Robert W. Passfield
   Public Historian    






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Management Support

Acting Management Positions

During two periods in his Public Service career with Parks Canada, Passfield served in acting management positions. In these positions, he was responsible for supervising the work of staff historians who were preparing research reports and studies in support of the Parks Canada program, and Agenda Papers for submission to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

  • Acting/Head (HR-04), Section B, Historical Research Branch (now Historical Services Branch), February-October 1991.

  • Acting/Service Manager (HR-04), Historical Services Branch, November 1994-June 1996.
In this latter acting position, he was responsible as well for enhancing commemorations under two National Historic Sites System Plan themes: Engineering Achievements, and a program priority theme, Cultural Communities’ History.

Contract Management

In June 1996, Passfield left the Management Team of Historical Services Branch to return to his historical research position (Peers HR-04); and subsequently declined the offer of an appointment to the Service Manager (HR-04) position that he had occupied on an acting basis. He was assigned, however, a continuing responsibility for enhancing commemorations under the Engineering Achievements theme, which had been identified earlier by a National Historic Sites System Plan study as an under-represented theme in the National Historic Sites System. As a Senior Historian, in addition to his research work, he prepared the terms of reference and supervised two contracts related to the Engineering Achievements theme.

Historic Engineering Landmarks Project Framework Report, (Consultant’s Report), Fall 1997. Passfield prepared the terms of reference for the contract; and the guidelines for evaluating historic engineering landmarks; as well as headed the committee that evaluated the submitted bids, based on an established rating system. Once the contract was let, Passfield managed the contract, and reviewed the final product. The consultant’s report, prepared in consultation with Canadian engineering societies, provincial heritage agencies, and academics in the heritage conservation field, identified and documented fifty-five outstanding historic engineering landmarks in Canada as potential candidates for commemoration. The Framework Report was submitted to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC), and resulted ultimately in the selection of ten historic engineering landmarks for priority study, and submission to the HSMBC for potential commemoration.

Sir John Kennedy, HSMBC Submission Report Contract, 2000. Passfield prepared the terms of reference for the contract, and supervised the preparation by a contractor of an HSMBC Submission Report (2000-58) that assessed the historical and engineering significance on a national level, of a Canadian engineer, Sir John Kennedy. Kennedy was subsequently commemorated as a Person of National Historic Significance.

Human Resources

As a Senior Historian, Passfield was designated to participate in two Human Resources initiatives: one as a representative of the staff of the National Historic Sites Directorate; and the other as a representative of the National Historic Sites Directorate.

Parks Canada Agency Consultations, 1997-1998. Passfield served as the Employee Delegate for the National Historic Sites Directorate in attending the meetings held to develop a human resources framework and human resources policies for the new Parks Canada Agency. He conducted consultations with staff on the proposed new Human Resources framework and proposed policies; and conveyed the views of staff employees at meetings of the Human Resources Working Groups responsible for particular policy areas.

In his capacity as Employee Delegate, Passfield prepared a memorandum on the Historical Research Committee of Peers merit promotion system that was established by Treasury Board in 1969, and administered by the Public Service Commission. He advocated that the new Parks Canada Agency should continue to recognize, and participate in the Historical Research Interdepartmental Committee of Peers merit promotion system, even though the Human Resources component of the new Parks Canada Agency would no longer be a designated unit of the Public Service Commission, and the new Agency employees would no longer be members of the Public Service. His memorandum, “Background: Historical Research Committee of Peers” was forwarded to the Chair, Staffing Working Group, Parks Canada Agency, February 5, 1998. Ultimately, the Steering Committee overseeing the development of the new human resources framework for the Agency, decided that Parks Canada would continue to participate in the Historical Research Interdepartmental Committee of Peers merit promotion system of the federal government.

Subsequently, Passfield received the Prix d’Excellence/Award of Excellence, 2001, from Parks Canada for an “outstanding contribution to the development of the Parks Canada Human Resources Management Framework”.

National Classification Review Team, 2001. Passfield served as a representative of National Historic Sites Directorate on a Parks Canada human resources management committee delegated to develop classification standards, and job descriptions, for a proposed new Cultural Heritage Research Group comprising historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, archivists, and material culture researchers. This undertaking was part of the federal government’s abortive Universal Classification System exercise.

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