DEADLINE EXTENDED TO OCTOBER 19 – Development of Strategic Review and Planning Framework: Request for Proposals (July 21 launch date)


The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) was established in 1967 to represent Canada’s Foreign Service (FS) community in its collective bargaining with the Government of Canada, and to promote the professional Foreign Service in Canada.

In the intervening 51-year period, the structure, goals, and operation of PAFSO have remained largely unchanged. The organization is run by a volunteer board (EXCOM) that exercises the governance authority delegated to it by the Annual General Meeting of PAFSO members. PAFSO is supported by a small team of 8 professional staff led by an Executive Director, who reports to the EXCOM via the President.

Need for a strategic review and planning process

In 2018, in response to growing members’ views that PAFSO could benefit from the establishment of a full-time paid President position, the organization embarked on an analysis of the idea. In the course of the research, conducted by McConnell Human Resources Consulting, it emerged that the organization had never had a strategic review, and did not have either a strategic or medium-term plan. In June 2018, the EXCOM voted to task the currently serving President to lead a strategic review and planning process beginning in January 2019, and culminating with the presentation of a plan to the Annual General Meeting in October 2020.

Factors that highlight the need for a strategic review and planning process include:

  • a growing awareness on the part of the EXCOM of the need to properly exercise fiduciary duty and provide strategic direction to PAFSO staff, including the Executive Director;
  • the recent addition of the Management-Consular stream to the FS group, and the impending addition of the International Assistance Stream, which bring different cultures and concerns to the table;
  • the increasing number and complexity of files impacting the FS membership, including (but not limited to) the collective bargaining process; FSD negotiations; domestic and international assignments; FS promotions, and their relation to GAC’s unfolding Competency-Based Approach (CBA); changes to training and development programs for FS in all streams (FSDP/FSTP, MCTP, etc); occupational health and safety (OHS) issues, including psychological health and well-being initiatives; ongoing Phoenix pay system difficulties; and spousal employment and support issues;
  • member complacency and the difficulty in attracting and maintaining volunteer resources;
  • the need to judiciously and strategically manage financial and human resources;
  • the need to more proactively manage PAFSO’s relationship with GAC, IRCC and Treasury Board (TBS) management, and to a lesser extent with other GoC Departments;
  • the need for more active engagement with leaders of other federal public service unions;
  • the membership’s desire for enhanced communication and advocacy campaigns;
  • the growing importance of social media and the expectation for engagement with members and the public;
  • the eventual retirement of several long-time PAFSO office staff; and
  • the need to protect Canada’s Foreign Service as a respected and essential profession in the years and decades ahead.


The Strategic Review and planning process will be managed by a committee of EXCOM, chaired by the PAFSO President. However, PAFSO seeks assistance in developing a framework for conducting the exercise. This would include advice on the structure of the review and the types of activities and analyses that should be conducted, best practices in conducting such exercises, and recommendations on implementation and timelines. The contract will also involve organizing and leading an initial planning session for the Executive Committee and key staff members and drafting a critical path for completion of the strategic review and preparation of the strategic plan.


The final commissioned report shall contain the advice on the structure of the review, recommendations for activities and analyses, and the critical path.

A confidential written report will be prepared and provided to the PAFSO EXCOM for consideration. The recommendations will also be presented orally to the Executive Committee not less than seven days later, at a mutually agreed upon date and time, and shall include an opportunity for Q&A and discussion


The Strategic Review and Planning process is subject to approval by the October 2018 Annual General Meeting and ratification by the new Executive Committee, which will be put in place after that meeting. We expect to notify the successful candidate at the end of October and work will begin in January 2019. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, upon joint signing of the report’s terms of reference, the aforementioned written report will be delivered no later than ninety (90) days after the signing of a contract between PAFSO and the chosen service provider.

Compensation and Terms

Project bids responding to this Request for Proposals must be received by PAFSO no later than 4:00pm (EST) on Friday, October 19, 2018. Prior to submitting a bid, further information may be obtained by contacting Pamela Isfeld, President, at or by telephone at (613) 241-1391. The lowest or any bid will not necessarily be accepted. PAFSO reserves the right to award any portion of this bid. Bids should be delivered to the following address: PAFSO, 47 Clarence Street, Suite 412, Ottawa, ON, K1N 9K1, or by email to The final contracted cost shall be payable in full upon successful delivery of the final report and presentation to PAFSO’s Executive Committee. PAFSO will not provide any compensation for preparation of a bid.

Please note that neither PAFSO members, nor the spouses or family of current Executive Committee members, are eligible for this contract.



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