Staffing: Hiring Veterans

And access to jobs for Canadian Armed Forces members

At a glance

Hiring veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces benefits the federal public service. Through rigorous military training and experience, they have acquired skills and competencies that the public service needs. Hiring a qualified veteran or Canadian Armed Forces member is also a way to recognize their contribution to our country.

The public service staffing system includes 3 mechanisms to help hire veterans and to give access to public service job opportunities to Canadian Armed Forces members who are preparing for release:

  • priority entitlements: medically released veterans are appointed first
  • preference: veterans are appointed before Canadian citizens and permanent residents for jobs open to the public
  • mobility: Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans can apply to internal jobs as though they were public servants in the area of selection
Figure 1 – Three mechanisms to help hire veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members

Mechanism 1: for all jobs, medically released veterans with a priority entitlement are hired first.

Mechanism 2: for jobs open to the public, veterans who have a preference for appointment are hired before Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Mechanism 3: for all jobs, medically released veterans with a priority entitlement are hired first, and for jobs open to public servants, Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility can apply.

Note that these mechanisms do not apply to secondments, assignments or deployments, which are not appointments. Details for each mechanism are provided in the sections below.

See the Considerations section for tips on how to adopt inclusive recruitment practices and provide appropriate support to any veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members who apply.

Priority entitlements for medically released veterans
Figure 2 – Priority entitlements

Diagram illustrating that for all jobs, medically released veterans with a priority entitlement are hired first.

Any person who is medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces for reasons attributable to service has a statutory priority entitlement. They are first in the order of precedence established by the Public Service Employment Act, as long as they meet the essential qualifications of the position. This priority entitlement begins when the veteran is medically certified as ready to return to work, and lasts for 5 years.

Certain classes of Canadian Armed Forces members who are medically released for reasons not attributable to service may be eligible for a regulatory priority entitlement. This entitlement comes after all statutory priorities in the order of precedence, and persons must meet the essential qualifications of the position. This entitlement begins when the veteran is medically certified as ready to return to work; it also lasts for 5 years.

To confirm that a veteran has a priority entitlement, contact the Public Service Commission’s Priority Entitlements Activities Division.

More information on priority entitlements can be found on the priority entitlements portal.

For jobs open to the public, veterans are appointed before Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Figure 3 – Preference for veterans in jobs open to the public

Diagram illustrating that for all jobs, medically released veterans with a priority entitlement are hired first, and for jobs open to the public, veterans who have a preference for appointment are hired before Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

After all persons with a priority entitlement who meet the essential qualifications for a job open to the public are considered and appointed, the Public Service Employment Act provides for a preference to veterans first, and then to Canadian citizens and permanent residents:

  • Veterans first: A veteran who meets the essential qualifications must be appointed ahead of any other qualified candidate. When more than one veteran meets the essential qualifications, other factors related to the selection process can be used.
  • Canadian citizens and permanent residents: When all veterans who meet the essential qualifications have been appointed, or have declined an offer, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who meets the essential qualifications must be appointed ahead of other qualified candidates.
  • Then other candidates: When all Canadian citizens or permanent residents who meet the essential qualifications have been appointed, or have declined an offer, other qualified candidates can be appointed.
Figure 4 – Order of precedence for preference in jobs open to the public, after all qualified persons with a priority entitlement have been considered and appointed

Diagram illustrating the order of precedence.

The left column explains that veterans who meet the essential criteria are appointed first; other factors used to select among veterans who meet the essential criteria.

The middle column explains that Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the essential criteria are appointed next; other factors used to select among Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the essential criteria.

The right column explains that other candidates who meet the essential criteria are then appointed; other factors used to select qualified candidates.

Preference for veterans applies to:

Any veteran of the Regular Force, the Special Forces, or any class of the Reserves who applies to a job open to the public and who meets the following conditions:

  • was honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces after at least 3 years of service
  • was released from the Canadian Armed Forces within the last 5 years
  • is not already an indeterminate (permanent) public servant

Managing validity

To manage the 5-year validity period for the preference for veterans, the key question is whether a candidate meets the above conditions for preference at the time of appointment, regardless of their status when the job was advertised. Check for new or updated information in the system or with candidates directly to ensure the hiring team is working with the most up-to-date information.

A person may meet the conditions during a process: Canadian Armed Forces members may always apply for jobs open to the public. A candidate may become a veteran after they have applied. In this case it may not be apparent in their original application that they meet the conditions for preference.

A person may no longer meet the conditions during a process: Preference for a veteran is limited to 5 years after release from the Canadian Armed Forces, so it is possible that a candidate will meet the conditions when they apply, but will no longer meet them by the time an appointment is made. In this case, they will be considered as any other Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

If a veteran leaves an indeterminate job, they may once again meet the conditions for preference as long as the 5-year limit has not been reached.

Figure 5 below illustrates how the 5-year period works using 3 scenarios.

In scenario 1, the appointment process starts and ends within the 5-year period, in which case preference applies to the appointment.

In scenario 2, a candidate became a veteran during the appointment process:

  • in this case, preference applies to an appointment made before the veteran’s 5-year period ends

In scenario 3 the veteran’s 5-year period ends before an appointment is made:

  • in this case, the veteran would be considered as any other Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of appointment
Figure 5 – Managing the validity period for preference for veterans

A diagram of 3 scenarios illustrating how the 5-year period for preference works in an appointment process open to the public.

Scenario 1: a veteran applies after date of release from Canadian Armed Forces, is assessed and is selected within the 5-year period; preference applies to the appointment of the veteran.

Scenario 2: a person applies before date of release from Canadian Armed Forces, is assessed after release, and is selected within the 5-year period; preference will apply to the appointment of the veteran.

Scenario 3: a veteran applies after release from Canadian Armed Forces, is assessed, and is selected after the 5-year period ends; the veteran is considered as any other Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Note: Scenarios assume no persons with a priority entitlement meet the essential qualifications.

Confirming preference for veterans

Any reasonable source of information can be used to confirm whether a person meets the conditions for preference. Examples include a written statement in the résumé, job application or other document, interview questions, references and any documents related to a veteran’s military career or release.

The GC Jobs website prompts veterans to enter their Canadian Armed Forces service number in their applicant profile. This information is matched with Department of National Defence information and is provided to hiring managers; however, this is not the only way to confirm that a veteran meets the conditions for preference.

A veteran who is not identified in the system may still meet the conditions for preference. For example, there may be a difference between the way a veteran enters their name in their GC Jobs profile and the Department of National Defence information. Any reasonable source of information (see above) can be used to confirm whether the person meets the conditions for preference.

Whether or not a veteran is identified in the system, the hiring manager confirms:

  • years of service
  • that the veteran was honourably released
  • the date of release
  • that the veteran is not already an indeterminate public servant
For internal jobs, Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans can apply as though they were public servants in the area of selection
Figure 6 – Mobility for Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans

Diagram illustrating that for all jobs, medically released veterans with a priority entitlement are hired first, and for jobs open to public servants, Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility can apply.

To increase workforce mobility, the Public Service Employment Act allows certain people who are not federal public service employees to participate in internal advertised appointment processes.

The mobility provision includes all members and veterans of the Regular Force, the Special Forces, and all classes of the Reserves. Those who apply to any advertised internal appointment process are treated as though they are already public servants in the area of selection.

The area of selection in an internal advertised appointment process sets out who is eligible to be considered, and helps determine who will have recourse. It is established using 4 criteria: organizational, geographic, occupational and employment equity. The first 3 criteria (organizational, geographic and occupational) do not apply to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility. However, they must meet employment equity criteria when it is included in the area of selection.

For example, in a process that is open to employees of Department A whose positions are located in Vancouver, a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran is included as if they were already an employee of Department A whose position is located in Vancouver.

In another example, in a process Open to Aboriginal employees of Department B whose positions are located in Montreal a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran who has self-declared as being an Aboriginal person is included as if they were already an employee of Department B whose position is located in Montreal.

At every step of the process, these candidates are treated the same way a public servant in the area of selection is treated. For example, the Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran must apply within the period allowed, provide a complete application and participate fully in the assessment. They are provided with notification, may request informal discussion and can make complaints to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. Investigations, corrective action, measures for informal conflict management and proactive resolution of problems are handled as for any other person who raises concerns about an advertised internal appointment process.

Mobility applies to:

Any Canadian Armed Forces member in the Regular Force, the Special Forces, and all classes of the Reserves who applies to a job open to public servants and who meets the following conditions:

  • has at least 3 years of service
  • is not already an indeterminate public servant

Any veteran of the Regular Force, the Special Forces, or any class of the Reserves who applies to a job open to public servants and who meets the following conditions:

  • was honourably released from the Canadian Armed Forces after at least 3 years of service
  • has been released from the Canadian Armed Forces within the past 5 years
  • is not already an indeterminate public servant

Managing validity

To manage the 5-year period for mobility, the key question is whether a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran meets the conditions for mobility at the time they apply, regardless of their status on the advertisement’s closing date or any change to their status later in the process.

When a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran is hired, they become a public servant, and remain an applicant in any process that they had mobility to when they applied. This means mobility may result in more than one appointment.

If a veteran who is appointed leaves the indeterminate job, mobility resumes as long as the 5-year limit has not been reached and they meet the other conditions.

Figure 7 below illustrates how the 5-year period works using 4 scenarios:

  • the first applicant, a Canadian Armed Forces member who does not yet have 3 years of service when they apply, may not participate in the appointment process
  • the second applicant, a Canadian Armed Forces member with 3 years of service when they apply, participates in the appointment process
  • the third applicant, a veteran whose 5-year period ends after they applied, participates in the appointment process
  • the fourth applicant, a veteran whose 5-year period ends before they applied, may not participate in the appointment process
Figure 7 – Managing the validity period for mobility

A diagram of 4 scenarios illustrating how the 5-year period for mobility works in an appointment process open to public servants.

Scenario 1: a Canadian Armed Forces member who has less than 3 years of service is not eligible to apply to the advertised internal appointment process.

Scenario 2: a Canadian Armed Forces member with 3 or more years of service applies before date of release from Canadian Armed Forces, is assessed and is selected.

Scenario 3: a veteran applies after date of release from Canadian Armed Forces, is assessed and selected after the 5-year period ends.

Scenario 4: a veteran whose 5-year period has ended is not eligible to apply to the appointment process.

Note: Scenarios assume no persons with a priority entitlement meet the essential qualifications.

Confirming mobility

Any reasonable source of information can be used to confirm that a person meets the conditions for mobility. Examples include a written statement in the résumé, job application or other document, interview questions, references and any documents related to a Canadian Armed Forces member’s or veteran’s military career or release.

The GC Jobs website prompts Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans to enter their Canadian Armed Forces Service Number in their applicant profile. This information is matched with Department of National Defence information in order to provide access to internal job postings. It is also provided to hiring managers, as it may be useful, however, this is not the only way to confirm that a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran meets the conditions for mobility.

A Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran who is not identified in the system may still meet the conditions for mobility. For example, there may be a difference between the way a Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran enters their name in their GC Jobs profile and the Department of National Defence information. See the above examples of reasonable sources of information that can be used to confirm whether the person meets the conditions for mobility.

Whether or not the Canadian Armed Forces member or veteran is identified in the system, the hiring manager confirms:

  • years of service
  • that the veteran was honourably released
  • the date of release
  • that the veteran is not already an indeterminate public servant
Considerations

The Public Service Commission’s guidance on the inclusive appointment lens provides general considerations that apply to veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members who apply. Some other considerations that could apply to veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members are provided below.

Establishing the merit criteria

Essential qualifications allow the hiring manager to identify a person who can perform the functions of the position. Other merit criteria (asset qualifications, organizational needs and operational requirements) cannot be used to eliminate persons with a priority entitlement or a preference. Other merit criteria may be considered when selecting between persons with the same preference who meet the essential qualifications. The Public Service Commission’s guidance on effective merit criteria provides other information that might be useful.

Some resources:

  • the Canadian Armed Forces’ recruitment website explains the experience and training required for each military job
    • the Officer, NCMs, Navy, Army and Air Force tabs show the specifics that apply to a particular applicant
  • MNET is a military to civilian job translator to help people compare military and civilian job credentials
  • the Government of Canada Job Bank explains essential skills in plain language for a variety of jobs

Advertising the process

While the minimum requirement is to advertise on GC Jobs, a complementary recruitment strategy can be designed to reach veterans. For example:

  • Veterans Affairs Canada advises veterans to search the Job Bank, so a Job Bank posting may be an effective way to bring the job to the attention of veterans
  • a hiring department may decide to recruit veterans who have needed skills through online and print resources, and via social media and in-person events
  • recruitment strategies that include in-person events or conversations between hiring managers and veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members can be effective

Assessing

It may not be possible to use the same assessment tool for a mix of internal and external applicants, so assessors may wish to consider how to incorporate alternate sources of assessment information. By allowing for flexibility in the sources of information, a fair and equitable assessment of each person’s qualifications can be achieved.

For more information, hiring managers may contact a human resources advisor. The Public Service Commission supports departmental human resources through a staffing support advisor assigned to each department and agency, and through its Personnel Psychology Centre.

Official Languages: Since 1995, the Canadian Armed Forces have used the Public Service Commission’s Second Language Evaluation tests for the A, B, and C proficiency levels. The results of these tests can be used to determine if a member or a veteran has valid second language evaluation results for the purposes of an appointment to a bilingual position in the public service. Note that an exemption (E rating) for a Canadian Armed Forces member is not recognized if it was achieved before October 1995, and new tests are required for these cases.

Managing the process

Preference for veterans and mobility increase the diversity of candidates to include veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. An inclusive process supports the goal of placing veterans in public service jobs for which they are qualified by:

  • removing administrative rules that could favour applicants who are familiar with the public service in both internal and external processes
  • considering how to use the preference to manage volume in an externally advertised process
    • for example, one manager may choose to assess and appoint veterans before considering other candidates, and another may choose to assess all candidates and apply preference to the selection decision

Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility can apply for an acting appointment process that is advertised. A term appointment is the administrative mechanism to use in these cases. As the term appointment is being used for an acting opportunity, it is not necessary to obtain a priority clearance, and the information would be included in the staffing file for the acting process.

Notification and Informal discussion

Providing feedback to and answering questions from persons with priority entitlements are requirements of the Public Service Commission Priority Administration Directive.

In an external process, providing feedback and answering questions can help candidates understand the process and decisions that have been made.

Notification and informal discussion apply to all candidates in an advertised internal appointment process, including those who are eligible to participate in the process as the result of mobility.

After the appointment

Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans are considered in both internal and external appointments. Regardless of the appointment process used, the oath or solemn affirmation and the rules for determining the rate of pay and probation apply to the appointment of any person who is not already a public servant.

Appointments of persons with a priority entitlement are not subject to recourse through the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

Recourse to the Board applies to all candidates in an advertised internal appointment process, including persons with a priority entitlement who are considered/assessed and in the area of selection, regardless of whether they apply to the process, are referred by the Public Service Commission, or self-refer.

Other resources

Veterans Affairs Canada’s website provides information and resources for both veterans and employers.

Departmental human resources advisors are available to provide advice on appointments to or within the public service.

The Public Service Commission supports departments through staffing support advisors assigned to each department and agency.

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