Questions and Answers for Managers on the Priority Administration Directive

Table of Contents


Q 1: Why is there a new Directive on Priority Administration?

The Priority Administration Directive forms part of the Priority Appointment Policy. It outlines in one document the roles and responsibilities of the PSC, organizations, and priority persons in ensuring respect for priority entitlements. The PSC developed the Priority Administration Directive in response to feedback from organizations on the need for greater clarity, awareness and understanding of roles and responsibilities of the three key parties: the PSC, organizations, and priority persons. This need was also a major finding of an evaluation of the Priority Administration Program.

Referrals of Priority Persons

Q 2: Why are hiring managers accountable for respecting priority entitlements?

Under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), the PSC has sub-delegated appointment authorities to your deputy head through the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument (ADAI). Some of these authorities have been sub-delegated to hiring managers. In exercising delegated authorities, hiring managers must:

  • ensure that appointment decisions adhere to the requirements of the PSEA, the Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER), the sub-delegation of appointment authority established by the deputy head and PSC and organizational appointment policies; and
  • respect the requirements and values outlined in the legislation (i.e. merit, non-partisanship, fairness, access, transparency and representativeness).

Q 3: What is my role as a hiring manager in considering priority persons?

As the hiring manager, you set the essential qualifications to reflect the range of duties to be performed for the position that you are trying to fill. The essential qualifications used to assess a priority person should be the same as what would be used in an appointment process.

The consideration of priority persons is an independent step that should be undertaken prior to proceeding with an appointment process. In situations where no priority persons are found qualified for appointment, you would then proceed with another type of appointment process. Once the Statement of Merit Criteria and assessment tools for the term or indeterminate position being staffed are finalized, you should seek the referral of priority persons from the PSC. This is done by submitting a Priority Clearance Request Form, which human resources personnel complete via the Priority Information Management System. You will need to assess priority persons and appoint a priority person if they meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of the position, while respecting the order of precedence of priority entitlements.

Priority persons referred by the PSC should be assessed prior to candidates in an appointment process to ensure fairness in their assessment and avoid comparison with candidates. Priority persons must be given a reasonable opportunity to prepare for any interviews, exams or other assessment methods that will be used (i.e. the same treatment provided to candidates in an advertised or non-advertised process).

Q 4: To what types of staffing actions does priority clearance apply?

With certain limited exceptions, the requirement to obtain priority clearance applies to the staffing of all vacant term and indeterminate positions across all regions and all organizations subject to the Public Service Employment Act, regardless of the type of proposed appointment process (advertised/non-advertised; internal/external), including:

  • Term appointments (regardless of length);
  • Appointments to/from FORD, IARD, APAP;
  • External appointments to the DS, SE-RES, UT or other such occupational groups that subsequently use an incumbent-based promotional appointment system;
  • Post Secondary Recruitment;
  • Student bridging;
  • Term to indeterminate, not resulting from PSEA s. 59;
  • Appointment of a Priority Person;
  • Part-time employment (unless covered by the part-time work exclusion approval order);
  • Seasonal employment (initial appointment);
  • Appointments from an advertised process for which priority clearance has not already been obtained (list or pool of pre-qualified candidates);
  • Appointments resulting from an advertised anticipatory process for which priority clearance has not been granted;
  • Apprenticeship/Professional Development Programs (including departmental approved development programs) – priority clearance is required on appointment to the program and on appointment out of the program; and
  • EE positions (appointment of a member of a designated group in accordance with an EE program for which staffing would be limited to that group).

With the exception of the reinstatement priority entitlement, there are no limits to the occupational groups and levels to which a priority person may be considered and could be appointed as a priority, providing they meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of the position.

Area of selection does not apply to persons with a priority entitlement.

Self-Referrals of Priority Persons

Q 5: At what point can a priority person self-refer to an appointment process?

A priority person can self-refer in an appointment process after an advertising period has ended or a priority clearance number has been issued. For internal appointment processes, priority persons can self-refer for any job being staffed or about to be staffed and at any point in an appointment process prior to the issuance of a Notification of Appointment or Proposed Appointment is published on the Publiservice resourcing system. For external appointment processes, self-referrals must be considered until a letter of offer is signed by the proposed appointee.

Q 6: Can a priority person with a laid-off priority entitlement apply to any appointment process?

Yes. An employee who is laid off is entitled to participate in any advertised appointment process for which the person would have been eligible had the person not been laid off.

Assessing Priority Persons

Q 7: Why is it important that organizations inform priority persons of the steps in the assessment process?

Priority persons should be treated fairly and the appointment process and outcome should be transparent. Priority persons must be given a reasonable opportunity to prepare for interviews, exams or other assessment methods that will be used. Allowing priority persons a reasonable opportunity to prepare for assessment also enables priority persons with disabilities to consider whether they need to request accommodation in the assessment. It is also important to keep in mind that some priority persons are not public service employees and may require further explanation of the appointment process and/or assessment methods.

Q 8: Once I have received referrals of priority persons from the PSC for a job opportunity, how much time do I have to assess priority persons?

Once your organization has submitted a request for referrals of priority persons, and the PSC has referred priority persons, you are expected to assess and provide feedback to priority persons within 60 days of the referral. You should consider the duration of priority entitlements when planning the assessment of priority persons. The PSC monitors delays in the assessment of priority persons that may jeopardize their entitlement to a priority appointment and follows up with hiring organizations as necessary.

Referral Feedback

Q 9: Am I required to provide assessment results and feedback to priority persons?

Yes. Assessment results must be provided to priority persons in writing via the Referral Feedback Form in the Priority Information Management System. You should indicate the details of the assessment of the priority person and provide reasonable grounds for finding that the priority person does or does not meet the essential qualifications or conditions of employment. If a request for additional feedback on the assessment results is made by a priority person, you are required to discuss the results of the assessment with the priority person in a timely manner. The goal of the additional feedback session is to ensure priority persons who were eliminated from consideration understand the basis of your decision.

Priority Clearance

Q 10: As a manager, do I have access to the Priority Information Management System (PIMS)?

No. Access to the Priority Information Management System (PIMS) is restricted to Priority Administration staff at the PSC, and human resources personnel in your organizations. People with access to the system are informed about privacy and the proper use and disclosure of the information contained in the system.

There is a "Guest Entry" button in the system that managers can use to access only the customizable PIMS reports with aggregate information on, for example, the inflows and outflows of the current priority population.

Q 11: My staffing needs have changed since my organization submitted a priority clearance request. Must a new priority clearance request be submitted to the PSC?

A new priority clearance request must be submitted if the essential qualifications, including official languages requirements, or conditions of employment, are amended in a way that would mean that other priority persons may have been identified in the search and therefore would need to be considered.

Appointing a Priority Person

Q 12: On what basis can the decision to appoint a priority person be made?

The decision to appoint a priority person can be made solely on the basis of the assessment of essential qualifications and that the persons meet the conditions of employment. The other merit criteria, such as asset qualifications, operational requirements or current or future organizational needs, cannot be assessed or form the basis of a decision.

Q 13: What is meant by “order of precedence” of priority entitlements?

Four priority entitlements are defined within the Public Service Employment Act and, as such, are referred to as “statutory priorities”. Persons with a statutory priority entitlement are appointed ahead of all others, in the following order:

  1. Canadian Armed Forces members medically released for reasons attributable to service
  2. An organization's own surplus employees;
  3. Employees on leave of absence; and
  4. Persons who have been laid-off.

The priority entitlements within the Public Service Employment Regulations are referred to as “regulatory priorities”. Persons with a regulatory priority entitlement are appointed after persons with a statutory priority, but in no relative order:

  • Surplus employees from other organizations
  • Employees who become disabled
  • Certain Canadian Armed Forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police members released or discharged for medical reasons
  • Relocation of spouse or common-law partner
  • Reinstatement
  • Surviving Spouse or Common-law Partner

Registration of a Person with a Priority Entitlement

Q 14: What am I expected to do with respect to the Manager's Attestation Form?

Managers are required to sign the Form prior to initiating the registration of a person with a surplus priority entitlement in PIMS. By signing the Form, the manager responsible for the surplus employee attest that the organization would be willing to appoint the individual to a position commensurate with his or her qualifications if such a position were available within the organization. The form is not required for other types of priority entitlement. The signed Form is to be sent to the PSC as part of the supporting documentation listed in the Guide on Priority Entitlement.

Q 15: What happens if I am not willing to sign the Manager's Attestation Form?

If, as the responsible manager, you are not willing to sign the Manager's Attestation Form, you should discuss your concerns with your superior to determine an appropriate strategy for your employee. A signed Manager's Attestation Form is required before an employee can be registered in PIMS to be referred to employment opportunities in the public service. Specific situations can be discussed with a PSC Priority Entitlement Consultant.

Q 16: Must I sign the Manager's Attestation Form for persons with a surplus priority entitlement who are already registered in PIMS?

No. You are not required to sign the form for persons with a surplus priority entitlement who are currently registered in PIMS. It is only a requirement for new registrations in PIMS. For most persons with a surplus priority entitlement who are already registered in PIMS, your organization would have provided the same attestation through the system at the time of registration.

Q 17: What happens if a person with a priority entitlement who reports to me does not want to sign the Privacy Consent Form?

If a person with a priority entitlement chooses not to sign the Privacy Consent Form, that person cannot be registered in PIMS as inclusion of their personal information in PIMS without consent would contravene the requirements of the Privacy Act.   Consequently, they cannot be identified for employment opportunities through that system. You should inform the person with a priority entitlement that the registration in PIMS is the sole means used by the PSC to identify persons with priority entitlements for job opportunities. The person with a priority entitlement would need to self-refer to appointment processes themselves.

Providing Support to Priority Persons

Q 18: What kind of support should be provided to priority persons?

A key factor in the success of priority appointments is the support and guidance provided by the manager and human resources personnel of the home organization. A human resources advisor should be made available to priority persons to help them understand their rights and obligations, and to ensure that they have all the information required to make informed decisions. In addition, the priority person's organization is required to provide the tools needed to help priority persons with their job search (e.g., help with résumé preparation, interview techniques, access to Publiservice, etc.). As a hiring manager, you play an important role in supporting priority persons in their search for continued employment and in providing meaningful work opportunities and references for your employee.

Q 19: Can I provide temporary work during the entitlement period of a priority person through an assignment?

Yes. A priority person who accepts an assignment or a secondment will continue to be referred to positions for which they may be qualified until the end of the entitlement period or the time the priority person accepts an indeterminate position.

Q 20: In addition to the priority entitlement provisions of the PSEA, do employees affected by workforce adjustment have other rights that I need to respect as a manager?

Employees also have entitlements under the Work Force Adjustment Directive and related collective agreements. These entitlements include retraining for surplus and laid-off employees who are not qualified for immediate appointment, as well as salary protection for those appointed to a lower level. These agreements are the responsibility of the Employer (the Treasury Board), and all questions concerning their application and interpretation should be addressed to the Employer. For more information, please consult the Employer's Web site.

Need Help?

Q 21: Who do I contact if I need help or have questions about priority administration?

As a manager, your first point of contact for any questions on priority administration is the HR advisor in your organization.

For more questions and answers concerning priority administration, please visit the PSC Web site.

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