Presentation of the Outstanding Achievement Award
Rideau Hall, Thursday, March 6, 2014
I am pleased to welcome you to Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada, for this celebration of excellence in public service.
Over the past few years, I have had occasion to work alongside many Canadian public servants, and my respect for the profession has only grown.
Both here in Canada and while on visits abroad, I often share my conviction that our country has benefitted richly from a talented and dedicated public service over many decades.
I may be biased, but I think many people view Canada as a smart, caring and fair country, and they rightly associate those qualities with our democratic institutions and our strong tradition of public service.
And when I say “public service,” what I’m really talking about are public servants.
Our public servants are the stewards of our precious public institutions, and it is they who deliver the programs and services that are so important to our collective well-being.
The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award is a wonderful example of a public servant who has strengthened Canada through years of hard work and creativity.
Renée Jolicoeur has achieved some truly outstanding results for Canadians, particularly in the areas of pension administration, pay modernization, and the use of technology in service delivery.
In a moment we will hear about her achievements in greater detail, but suffice it to say that Ms. Jolicoeur has made important contributions to the efficiency and effectiveness of our public service, and she has strengthened its reputation at home and abroad.
Let me underscore the importance of her outstanding achievements.
Like many professions, the Public Service of Canada exists only by virtue of a social contract with Canadians.
This contract allows public servants to operate with the confidence of Canadians and of their government. In return, public servants must ensure efficient and effective programs and institutions, capable of meeting challenges now and tomorrow.
As you know, this is a significant challenge. We live in a time of rapid and profound change on many levels, and it is important that Canadians recognize and acknowledge the complexity and pressures of public service in the 21st century.
That is also why it is so important for public servants to find new and innovative ways to deliver for Canadians.
Ms. Jolicoeur has done exactly that, strengthening our public service in numerous ways and inspiring Canadians with greater confidence in their public institutions.
For that, she deserves our respect and our gratitude.
And I am sure she would be the first to extend that recognition to all those public servants with whom she has so successfully collaborated over the years.
On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate Renée Jolicoeur on receiving this prestigious honour. It is well deserved.
Thank you for your service to Canada.