Civil service juggling act

HRSD's new deputy minister tasked with crafting social policy

As part of his shake-up of the senior civil service, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed a new deputy minister of human resources and social development.

Janice Charette, who worked for Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and Jean Charest, took on the post in July. She also served in the civil service under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

As deputy minister, Charette is the senior civil servant in her department. She is responsible for running the department's staff, operations, services and policy development as well as answering to Minister Diane Finley.

Some of her projects will include implementing the government's initiative to create 25,000 new child-care spaces each year, as well as crafting an overall social policy.

Since taking office at the end of January, Harper has announced 41 changes in the ranks of senior public servants — deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, associate deputy ministers and senior policy advisers.

Government sources have said some of the changes, such as Charette's appointment, were driven by the re-integration of the departments of Human Resources and Social Development, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Others say that Harper is trying to reinvigorate the civil service with "new blood" as many senior bureaucrats are set to retire in the next few years. Many of those who have been moved into the top jobs had Conservative ties early in their careers, but thrived and were promoted under 12 years of Liberal governments.

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