become the standard, enterprise development program, for all managers.

We’ll measure the effectiveness of these efforts, in part, by watching Employee Experience Survey results on answers to questions such as Is Learning and Development Meeting My Needs?

PriorityDescriptionBaselinefootnote 4Targetfootnote 2
Growth and developmentLearning and development meeting needs56.958.58


The OPS serves the most diverse population out of any province in Canada. To effectively serve Ontarians and attract and retain the best talent, we need to reflect this diversity and the lessons that we learned during the pandemic. To do this, all employees need to feel that they belong, that their mental health is supported, and that they can grow in our organization.

The OPS is diversifying its leadership and building the capacity of employees to be anti-racist, inclusive, and promote accessibility. This work includes implementing initiatives such as the Senior Leadership Diversification Initiative, Anti-racism Action Plans, and the Diversity Career Champions Program. We have seen some progress, notably in terms of improvements in the representation of our senior teams and in areas like discrimination and harassment.

As we continue to deliver on these important initiatives, with the People Plan, our focus will turn to addressing systemic employment issues and barriers across the enterprise. In tackling systemic barriers, we must take an enterprise-wide approach — we can’t only apply a team-by-team or ministry-by-ministry lens to this work.

Employees who indicated they feel they belong (2022 Employee Experience Survey)

Demographic groups20222021
OPS overall74.774.6
2SLGBTQIA+footnote 572.0N/A
Two spirit / non-binary65.358.2
Persons with disabilities66.465.6

We are one OPS and no matter where you work, or what job you do, you should be supported so you feel like you belong and have a fair chance of getting ahead. The call to address systemic barriers has come via our employee networks, in key reports like the Third-Party Review of Inclusive Workplace Policies and Programs, the Huggins Report, and in response to our Employee Experience Survey.

Percentage of employees who indicated they have experienced discrimination and harassment (2022 Employee Experience Survey)

OPS overall8.8%7.8%
Persons with disabilities21.7%20.3%
2SLGBTQIA+footnote 512.9%11.1%
Two spirit / non-binary23.6%15.8%

That’s why we are taking action to create a workplace of inclusion by addressing systemic barriers that have an impact on underrepresented groups with a focus on Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities, Two-Spirit, transgender, non-binary and other gender non-conforming employees.

  • 3.1. The OPS Leadership Pledge contains several key initiatives to address systemic employment barriers:
    • Putting in place an ongoing, cyclical process to identify and root out issues in our key employment systems and processes. This includes updates to the Policy on Preventing Barriers in Employment and the launch of an OPS-wide process to proactively identify and address systemic employment barriers, with a focus on continuing to improve recruitment, promotion, and career development systems, as well as workplace culture.
    • Focusing on diverse talent and career development programs to support underrepresented groups to advance in their careers by enhancing career development pathways.
    • Establishing Black Equity and Indigenous Equity Branches to develop OPS-wide strategies to combat anti-Black racism and advance the processes of reconciliation and renewal.
    • Delivering on the 2022–25 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan to remove barriers and improve accessibility for employees across the enterprise, while also providing more accessible public services.
    • Creating safer spaces for Two-Spirit, Transgender, Non-Binary and Other Gender Non-Conforming employees by providing OPS-wide guidance and education to foster a more inclusive environment that recognizes the diversity of gender identities and expressions in our workplaces.

We will also focus on mental health and well-being. Encouraging a sense of belonging within our organization also means that we support our employees’ mental health so that they can be their best at work. Public servants displayed incredible resilience, flexibility, and collectively rose to the challenge to deliver for Ontarians during the height of the pandemic.

As we’ve learned through the 2022 Employee Experience Survey, pandemic-related and other pressures took a toll on our mental health and our current measures aren’t fully meeting the needs of employees when it comes to mitigating work-related stress and supporting wellness.

Recognizing the importance of mental health on employee well-being, the OPS has taken steps to destigmatize discussions about mental health, build individuals’ capacity and resilience through initiatives like mindfulness training, and enhance services such as the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) including the Culturally Responsive Counselling Service, AbilitiCBT, and Mindfulness Programs. These efforts will continue.

To promote a better understanding and awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace, we are working toward providing psychologically safe workplaces in the OPS by developing training programs for employees and leaders to understand psychological health and safety responsibilities.

We are committed to continuing to support mental health and well-being. Over the next three years, the OPS will:

  • 3.2. Develop and implement a multi-year mental health and well-being action plan to improve mental health supports, starting with a focus on the areas of mental health promotion and employee assistance programs, mental health benefits, and employment accommodation to better address the findings of the Employee Experience Surveys.
  • 3.3. Take actions to balance workload, including through ministry action plans which include initiatives reducing unnecessary meetings, streamlining and leaning out administrative processes, as well as measures to reduce non-essential and non-urgent emails after work hours.

Our Mental Health Champions Committee will continue to oversee the planning, communication, and delivery of enterprise and ministry specific activities.

These initiatives are just a start. We will hold ourselves accountable, measure progress, and make adjustments by listening to employees and looking at Employee Experience Survey results; in particular, the key performance indicator Employees Feel They Belong.

PriorityDescriptionBaselinefootnote 4Targetfootnote 2
BelongingEmployees feel they belong74.776.96

A living plan

We are committed to the overall framework of this Plan — the mission, values, goals, and priorities — but recognize that in order to be successful, the OPS needs to be flexible in how we approach implementation.

That’s why we see this as a living Plan. As evidence emerges, the context changes, and as we learn more about how to be a high performing public service, we will make adjustments to our approach.

As we do this, we commit to being transparent. We will regularly share updates on the progress of the Plan and our key performance indicators, and we will seek out ongoing feedback, including through the Employee Experience Survey, on how best to meet our goals.

The People Plan is about all of us and we’ll need all employees to work together to achieve our goals.

We all have a role to play

We act as one OPS when we have the same mission, share the same values, and pursue common goals related to people and culture. That’s why employees, ministries, management, human resources, and the Employer (TBS) all have a role to play in bringing the plan to life:

  • All employees are expected to demonstrate the OPS Values, treat colleagues and the public with dignity and respect, meet the expectations of the public, have a growth and learning plan in FORTE (the OPS talent management application), and model the behaviors in our Code of Conduct.
  • Ministries and Managers are expected to support the delivery of enterprise-wide commitments, deliver local, custom solutions in areas that align with OPS People Plan priorities, Anti-Racism Action Plans and inclusion efforts, and Employee Experience Survey local plans, as well as support other ministries in their efforts to deliver on priorities.
  • The Human Resources community will work with TBS on a one-OPS approach to modernize HR services, building on efforts underway. The community is also responsible for leading and supporting the delivery of enterprise-wide commitments while continuing to provide services to employees, managers, and ministries and delivering custom solutions in areas that align with the People Plan’s goals and priorities.
  • As the Employer, TBS will collaborate with ministries and provide annual progress reports and is responsible for setting the direction of our enterprise-wide commitments, such as HR Modernization, while enabling and providing guidance to ministries and management as they work to develop local solutions that deliver on the Plan’s initiatives.


Who we are

Table 1: Workforce composition

Size of the OPS66,600 FTEs
Percentage of employees who are in regular positions82%
Percentage of employees who are in a bargaining unit83%
Percentage female executive employees56%
Average age (Regular staff)46
Average years of service (Regular staff)14
Percentage of the OPS workforce under age 35 (Regular staff)18%

Table 2: Retirement and exit outlook

Turnover rate (Regular staff)7%
New hire turnover rate (Regular staff)10%
Percentage of exits who are retirements including TEI/VEP (Regular staff)54%
Percentage of named successors who are ready for their next role (within 1 year)68%
Percentage of regular employees eligible to retire immediately7%
Percentage of regular employees eligible to retire within 3 years16%
Percentage of regular employees eligible to retire within 5 years22%
Average age at retirement (Regular staff)61

Table 3: Workforce socio-demographic information

Persons with disabilities13.3%
2SLGBTQIA+footnote 56.9%

Workforce Composition and Retirement and Exit Outlook Data as of January 2023. Size of the OPS excludes students and seasonals. All other metrics exclude students, seasonals, and employees on leave. Workforce socio-demographic Information is based on 2022 Employee Experience Survey results. See table 4 for additional information.

Table 4: Workforce socio-demographic information

Indigenousfootnote 62.7%
Muslimfootnote 73.8%
Jewishfootnote 71.7%
East/Southeast Asian9.0%
Middle Eastern2.1%
South Asian8.6%
Another Race Category2.0%
Persons with disabilities13.3%
2SLGBTQIA+footnote 56.9%
Bisexual or Pansexual3.0%
Transgenderfootnote 80.5%