ARCHIVED - Implementation of a national area of selection for all external advertised appointment processes (08-28)


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Contact person: Michael West at 613-996-6261

As you are aware, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken a phased-in approach to implementing a national area of selection (NAOS) policy. In April 2006, NAOS was applied to advertised external appointment processes for officer-level positions in the National Capital Region and in April 2007, NAOS was introduced for all external advertised appointment processes for officer-level positions across Canada. Information regarding the phased-in approach to NAOS is available on the PSC web-site at:

The final phase of this implementation, to extend NAOS to all occupational categories in the federal public service, will occur on December 31, 2008. This will fulfill the PSC's commitment to expanding the use of an NAOS for all external advertised appointment processes.

In preparation for the implementation of this important initiative, the President of the PSC wrote to deputy heads on December 19, 2008, highlighting the implications for organizations and the PSC support available to them. This letter outlines steps that organizations must take to meet the requirements for the expansion of NAOS.

As with previous phases, the PSC will not issue a specific NAOS policy. Instead, effective December 31, 2008, amendments to the PSC's Policy on Area of Selection will reflect the expansion of NAOS to all jobs in Canada that are open to the public. As such, you may need to review and amend your organization's area of selection policy unless this requirement is already included.

External appointment processes received at the PSC after December 30, 2008 will be subject to this policy. To support organizations in adapting to this phase of NAOS, a transition strategy has been developed for those non-officer level processes received at the PSC by the close of business on December 30, 2008. Requests for an external advertised appointment process or for priority clearance received in the Priority Information Management System by end of business day December 30, 2008 will be treated on a priority basis by the PSC to ensure they are advertised by January 30, 2009 with a requested area of selection. Those at the PSC responsible for priority administration will either clear the request or will provide the organization with priority referrals. PSC regional offices are advised when priority clearance requests are received and will contact the representative of the hiring organization to discuss the preparation of the advertisement. Under this transition strategy, organizations will have until January 28, 2009 to return the final version of the advertisement information, in bilingual format, to the regional office for it to be posted on by end of business on January 30, 2009. Should organizations not respond by January 28, 2009 with the approved advertisement, it would be subject to the revised Policy on Area of Selection, as amended effective December 31, 2008. For those cases, the PSC regional office will contact the hiring organization to confirm next steps. Organizations with direct access to the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS) for the preparation of their own advertisements are eligible for the transition strategy, but need only meet the December 30, 2008 and January 30, 2009 deadlines. Direct Access Departments are encouraged to establish internal processes to ensure that these deadlines can be met.

The requirement to use an NAOS will apply to all indeterminate appointments, to all term appointments of greater than six months' duration and to FSWEP student appointments. The existing exemptions from this policy requirement will continue: it will not be applied to processes used to hire part-time workers, seasonal employees or part-time students. It will also not be applied to full-time FSWEP student appointments when an initial referral using NAOS proved unproductive.

The policy contains two new exemptions. First, to provide greater clarity, the policy duplicates the flexibility in the Public Service Employment Act which allows a different area of selection to be established for members of employment equity groups. In other words, appointment processes open to members of employment equity groups do not need to use an NAOS. Second, to respond to unforeseen needs, the policy permits the PSC to approve exceptions to the NAOS requirement on a case-by-case basis. Such cases must be exceptional, and departments and agencies need to submit a business case outlining why an NAOS would not be appropriate for their process.

The policy will be revised on the PSC Web site on December 31, 2008. Also on that date, PSC guidance documents, questions and answers and the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument will be amended to reflect this new policy requirement.

To facilitate recruitment and screening, the PSC uses a Web-based tool called PSRS. The PSRS is available to assist human resources specialists and hiring managers in their advertisement, application and screening processes. The PSRS is particularly effective in the management of an increase in the number of applications that may be the result of an NAOS. A number of organizations currently have direct access to this system and the PSC will provide the necessary support and assistance to other organizations wishing to obtain direct access. The PSC also offers a number of other staffing services to support organizations (e.g. turnkey services, access to pools, assessment and testing services, etc).

To help organizations implement the NAOS requirements, we have created a Web page to familiarize your staff with the use of NAOS. Furthermore, as we monitor the progress of the NAOS initiative, we will continue to provide updates to the Human Resources Council and the National Staffing Council.

As you know, expanding the use of NAOS underlines the PSC's commitment to enhancing Canadians' access to job opportunities in the public service. We would like to express our appreciation for your continued efforts and cooperation in realizing the objectives of this important initiative.

Yours sincerely,

Donald Lemaire
Senior Vice President
Policy Branch

Gerry Thom
Vice President
Staffing and Assessment Services Branch

c.c: Chiefs of Staffing

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