The dramatic effects of COVID-19 continued to impact the Agency throughout 2021-22. With 98% of its meetings in virtual formats, the CICS successfully served its first in-person meetings in a post-pandemic context. While only 2% of meetings were conducted in-person, this learning opportunity provided the Secretariat with vital information about operating in the “new normal”, such as larger rooms to accommodate for social distancing, removal of certain on-site services, and implementation of sanitization procedures, to name a few.
Teleconferences saw a striking decrease in 2021-22, with the fewest events since 2012-13, as our clients shifted towards videoconferences. This shift was facilitated by improvements to CICS’ videoconference equipment and tools for clients. The sudden uptake in videoconferencing allowed all federal, provincial, territorial governments to significantly reduce costs and travel time associated with intergovernmental meetings. The Agency’s senior management has also begun assessing its business model and organizational structure to ensure it remains appropriate in this new virtual/hybrid environment.
CICS continued to take advantage of the Federal Student Work Experience Program and implemented a career development program for eligible employees. Throughout 2021-22, the Secretariat experienced a high number of planned retirements and departures, but this risk was successfully mitigated through proactive staffing that allowed for overlap of key positions and transfer of corporate knowledge.