Archived - Guide to Implementing the Selection and Appointment Policy
This Guide is provided by the Public Service Commission to help human resources (HR) advisors support deputy heads in developing organizational approaches.
Table of Contents
This Guide has been designed to assist HR advisors in understanding the expectations of the Public Service Commission's (PSC) Selection and Appointment Policy. It will explain, in practical terms, the application of the values that are fundamental to this policy and also outline how the PSC expects the policy to be implemented.
Selection and appointment are critical decision points in the appointment process since they build on the earlier decisions made by managers regarding the establishment and assessment of merit criteria.
Selection is the point at which managers will be able to select the right person(s) who is qualified to perform the functions of the position(s) in their organization to meet current and future needs as identified in their HR planning.
The Policy sets out the requirements of the deputy heads with respect to selection and appointment as well as their responsibility to respect the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness.
The Policy Statement indicates that "appointments are based on merit and are free from political influence and personal favouritism." This statement emphasizes the requirement for non-partisanship in the public service and the requirement for deputy heads to ensure that their organizational appointment systems are based on merit.
What does political influence and personal favouritism mean?
Political influence usually refers to interference by a Minister or a Member of Parliament, or a member of their staff.
Personal favouritism has been defined in the PSC Study of Personal Favouritism in Staffing and Recruitment within the Federal Public Service. Personal favouritism includes an inappropriate action or behaviour by a public servant who, by using knowledge, authority or influence, provides an unfair advantage or preferential treatment to: 1) a current employee or 2) a candidate for employment in the public service for personal gain (benefit) and contrary to the good of the organization. The full definition, including its four defining components can be found at: http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2005/fvrtsm/index-eng.htm#i7.
The Policy Objective indicates "that selection for appointment is fair and transparent." The Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and the PSC Appointment Policy support the guiding values of fairness, transparency and representativeness.
Fairness occurs when decisions are made objectively and free from political influence or personal favouritism; policies and practices reflect the just treatment of persons. Furthermore, persons have the right to be assessed in the official language(s) of their choice in an appointment process.
Transparency means that information about strategies, decisions, policies and practices is communicated in an open and timely manner.
Representativeness means appointment processes are conducted without bias and do not create systemic barriers to help achieve a public service that reflects the Canadian public it serves.
The following requirements have been included in this policy to emphasize their importance and to clearly set out the responsibilities of the deputy head as they relate to this phase of the appointment process.
The Policy Requirements state that deputy heads must ensure that:
- persons proposed for appointment or appointed meet all the essential qualifications, except official language proficiency when excluded in accordance with the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order (PSOLEAO);
Subsection 30(2)(a) of the PSEA states that an appointment has been made in accordance with merit when the PSC is satisfied that the person meets the essential qualifications for the work to be performed, including official language proficiency. However, the PSC has established the PSOLEAO that allows for an exception to this section of the PSEA. Consequently, if a person meets the exclusion(s) outlined in the PSOLEAO, they may be proposed for appointment or appointed without having met the official language requirements of the position upon appointment. For further information on the PSOLEAO, see the Guide to Implementing the Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, the PSOLEAO and the Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations.
- persons proposed for appointment or appointed are within the area of selection, where required;
For purposes of transparency and fairness, this requirement has been included to ensure consistency between the area of selection identified in the appointment process and that which was ultimately used, i.e., that the person ultimately proposed for appointment or appointed was, in fact, in the identified area of selection.
Subsections 34(1) and (2) of the PSEA enable the PSC to establish areas of selection based on geographical, organizational, occupational criteria or belonging to any of the designated groups in the Employment Equity Act. The PSC has delegated the authority to establish areas of selection to deputy heads and is requiring deputy heads to establish and communicate their own internal organizational policy on area of selection.
To be considered for appointment or to be appointed or proposed for appointment, persons must be in the area of selection established for a particular advertised or non-advertised process as determined by the organization's area of selection policy.
What is meant by "where required"?
There are two types of processes which do not require the establishment of an area of selection. External non-advertised processes do not require the establishment of an area of selection. Subsection 34(1) of the PSEA indicates that incumbent-based processes are excluded from the area of selection requirements.
- persons proposed for appointment or appointed meet any asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs that were used to make the appointment decision;
In addition to meeting the essential qualifications for the work to be performed which all persons must meet in order to be proposed for appointment or appointed, subsection 30(2)(b) of the PSEA indicates that the PSC has regard to any asset qualifications, organizational needs, and operational requirements, currently or in the future.
Prior to a specific appointment being made, the person(s) proposed for appointment or appointed must have been assessed against, and have met all identified essential qualifications. In addition, the person(s) must have been assessed against, and have met any asset qualifications, organizational needs and operational requirements that were identified and used to make the appointment decision. Additional information on assessment can be found in the PSC document entitled Assessing Merit.
- persons proposed for appointment or appointed applied within the period for receiving applications, if such a period exists;
As necessary, in an appointment process, deputy heads are responsible for establishing time frames during which persons may apply. When time frames have been established through a general organizational policy or for a specific advertised process, persons must apply within this stipulated time frame in order to be given further consideration in the appointment process.
For reasons of transparency and fairness, this policy requirement is intended to ensure consistency between the time frame communicated to persons in an advertised appointment process and that which was ultimately used, i.e., that the person ultimately proposed for appointment or appointed did apply within the time frame for receiving applications, if one was identified.
In instances where an organization has created a "continuous fill" inventory, there may not be a specific time frame during which persons must apply.
- persons proposed for appointment or appointed complete and sign the Affirmation of Aboriginal Affiliation Form if they have self-declared as 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 requirement for the completion of the Affirmation of Aboriginal Affiliation Form (AAAF) was developed following consultations with various stakeholder groups, and is intended to address concerns regarding false declaration by non-Aboriginal persons. It ensures consistency among organizations with regard to confirmation of Aboriginal affiliation, i.e., that the Aboriginal person ultimately proposed for appointment or appointed is, in fact, an Aboriginal.
The AAAF is used in addition to the self-declaration form used to determine eligibility for appointment. It is not used for statistical purposes related to workforce representation, or for human resources 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.
- the reasons for the appointment decision have been documented;
The requirement to document the rationale for appointment decisions will help to ensure fairness and transparency in the appointment process. It reinforces the accountability for decisions and ensures that there is documentation which could be used, if necessary, in informal discussion or when providing information during an investigation (conducted by the deputy head or PSC) or before the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST). This documentation would also be used during monitoring and audit activities.
- the offer of appointment is extended by someone delegated to do so on behalf of the organization;
Deputy heads will be responsible for ensuring that there is a system in place in which sub-delegation of appointment and appointment-related authority can take place. This policy requirement reinforces the fact that only those individuals that are sub-delegated by the deputy head have the authority to make an offer of appointment. An offer of appointment sets out the conditions of the appointment and, when signed by a person with sub-delegated authority, becomes a legally binding document. If the offer is signed by a person who has not been sub-delegated, that appointment would be null and void.
When using electronic authorization for offers of appointment, Deputy Heads must implement controls similar to those that are in place for financial transactions. The information, whether in paper or electronic format, must be readily accessible for audit or other purposes.
Please note that there are some documents for which electronic authorization is not appropriate; specifically, the Affirmation of Aboriginal Affiliation Form and the oath or solemn affirmation.
- offers of appointment are in writing and clearly set out all the conditions of the appointment; and
This requirement supports the guiding value of transparency in that offers of appointment are in writing and clearly set out all the conditions of the appointment. Therefore, persons are formally advised of items such as salary, tenure and any other requirements pertaining to the position. This enables them to make an informed decision as to whether to accept or reject the offer. Also, by clearly setting out all the conditions of the appointment in writing, the contractual nature of the employment opportunity is put in place. It is important to note that all communications with individuals in an assessment process, including the offer of appointment, must be in the official language of their choice and must be accessible in alternate formats for persons with disabilities.
- appointments take effect only after all conditions of appointment are satisfied;
When conditions of appointment exist for a specific position, the appointment cannot take place until such time as those conditions have been met. The oath or solemn affirmation is a condition of appointment for appointments that are made from outside that part of the public service to which the PSC has exclusive authority to make appointments.
Deputy heads must respect:
- the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and the Public Service Employment Regulations, which require that a person with a priority entitlement who meets the essential qualifications of a position must be appointed in priority to all other persons;
This is included in the section entitled "Other Requirements" because it is a statutory requirement of the PSEA to appoint persons with a priority entitlement (who meet the essential qualifications of the position) in priority to all other persons.
The definition of merit indicates that persons proposed for appointment or appointed must meet the essential qualifications. Section 40 and subsections 41(1) to 41(4) of the PSEA list the statutory priorities (i.e., surplus within an organization, persons on leave, etc.) and they specifically indicate that the person with the priority entitlement is only required to meet the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the PSEA. As well, section 38 of the PSEA indicates that paragraph 30(2)(b), which relates to the other merit criteria, does not apply to persons with priority entitlements. This would apply to any person entitled to a priority as established by the PSC in the Public Service Employment Regulations, (i.e., surplus, relocation of spouse etc.)
- the PSEA, which stipulates that in advertised external appointment processes, persons in receipt of a pension by reason of war service, veterans or survivors of veterans, and Canadian citizens who meet the essential qualifications are appointed ahead of other candidates in this order;
This is included in the policy to emphasize the requirement in subsection 39(1) of the PSEA to give preference to persons in receipt of a pension by reason of war service, veterans or survivors of veterans, and Canadian citizens (in that order), ahead of other candidates in an advertised external appointment process.
It indicates that these persons need only meet the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the PSEA and, if they do, that they shall be appointed ahead of other persons in the process.
Subsection 39(2) of the PSEA indicates that if two or more persons in receipt of a pension by reason of war service, veterans or survivors of veterans, or Canadian citizens are deemed to meet the essential qualifications, the other merit criteria (i.e., asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs) can be applied in order to make a selection between those persons. However, the order of preference must still be respected. For example, if two veterans meet the essential qualifications, the other merit criteria can be applied to make a selection decision. However, if one veteran and three Canadian citizens meet the essential qualifications, the other merit criteria would not be applied to make a decision because the veteran must be chosen first.
- the PSEA which stipulates that a person being appointed from outside the part of the public service to which the Commission has exclusive authority to make appointments takes and subscribes the oath or solemn affirmation as set out in section 54 of the PSEA before the appointment takes effect; where the oath or solemn affirmation is required, 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;
This is included in the policy to ensure that deputy heads are aware that, when a person is appointed from outside that part of the public service to which the PSC has the exclusive authority to make appointments, the appointment does not take effect until such time as the person has taken and subscribed the oath or solemn affirmation. Specifically, if a person starts to work on Monday and does not take and subscribe the oath or solemn affirmation until Wednesday, the effective date of the appointment is Wednesday.
The oath or solemn affirmation must be taken and subscribed in front of the person sub-delegated by the deputy head to administer it, and the signature attesting to the fact that the appointee has taken and subscribed the oath or solemn affirmation should be made in front of that person. The oath or solemn affirmation cannot be given in a letter of offer, or through facsimile, etc.
- the PSEA, which stipulates that when a person is being appointed from within that part of the public service to which the Commission has the 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;
The effective date of the appointment is the date agreed to between the person to be appointed and the deputy head, regardless of the date of the letter of offer or the date that the agreement was made.
For example, a letter of offer may be dated June 30, 2006, and the person signed the letter as accepting the appointment on July 5, 2006. However, the actual effective date of the appointment, as agreed to by both parties, is September 5, 2006.
- the PSEA, which stipulates that a period of employment is indeterminate, unless a term of employment has been specified by the deputy head (e.g., term, casual or student employment or an acting appointment)
The above statement is directly from section 57 of the PSEA. The policy requirement emphasizes the importance of clearly stating an end date in the letters of offer for term appointments, casual employment, student employment or acting appointments. Failure to provide an end date could be interpreted as an offer of indeterminate employment.
- the PSOLEAO and the Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations (PSOLAR), which require persons proposed for appointment or appointed to a bilingual position on a non-imperative basis to meet the requirements of the PSOLEAO and the PSOLAR in order to be excluded from meeting the official language proficiency qualifications at the time of appointment;
All persons proposed for appointment or appointed, must meet the official languages requirements unless exempted by the PSOLEAO or the PSOLAR. This focuses on the requirement of the deputy head to ensure that persons appointed to a bilingual position on a non-imperative basis meet the specific requirements contained in the PSOLEAO or PSOLAR, prior to being excluded from meeting the official language proficiency of the position at the time of appointment.
- the PSC Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process, which requires all communications to persons, including offers of appointment and the administration of the oath or solemn affirmation, be in the official language(s) of choice of the person; and
Communication to persons who participate in an appointment process must be in the language(s) of choice of the person throughout the process, regardless of the language requirements of the particular position. Failure to assess a person in the official language(s) of choice is a ground for complaint to the PSST.
- the Treasury Board/Public Service Commission 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.
Organizations are required to provide accessible formats to persons with disabilities when issuing a letter of offer or when administering the oath or solemn affirmation.
- Public Service Employment Act: Sections 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 43, 40, 41, 54, 55, 56, 57
- Public Service Employment Regulations
- Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order
- Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations
- Official Languages Act
- Employment Equity Act
- PSC Policy on Selection and Appointment
- PSC Policy on Official Languages in the Appointment Process
- PSC Policy on Employment Equity in the Appointment Process
- TBS/PSC Policy on the Duty to Accommodate Persons with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service
- TB Official Languages Policy Framework
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