Archived - Guidance Series - Advertisements in the Appointment Process

Document Status:
Draft: Working version
Effective Date:
December 2005

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This document is a follow-up to previous documents on the subject and must be read and interpreted in relation to them. These documents are:

  • the Policy;
  • the Guide to Implementing the Advertising in the Appointment Process Policy;
  • Considerations in advertising the appointment process; and
  • Questions and answers.

This document is designed to facilitate the procedures to follow for appointment process advertisements where deputy heads and their sub-delegates have agreed to use an advertised appointment process. The document then indicates how to proceed in the context of the Public Service Employment Act. The document also describes the responsibilities and obligations of subdelegated managers and other persons participating in the process. While the new legislative context is less prescriptive, subdelegated managers are still required to adopt minimum advertising standards.

2. Background

This document applies to the advertisements of both internal and external appointment processes.

As a general rule, an advertisement is available on printed media (newspapers, magazines, fax, photocopy) or an electronic medium (Web page). This basic measure supports the policy statement and the objectives arising from it; in other words, it ensures that persons in the area of selection have the opportunity to participate in the process in their official language of choice, and that they have a reasonable opportunity to apply.

An advertisement can also be posted in public places, in particular during job fairs or recruitment forums. This last method is particularly effective if one wants to target groups of potentially well-qualified individuals. For advertisements for internal appointment processes, deputy heads must use the common portal,, where the area of selection is interdepartmental. On the other hand, where the area of selection is within an organization, it is possible to use only that organization's Intranet site or any other means of distribution that makes it possible to communicate with the potential candidates in the area of selection. For example, an email can be sent to all staff in a given branch.

In the case of advertisements for external appointment processes, deputy heads must use the common portal of the Web site, the Infotel telephone service or any other telephone service offered by a supplier.

The common portals - and - represent minimum standards. When a deputy head or their sub-delegates wish to increase the visibility of an advertisement, they can do so using newspapers, special-interest magazines or other recognized media, since all these methods may make it possible to reach a larger number of potential candidates.

3. Responsibilities

Deputy heads and their sub-delegates are responsible for the overall content, quality, consistency, design and placement of all the advertisements of appointment processes, internal or external, that they initiate. The responsibility that they must assume is to offer interested persons a reasonable opportunity to apply. To this end, it is necessary to provide information of sufficient quantity and quality on the position to be filled and also to allow a reasonable time for making an application.

In the case of an appointment process that is open to both employees and the general public, employment opportunities may be advertised in newspapers or trade publications, and must also be presented on the common portals of the federal public service, namely and When other media are used, it is important to consult the Official Languages Act (OLA), especially sections 11 and 30, which concern the texts (notices and advertisements) that federal institutions may or must publish, and the preferred modes of communication with the public in both official languages.

In the context of an appointment process that only addresses public servants, the organization might use only the Publiservice portal.

In the case of appointment processes from within the public service that address a particular organization, that organization may use the means that it deems most appropriate for the call for applications. It can thus make use of its own Intranet site.

4. Features of the advertisement

To ensure uniformity in the presentation of advertisement and to comply with the guidelines of the Federal Identity Program, all the following components must be present in advertisements for external recruitment.

4.1 Design standards

The graphic layout must be designed in accordance with the indications of the Treasury Board Secretariat's Federal Identity Program (Chapter 5.1, Advertising: identity guidelines) on the site.

The standards and guidelines, which must be used according to the provisions of the Federal Identity Program policy, are designed to ensure that institutions are identified in a manner that is consistent and readily recognizable by the public, through a broad range of identity applications.

Members of the general public will be better served if they find common information on shared sites displaying layouts that are easy to recognize.

4.2 Position title

A position title must be clear and understandable to the general public. Many readers, in looking through employment advertisements, first pay attention to the position title. It is sometimes preferable to publish a title other than the title normally used internally employed in the description of the position, so that people will better understand the nature of the job.

For advertisements published in French, one must use the two genders in the title and text of the advertisement. For example, one must use the titles "directeur ou directrice" not "directeur(trice)".

4.3 Statement on employment equity

Whether to support guiding values or meet an organizational need under a merit criterion, deputy heads and their sub-delegates may use the recognized employment equity phrases that are used in public service announcements, namely:

  • We respect employment equity.
  • We subscribe to the principles of employment equity.
  • We have made a commitment to create a workplace where differences are appreciated and respected.
  • Diversity is our strength.
  • Our mandate is to ensure that the Canadian public is served by a public service that is highly competent, non-partisan and representative of Canadian society.

In a well-defined process where a particular effort is made to attract members of designated groups, it is possible to specify this information and in particular the procedures that will be followed in the assessment to enable potential candidates from these groups to benefit, if necessary, from accommodation measures (see detailed information below). Where the area of selection is restricted to members of designated groups, the advertisement must likewise invite candidates to identity themselves as such. This requirement allows them to have their application be fully taken into account while ensuring the confidentiality of this personal information.

Generally speaking, information contained in advertisements should take into account the provisions developed in the Guidance Series - Integrating Employment Equity in the Appointment Process .

4.4 Accommodation measures

Under the existing legislation and policy, deputy heads and their sub-delegates are responsible for taking the accommodation measures to remove barriers and other disadvantages that could result in discriminatory practices in the appointment process. This responsibility must be considered especially with respect to members of designated groups.

Deputy heads and their sub-delegates are asked to use the statement of accommodation measures that has been approved, namely:

"The Public Service of Canada is committed to developing inclusive, barrier-free selection and appointment processes and work environments. If contacted in relation to this process, please advise the organization's representative of your needs for accommodation measures which must be taken to enable you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner."

4.5 Statement on official languages

A statement on official languages should be contained in all advertisements. If an advertisement is published in French, the statement must be written as follows:

"This information is available in English." If the advertisement is published in English, the following statement must be used: "Vous pouvez obtenir ces renseignements en français."

It is not necessary to include the statement on official languages if the advertisement is published simultaneously in French and English in the same newspaper or in a bilingual format.

4.6 Language requirements

When advertising an external appointment process, the language requirements of the position to be filled should be described as follows:

  • English or French essential;
  • English essential;
  • French essential;
  • Bilingual non-imperative (including the language profile and proficiency level required for the position);
  • Bilingual imperative (including the language profile and proficiency level required for the position); or
  • Various language requirements and/or profiles.

When advertising an internal appointment process, positions must be posted as either unilingual (English essential, or French essential, or English or French essential) or bilingual (English and French essential). In the case of bilingual positions, the advertisement must indicate the language profile and proficiency level required. The advertisement must also specify whether the appointment(s) will be imperative or non-imperative.

4.7 Official languages in recruitment advertising

In the case of advertisements intended for the general public, deputy heads and their sub-delegates are required to abide by the provisions of the Official Languages Act (OLA), in particular section 11, which deals with notices and advertisements. In addition, when a print medium is used to advertise a process of appointment to the public service anywhere in Canada, the advertisement must be published in both official languages. In this regard, it is best to consult the Guidance Series - Official Languages in the Appointment Process.

Any external job advertisement must be published in both official languages, within the limits of the area of selection chosen and without regard for the linguistic requirements of the position to be filled. This requirement also applies to advertisements that are posted on common portals.

Bilingual advertisements should be published in a bilingual publication if no publication exists in the official languages, the bilingual advertisement may be published in an unilingual medium.

When the national area of selection is applied, there is no Francophone newspaper that would make it possible to reach the Francophone population in a timely manner, in all regions of the country. Deputy heads and their sub-delegates must therefore make sure that the advertising agency sees to it that the choice of media is appropriate and meets the requirements of the OLA.

When the area of selection is not national and the advertisement is published in the Globe and Mail or the National Post, the equivalent Francophone press must cover the area of selection.

It may also happen that the area of selection established for the advertised position, or a part of this area, is not covered by any publication in the official language of the minority. In that case, replacement solutions put in place must meet the obligations stipulated in the OLA.


The area of selection chosen includes cities A, B and C, but only cities A and B are served by a newspaper published in the official language of the minority. In that case, it is necessary to publish a bilingual advertisement in a medium covering city C, in accordance with the provisions of the OLA.

In the case of an internal appointment process, the advertisement must, in general, be published in both official languages. An exception may be made to allow for a unilingual advertisement. However, two conditions must be met:

  • the advertisement must be published in a region designated as unilingual for the purposes of language of work (the work only requires knowledge and use of one official language); and
  • the common portals ( and are not used to disseminate the advertisement.

Nonetheless, any unilingual advertisement must include a statement in the other official language specifying that the information is available in the other language. In all cases, including the above-mentioned exception, any person who requires information on the advertisement of an employment opportunity is entitled to receive that information in the official language of their choice. Moreover, the organization is obliged to provide the person with this information in a timely manner.

To ensure that deputy heads and their sub-delegates properly fulfil their responsibilities in regard to official languages, they are asked to consult the policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process and the Guide to Implementing the Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process.

5. Other items to consider

The advertisement may also contain any other information item that the organization deems relevant. These items should be designed to ensure that the information is sufficient to enable candidates to decide whether or not to apply. Consequently, there is no need to alter previous practices that have ensured that the information inserted in advertisements has always been recognized as sufficient. What is appropriate is the adoption of the new terminology of the legislation in force.

The advertising templates located on the Publiservice site are very useful and may be appropriately used as reference materials for finding the information that must be communicated to candidates. The use of hyperlinks can be an efficient way of presenting information and avoiding the unnecessary duplication of information in the advertisement. On the other hand, if adding information makes it possible to enhance the effectiveness of the advertisement and increase the number of applications, deputy heads and their sub-delegates are invited to add that information.

The deputy heads and their sub-delegates who opt to use the common portals and are likewise free to choose how they want to use them. For example, they may decide to use a hyperlink.

5.1 Call for applications and deadline

The advertisement should end with a closing paragraph inviting public servants and the general public to apply and which specifies the deadline by which all applications must be received. Although the electronic form is the mode of response advocated for submitting an application "on line" other submission methods are acceptable for example: through a fax, via Canada Post, reader services, etc. Either way, include a complete address in the advertisement for individuals who choose to fill out the paper version of the employment application form. Because the Web site address is incorporated into the graphic layout of the advertisement, it is unnecessary to repeat it again in the closing paragraph. The following is an example of a concluding paragraph:

"If this employment opportunity interests you, please feel free to submit your application on line or send your resume to the following address, indicating reference number XXX, by (date) to: (address)."

5.2 Coordination of graphics and the image

All public service advertisements should contain the term "Canada". Organizations that advertise internally or externally may use either program-related symbols or brand images. All these requirements are specified in the policies that have been developed in this regard on the Treasury Board Secretariat Web site. Their electronic links are also given in the Guide to Implementing the Advertising in the Appointment Process Policy.

5.3 Responding to inquiries

Deputy heads and their sub-delegates should be able to respond in a timely manner to any requests for additional information from potential candidates. This measure is intended to support adherence to the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness.

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