Removing barriers with the Mosaic Leadership Development Program

April 28, 2022

Building a career can be challenging for anyone. Feeling as though you’re ready for advancement and more responsibility is one thing but moving toward that goal and potentially to a new level can be daunting.

If you’re part of an equity-seeking group in the Government of Canada, it can be even more difficult.

The term "equity-seeking group" is defined in the context of public service staffing in the Public Service Employment Act. According to the Guide on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Terminology, groups generally considered to be equity-seeking groups include women, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, people who are part of LGBTQ2+ communities, religious minority groups and racialized people.

True progress on diversity and inclusion begins with representation, especially in executive, decision-making roles.

Increasing representation from the top

We sat down with Gabrielle Geoffroy, Senior Advisor at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, to find out more about the challenges faced by equity-seeking government employees. “Increasing the representation of the EX cadre in the public service is seen as one of the biggest hurdles for people from these groups,” Gabrielle explains. “Equity-seeking employees qualify for EX-01 positions, but can linger in pools and achieve no advancement.”

General pools and inventories are lists of pre-assessed, qualified candidates made available to federal organizations for staffing purposes.

Leaders have a vital impact on workplace culture, so increasing the representation of equity-seeking groups was a natural first step. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat harnessed its human resources role by creating the Mosaic Leadership Development Program.

How Mosaic works

The program goes above and beyond the many existing leadership programs. It incorporates the best practices of such efforts as Mentorship Plus, the Canada School of Public Service Development Program, and the Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative. It is specifically reserved for employees who identify as a member of a designated employment equity group and/or LGBTQ2+ communities, and is public service wide.

Organizations nominate their candidate to the program, and successful nominees are provided with 12 months of training while pursuing their work. Succeeding in a leadership position takes self-awareness and awareness of others, which are skills provided to Mosaic participants through the different components of the program. By the end of the program, they will be given the opportunity to be assessed by a diverse board for a potential EX-01 appointment.

The program was formally launched on December 15th in collaboration with the Canada School of Public Service, and has 39 participants as part of the inaugural cohort.

“Components”, aka building blocks

Mosaic is built on a combination of four components that set it apart from other programs:

  • Sponsorship
  • Learning
  • Experience-Building Opportunity
  • Appointment

The learning component focuses on a customized curriculum that goes beyond training and targets behavioural attributes needed to succeed as an executive. These include structured learning activities, coaching and assessment. This component will also include feedback groups and experiential learning.

We were curious as to whether the appointment at the end of the program was guaranteed. “While we can’t promise an appointment at the end of the program, we do ask the departments who are nominating employees to commit to several things to increase the participant’s chances of being appointed,” shares Gabrielle. This also includes identifying an EX-01 position for their candidate’s potential appointment. The Public Service Commission, for example, is developing a tool that assesses the EX-01 key leadership competencies of participants as well as experience in managing human resources. Participants are asked to describe past achievements that best illustrate how they have demonstrated specific behaviours, and the results of this assessment can then be used by the participant’s departments in the appointment process to an EX-01 position.

An important distinction

A common question that Gabrielle gets asked is whether the Mosaic Leadership Development Program is the same as Mentorship Plus (M+). While both programs have similar goals of helping people advance and enter the EX cadre, they each have their own features.

“Mentorship Plus provides access to mentors and sponsors, while Mosaic is a focused training program with a sponsorship component,” says Gabrielle. This training features a customized curriculum that includes skills such as leading virtual teams and resilience, behavioural attributes that are needed to succeed as an executive.

Mosaic is also different from other programs. After conducting an environmental scan of pre-existing management development programs in other departments, Gabrielle discovered that they were using the same type of standard training, and she wanted to go one step further. “For example,” she says, “Our Mosaic Program begins with a diagnostic tool where participants can be professionally assessed by the Personnel Psychology Centre at the PSC to see where their gaps are in terms of key leadership competencies and behavioural attributes. This will determine what needs to be worked on during the experience-building opportunity as part of this program.”

Get informed

Want to learn more about the Mosaic Leadership Development program? 

Visit the Mosaic page on

If you have questions about how it works, we encourage you to contact



Diversity and inclusion

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