Position Profile

Job Title:  Correspondence Specialist

Work Unit:  Executive Correspondence Unit (ECU)

Ministry:   Alberta Municipal Affairs

Competition Number:  1039516

Date:  December 2016



The Correspondence Specialist is responsible for: coordinating writing campaigns, input to and from external ministries, and joint-ministry responses; proofreading all AR documents before sending for Deputy Minister's (DM) approval; keeping track of the minutia of the Minister's and DM's style and formatting preferences; ensuring compliance with Canadian Press style; making changes to grammar, punctuation, formatting and some wording errors: and coordinating the routings of ARs to and from the DM's Office (DMO). The incumbent assists the Ministry ARTS Administrator (MAA) in Action Request Tracking System (ARTS) training, disseminating ARTS best practices across the ministry, facilitating cooperation among divisions, administrating ARTS codes, transferring ARTS users from other ministries, assigning Action Requests (ARs) in ARTS to the Assistant Deputy Minister's Offices (ADMOs), and coordinating updates to AR assignments between the Minister's Office (MO), DMO and ADMOs. The incumbent also provides administrative support to the manager and staff of the ECU.

Responsibilities and Activities


Coordinates Ministry Responses to Writing Campaigns

  • Works with Communications, ADMOs, DMO, MO, and correspondence units/DMOs in other ministries to ensure approvals are in place for the standard response(s) and use of electronic signature.
  • Takes lead on ensuring the correct application of standard response(s) and electronic signature, determining all required unique features for each response, including content variations, appropriate ccs and acknowledgments of referring minister/MLA , and any exceptions to established protocols/procedures.
  • Ensures all steps and decisions are comprehensively recorded to allow for follow-up on any individual response, as may be requested by any party, including MO and Premier's Office (PO).

Coordinates Joint-Ministry AR Responses

  • Consults with ADMOs, DMO, MO, to determine needs for joint responses, including establishing the lead ministry, content, approval and signature protocols, and timelines/due dates for draft and final versions.
  • Works with correspondence units/DMOs in other ministries to establish agreement on these matters, employing the full range of Municipal Affairs resources, as needed, to solve any problems in reaching an agreement.
  • Takes lead on ensuring all external and internal processes are completed on time and needs met, with the necessary approvals and appropriate notifications to all parties, internal and external.

Represents Municipal Affairs on Committee for Annual GOA Cross-Ministry Correspondence Units Conference

  • Assists with the planning and implementation of the annual conference, bringing to bear a broad range of skills and good judgment relating to, for example, budgeting, cross-ministry billing, and negotiating with service providers.
  • Chairs the committee on a rotational basis.

Ensure the quality, accuracy and timeliness of written material submitted to the Minister's office:

  • Works closely with the MAA to ensure all needs of the MO/DMO/MLAs/stakeholders, as identified in correspondence and related directions, are met, through the careful assignment of ARs.
  • Maintains frequent contact with MO/DMO/ADMOs to ensure these needs for the assignment of ARs are being met.
  • Make all necessary entries into the ARTS system as AR assignments are initiated and revised.
  • Assists with co-ordination of ministry administrative resources for timely and accurate responses to writing campaigns.
  • Takes responsibility for being the penultimate "set of eyes" in the department (before the DMO) for proofing the Minister's and DM's correspondence and briefings, for grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. This responsibility can involve consulting with an ECU editor on content revisions.
  • Maintains frequent contact with the MO/DMO to ensure their style and formatting preferences for ARs are being met.
  • Assists ECU editors in meeting these style and formatting preferences.
  • Acts as the first point of contact for department inquiries about these style and formatting preferences.
  • Assists an editor in ensuring the AR writing guide, which is posted on the intranet, is kept up to date.
  • Coordinates ARs to and from the DMO, obtaining DM approval/sign-off of AR packages, as required.
  • Makes all necessary entries into the ARTS system as ARs are reviewed, revised and completed.
  • Ensures urgent and ad hoc AR requests are met to the satisfaction of the Minister's office.
  • Assists in preparation of in-services provided by the ECU to department staff on AR writing and editing.
  • Stays aware of the legislative components and confidentiality requirements for the various types of AR packages.
  • In consultation with the ECU manager, MO, DMO, ADMOs, and the Communications Branch, maintains the standard response folders in the ECU shared drive, ensuring all folder and file descriptions are relevant and the appropriate standard responses are saved within them.
  • For historical information and perspective, develops an archival repository for standard responses no longer in use.

Provide cover-off for key personnel:

  • In-depth knowledge of the ARTS system in order to perform all duties in the absence of the MAA and/or Correspondence Assistant.
  • In-depth knowledge of the AR assignment and closing processes in order to provide cover off.
  • Working knowledge of duties of front line staff in the MO/DMO/Communications Branch in order to provide cover­off when required.



The quality and accuracy of the correspondence sent out under the Minister's signature reflects on the Minister and the department as a whole. The Correspondence Specialist is the last person to edit/proof ARs before they go to the DMO and must ensure they meet the standards set for the ministry. The incumbent contributes to the success of the Minister's communication with Albertans, key stakeholders and municipal/provincial/national leaders. The incumbent must develop good rapport and interact well with all program areas in the department to ensure ARs are of excellent quality and completed within strict timelines. This position functions with considerable independence and must exercise a large degree of judgement when reviewing ARs; requesting information and making corrections; and responding to inquiries.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Expertise in ARTS - ARTS Administrator level (advanced) training required (course offered through IBM/Service Alberta).
  • Excellent understanding of government protocols and processes and creativity in effectively guiding AR documents through complex cross-ministry processes.
  • Effective communication skills and the ability to build and maintain positive and collaborative working relationships, especially with correspondence/DMO staff in other ministries.
  • Ability to identify and resolve problems and issues, using a wide variety of ministry resources, human and otherwise.
  • Awareness of issues of political and program sensitivity and confidentiality.
  • Careful attention to detail.
  • Ability to prioritize workload and adapt quickly to changing priorities to best meet the Minister's goals and clients' needs.
  • Understanding of and ability to apply Ministerial style guidelines.
  • Effective organizational skills.
  • Ability to analyze correspondence, documents and information on a wide variety of issues, in order to ensure ARs respond effectively to all correspondents and their specific needs.
  • Competency in the use of scanners, MS Word and Excel, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat and the Internet.
  • Good working knowledge of the FOIP Act as it applies to the correspondence and briefings for ministry and Alberta government officials.
  • General understanding of the roles and operations of the department.


  • MO, DMO, ADMOs, Communications Branch: provide/share/obtain information to assist in the completion of ARs or the co-ordination of other materials as requested by the MO.
  • Stakeholders: requests for publications, information and assistance with locating other staff who are knowledgeable in targeted areas.
  • Other provincial government departments: provide/share/obtain information to assist in the coordination of AR responses.


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