Archived - Guidance Series - Establishing an Area of Selection



Document Status:
Draft: Working version
Effective Date:
December 2005
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 About this guide

This document provides some practical advice for managers on how to establish an appropriate area of selection. In addition to reading the Public Service Commission (PSC) Policy on Area of Selection and your own organizational policy on area of selection, you should read this document along with related reference materials such as the :

1.2 Highlighted changes of note

1.2.1 Moving on national area of selection in external recruitment

A national area of selection is required for all external advertised appointment processes, effective December 31, 2008.

To find out more about the recent announcement, Greater access to job opportunities for Canadians, please visit the PSC Web site.

Due to enhanced system controls, as of March 17, 2015, deputy heads are no longer required to monitor use of national area of selection. Deputy heads have the opportunity to conduct monitoring in situations where they accept applications outside the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS), for example, by Canada Post or electronic mail.

1.2.2 "Employees" and "persons employed" in the public service

Under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), "employees" in the public service means individuals employed by organizations listed in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) and separate agencies listed in Schedule V of the FAA for which the PSC has the exclusive authority to make appointments. Individuals employed by the other organizations listed in Schedule V (separate agencies) may now participate in internal advertised appointment processes open to "employees" of the public service.

The PSEA enables the PSC to recommend to the Governor in council to "designate" organisations to allow their employees to participate in internal advertised appointment processes open to "persons employed" in the public service.

Please note that individuals considered to be "employees" are also eligible to participate in internal processes when the term "persons employed" is used.

More Information

For additional information on which individuals in a federal organization are considered "employees" versus "persons employed" please refer to the PSC's Reference Document – Organizations in the Public Service.

1.2.3 Including Canadian Forces members in advertised internal appointment processes

As of April 1, 2006, the PSEA allows for serving Canadian Forces members to apply for advertised internal appointment processes where they are specifically identified as being eligible in the area of selection criteria. Federal organizations can also restrict eligibility to certain organizational elements or components of the Canadian Forces. For example, not all members are full-time. Full-time members are members of the Regular Force or members of the Reserve Force serving on a period of Class B or Class C service in excess of 180 days.

Prior to April 1, 2006, members of the Canadian Forces were neither "employees" nor "persons employed" in the public service. Although civilian employees of the Department of National Defence are included as "employees" of the public service, Canadian Forces members are not. Consequently, the military component was not part of the public service and members were ineligible to participate in advertised internal appointment processes prior to April 1, 2006.

1.2.4 Incumbent-based processes

As indicated in subsection 34(1) of the PSEA, there is no requirement for incumbent-based processes to establish an area of selection.

The Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER) define incumbent-based processes as an internal appointment within the Research and the University Teaching Groups, where there is a career progression framework which includes an independent recourse mechanism. This framework must be established by the deputy head following consultation with the authorized bargaining agents.

2. A checklist for setting an area of selection

In addition to respecting the requirements established in the PSC Policy and your organization's policy on area of selection, you may want to consider the many factors to take into account in making a decision on setting an area of selection.

The area of selection used for any specific circumstance will vary depending on considerations, such as the merit criteria required, the level of the responsibilities and the number of persons that may be available.

The following checklist, while far from exhaustive, outlines issues, considerations and questions that may help in determining an appropriate area of selection.

2.1 Guiding values

Consider:

  • the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness.

2.2 Business needs

More information

It is important to know the organization, its corporate culture and available human resources. The organizational human resources plan may need to be reviewed by colleagues or managers or specialists in other human resources management areas such as training and development.

Consider:

  • Human resources planning for meeting present and future needs through measures such as nurturing talent from within and recruiting talent from outside the public service will help identify an appropriate area of selection.
  • Flexibility – the area of selection is described in a way that will allow for effective selection even if the candidate pool is not well known;
  • The mandate of the organization;
  • The organization;
  • The geographic location of the positions;
  • The number of positions being staffed and the typical or forecasted attrition rate;
  • The objectives and the specific circumstances surrounding the particular appointment process;
  • Additional organizational information that could help determine who is available in the organization's resource pool;
  • Whether there are any developmental programs in the organization or the public service established to fill this need, such as apprenticeship programs and other programs, e.g., Leadership Development Programs;
  • How area of selection decisions (e.g., national versus local, criteria for employment equity groups) will impact on the selection for appointment;
  • Policies established by the employer relating to matters such as travel, relocation and telework;
  • Efficiency – the position needs to be filled within a reasonable time frame;
  • Cost – accountability to the Canadian public for the responsible use of public funds;

2.3 Corporate interests of the public service

More information

You should continuously seek to attract and retain a competent, motivated and representative workforce.

2.3.1 Employment equity

Consider:

  • When it would be appropriate to limit an area of selection to one or more of the designated employment equity groups;
  • Whether it would be desirable to expand the area of selection for some or all of the employment equity groups, to increase the potential number of applicants from these groups; and
  • Where the potential employment equity candidates are and how the expanded area of selection should be described so as to include them.

2.3.2 Official languages

Consider:

  • Establishing an area of selection to include prospective candidates from both official languages communities, taking into account the nature and location of the positions, the public served and the organization's linguistic obligations.

2.3.3 Mobility

More information

Consider mobility within and from outside the public service, as increased mobility contributes to the development of individuals as well as the achievement of organizational goals.

Consider:

  • Provisions, such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that relate to mobility.
  • Present and future organizational needs and whether internal mobility or recruitment from outside should be considered;
  • Use of national areas of selection as required by PSC policy.
  • Whether the wording of the area of selection will inadvertently restrict the eligibility to "employees" when the expression "persons employed" would be desirable in terms of allowing potentially well-qualified individuals from other parts of the public service to apply;
  • Whether there are other organizations within the public service that can potentially provide a similar labour pool; for example, where other organizations also have employees who are likely to have the required skills;
  • The needs of smaller public service organizations, small occupational groups, and widely dispersed occupational groups, and whether the employees involved would be likely to meet the required qualifications;
  • How to advertise to prospective candidates, where the area of selection includes public service organizations outside the PSC's appointing authority;
  • The lifeline provisions that apply to the National Energy Board, Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, if the area of selection is open to the public service in the National Capital Region (see Policy on Area of Selection) ;
  • Legislative entitlements to mobility, such as those found in the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Act.

2.4 Career aspirations of employees

More information

In addition to achieving their corporate and business objectives, federal organizations must consider the needs and career aspirations of employees.

Consider:

  • In an internal non-advertised appointment process, since the intent is to provide information about the appointment for recourse purposes to those who would reasonably be expected to be interested in the appointment opportunity, ensure the individual proposed for appointment is within the area of selection and the area of selection provides people affected by the appointment within the area of recourse rights to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal; for example, whether those most affected by the appointment are included in the area of selection;
  • Whether there is a sufficient number of prospective candidates for the positions and where they are likely to be found;
  • Whether this would be an opportunity for career advancement;
  • Whether the area of selection takes into account the learning plans and/or interests of staff, at various levels of the organization or the public service;
  • What employees would normally expect an area of selection to be for this type of position or occupational group and level.

2.5 Employee representatives and bargaining agents

More information

One of the principles of delegation is that deputy heads will actively seek the participation of employee representatives in the development and revision of appointment practices.

Consider:

  • The organization's policy with respect to the participation of employee representatives in establishing and/or revising of their area of selection policy (e.g., some organizations consult at the national level when developing national policies; decentralized organizations may consult locally; other organizations consult on a case-by-case basis).

2.6 Accountability

More information

Managers may need to explain the area of selection for a particular appointment process. The appropriate choice of an area of selection is critical to a well-managed appointment process.

Consider:

  • Whether the area of selection is so restrictive that it may not identify any prospective candidates: if so, it may be unproductive or could be seen as unfair;
  • Whether the area of selection is so wide that it will likely result in an appointment process which is unmanageable, too time-consuming and less cost-efficient than if the area of selection had been chosen with greater care;
  • Whether a sliding area of selection should be considered, if the size of the pool of candidates is unknown (for example, using a narrow geographical criterion such as a local area, with the indication that a larger area, which is also specified, may be used if not enough candidates from the smaller area apply);
  • Whether, in the case of a non-advertised internal appointment process, the area of selection is so restrictive that the persons most affected by the appointment will be denied recourse rights; and
  • Whether the human resources advisor has been consulted in terms of the options available and their consequences, to help in making an informed decision.

3. About the area of selection criteria

Human resources advisors should work with managers to identify the appropriate area of selection that would provide a reasonable pool of persons to meet the managers' needs as part of their organization's policy.

Except where a national area of selection is mandatory, incorporating flexibility in the use of area of selection criteria should be considered.

For example, there may be times when it would make sense to use the organizational component in external recruitment to employees of other levels of government, not-for-profit organizations, professional associations, or private sector organizations.

In other situations, it may be appropriate to use the occupational criterion and limit the selection to several similar occupations (e.g., health care services), or to refer to members of a specific occupation (e.g., aeronautical engineer).

Advice

The following examples of geographic, organizational, occupational and employment equity criteria, while far from exhaustive, may help in determining who can apply when establishing an area of selection.

3.1 Use of the geographic criterion

The geographic criterion must accurately describe a geographic zone that prospective candidates can understand. A geographic zone can be of any size, and an area of selection may include more that one geographic zone, which do not necessarily have to be of comparable size or adjacent. If no geographic criterion is established, individuals who meet all of the other criteria would be eligible, no matter where they live or work.

3.1.1 Area of selection and section 6 of the Charter (mobility)

Section 6 of the Charter guarantees the mobility rights of Canadians. Accordingly, organizations cannot establish areas of selection based on provincial or territorial boundaries.

Consistent with Charter– Internal appointment processes

An area of selection that is open to:

  • "persons employed in the public service in Winnipeg, Manitoba" would appear to be consistent with section 6 of the Charter, since the city is only one of several in the province where there are public service offices.
  • "persons employed in the public service in the National Capital Region (NCR)."
  • "employees of Department X who are currently working in Canada."
  • "persons employed in Department X and Agency Y (separate agencies) who are currently working in Canada and persons employed in the public service in the National Capital Region (NCR)."
  • "persons employed in Department X in Canada and persons employed in the public service in the National Capital Region (NCR), Montreal or the greater Metropolitan Toronto Area.
  • the expression "persons employed in the public service in Canada," while Charter compliant, may be confusing to prospective candidates. If the organization wants to clearly indicate that persons employed in the public service who are stationed abroad are eligible, it could phrase the area as "persons employed in the public service, including those who are currently working outside Canada."

Consistent with the Charter – External appointment processes

Important

The following examples are subject to the Commission's phased approach for national area of selection in external recruitment. See subsection 1.2.1 of this document for details. These examples are only applicable where:

  • the area of selection is limited to designated employment equity groups. In such situations, organizational, occupational and geographic criteria may still be applied;
  • exceptions as outlined in the Policy on Area of Selection occur.

For example, for a position of CR-04, term, service delivery assistant, HRSDC, in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • "Persons residing or employed in Stephenville and Kippens, Newfoundland and Labrador. (Postal code: A2N area)."
  • "Persons residing or employed in the area served by the Human Resource Centre of Canada located in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador."
  • "Persons residing or employed in Stephenville and within a (number) kilometer radius of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador."

For example, for the position of airworthiness inspector, Transport Canada in Edmonton, Alberta:

  • "Persons residing or employed in Canada." Due to the highly specialized skill set of this position and knowledge of the job market availability, it may be desirable to open the area of selection to all of Canada.

Inappropriate because too vague

  • "persons residing within commuting distance of the City of Toronto." This is an inappropriate use of the geographic criterion, since no limit has been set. Persons would not know if they are eligible to apply and it would be difficult to screen on the area of selection.

3.1.2 Area of selection and individuals employed outside Canada

Several organizations have employees who are posted abroad, and some areas of selection may be confusing to potential candidates who are temporarily located outside Canada, in terms of their eligibility. Federal organizations that advertise nationally may or may not wish to attract persons who are outside the country; therefore it is important that the wording used to describe the area of selection be clearly understood by all.

Internal appointment processes

If the area of selection is described as open to:

  • "persons employed in Department A in Canada," then all the persons employed in the department, in Canada, whether by appointment (including Governor in Council appointments), deployment, or secondment from elsewhere in the public service, would be eligible. Also, all the employees of the department (as a result of an appointment or deployment) whose position is in Canada would be eligible, even if they have been seconded outside the country, since their substantive position remains in Canada.
  • "persons employed in the public service in Canada," then all the persons employed in the public service in Canada would be eligible, in addition to those who have been seconded elsewhere, no matter where they are located (since their substantive position remains in Canada).

If an organization wishes to limit eligibility to:

  • its own employees, it could phrase the area of selection as open to "employees of Department A or Agency Y (as a result of an appointment or deployment) who are currently working in Canada." This would make it clear that only employees of the organization who are currently working in Canada could apply and that secondees would be excluded.
  • individuals working in the department in Canada only, the area of selection could be open to "persons employed in Department A, who are currently working in Canada." This would make it clear that only persons working in Canada can apply. Those who are working abroad would not be eligible.

3.1.3 Area of selection and residence

When recruiting from outside the public service, the geographic criterion refers to where candidates must reside or be employed. (Important)

With the increased use of the Internet as an advertising medium, individuals, regardless of whether they are in the stated area of selection, have access to all the job notices posted. As a result, there are increasing numbers of applications from candidates who are not employed or residing in the area of selection.

Some of those applicants can be considered to be in the area of selection by virtue of a permanent residence. However, it is not always straightforward to make that determination.

Eligible to compete in external appointment processes (Important)

  • Students give the address of their parents where they live when not attending school. That address is within the area of selection.

    or
  • Students give the address of their temporary residence while attending school. That address is also within the area of selection.

    Why eligible in both cases? Students have dual eligibility, based either on their permanent residence or the location of their residence while attending the educational institution in which they are registered.

  • Prospective candidate's present address is outside the area of selection, but he or she gives a permanent address within the area of selection. The candidate indicates that he or she is presently on a specified period contract and is going back to live where he or she was living before (permanent address provided).

    Why eligible? "Permanent residency" allows for circumstances where a prospective candidate could be considered as residing in the area of selection even if he or she was not physically living in the location when the advertisement was posted. The candidate must have the firm intention to return to the permanent address at the end of the contract. The simple desire to eventually return is not sufficient. This residence could be a dwelling that the candidate owns or rents, or it could be the prospective candidate's parents' residence or some other place where he or she resided before moving out temporarily.

  • Prospective candidate provides two sets of addresses and telephone numbers, one within the area of selection and one outside the area of selection. Provides information that he or she is at one location during the week and at the other on weekends.

    Why eligible? The definition of "permanent residence" does not exclude the possibility of a person having two different places of residence at the same time.

  • With a present address outside the area of selection, the candidate, a member of the Canadian Forces, provides information of concrete plans to move back to where he or she lived before (this locality is within the area of selection). The member had accepted a posting abroad for a three-year period, which is ending soon. He or she has no address or residence within the area of selection.

    Why eligible? In this situation, the candidate's absence is temporary, and he or she has the firm intention of returning to where he or she lived prior to the temporary absence.

Ineligible to compete in external appointment processes (Important)

  • Prospective candidate gives a postal office box within the area of selection, but has never resided in that area.

    Why ineligible? A candidate who holds only a postal office box within the area of selection does not meet the residence requirement.

  • Prospective candidate gives, as a permanent address, which is within the area of selection, the address of where he or she used to live, but no longer has ties to that address and has no intention of moving back to that address;

    or
  • Prospective candidate gives an address that is in the area of selection, but indicates that he or she is moving to that address after the closing date.

    Why ineligible in both cases? The eligibility of a candidate is determined by the facts that exist at the time the process is run and he or she files an application (per the Federal Court of Appeal decision in Fredette v. Canada (COMMISSION) 1972 F.C. 1343). Therefore, the candidate must have a permanent residence or a place to live within the area of selection when the advertisement is posted and when he or she files the application.

  • Prospective candidate gives the address of a friend or a relative in the area of selection, but has never resided there.

    Why ineligible? The candidate is screened out as he or she has never resided at that address.

  • Prospective candidate's present address is outside the area of selection, but gives a permanent address within the area of selection (his or her parents' address). Provides information that he or she had to move away to secure permanent employment, but with the intention of coming back to his or her home town if employment could be found in that area.

    Why ineligible? "Permanent residency" allows for circumstances where a prospective candidate could be considered as residing in the area of selection even if he or she was not physically living in the location when the advertisement was posted. In this case, the employment is not temporary and the possibility of a return or even an eventual return to the permanent address is not sufficient.

  • Prospective candidate's present address is outside the area of selection, but gives a permanent address within the area of selection (e.g. his or her parents' address). However, in looking at the employment history, the evidence demonstrates that the candidate has not resided at the address provided for many years.

    Why ineligible? Even though the candidate once resided within the area of selection, the evidence does not suggest that the move is "temporary."

More information needed to determine eligibility to compete in external appointment processes (Important)

  • Prospective candidate's present address is outside the area of selection, but provides information that his or her spouse or common law partner and children have recently relocated within the area of selection. Candidate explains that he or she wants to move to be with his/her family.

    Why more information needed? In this case, additional facts will be required to establish if the candidate has two different places of residence. An example of the type of question to ask this candidate is: "Could you please provide evidence of ties to a residence within the area of selection at the time the poster was issued." Based on the facts provided, the candidate could be screened in on the basis of having two different places of residence at the same time. For instance, the candidate provides copies of several plane tickets, in his or her name, between the two locations for holidays, weekends, etc. These facts could be evidence that he or she has two places of residence.

  • Candidate's present address is outside the area of selection but provides information that he or she wants to move to the area of selection as his or her spouse or common law partner has accepted a position there and is presently boarding with relatives during the week and comes back home when not working, for example on weekends and holidays.

    Why more information needed? In this case, the prospective candidate would be screened out as the person does not reside in the area of selection. However, the spouse or common law partner would be considered to have dual eligibility, based either on the permanent residence where he or she lives during weekends and holidays or the location where he or she resides when working.

3.2 Use of the organizational criterion

The organizational criterion refers to the organization(s) or part(s) of organizations in which persons must be employed in order to be eligible for appointment. When used, the organizational criterion must accurately describe a structure that can be recognized as an organizational entity.

More information

The person being appointed must be within the area of selection no matter what type of appointment is being made, except for incumbent-based processes or external non-advertised processes.

In the case of an internal appointment process, an area of selection can include one or several organizations or part(s) of organizations within the public service, regardless of whether or not appointments in those organizations are made by the PSC in accordance with the PSEA, based on an assessment of where potential candidates may be found. When public service organizational entities are combined in a single area of selection, they do not necessarily have to be of comparable size or be in the same organization.

Various factors, such as the candidate qualifications being sought, or the existence of reciprocal agreements with other organizations, will help determine which organizations to include.

More information

For a listing of federal organizations included when using an organizational criterion, please refer to the listing on the PSC Web site.

Internal

If the organizational criterion specifies "employees" of a particular organization, an employee whose substantive position is within the specified organization (as a result of an appointment or deployment) would be included, even if that person is temporarily assigned elsewhere. Individuals on secondment or working there through an Interchange Canada assignment from another organization would be excluded.

If the organizational criterion is open to "persons employed" in a particular organization, it would include those who are employees of that organization within the meaning of the PSEA, other persons who have been appointed through legal means other than the PSEA to the entity (e.g., persons appointed by the Governor in Council-GIC), and persons who are in the organization as the result of an assignment or a secondment.

It is important to note that, in the case of a secondment, eligibility would be determined based on the individual's substantive employment situation. A person who has been seconded from an organization that is part of the public service would be eligible. However, if the person is on an Interchange Canada assignment from an organization outside the public service (e.g., from a municipal government), he or she is employed by the municipal government. Therefore the person is not a person employed in the public service and would not be eligible for appointment in internal processes.

External (Important)

The organizational criterion can also be applied to external appointment processes. There may be situations where it would make good business sense to use the organizational component to open appointment processes to employees of other levels of government, not-for-profit organizations, professional associations, or private sector organizations, to name a few.

Internal appointment processes

An area of selection that is open to:

  • "employees of the public service" would include individuals who meet the definition of "employee." In other words, they would have to be from departments and agencies in Schedules I, IV and V of the Financial Administration Act.
  • "persons employed in the public service" would include all the individuals who are employed in the public service; this would include all "employees" as defined above, plus the persons employed by the designated organization.
  • "employees of Department X" would mean that only those employees appointed (or deployed) to positions in Department X would be eligible; employees seconded from another department would not be eligible, as they have not been appointed (or deployed) to a position in Department X.
  • "persons employed in Department X" would include employees of Department X, as well as persons on secondment from other public service departments or organizations.
  • "persons employed in the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AGR), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC)" would include employees of AGR, GIC appointees and persons on secondment with AGR from other public service departments or organizations. In addition, individuals employed in CFIA and the CDC would be eligible. This example illustrates how organizations from different parts of the public service can be specified in the area of selection.

A closer look

The area of selection for an internal advertised appointment process is open to "persons employed in Department A in Montréal, Quebec," and the following individuals apply:

Eligible

  • a person seconded from Department "B" (an organization listed in Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act to a position in Department "A" in Montréal, Quebec.

    Why eligible? This person is employed in the public service through the secondment to Department "A."

  • an employee of Department "A" occupying a position in Montréal, Quebec.

    Why eligible? The person is eligible by virtue of being an employee of Department "A."

  • a person appointed to a position in Department "A" in Montréal, Quebec, by the Governor in Council.

    Why eligible? This person is eligible by virtue of having been appointed to Department "A" by the Governor in Council.

  • an employee of Department "A" in Ottawa, Ontario, who has been appointed on an acting basis to a position in the same department in Montréal, Quebec.

    Why eligible? The person has been appointed to a position in Department "A" pursuant to the PSEA, making him an employee of the department. The person has also been temporarily appointed, on an acting basis, to a position in Montréal.

  • a part-time employee of Department "A" occupying a position in Montréal, Quebec.

    Why eligible? The person has been appointed to a position in Department "A" pursuant to the PSEA, making him an employee of the department.

  • an employee of Department "A" who has been seconded from his position in Montréal, Quebec, to a position in Department "B" in Montréal.

    Why eligible? The person continues to be an employee of Department "A" through his or her substantive position. The secondment does not alter this fact.

Ineligible

  • a casual worker in Department "A" occupying a position in Montréal, Quebec.

    Why ineligible? Casual employees are excluded from all provisions of the PSEA and are not eligible to apply in internal advertised appointment processes.

External appointment processes (Important)

Although it has not been a common practice to use the organizational element for external advertised appointment processes, there are no provisions in the PSEA preventing its use.

Take for example, the position of AI-06, indeterminate, senior aviation policy analyst, Transport Canada, in Ottawa. An appropriate area of selection might read "persons residing or employed in the National Capital Region and employees of Nav Canada across Canada."

3.3 Use of the occupational criterion

The occupational criterion can be used to:

  • describe one or more occupational groups in which applicants must be employed (this may be viewed as an arbitrary method to define or reduce an area of selection – in advertised processes, applicants should normally be eligible to compete on the basis of their qualifications);
  • describe an occupational program (such as an apprenticeship or professional training program) in which applicants must be employed; and/or
  • describe an occupational stream that may span several occupational groups and levels (such as administrative services, health care services, social sciences etc.) or may be found within a particular (usually broad) occupational group in which candidates must be employed (such as security officers, pay and benefits advisors, labour relations advisors, etc.).

If no occupational criterion is established, all persons who meet the organizational and geographic criteria would be eligible, as they meet the area of selection criteria.

The occupational criterion can also be applied to external appointment processes. There may be situations where it would make sense to use the occupational criterion to limit the selection to an occupational stream that spans several occupations or one specific occupation.

Internal appointment processes

  • "Lawyers and notaries employed in the Department of Justice, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs."
  • "persons employed in the social services field."
  • "persons employed in the field of pay and benefits."

External appointment processes (Important)

Although it has not been a common practice to use the occupational element for external advertised appointment processes, there are no provisions in the PSEA preventing its use.

Take for example, the position of nursing officer, Health Canada, Moose Factory, Ontario:

  • An appropriate area of selection might read: "Open to registered nurses...".

3.4 Use of an employment equity criterion

Achieving better representation of members of designated employment equity groups is a major corporate objective that will also help organizations achieve their business needs. Subsection 34(1) of the PSEA allows an area of selection to be limited exclusively to the members of one or more of the employment equity groups, which are women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Subsection 34(2) of the PSEA is an important provision that can be used to facilitate the achievement of employment equity goals, by expanding an area of selection to ensure that members of designated groups make up a sufficient pool of applicants.

Whenever there is a need or desire to attract more employment equity group members to the pool of candidates, managers are encouraged, pursuant to this subsection, to expand one or more elements (geographic, organizational and occupational) of the area of selection for one or more of the employment equity groups. This allows designated group members to be included in greater numbers in advertised appointment processes by allowing them to enter processes for which they would not otherwise be eligible, since they would not be within the established, or regular, area of selection.

Limiting an area of selection to one or more employment equity group

An area of selection that is open to:

  • "Aboriginal employees of the public service" would include only employees in the public service across Canada who self-identify as Aboriginal peoples.
  • "Visible minorities and persons with disabilities employed in Department X" would include only persons employed in the department who self-identify as a visible minority member or as a person with a disability.

Expanding an area of selection to include employment equity groups

An area of selection that is open to:

  • "persons employed in Transport Canada in the National Capital Region (NCR)"could be expanded in order to supplement the initial pool of candidates with additional designated group members. If the department wanted to consider more Aboriginal persons, it could, for example, expand the original area of selection to also include Aboriginal persons employed in the public service in the NCR. The result would be an area of selection which includes all the persons employed in Transport Canada (designated group members together with non-designated members), supplemented by Aboriginal persons from other parts of the public service.
  • "persons employed in the public service in the National Capital Region (NCR) and persons who are members of a visible minority, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples employed in the public service in Montréal or greater Metropolitan Toronto "would mean that all persons employed in the public service in the NCR (designated group members together with non-designated members) would be eligible, as well as employment equity group members from the three designated groups mentioned, that are also employed in the public service, in two additional cities.
  • "persons employed in Department X across Canada and persons with disabilities employed in the public service across Canada" would mean that all those employed by the department, including designated group members, together with non-designated members, anywhere in Canada would be eligible, as well as all persons with disabilities employed in the public service across Canada.

4. Other considerations in establishing an area of selection

4.1 Area of selection and telework (Important)

It is important to accurately determine the workplace of applicants who telework, in order to decide whether or not they are eligible to participate. Teleworkers must not be penalized or receive any undue advantages; they must be treated in the same way as all other applicants.

  • Open to "persons residing in X." An applicant teleworks from his or her residence, which is within the area of selection, but his or her designated workplace is not.

    Why eligible? The person's residence is within the area of selection. The designated workplace is not relevant in this case.

In all of the following examples, the area of selection is open to "persons residing or employed in X."

  • The applicant teleworks from his or her residence, which is within the area of selection, but his or her designated workplace is not.

    Why eligible? The person is eligible by virtue of his or her residence.

  • The applicant teleworks from his or her residence, which is not within the area of selection, but his or her designated workplace is.

    Why eligible? The person is eligible by virtue of his or her designated workplace.

  • Neither the applicant's residence nor designated workplace is within the area of selection, but the candidate teleworks from a location that is.

    Why ineligible? The teleworker must be treated like any other person and cannot receive any undue advantage. Designated workplace is where the employee would work if there were no telework situation. The person is not eligible because his or her designated workplace is not within the area of selection.

  • The applicant does not reside within the area of selection. The person owns and operates a company from his or her residence and provides services in various geographic locations. At the time the appointment process is announced, he or she has clients within the area of selection.

    Why ineligible? Neither the person's residence nor his or her designated workplace is within the area of selection. The fact that the person provides services at various locations within the area of selection does not make him or her eligible because, if asked to provide the address of his or her workplace, he or she would give the address of his or her residence.

  • The applicant is employed by company XYZ. The person works from his or her residence, which is not within the area of selection, and visits clients in geographic zone X, which is within the area of selection. The person does not have an on-site workplace on the company's premises, which are located in the United States.

    Why ineligible? The person is not eligible because his or her residence, which is also his or her workplace given that he or she has no workplace on the company's premises, is not within the area of selection. The fact that he or she visits clients within the area of selection is not pertinent because he or she is not employed by these clients.

  • The applicant does not reside within the area of selection but works from his or her residence for a number of companies whose offices are located in different cities within the area of selection.

    Why ineligible? If the applicant is working on contract for each of these companies, then his or her workplace would, in all likelihood, be his or her place of residence. Therefore, he or she would not be eligible because his or her residence (which is also his or her workplace) is not within the area of selection.

    Why ineligible? If the applicant is working on contract for each of these companies and occasionally goes to the companies' premises to attend meetings, discuss projects or review files, for example, he or she would be considered only to be visiting clients. The person would not be eligible because his or her residence (which is also his or her workplace) is not within the area of selection.

    Why eligible? If the applicant is an employee of each of these companies and has a designated workplace, he or she is eligible by virtue of the designated workplace, because each of these companies is within the area of selection.

4.2 Sliding areas of selection

When it is uncertain where the pool of potential applicants is, an area of selection may be established with an indication that a larger area of selection may be used if there is an insufficient number of applicants from the smaller area.

Internal appointment processes

Illustration of a sliding area of selection using the organizational criterion

Internal advertised appointment process open to "employees in the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AGR). Should an insufficient number of applicants be identified, employees of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) will also be eligible to apply."

In this example, the size of the applicant pool within the department is unknown, but it is suspected that the smaller area of selection may yield a sufficient number of applicants to conduct a meritorious selection. If the smaller area of selection is used, then employees of AGR and employees on secondment with AGR from other public service organizations would be eligible. If the larger area of selection is used, then employees of the CFIA and the CDC would be eligible.

Illustration of a sliding area of selection using the geographic criterion

Internal advertised appointment process open to "employees of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AGR) in the National Capital Region. Should an insufficient number of applicants be identified, then employees of AGR who are currently working in Canada will be eligible."

In this example, if the smaller area of selection is used, employees of AGR in the National Capital Region would be eligible. If the larger area of selection is used, then employees of AGR across Canada would be eligible.

External appointment process (Important)

An area of selection is open to "persons residing or working in Toronto and within a 100-kilometre radius of Toronto. Should there be a sufficient number of applicants residing or working in Toronto, only those applicants will be considered."

Appendix - Area of selection and section 6 of the Charter - Inconsistent with Charter

Inconsistent with the Charter – Internal appointment processes

In the following examples, Department X is large, with offices across Canada, some of which serve one or more provinces or territories.

An area of selection that is open to:

  • "persons employed in the public service in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario" would limit eligibility primarily to individuals residing in those three provinces. It would not respect the provisions of the Charter because the area of selection is established along provincial boundaries.
  • "persons employed in Department X in the British Columbia /Yukon Region" would limit eligibility to the individuals employed by the department in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory (most of whom likely reside in the province or territory).
  • "persons employed in the public service in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and in Department X across Canada." The first part of the area of selection is problematic, since the area of selection is restricted primarily to individuals residing in PEI. The second part would include all the individuals employed in the department across Canada, which would be consistent with the Charter.
  • "employees of departments X and Y in the Pacific Region" would limit eligibility primarily to individuals residing in British Columbia.
  • "employees of Department X in the Quebec region, excluding the National Capital Region (NCR)." This area of selection would likely be contrary to the mobility provisions of the Charter since it corresponds to most of Quebec, except for Gatineau and adjacent areas on the Quebec side of the NCR.

Inconsistent with Charter – External appointment processes (Important)

In the following examples, Department X is large, with offices across Canada, some of which serve one or more provinces or territories.

  • "persons residing in Newfoundland and Labrador." Using a provincial boundary contravenes the mobility provisions of section 6 of the Charter.
  • "persons residing in New Brunswick, Lower St. Lawrence or Gaspé Peninsula region of Quebec." This is an artificial area to attempt to go beyond the province. Also, the area of selection must not have a province as a component such as, in this case, New Brunswick.
  • "persons residing or employed in the area served by Transport Canada's Prairie Region. Prospective applicants may not be aware of the area serviced by Transport Canada's Prairie Region. Also, if Transport Canada's Prairie Region is composed of a grouping of provinces (for example, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta), this would contravene the mobility provisions of section 6 of the Charter.
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