Archived - Guidance Series - Assessment, Selection and Appointment

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

Table of Contents


This Guide is intended as a practical tool for human resources (HR) advisors to provide information and guidance in the areas of assessment, selection and appointment. The flexibility in appointment processes has increased significantly, as illustrated through many of the examples in this document. At the same time, the importance of transparency and accountability cannot be over-emphasized. Decisions must be communicated openly and must be substantiated.

Through its Appointment Policy, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has set out its expectations that appointments must be based on merit, non-partisanship and the guiding values of fairness, transparancy, access and representativeness. As well, appointments must be free from political influence. Deputy heads must also ensure that assessments are designed and implemented without bias, do not create systemic barriers and personal favouritism, and that the processes and methods assess the merit criteria effectively. These expectations will help shape the thinking of delegated managers as they plan and manage the assessment, selection and appointment process. Managers also rely on the advice of HR advisors to help them consider options and make informed decisions. This document provides examples of options, but managers may use their discretion and judgment to explore other options. It is anticipated that as organizations gain experience in the areas of assessment, selection and appointment under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and explore new possibilities, additional options may emerge.

1. Assessment

Merit has been defined in a different way and there is no longer a need to compare and rank applicants (establish relative merit). These factors alone have a significant impact on the way in which assessment is conducted. For example, a manager may choose to assess an asset qualification first in order to determine which persons to further assess.

An assessment process, regardless of whether it fits within an advertised or non-advertised appointment process, involves careful planning, open communication and time and effort. This will ensure that appointments result in the selection of qualified persons who are able to do the job. Therefore, the establishment of merit criteria by the manager is an important step in the appointment process, as these criteria will serve as a basis for the development/choice of appropriate methods or assessment tools and, ultimately, the appointment of a qualified person.

Key message: An appointment should be seen as a long-term investment, since the person who is chosen may remain in the organization or the public service for many years. Thus, the quality of the assessment process and the tools used are fundamental to the identification of qualified persons.

1.1 Planning

Integrated HR and business planning is the foundation for understanding the current and future needs of an organization and those of the public service as a whole. The results of integrated planning can assist managers in determining appointment options, in identifying the essential qualifications and other merit criteria in an appointment process (e.g., organizational needs would result from integrated business and HR planning, rather than being established arbitrarily), as well as in considering assessment methods. HR advisors can assist with this planning process by asking managers to reflect on a number of issues, such as:

  • the operational context and whether the merit criteria that are identified are required for the job, currently or in the future;
  • the organization's business or strategic plan;
  • whether the merit criteria can be assessed fairly and in a transparent manner;
  • the assessment methods or tools that are most appropriate for the intended process and will assist in identifying qualified persons; and
  • whether the assessment methods or tools will effectively assess the merit criteria identified and whether they can be administered fairly.

An assessment plan (or rating guide) should be prepared by the manager, working collaboratively with the persons responsible for assessment and the HR advisor, which would establish a link between each merit criterion and the assessment tools that are selected or developed. The plan should outline:

  • the merit criteria being assessed and how they have been defined, as well their relative importance, as applicable;
  • the tools used to assess each of the merit criteria, (e.g., interview questions, reference checks, etc. - refer to the Sample Table below that provides a breakdown of criteria assessed by each of the tools);
  • the scoring criteria, such as correct responses to knowledge questions, or expected behaviours in role plays, simulations, etc.;
  • the assessment (or rating) scale - this could include numerical scores or narrative descriptors; and
  • how the assessment results will be used in the overall appointment process;
  • what merit criteria beyond the essential requirements will be applied and therefore, need to be assessed;
  • the area of selection;
  • time lines for assessments;
  • assessment board members and contact names; and
  • clear definitions for the qualifications that appear in the merit criteria
Sample Table of Criteria and Methods of Assessment
Criterion/Tool Knowledge Test Interview Reference Check
Knowledge of appointment policy Yes Yes  
Strategic thinking   Yes  
Models values and ethics   Yes Yes
People management   Yes Yes
Oral communication   Yes Yes

Key message: A clear assessment plan is an invaluable tool to assist the manager in the identification of qualified persons and to manage the assessment process. It can help the assessment board come to a common understanding about the meaning of the merit criteria, as well as the assessment approach. In addition, a plan can be used to give feedback to persons during informal discussion, an investigation or a complaint before the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST). Finally, in a monitoring or audit role, it can provide insight into the manner in which information was gathered and used in the appointment process and support the selection decision.

1.2 Communication

An environment of open communication and practices that reflect integrated business and HR planning will go a long way in building employee confidence in the appointment framework. How managers treat persons in the process, how open they are and the level of trust they establish will be important factors in achieving this.

Managers will have to think about what is going to work when they make their assessment decisions or design their approaches. For example, deciding to use an exam and performance reviews to assess certain qualifications or establishing at the outset how a process will work, such as increasing representation will be a merit criterion for some positions and then communicating these decisions to the persons involved in the appointment process.


  • provide a clear Statement of Merit Criteria;
  • communicate throughout the process the different assessment steps;
  • ensure that definitions of merit criteria are available on request, where appropriate, so that persons are aware of what will be assessed;
  • inform persons promptly when they are eliminated and explain why;
  • respond promptly to requests for feedback or informal discussion;
  • if it is an advertised process, ensure the advertisement has all relevant details required for applicants to make an informed decision about applying;
  • if it is a non-advertised process, communicate to employees the decision for choosing this type of process and communicate the results as soon as possible;
  • inform persons of the validity period of the assessment results, if there is one; and
  • communicate what criteria will be applied, how results will be used and the number of positions to fill, if known.

Key message: Transparency! A manager should communicate to persons as much relevant information as possible regarding the appointment process (except personal information about others): what the merit criteria are, what the process will be, how the information will be collected and how decisions will be made.

1.3 Merit Criteria

As specified in the PSEA, there is more than one component to merit. The person to be appointed must meet all the essential qualifications (this includes official languages proficiency) for the work to be performed. In addition, the manager (or other delegate of the deputy head) may take into consideration qualifications that would be an asset for the work to be performed, currently or in the future, as well as any current or future operational requirements and organizational needs. Organizational needs may also include current and future needs of the public service, as identified by the employer. The essential qualifications, asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs, collectively referred to as the merit criteria, form the basis for the assessment of merit. More information on the merit criteria and about conditions of employment is available on the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer Web site.

Essential qualifications are qualifications that are required for the person to perform the work. To be considered qualified for an appointment, a person must meet each of the essential qualifications. When a manager identifies a qualification as essential, the manager is stating that if a person does not meet that qualification, that person could not function in the position. This means that if five essential qualifications have been identified, then each one must be met. If a qualification is identified that is not essential to perform the work, then that qualification may be an asset for the work to be done and, if so, it should be identified that way.

The manager should clearly identify what he or she is looking for. If necessary, he or she should further detail an essential qualification, so that persons can fully understand the manager's expectations.

  • Example - A manager has identified the ability to analyze as an essential qualification. The manager has further defined this ability into two elements: can quickly discern the main elements of a problem or situation, and understands the relationship between elements.

The manager could determine that each of the elements is critical and that each one must be met, or, the manager may opt to use an overall assessment of the two elements. For example, the manager might be satisfied that the qualification has been met if one of the two elements is met. The approach should be clearly established and documented at the outset. Although these elements may not appear on the Statement of Merit Criteria, they should be specified in the assessment plan, especially given that the choice of tools will depend on the nature of these elements. They will also be useful to the manager when explaining his or her decisions during informal discussions.


  • Limit the list of essential qualifications to those that are critical for the position and use asset qualifications to provide flexibility in building the team and/or build on strengths identified through the applicant pool. For example, the manager might identify the ability to make oral presentations as an asset qualification if that would complement the current work team or if it would be of benefit to the organization in the future.
  • If an operational requirement must be maintained after the appointment, the manager may want to consider making it a condition of employment as well.

1.4 Application of Merit Criteria

Merit criteria may be applied in any order (see section 2.6 - Sample Options for Selection). To increase efficiency, an operational requirement could be applied first and then the essential qualifications would be assessed only for those who meet the operational requirement. This means that the appointment decision could be based on a person's meeting an asset qualification, organizational need or operational requirement and that merit criteria other than essential qualifications could be used to limit the appointment process to applicants who meet them.

  • Example - A manager has identified knowledge of a third language, Mandarin, as an asset qualification for a Customs Officer position in B.C. From the 600 applications received, it has been determined that 35 applicants meet the asset qualification. The manager may decide that it would make sense to eliminate from further consideration the applicants who do not possess this third language, since it is likely that an appointment would result from the pool of applicants who do. However, if the appointment process is intended to fill a number of other positions over time, the applicants who were eliminated on this factor could be considered for other appointments within that appointment process, for positions where this asset qualification will not be applied. In addition, if no one is found qualified among the 35 persons who possess the third language, then the manager may decide to reconsider the applicants who have been eliminated on this basis.

It is important to keep in mind that one appointment process may be used to fill positions that have common merit criteria, but also have some different merit criteria unique to each position.

  • Example - The same essential qualifications have been established for all of the Client Service Officer positions, but the manager wishes to apply an organizational need. For example, the manager needs to fulfill employment equity (EE) objectives for only one of the positions and an asset qualification, such as experience in dealing with community groups, for another.

1.5 Screening

Once the merit criteria have been established for a given appointment process, the manager and the persons responsible for the assessment need to decide how the essential qualifications will be assessed, which of the other criteria will apply and be assessed for each appointment, as well as the most efficient way to proceed (some activities might be done in parallel, others sequentially) to assess the criteria. The assessment process may involve various stages where applicants must meet specific criteria or be eliminated from further consideration. An initial screening process is often one of the early stages of this elimination process, before proceeding to a further assessment of the qualifications and applying any merit criteria. Screening usually involves an initial determination of the eligibility of applicants based on information provided in an application or available on file to determine which persons will be further considered.

It is important that any criteria that will be used for screening purposes be clearly identified in advertisements and information about inventories so that potential applicants can determine whether they are interested, and so that they are aware of what information they must provide in their application or inventory entry to demonstrate whether they meet these criteria.

A person's qualifications may be assessed on a meets/does not meet basis against the criteria that the manager has identified for screening purposes, such as education, experience and occupational certification.


  • When screening on educational requirements, the assessment board must consider foreign degrees that have been granted Canadian equivalency. Additional information on equivalency is at available on the PSC Jobs Web site.

Any essential or asset qualification (or combination of both), organizational need or operational requirement may be used for screening purposes.

A qualification could be assessed on a meets/does not meet basis during the screening phase and it could also be used during the assessment process. The assessment board should ensure that persons are assessed consistently against the qualifications throughout the process, including those used for screening.

  • Example - Experience in developing policies has been identified as an asset qualification and the manager has decided to use it as a screening criterion. Persons who have been determined to have met this criterion are, therefore, screened in. Then, in the actual assessment phase, the persons who were screened in could be further assessed against this same criterion that was previously identified in order to determine their depth of experience in policy development OR experience in developing policies. The manager could, for example, opt to rate the experience and use this information in the overall results of applicants.

In order to assist in the screening of applicants, it is important for the manager to develop a definition of certain words; for example, what is meant by a requirement for recent or significant experience. Once such a definition has been established, the manager, or the assessment board if requested by the manager, should be prepared to respond to inquiries and convey this information to applicants or to prospective applicants. In clarifying merit criteria, the manager should be careful not to define a qualification in a way that would make the qualification broader than the way it was expressed on the Statement of Merit Criteria. Broadening a qualification could have an effect on persons who did not apply but who might have done so, had they known the qualification was going to be broadened. Definitions are developed based on the requirements of the position, and not on the experience or qualifications persons have. Therefore, the definitions should be established prior to the review of applications or qualifications of the persons being considered.

  • Example - The advertisement for a particular position indicated that persons require significant experience in developing policy. The manager should define the word significant and it could be communicated in the advertisement. The definition should not broaden the definition of policy to include guidelines, as this could have a negative impact on persons who may have self-screened since they did not know that experience in developing guidelines would have been acceptable.

The persons who meet the screening criteria can be further considered and assessed in regard to the other merit criteria. Persons who do not meet the screening criteria would be eliminated from further consideration in the appointment process. In the interest of fairness, transparency and efficiency and in accordance with the PSC Policy on Informal Discussion, persons eliminated from an internal appointment process are notified of the results in a timely manner so that they may request informal discussion.


  • It is possible to eliminate a person from further consideration for a particular appointment, but to consider the same person for another appointment in the same process. For example, certain persons may be eliminated from consideration for a particular appointment because they do not possess a third language identified as an asset qualification. However, they might be considered within the same process for other positions where knowledge of a third language is not used as an asset qualification. In situations such as this, it is important to communicate this with those persons.

1.6 Assessment of Qualifications and Other Merit Criteria

The assessment for each appointment that may be made from an appointment process must be completed before that appointment can be made. However, it is not necessary to complete the assessment of all merit criteria for all possible appointments at once. Essential qualifications must always be assessed, but it is not always necessary to assess all of the other identified criteria at the outset of the appointment process for every appointment decision. The manager will decide which of the other criteria will be applied to choose the person who is right for the position to be filled, (e.g., it is possible to apply different criteria to different appointments in the context of the same appointment process).

  • Example - For one appointment, an organizational need to fulfill EE objectives might be applied, while another appointment within the same process might be based on strength in analytical ability or a particular qualification that would complement the work team. As long as the person selected meets the essential qualifications, the other criteria can be used to determine who is the right person for the job.

In large appointment processes where many appointments will be made over a period of time, it may be more efficient to assess all common elements early in the process and apply other merit criteria as positions are to be filled. This could be the case where the manager (or managers) apply different criteria to different appointments, depending on factors that are specific to each position. On the other hand, it might be more efficient in some situations to determine which persons meet an organizational need or operational requirement (and give them the opportunity to determine if they would meet this) before assessing essential qualifications.

It is the person's responsibility to demonstrate that they possess the merit criteria being assessed, since the assessment result will be based on the information gathered during the assessment process.

  • Example - There is no indication that a person has graduated from university in their application. The assessment board would therefore screen that person out if university graduation is an essential qualification. If there is a question as to whether the person meets a merit criteria (for example, in the application they mention having attended university for a number of years, but did not mention whether they graduated) the assessment board should verify the information.

The assessment board should use all of the information at its disposal, as long as it is factual. This includes the direct, personal knowledge that persons responsible for assessment may have about an applicant.

  • Example - In a given situation, a person responsible for assessment also happens to be a person's supervisor; therefore, they have knowledge of the person's performance on the job and are familiar with the performance appraisal file. They will know if there is a discrepancy between what the person's former supervisor said in a reference check and their own observations. In such a case, the person responsible for assessment cannot ignore their personal knowledge and the conflicting information must be reconciled before the assessment is finalized.

1.7 Verification of educational credentials

Education qualifications must be verified. This generally involves examining educational credentials that are the proof that a given educational program has been successfully completed.

Hiring managers are responsible for ensuring that educational qualifications are met. Proof of an educational credential that is higher than the education required can be acceptable. For example, proof of a bachelor’s degree would be acceptable when a secondary school diploma is required. Refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” page for the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Qualification Standards.

Managers have the discretion to determine the approach to be used, keeping in mind the following important considerations:

  • The method chosen must be verifiable and reliable in confirming that candidates possess the relevant educational credential; and
  • The method should allow the manager to determine whether or not the credentials satisfy the established educational qualification.

Some examples of possible options include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A copy (photocopy or faxed copy) of the degree or diploma. This should include confirmation that it is a true copy of the original degree or diploma;
  • An attestation from the hiring manager that they have seen the degree or diploma;
  • A written confirmation or an official transcript from the academic institution, including a statement confirming that all requirements of the diploma or degree program were completed; and
  • Information Technology systems printouts (such as HRMS or PeopleSoft) if they include documents that are similar to what is actually required and that confirm that all requirements of the educational program have been completed (this is particularly applicable for internal appointments).

There may be contextual factors that have an impact on whether or not a candidate meets the educational qualification for a given position. For example, there are some occupational group qualification standards, such as the Personnel Administration, or PE, occupational group, that allow an alternative to the minimum education standard to apply only to a specific position and not to all positions in the occupational group. When staffing positions in occupational groups where this applies, a previous verification of a candidate’s education may have been against the alternative and may not apply to another position being staffed. Furthermore, some occupational groups, such as the Computer Systems or CS occupational group, contain grandparenting clauses that must be respected.

What may be an appropriate and effective method of assessing educational qualifications in one situation may not be appropriate and effective in another. For example, the following four situations call for particular care: Upon appointment to the public service, when changing to an occupational group with a different educational qualification, when the educational requirements for a position are increased and when an educational asset qualification is applied.

In all cases, the approach used and confirmation that candidates have been assessed against the selected approach must be well documented in the staffing file.

1.8 Assessment Board

The role of the manager is to set the merit criteria, decide which of the merit criteria will be assessed/applied for each position and select the person(s) to be appointed. A manager may, however, decide to call upon the services of others to assist in the assessment process. An assessment board can be one or more persons and may or may not include the manager. A manager may choose to have other persons on an assessment board because it is more efficient or because they would like to increase the appearance of impartiality. In addition, an assessment board can be comprised of members from outside the organization. For example, board members could be from other organizations or the private sector, and the board could involve different persons at different stages of the assessment process. The role of the assessment board is to assess persons against the merit criteria, as determined by the manager, and to provide the manager with the information required to make an appointment decision.

Managers can help ensure that appointment decisions are free from bias and systemic barriers by:

  • making efforts to have an assessment board consisting of people from diverse backgrounds and that reflect the applicant pool. For example, managers could have designated group members participate in the assessment board;
  • ensuring that assessment boards have been sensitized to bias-free assessment;
  • consulting with the PSC's Personnel Psychology Centre (PPC) or referring to the Assessing for Competence Series;
  • ensuring that the relationships between applicants and assessment board members do not bias the assessment process or appear to do so;
  • ensuring, when possible, that assessment board members do not have a personal interest in the outcome of the assessment process; if this is not possible, having several assessment board members, rather than just one person, assess persons so that results of assessments are not biased;
  • ensuring that assessment board members understand the nature of the position and the merit criteria to conduct an accurate assessment; and
  • ensuring that assessment board members have the necessary qualifications or competencies, including the language proficiency required to permit effective communication, to ensure a fair and complete assessment. Some considerations might include:
    • the establishment of an assessment board comprised of members who are assessment experts (e.g., PPC staff, HR advisors, private assessment consultants, managers with extensive assessment experience, etc.); and
    • soliciting assessment board members who have experience or training with the kinds of assessment tools that are chosen or the work to be performed.

Activities carried out by the assessment board are determined by the manager, based on the type of appointment process chosen, (e.g. advertised or non advertised, internal or external) and on the assessment tools/methods chosen. It is important that the manager discuss the merit criteria with the assessment board prior to the beginning of the assessment process to ensure a clear and accurate understanding of the requirements of the position.

The assessment board plays an important role in the appointment process, since the quality of the assessment process and the tools chosen are fundamental to the identification of qualified persons. In addition to the requirements of the PSC Appointment Policy and any organizational policies and guidelines, the assessment board may be involved in and/or undertake some or all of the following responsibilities, as determined by the manager:

  • preparing an assessment plan;
  • assessing some or all of the merit criteria for the appointment process;
  • respecting the relative importance of the qualifications, if applicable, as established by the manager;
  • becoming familiar with the principles of assessment and the specific tools to be used;
  • choosing or developing assessment tools that are fair and transparent and that will result in the identification of persons who meet the essential and asset qualifications and any other merit criteria identified by the manager for the appointment process;
  • ensuring that the assessment tools assess the qualifications they are intended to assess;
  • determining, in an objective and transparent manner, whether a person meets the essential and asset qualifications, as well as the operational requirements or organizational needs;
  • ensuring that any accommodation measure adopted does not change the nature or level of the qualification being assessed and that it provides information that is comparable to the information collected through the other instrument(s);
  • providing feedback to persons on an ongoing basis, as well participating in informal discussions, if it is requested. Feedback may also be provided on assessment tools; however, only with respect to the content that is specific to the appointment process. For PSC standardized tests, requests for feedback should be referred to the testing expert who is responsible for the relevant tool, to respect the protected nature of these tests;
  • treating all persons to be assessed with respect and in an equitable manner; and
  • collecting, integrating and documenting the assessment information.

When there are a large number of applicants or there is a need to assess applicants in various locations, sometimes it is not possible to have the same persons assess all applicants. In such cases, the manager should take the necessary measures to be confident that the assessment can be carried out in a consistent manner. For example, all persons responsible for assessment could be briefed through a conference call or other means prior to the commencement of the assessment process, in order to ensure that the assessments are conducted in a consistent manner and that the information collected by those persons can be integrated to determine the merit of all persons being assessed. It may also be helpful to send an information package (containing job-relevant information and assessment procedures) to all of the persons responsible for the assessment, outlining that they will be required to document their reasons, ratings or observations and provide concrete examples to ensure that the results were achieved using comparable criteria.

Once the assessment board has completed all of the assessments for the particular appointment(s) and integrated the information collected, it provides this information to the manager, so the manager can finalize the appointment process and make selection decisions.

1.9 Assessment Methods

Assessment methods are chosen or developed by the assessment board based on the quality of the information that the methods can provide. The kind and amount of information sufficient to assess a given qualification must be determined and a clear link established between the qualification being assessed and the methods or tools chosen.

Collectively, assessment methods must be able to produce results relevant to all of the qualifications being assessed. The amount of information needed to assess a person's competence with respect to a particular qualification depends on the nature and importance of the qualification, as identified by the manager. The Assessing for Competence Series provides additional information on the development and use of various assessment approaches, including information on setting cut-off scores (or pass marks), determining linguistic profiles for bilingual positions and the assessment of persons with disabilities.

Assessment should be seen as a process, rather than just the administration of individual assessment tools. To increase efficiency, HR advisors can help managers identify assessment tools that complement each other, and those that can assess more than one qualification. The use of multiple, well-developed assessment tools usually provides more complete and valid information, and the integration of information from more than one source ensures a more complete and accurate picture of the persons being assessed. Conversely, a single well-developed assessment tool could be used to assess a group of qualifications. The choice of assessment tools can be affected by various factors, such as:

  • operational issues such as development or purchase costs;
  • the availability of standardized tests from the private and public sectors;
  • the quality and proven validity of available tools;
  • the ease of acquisition and administration;
  • the speed with which results can be obtained;
  • the nature of the results that are provided;
  • the availability of experienced and competent persons to participate in the assessment process;
  • the number of persons being assessed;
  • the level and complexity of the position;
  • the availability of assessment tools in both official languages;
  • their adaptability for accommodation to various needs;
  • whether the tests in question require PSC approval (e.g., personality and intelligence tests); and
  • exceptions to EX-level assessment requirements.

First and foremost, the decision as to which assessment tools to use in a particular process should be based on how effectively the tools assess the qualifications identified for the position; for example, that they measure these qualifications accurately. For instance, while a single-question interview may be quick and inexpensive to create and administer, its ability to assess all of the merit criteria might be questionable.

1.10 Accommodation

Providing information in a timely fashion to applicants regarding the assessment methods or tools that will be used is in line with the guiding values of fairness and transparency, as well as the policy on assessment and will allow persons the time to adequately prepare for the assessment. It will also allow sufficient time to arrange for accommodation should a person request it and to discuss the particulars of the person's case (for example, obtaining medical documentation or involving a specialist, such as an accommodations specialist from the organization or the PSC). It is not necessary for persons to self-identify in order to request accommodation during the appointment process, since accommodation is not limited to designated groups. Accommodation applies to anyone who is protected from discrimination on the grounds specified in the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).

  • Example - A person may require a specific type of computer hardware in order to complete an on-line exercise (e.g., one that can translate written text into Braille).

As mentioned earlier, assessment methods should treat all persons in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner and the assessment must be designed and implemented without bias, political influence, personal favouritism and should not create systemic barriers. Equitable assessment does not necessarily require the use of the same assessment methods or sources of information for all persons; rather, methods or tools can be adapted to the specific situation.

  • Example - It has been determined that a written exam will be conducted to assess a specific qualification. However, this same exam could be administered using a different format that is more accessible for a person with a visual impairment (e.g., using text-to-speech software).

In some circumstances, equitable assessment will require the modification of usual procedures.

  • Example - It has been determined that an oral interview will be conducted on a specific day. However, the date that was chosen for the interview coincides with a day that has religious significance for one of the persons that applied for the position. This person could be given the option of moving the interview to another day.

The manager should ensure that the use of different assessment methods or sources of information for different persons provides an accurate assessment and that the information gathered from these different methods or sources is comparable. For example, the modification or accommodation does not alter the level or the nature of the qualification being assessed. In addition, accommodation in assessment methods or tools should not give an undue advantage to the person receiving the accommodation.

There are limits to accommodation; for example in circumstances where the qualification being assessed is a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR), it may not be possible to adapt a tool (e.g., a visual acuity test for a pilot).

To support managers in equipping themselves to meet the challenge of building and maintaining a diverse federal workplace through inclusive assessment that does not create systemic barriers, the PPC has produced the Guidelines for Fair Assessment in a Diverse Workplace: Removing Barriers to Members of Visible Minorities and Aboriginal Peoples, as well as the Guide for Assessing Persons with Disabilities .


  • contact persons requesting accommodation as soon as possible after their initial request is made to avoid undue delays;
  • include sufficient time to make arrangements for accommodation; and
  • do not rush this element of the process, as its ultimate goal is to ensure that assessments are designed and implemented without bias and that persons are treated in a fair and equitable manner.

1.11 Official Languages

Comprehensive information on official language requirements related to assessment is available in the PSC Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, the Guide to Implementing the Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, and in Section 5 of the Guidance Series - Official Languages in the Appointment Process.

This includes language of assessment for qualifications other than official languages, the implications of official languages being essential merit criteria, and assessment of language proficiency for unilingual, bilingual and either/or positions.


  • ensure that the assessment of qualifications, other than for language proficiency, is conducted in the person's official language(s) of choice;
  • ensure that tools are adapted to meet official language requirements, for example, if a computer test is administered in French, the keyboard and spell check should be available in French; and
  • ensure that tools in English and in French are equivalent in terms of what they are measuring or assessing.

1.12 Assessment Tools

There are various means of assessing applicants. The objective is to identify the tools most likely to assist in predicting the future performance of a person on the job. A person's performance over a period of time and in various situations can be determined by using several sources and methods of assessment. Assessments will normally fall into one or more of the following types:

  • Interview - direct communication between the assessor(s) and the person. An interview can range from unstructured to structured. The unstructured interview involves a casual conversation where the questions may vary across interviews and the results are analysed and applied subjectively. In the structured interview, interviewers ask standardized questions based on job-related criteria and score answers using a rating system. There are different types of interview questions, such as behavioral-based questions where a person is asked to describe how they did something in the past, or situational questions where they are asked to describe how they would react in a given situation.
  • Samples of previous work - an example of work produced by the person in a current or previous job.
  • Simulation/situational exercise - this type of exercise places the person in a situation that simulates the actual work environment and requires the person to perform important aspects of the job. Simulations can include individual or group exercises.
  • Written tests - may be used to assess various types of qualifications. Different formats are possible (e.g., multiple choice, short answer, essay, electronic (on-line) testing).
  • Assessment centre - multiple qualifications are normally assessed simultaneously, using multiple assessment methods, including one or more simulations. The person's performance is evaluated by a number of assessors.
  • Review of past accomplishments and experience - many methods are available to collect information about a person's accomplishments and experience: application forms, "track record" interviews, self-reports, résumés, performance appraisals, reference checks, transcripts, samples of previous work, interview questions and personal knowledge on the part of the assessment board members. The most useful information is that which indicates to what extent (in terms of depth and quality), in the past, the person has demonstrated the qualification being assessed. For example, this information could be especially useful in situations where the manager knows all the persons being assessed and where the use of interviews or tests might be perceived as unnecessary.
  • Checking references - may be used to assess knowledge, abilities, skills, personal suitability or other qualifications. Facts, descriptions, relevant incidents and behavioural examples are elicited from people who have had a good opportunity to observe the person by, for example having worked closely with the person over a period of time. Reference checks should be structured for the best results; for example, using a written questionnaire that is completed by the person providing the reference. The manager or assessment board could then follow up in a telephone or personal meeting to obtain additional information.


  • be creative when developing questions to use during the assessment process. Sometimes if questions are recycled for a long period of time, the applicants start to pre-plan a response, as opposed to giving one that truly indicates how they would react;
  • a well-planned, structured interview is recommended over an informal approach, because the same questions are asked of all persons and the overall process remains constant;
  • combined methods of assessment, for example using an interview and reference check to assess a particular merit criterion, may produce a more accurate picture, if these methods are well-developed; the different sources can highlight similar results across assessment methods, or bring to light inconsistencies in behaviour or performance;
  • different methods can be used to elicit information, such as past accomplishments can be assessed through track record interviews or reference checks;
  • link the evaluation of past accomplishments to the merit criteria being assessed and structure your review so as to obtain information relevant to the position;
  • even though a person may not have performed a task in the past, this does not necessarily mean that the person is not capable of performing the task. Simulations or situational questions may help in these circumstances;
  • structure any reference checks to obtain quality information by asking for concrete examples of the person's past behaviour, rather than just relying on vague descriptions or opinions (e.g., "he's a really nice person");
  • reference checks can be conducted by outside sources, as determined by the manager (e.g., by asking a manager from another area to conduct the reference checks, or using an outside service provider); and
  • where possible, new assessment tools could be tested on a small group of persons who are not involved in the process, prior to the assessment, to ensure that the procedures are clear and that the content assesses the relevant merit criteria.

Standardized Tests

In determining methods and processes for assessing qualifications, organizations may develop or purchase assessment tools known as standardized tests. A standardized test is a systematic procedure for sampling a person's behaviour/ability in order to evaluate job-relevant qualifications. The document entitled Testing in the Public Service of Canada, published by the PSC, provides guidelines on the development of standardized tests.

A number of standardized tests, ranging from tests designed to assess basic skills, such as written communication, to tests designed to assess leadership and managerial abilities for middle and senior manager positions, such as simulations and in-basket exercises, are available from the PPC. As well, some tests can be tailored to meet specific needs. Organizations can also consult the PPC for information, advice and training as needed, or to learn about essential components of test development, such as validity and reliability. In accordance with the PSC Policy on Assessment, before using any tests of personality, intelligence, aptitude or tests of like nature, PSC approval must be obtained.

Validity is the degree to which a test measures what it is meant to measure - various forms of evidence can be established to support the validity of a test.

Reliability refers to the stability and consistency with which a test measures the target qualification. In addition, assessment instruments and services from the PPC address EE issues and can also help managers equip themselves to meet the challenge of assessing persons from a wide range of backgrounds and experience.

Standardized tests from private firms can also be used. However, tests of personality, intelligence or aptitude, or tests of a similar nature must be approved for use by the PSC's Assessment Oversight unit. When considering the use of any types of tests from private firms, it is important to ensure that these tests have been assessed to ensure that they are designed and implemented without bias, are equivalent in both official languages and that they accurately assess the relevant merit criteria.

Organizations are encouraged to explore the whole range of options when developing, tailoring and using assessment tools (e.g., using their own in-house assessment tools and/or those of other organizations, or using commercial products).


  • consider developing skills inventories to avoid assessing the same qualifications for the same persons in various processes, so that previous results can be applied to future appointment processes;
  • consider using the assessment information obtained through another appointment process, if the assessment is the same for all persons within the process and measures the same merit criteria at the same level;
  • consider partnerships (between managers, organizations with similar mandates or fields of work) to minimize the time investment in developing tools; for example, the recruitment of FI-2s (collective staffing);
  • consider having a project manager to manage the assessment process where a partnership is undertaken;
  • use generic PSC or organizational competency profiles to assist in determining merit criteria; for example, the Key Leadership Competencies Profile;
  • agree on definitions of the merit criteria at the outset of any process - this is a vital consideration, as the definitions of the merit criteria are the basis for all parts of the appointment process, from screening decisions, to the choice of assessment tools and, finally, to the selection of a qualified person;
  • inquire about accommodation needs at the beginning of the appointment process;
  • remember that accommodation applies to anyone who is protected under the CHRA against discrimination on the basis of the grounds specified;
  • consult or inform employee representatives, as appropriate (e.g., organizational decision to use a new entry-level test for an occupational group that is particular to the organization); and
  • let persons know in advance what merit criteria are required and how they will be assessed.

1.13 Completion of Assessment

In an internal appointment process, appointments can be made after the assessment of persons is completed and notification requirements have been met. As a general guide, the assessment is completed when each merit criterion that is being used for the appointment has been met. As well, in the case of a single appointment process, where a manager is making only one appointment, this concept is easy to apply. The manager knows what is needed and the assessment could be completed before all of the merit criteria have been assessed. For example, if only one person meets the essential qualifications, the manager may decide not to assess the asset qualification(s) and proceed with the appointment.

In the case of multiple appointments where more than one manager (or organization) may be involved, this concept is more complex.

  • Example - An advertised appointment process is under way, with one position to be filled immediately and three more over the next six months. The manager has assessed the essential qualifications, as well as the asset qualification and the operational requirement being applied for this position. The manager has selected one person and is now ready to propose an appointment, which means that the assessment process has been completed for the particular appointment being made. When another position becomes available, a second assessment process will be undertaken, taking into account the specific merit criteria that will apply to the new position. For example, it may be a different asset qualification that will be applied for this position. Thus, an assessment of this qualification is necessary before the assessment is complete and the appointment can be made.

2. Selection

Selection represents the application of the merit criteria in choosing and deciding among persons who have been found qualified during the assessment process. It is a critical decision point in the appointment process, since it builds on the earlier decisions of establishing and assessing merit criteria, and is the final step before the actual appointment of a person. The guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness must be respected in each selection decision.

2.1 Options

There are several selection options a manager may use in selecting the person suited for the job (often referred to as the "right fit") and choosing from among persons who have been found qualified during the assessment process. In addition to assessing the essential qualifications, other merit criteria, such as asset qualifications, organizational needs or operational requirements that were identified at the beginning of the appointment process, may also be applied in making a selection decision.

  • Example - A manager may opt to select a person with experience in project management, which has been identified as an asset qualification, as the work team is tasked with the coordination of a number of projects. In another situation, a manager may select someone who meets the asset qualification of strong writing skills to fill the gap left by an employee who has retired recently.

It is also possible to apply different criteria to different appointments in the context of the same advertised appointment process.

  • Example - For one appointment, an organizational need to fulfill EE objectives may have been applied and would form the basis of the selection decision for that position. For another appointment in the same process, the manager may opt to apply an asset qualification, such as experience in negotiating contracts, to determine who should be selected.

A situation may arise where a manager has applied all of the established asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs, and the manager still needs to choose between two or more persons who are qualified and appear to be the right fit for the position. In this circumstance, the manager may choose to apply an existing criterion in a different manner in order to make the selection.

  • Example - A manager may have considered all persons who met the ability to communicate in writing. At this point, the manager may wish to return to that criterion and select the person who actually demonstrated the stronger ability to communicate in writing. Another option may be to select the person who possesses the experience most relevant to the position being staffed.

Managers can also compare and rank persons where it makes sense to use the ranking of persons in accordance with the qualifications. However, neither the PSEA nor the PSC Appointment Policy include any such requirement in making selection decisions. Managers may use their judgment by taking into account the guiding values and practical management considerations.


  • managers are expected to be able to explain appointment decisions; and
  • a caution about the notion of "right fit": selection must be based on the merit criteria and the person selected must be qualified.

2.2 Changes to Merit Criteria

In light of the flexibility available to managers, they should be particularly conscious and respectful of the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness when making selection decisions. Decisions should be linked to the established merit criteria and communicated for a given appointment process. A decision to use new or different merit criteria to select a person might be perceived as unfair.

If a manager decides that a change to the merit criteria is necessary, (e.g., as a result of a review of the work to be performed), this change should be carefully analyzed to determine its impact on those involved in the appointment process. If the change could have resulted in a wider pool of applicants, particularly in the case of an advertised appointment process, it may be necessary to re-advertise the appointment process. For example, changing an advertised requirement for "experience in the development of policy in international affairs" to a more general statement, such as "experience in the development of policy," would result in a larger pool of persons. In other cases, if a change affects only those already participating in the process, the manager may be able to continue with the appointment process. To ensure that the process is transparent, managers must communicate their decisions openly.

2.3 Use of Previous Assessment Results

It may be necessary to determine whether the assessment results of a completed appointment process can still be used. Before making a decision to start a new process or use previous assessment results, the manager may consider factors such as:

  • the quality of the assessment tools used and the results achieved;
  • whether the tests were standardized or non-standardized and the expiry date of the results;
  • the continued relevance of assessment tools over time (they should reflect current knowledge and skills);
  • possible changes in the applicant pool;
  • changes in the qualifications, organizational needs or operational requirements;
  • whether the duration of the assessment results has been communicated; and
  • whether persons have had opportunities to enhance their qualifications.

2.4 Persons with a Priority Entitlement

A person with a priority entitlement may be referred to, or may self-identify, at any point in the appointment process, up to the point of the actual appointment, and if qualified, they must be appointed in priority to all other persons. Persons with a priority entitlement need to meet the essential qualifications of the position in order to be appointed.

As mentioned, persons are able to identify themselves as a priority and do not need to be formally referred by the PSC. Should a person self-refer, the person's status should be discussed and verified with the Priority Administration Section of the PSC before proceeding further. Additional information is available in the PSC Choice of Appointment Process Policy and the Guide to Implementing the Choice of Appointment Process Policy.

The assessment of persons with a priority entitlement can include any of the assessment methods or tools previously outlined. For example, if a person with a priority entitlement is identified during an appointment process and there are a number of positions to be filled, it could be more efficient to assess the person with the priority entitlement at the same time as the other applicants in an advertised appointment process. This assessment would, however, be separate from the appointment process.

2.5 Preference for Veterans and Canadian Citizens

In an advertised external appointment process, subject to priorities, persons in receipt of a pension by reason of war service, veterans or survivors of veterans (e.g., spouse or common-law spouse) and Canadian citizens who meet the essential qualifications must be appointed ahead of other persons, in that order.

However, if it is determined that two or more persons described in one of the groups above meet the essential qualifications for the position, the manager may assess those persons against the other merit criteria, i.e., the asset qualifications, operational requirements or organizational needs.


  1. Two veterans meet the essential qualifications. The manager could opt to select the person who is more qualified on a particular qualification, or alternatively, assess them against another merit criterion in order to make the selection.
  2. One veteran and one Canadian citizen both meet the essential qualifications. The manager must respect the legal order and select the veteran.

2.6 Sample Options for Selection

The following sample appointment process illustrates some options for selection of a qualified person who is the right fit in a specific situation.

2.6.1 Situation

The Department of Cultural Affairs recently advertised an appointment process to staff two Senior Policy Officer positions in different areas of the department (see Statement of Merit Criteria below). Two managers will use this appointment process to fill their individual positions since it was determined that the essential qualifications are the same for both positions. However, they each have additional merit criteria in terms of their own position to be staffed. The positions to be staffed are as follows:

  • the first manager (Manager 1) decides to use an organizational need of increasing the representativeness of Aboriginal peoples as the basis to fill their position, since the organization's EE Plan indicates that Aboriginal peoples are under-represented;
  • the second manager (Manager 2) identifies 1) a master's degree in international trade and 2) knowledge of international law related to international trade as asset qualifications, due to the current complement of their team and the work that will need to be performed in the near future;
  • both managers identify the ability to speak Mandarin as an asset qualification, due to the location of both positions; and
  • the willingness to work weekends occasionally is identified as an operational requirement for both positions.

Thirty applications were received in response to this advertisement. The persons were screened against the essential qualifications of education and experience. As a result, 20 persons were screened in for further consideration.

Note: Merit criteria may be assessed in any order. As well, since the managers know in advance which merit critieria will be applied to each position, it can be indicated on the advertisement which criteria will be applied for which positions. This will allow persons to identify which position they are interested in.

2.6.2 Statement of Merit Criteria

Position: Senior Policy Officer

Status: Indeterminate

Essential Qualifications

  • Language requirements: Bilingual imperative CBC-CBC
  • Graduation with a degree from a recognized university with acceptable specialization in economics, sociology or statistics.
  • Experience in developing policy
  • Experience with international trade agreements
  • Ability to communicate orally and in writing
  • Effective interpersonal skills

Asset Qualifications

  • Master's degree in international trade
  • Knowledge of international law related to international trade
  • Ability to speak and write in Mandarin

Organizational Need

  • Increase representation of Aboriginal peoples (1 position)

Operational requirement

  • There is a requirement to work on weekends occasionally.

Condition of Employment: Secret Security Clearance


  • Persons must meet each essential qualification to be appointed to the position. A person may be appointed to the position even though they do not meet the asset qualifications, the operational requirement and the organizational need, but meeting them is desirable and may be a deciding factor in choosing the person who will be appointed.
  • Persons must meet and maintain the above conditions of employment throughout their employment.

2.6.3 Examples of Options

The following examples illustrate various assessment approaches and some options for selecting a qualified person who is the right fit for a position.

Example 1
  • The managers decide to assess the 20 persons screened in against the essential qualifications (plus the asset qualifications of knowledge of international law and possession of a master's degree) and then choose from among those who qualify. These instructions are provided to the assessment board.
Result after assessment
  • The following results are provided to the managers:
    • Five persons meet all of the essential qualifications and the two asset qualifications;
    • Two of these persons have self-identified as Aboriginal;
  • If the master's degree is not applied as an asset qualification, the number of persons who meet the essential qualifications and the knowledge qualification (asset) is increased to ten.
  • Manager 1 opts to select from the two qualified persons who have self-identified. They select the person who was stronger on the ability to communicate (essential qualification), as this qualification is the weakest among their current team.
  • Manager 2 opts to select from the five qualified persons.
    • Since they had identified knowledge of international law as important, they could select the person who was stronger in this area; or
    • they could opt not to apply the asset qualification of possession of a master's degree and select (from the 10 qualified persons) the person who demonstrated good knowledge of international law related to international trade; or
    • the person who achieved a very good assessment overall on experience in developing policy (essential qualification) combined with knowledge of international law related to international trade (asset qualification).
Example 2
  • The managers decide to determine which of the persons screened in meet the organizational need and the asset qualifications relevant to their respective positions (e.g., Aboriginal person for one position, possession of a master's degree and knowledge of international law related to international trade for the other) and then have those persons assessed against the essential qualifications. These instructions are provided to the assessment board.
Result after assessment
  • The following results are provided to the managers:
    • For the first position, three persons have self-identified as Aboriginals and meet the essential qualifications.
    • For the second position, five persons possess a master's degree and have knowledge of International law related to international trade (asset qualifications) and meet all the essential qualifications.
  • Manager 1 opts to select from among the three qualified persons. To do this, they select the person with the most experience in developing policy (essential qualification).

    Note: if none of the Aboriginal persons had met the essential qualifications, the manager could opt to assess the other persons who were screened in and select from those who do qualify, based on other merit criteria.
  • Manager 2 opts to select from these five qualified persons. They decide to select the person who has more experience with international trade agreements (essential qualification), combined with knowledge of international law related to international trade (asset qualification).
Example 3
  • The managers decide to assess the 20 persons against the essential qualifications and all of the asset qualifications. These instructions are provided to the assessment board.
Result after assessment
  • The following results are provided to the managers:
    • Eight persons (including two Aboriginal persons) meet all of the essential qualifications and knowledge of international law related to international trade (asset qualification).
    • Five of the eight above possess a master's degree.
    • One of the five persons with a master's degree can speak and write Mandarin (but is not an Aboriginal person).
  • Manager 1 opts to select from the two Aboriginal persons. The manager selects the person who scored higher in the ability to communicate (essential qualification).
  • Manager 2 selects the person who speaks and writes Mandarin, since the vacant position is in Vancouver.

3. Appointment

Once the selection decision has been made, the notification of consideration has been issued and the waiting period is over, only then can the offer of appointment be made.

An oral offer of appointment can be made first, but in accordance with the PSC policy, it must be followed by a written offer that clearly sets out all of the conditions of the appointment. Any offer, whether oral or written, must be made by a person with the sub-delegated authority to do so. It is important to remember that the offer must be made in the official language of the person's choice and be provided in accessible formats, if required.

3.1 Conditional Offers

In certain situations, when it is not possible to make a firm offer of employment, a conditional letter of offer may be issued. A conditional offer can only be made by a person with the sub-delegated authority. It is as legally binding as an offer without conditions, subject to the conditions being met. There may be a number of reasons why a conditional offer is needed, (e.g., to maintain the interest of prospective employees in a competitive marketplace or to help speed up the appointment process by allowing persons to give notice from their current employment). It should be made clear to recipients of conditional offers that if the condition is not met, the offer is no longer valid. It would not be wise for the person to quit their current job or sell their house, for example, until the offer is final. The following are examples of situations where a conditional offer might be issued:

  • when offering an appointment to a student who applied on an internal advertised appointment process, but who has NOT yet completed their studies, an offer conditional on the person providing proof of completion prior to the effective date of the appointment could be made; or
  • while awaiting confirmation that the person meets a condition of employment, such as a security clearance, on the condition that clearance is granted prior to the date of appointment.

3.2 Effective Date of Appointment and Oath or Solemn Affirmation

In accordance with the Policy on Selection and Appointment, persons appointed or proposed for appointment must meet all the essential qualifications (unless excluded from meeting the language requirements in accordance with the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order). The appointment can only take effect after all the conditions of the appointment have been satisfied, and no appointment or proposed appointment can be made, as a result of an internal appointment process, during the waiting period identified in the notification process.

When a person is being appointed (or deployed) from within that part of the public service to which the PSC has exclusive authority to make appointments, the effective date of the appointment is the date agreed to in writing by the person to be appointed and the deputy head, regardless of the date of their agreement (e.g., the date of the letter of offer does not establish the effective date).

When a person is being appointed (or deployed) from outside that part of the public service to which the PSC has exclusive authority to make appointments, their appointment can only take effect once they have taken and subscribed an oath or solemn affirmation (as indicated below). In this case, the effective date of the appointment is the later of the date that is agreed to in writing by the deputy head and that person and the date on which that person takes and subscribes the oath or solemn affirmation.

The oath or solemn affirmation must take the form indicated in Section 54 of the PSEA.

The oath or solemn affirmation must be taken and subscribed before the person delegated to administer the oath. The oath or solemn affirmation cannot be administered through a letter of offer, through a fax, etc., and the signature attesting to the fact that the appointee has taken and subscribed the oath or solemn affirmation should be made before that person. This requirement allows the person administering the oath or solemn affirmation to ascertain for themselves the identity of the person taking and subscribing the oath or solemn affirmation and it reinforces the seriousness of the oath or solemn affirmation for the person taking it.

Since appointments of persons not already employed in that part of the public service to which the PSC has exclusive authority to make appointments cannot be effective until the administration of the oath or solemn affirmation, deputy heads may want to establish an organizational process to ensure the timely administration and documentation of the oath or solemn affirmation. As long as the oath or solemn affirmation is taken and subscribed on or before the appointment and is done in person, the appointment can take effect.

  • Example - A person may be hired to work on an as required basis in emergency situations only. In such a case, the person could take and subscribe the oath or solemn affirmation when the assessment is complete and the appointment would take effect when he or she is required to report to work.

If the oath or solemn affirmation has not been taken and subscribed on or before the effective appointment of the appointment, there may be a negative impact on other aspects of employment. Examples may include:

  • an impact on the person's continuous service, annual and sick leave entitlements, increments, etc.; and
  • if certain delegated authorities are attached to the position, such as staffing or financial signing authority, any actions taken prior to taking the oath (and being appointed to the position) would not be valid.

3.3 Affirmation of Aboriginal Affiliation

The affirmation of aboriginal affiliation is a solemn acknowledgement by an Aboriginal person of their Aboriginal affiliation. The Affrirmation of Aboriginal Affiliation Form (AAAF) must be completed and signed when the person proposed for appointment or appointed has self-declared as an Aboriginal and the appointment process:

  • has an area of selection limited to Aboriginal peoples, or to members of designated employment equity groups that include Aboriginal peoples; or
  • has applied as a merit criterion the organizational need of increasing the representation of Aboriginal peoples, or increasing the representation of members of designated groups, including Aboriginal peoples; or
  • involves selection from an Aboriginal inventory, or Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat approved student employment programs used to increase the representation of Aboriginal peoples, or of designated groups, including Aboriginal peoples.

The AAAF does not replace the self-declaration portion of the application form that is used to determined eligibility for appointment. It is not used for statistical purposes related to workforce representation, or for HR management purposes.

Completion of the AAAF is a condition of appointment; it must be completed and signed prior to or at the same time as the offer of appointment. Completed forms are retained on the organizational staffing file only, and the information collected is protected under the Privacy Act.

Aboriginal persons who complete the AAAF may be asked to provide substantiating information, which could be subject to verification. Giving false or misleading information may be considered fraud and could lead to corrective action after an investigation by the PSC.

3.4 Content of the Offer of Appointment

The offer of appointment should contain all relevant information about the position and the conditions that apply to the particular appointment. These could, for example, include:

  • key position descriptors (e.g., organization, branch, title, group and level, position number);
  • the effective start date, and termination date if it is a term appointment;
  • rate of pay on appointment or a reference to how salary will be determined, as well as information on employee benefits for appointees from outside the public service;
  • the duration and conditions of the probationary period, if applicable;
  • a copy of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, and the statement: You will find enclosed a copy of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. This code is a key policy for the management of human resources and is part of your conditions of employment;
  • a copy of the Guidance Document on political activities and the statement: You will also find enclosed a brief document which contains general information regarding the rights and obligations of federal employees wishing to engage in political activities;
  • the requirement to complete a confidential report and submit it within 60 days;
  • the requirement for a person appointed from outside that part of the public service to which the PSC has exclusive authority to make appointments to take and subscribe the oath or solemn affirmation on or before the day the appointment takes effect;
  • information regarding the official language requirements of the position and the person's linguistic proficiency, if applicable;
  • eligibility for the bilingualism bonus, if applicable, and any relevant information about language training, if applicable (duration, hours, required results, etc.);
  • whether the position is excluded from collective bargaining and, if not, that the collective agreement requires the deduction of union membership dues from salary;
  • the requirement for employees to agree to direct deposit, to refrain from smoking in the workplace (initial appointment to the public service), and to agree to any other conditions of employment;
  • any relevant information about EE self-identification, if applicable;
  • the amount and conditions of payment of relocation expenses, if applicable;
  • any requirement for the employees to travel, to own an automobile or to work shifts, etc., if applicable;
  • the requirement to complete and sign the AAAF as a condition of appointment, and that the appointment cannot take effect until it is completed and signed, if applicable;
  • any requirement for the employees to consent to accept future deployments as a condition of employment; and
  • the fact that, by accepting the offer, the candidate agrees to their Social Insurance Number being provided to Human Resources and Social Development Canada for the purpose of avoiding overpayments of employment insurance benefits.

3.5 Tenure

A period of employment is indeterminate, unless a term of employment has been specified by the deputy head (e.g., term, casual, student employment or acting appointment). Therefore, it is extremely important that letters of offer for term employment specify an end date.

3.6 Official Languages

Information on official language requirements related to appointments is available in the PSC Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, the Guide to Implementing the Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, and in Section 7 of the Guidance Series - Official Languages in the Appointment Process.

This includes considerations for imperative and non-imperative appointments, including the specific exclusions set out in the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order.

3.7 Duty to Accommodate

Deputy heads must respect the Treasury Board/PSC Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service, which requires the provision of accessible formats, upon request, for communicating with persons with disabilities when making an offer of appointment or administering the oath or solemn affirmation.

3.8 Staffing Documentation

In accordance with the Policy on Selection and Appointment, the reasons for an appointment decision must be documented. This documentation will help to ensure fairness and transparency and also reinforces the manager's accountability for decisions. This documentation will be useful during informal discussion, or in providing information during an investigation or in a complaint at the PSST. In addition, this information must be accessible for a period of five years from the last administrative action (as required by the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument).

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