LHHR 15-11: Implementing the Veterans Hiring Act


The Veterans Hiring Act (VHA) amends the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) to facilitate the transition of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans into federal public service positions for which they are qualified.

The following changes became effective on July 1, 2015, when the VHA came into force.

  1. CAF members who are medically released for service-related reasons have top statutory priority for appointment to any job for which they are qualified. Medically released CAF members whose medical release is not attributable to service continue to have a regulatory priority entitlement. Both the statutory and regulatory priority entitlements are for five years, or until the person is appointed. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has amended the Public Service Employment Regulations to give effect to these entitlements.
  2. Modern-day veterans who meet the essential qualifications have a preference for appointment in advertised external appointment processes for up to five years following their release. This means that, if there are no qualified persons with a priority entitlement, a qualified veteran must be appointed to a job that was advertised to the public, before any other Canadian citizen.

    At the coming into force of the Act, any eligible veterans who participated in a previously advertised external process from which appointments are still being made, as well as those applying to newly advertised processes, are eligible for the preference if they meet the essential merit criteria.
  3. Serving CAF members and veterans can apply to internal jobs for up to five years after their release. Eligible CAF members and veterans do not need to meet the area of selection requirements in an internal appointment process that is advertised on or after the coming into force date, except for any employment equity criteria that may be established.

Please note that paragraphs 13(10) and 13(12) of the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument have been amended to reflect the legislative changes related to the VHA.

Since the PSC’s Appointment Policy is currently under review, the following measures are being taken to implement the changes:

  • To facilitate veteran and CAF member access to internal jobs, Deputy Heads must post all advertised internal term, indeterminate and acting appointment processes on the jobs.gc.ca portal, in bilingual format, effective immediately; and
  • The preference will also result in changes to the way in which appointments of former students are coded. Many organizations have been making these appointments using an advertised external appointment process, referred to as a “bridging mechanism” in the PSC’s Letter to Heads of Human Resources 08-21. Given that these appointments do not include an advertisement to which veterans can apply, the term or indeterminate appointment of a former participant of the Student Employment Programs is to be considered non-advertised. Rest assured that the PSC fully supports the renewal of the federal public service; this measure should be seen as administrative in nature only. To facilitate this, effective immediately, the PSC is waiving two of the Appointment Policy requirements for these appointments, as follows:
    • The appointment of a former student does not need to be included in the organizational criteria for non-advertised appointments; and
    • No rationale is required for the use of a non-advertised appointment for a former student.

You will find enclosed sample letters that you can send to your sub-delegated managers and your employees to assist you in explaining the impact that the VHA will have on staffing.

Should you or your human resources staff have questions or need assistance implementing the VHA, please visit GCPedia, where evolving guidance, presentations and other information are posted.  You can also contact the Strategic Staffing Consultant responsible for your organization.

Gerry Thom
Acting Senior Vice President, Policy Branch
Public Service Commission

c.c: Heads of Human Resources


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