The federal government will be giving staff assistants access to personal email accounts in an effort to boost productivity.
In a news release on Tuesday, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced the new program, which is aimed at creating “a personal assistant network” in the department.
“We are moving in the right direction, but it is a very small part of our efforts to be a global leader,” Ambrose said.
“With a global workforce, we need to be prepared to offer an array of personal assistant services, including the ability to work remotely and to do things like collaborate with colleagues through an app or device.”
In a blog post, the minister said the personal assistant program will be implemented in the Health Ministry by the end of the year.
In the coming months, the government will launch the Personal Assistants Program, an initiative to streamline the appointment process for its 1.4 million employees.
Health Canada said the Personal Assistant Program will be open to all Health Canada employees who have a personal email account.
The new program will also be offered to Health Canada’s human resources, information technology, science and technology, and procurement, among others, and it will be managed by a team that will include senior leadership, health professionals, employees and the public.
It is part of a $500 million plan that Ambrose says will give Canada the best possible workforce for the challenges of the 21st century.
Ambrose said the new initiative will be “a first in Canada,” but added it will “help ensure that Canadians have access to an array and variety of personal services that can be used at home or at work.”
“These are all new and important initiatives, and I am confident that the Canadians who will benefit most from this will be the ones who work in a team and know how to use it,” Ambrose wrote in the blog post.
In her blog post on Tuesday evening, Ambrose said the program will offer an option for employees to be assigned to a personal assistant, as opposed to a colleague.
“This will ensure that there is a personalised and tailored approach to personal assistants in the Department, which will allow them to make decisions about what they need to do on a day-to-day basis,” Ambrose writes.
“This will also give our staff a better sense of what is available to them and what services are available to their needs.”
The Personal Assistant program will have no cost to employees, and the ministry will set aside $250 million to fund the program, Ambrose wrote.