Measures to increase Public Service Commission support to departments and agencies (20-05)

This Letter to Heads of Human Resources has been replaced by 20-07 Expansion of Public Service Commission measures to support departments and agencies.


The Public Service Commission (PSC) is taking steps to provide you with additional flexibility to staff positions that are related to the COVID-19 situation or to ensure the effective functioning of the Government of Canada.

Effective immediately, until September 30, 2020, 2 new measures are in place to provide flexibility in relation to the assessment of second language qualifications:

1. Deputy heads are exempted from the requirement to use the PSC’s Second Language Evaluation (SLE) tests when assessing second language proficiency (reading, writing and oral) for term appointments to bilingual positions.


The above exception may be used for appointments to bilingual positions that are for a specified term up to a maximum of 12 months.


2. Extension of the validity period of existing SLE results for new appointments.


The above extension applies to persons who are appointed for a specified term or for an indeterminate period whose SLE results are more than 5 years old.


Departments will be asked to report on the use of these new measures in their regular 2020-21 reporting to the PSC. More information about reporting will be provided soon.

We are also currently exploring new flexible service alternatives to support you, such as an oral proficiency test that can be administered by our language assessors and taken by your employees from home and a modified unsupervised internet test for reading and writing skills.

In addition we would like to emphasize that we will continue to expedite all urgent requests related to priority clearances, and provide direct support to your Human Resources specialists through our Staffing Support Advisors. We remain available to process requests for candidate referrals from the Post-Secondary Recruitment or Recruitment of Policy Leaders inventories and the Federal Student Work Experience.

We will soon publish Questions and Answers on our website and we will be updating them regularly.

Thank you.

Patrick Borbey

D. G. J. Tucker

Fiona Spencer

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