Archived - Guide to Implementing the Advertising in the Appointment Process Policy

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

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

This Guide has been designed to assist human resources advisors in understanding the expectations of the Public Service Commission's (PSC) Policy on Advertising in the Appointment Process. It will explain, in practical terms, the application of the core and guiding values that are fundamental to this policy and also outline how the PSC expects the policy to be implemented.

II. Legal Basis

i. Public Service Employment Act

The authority for advertising in the appointment process is established in section 33 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) which states that the Commission may use an advertised or non-advertised appointment process when making an appointment.

ii. Official Languages Act

Les organisations doivent obtenir un numéro d'autorisation en matière de priorité avant de lancer un processus de nomination concernant un poste de niveau EX. Chaque fois qu'il existe un bénéficiaire de priorité, sa candidature doit être prise en considération pendant le processus de nomination. Le Guide sur l'administration des priorités fournit de plus amples renseignements à cet égard.

Afin de se prévaloir du Règlement sur l'emploi dans la fonction publique (REFP) pour restreindre la présentation de priorités aux membres des groupes désignés, les organisations doivent démontrer que le fait de restreindre la zone de sélection est non seulement conforme au plan ministériel d'EE ou des RH, mais que cette démarche fait partie d'un programme organisationnel d'EE. L'approbation de la CFP n'est pas nécessaire dans le cas d'un programme organisationnel d'EE.

If both exceptions exist, and a person requests the information contained in the advertisement in the other official language, then the material must be provided to him or her in a timely manner.

III. Why a Policy?

More Information
The 1882 Civil Service Act, section 29, required notification of examinations for public service jobs to be published in English and French in the Canada Gazette at least one month before the fixed date of the examination.

There is a long-standing history in Canada of advertising jobs in the federal public service to provide persons with a reasonable opportunity to apply. Providing notification for federal public service job opportunities can be traced back more than 100 years.

The Policy on Advertising in the Appointment Process is a key policy in upholding the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness. Deputy heads will be responsible for providing persons in an area of selection with a reasonable opportunity to apply for federal public service job opportunities. The policy also ensures that persons who might apply in an advertised process, have enough information to make an informed decision.

In addition, the authority to recruit externally have been delegated to deputy heads for the first time when the PSEA came into force in December 2005.

With this in mind, the PSC has established a policy with minimum requirements to help ensure fair and transparent employment practices and access to public service job opportunities in the context of advertising.

IV. Policy Statement

The Policy Statement specifies that advertising for appointment processes must provide persons in the area of selection with a reasonable opportunity to apply.

In order to have a reasonable opportunity to apply, some key underlying principles to be taken into account are:

  • providing sufficient information about the position; and
  • providing sufficient time for persons to apply.

V. Policy Objective

The Policy Objective further elaborates on the Policy Statement with respect to a reasonable opportunity to apply, that is, to provide persons in the area of selection with:

  • reasonable access and an opportunity to apply for employment opportunities; and
  • sufficient information to make an informed decision.

What is reasonable access and opportunity to apply?

In the context of advertising in the appointment process, reasonable access and opportunity to apply to public service jobs refers to:

  • effectively advising/informing potential candidates in an area of selection about employment opportunities, for example:
    • communicating the message in writing, orally or, upon request, in accessible formats; for example advertising may be through electronic or print media or face-to-face contact; and
    • communicating in both official languages.
  • providing persons in the area of selection with a reasonable period of time in order to apply and to demonstrate their eligibility to be considered.

A reasonable period of time has not been defined in order to allow organizations the flexibility to establish time periods that are appropriate for their specific circumstances. Considerations may include:

  • the number of positions to be filled;
  • the area of selection established;
  • the number of applications desired to provide a sufficient pool of candidates;
  • whether it is an external or internal process;
  • the degree of urgency to fill the position;
  • the diverse practices across the country (e.g., where an organization has chosen to have an extended period of time to include persons on various work cycles);
  • geographic variations, such as different time zones;
  • holiday periods;
  • the choice of media such as electronic or print, used to communicate employment opportunities to persons; and
  • the acceptable method for submitting applications, for example through the mail, electronically, etc.

What is considered sufficient information to make an informed decision?

Sufficient information refers to providing people with the necessary knowledge up front to help them decide whether or not to apply to an advertised federal public service job opportunity. The policy provisions do not represent any significant changes.

For example, the advertisement could include a description of the duties, level of the position, location, pay range, tenure and any conditions of employment. However, for an internal process for an acting appointment within a work unit where everyone is familiar with the position, the information may just outline the duties, level and length of period of the acting appointment. In external appointment processes, it may be appropriate to use "plain language" and remove government terminology when describing duties and tasks.

If, for example, the advertisement has an electronic link to the merit criteria, there may be no need to duplicate this information in the actual advertisement.

Providing additional details beyond the required information can enhance the effectiveness of advertising efforts and ensure an appropriate candidate pool (i.e. for purposes of employment equity and official language proficiency).

Regardless of whether or not the information about all the merit criteria is included in the advertisement, it must be made available upon request.

VI. Policy Requirements

Deputy heads must provide information in a manner that effectively brings the appointment process to the attention of persons in the area of selection.

Collect and maintain documentation to support decisions made regarding the choice of advertising.

Except for the minimum requirements to use common portals, there is flexibility available to federal organizations in the use of different media to communicate employment opportunities.

To reach potential sources of qualified persons, different media could be used. Deputy heads will have the flexibility to choose the most appropriate way to communicate the opportunity to ensure that they address the target population. For example, if hiring a Research Scientist, the advertisement could also be placed in scientific journals, whereas for recruiting students, a career fair may be an appropriate venue.

Deputy heads must use common portals

The Commission's policy requires departments, at a minimum, to advertise:

  • external recruitment employment opportunities on the Internet at, via Infotel or an alternate telephone service provider;
  • interdepartmental employment opportunities on Publiservice, the extranet site for employees of the Government of Canada, at

The use of the common portals will help ensure that members of the public and staff in the public service have a single place where they know they can find information about employment opportunities with the federal government.

However, this does not mean that other methods cannot be used as well to advertise job opportunities. For example, if the area of selection is within the organization, the common portal of is not required, therefore, the departmental Intranet site could be used.

The common portals are the minimum requirements. Managers will be able to use additional advertising media in situations where they feel that this is necessary or desirable. For example, where the candidate pool is very specialized, such as in a trade or where the manager wishes to reach a wider area to meet employment equity objectives.

Deputy heads must provide information for advertisements

The Commission's policy requires advertisements to include:

  • sufficient information regarding the criteria to be used in the screening of persons in the area of selection; and
  • any other information necessary for persons in the area of selection to apply.

Sufficient information in the advertisement must include the merit criteria to be used in screening. This will allow the person the opportunity to prepare and submit the relevant information in order for them to be considered further in the process. It would also assist in expediting the process, since all of the information should be submitted in order to make decisions.

Other information necessary for persons in the area of selection to apply would include:

  • to whom applications should be addressed;
  • any closing date for receipt of applications; and
  • any application requirements such as a required form or medium of application (e.g., a specific application template, Internet application only) and methods used to receive documents (e.g., mail, electronic mail, fax, Internet).

Deputy Heads must provide further information upon request

In support of the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness, further information could include:

More Information
While all essential qualifications have to be met, not all the asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs advertised will necessarily be used when making any specific appointment from the process.

  • the requirement to have the merit criteria available upon request, so that persons can understand the requirements of the job and have the necessary information regarding the criteria against which they will be assessed. This allows the person to make a decision whether to self-screen or pursue the appointment opportunity; and
  • the name of the person or organization to whom questions about the appointment process may be directed, which helps potential applicants seek more information to make a decision, discuss access and/or accommodation requirements, seek feedback after elimination from the process and seek information on the complaint process.

VII. Other Requirements

There are other requirements found in various policies, federal guidelines and standards in advertising in the federal public service which impact on advertising in the appointment processes. They are:

More Information
For more information on other materials related to advertising in the public service, visit the Treasury Board Secretariat Web site located at

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