Maximizing my priority entitlement - Guide

1. The orientation

The Public Service Commission developed the orientation program to provide persons with a priority entitlement with the information they need to maximize the likelihood that their entitlement will lead to a public service job.

The orientation does not replace current agreements, directives, policies or legislation governing entitlements to a priority appointment. It complements current guidance, such as the Guide on Priority Entitlements and the Priority Portal User Manual.

2. Priority entitlements overview

2.1 Priority entitlements: key facts

Priority entitlements help people cope with career changes and life events, such as staff reductions through workforce adjustments, becoming disabled, being medically released or discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police, returning from extended leave or relocating with one’s spouse or common-law partner.

Neither the Public Service Commission nor organizations grant priority entitlements. Persons who meet the conditions specified in the Public Service Employment Act or the Public Service Employment Regulations acquire the entitlement.

The start and end dates of priority entitlements are set by legislation or regulation and cannot be changed, even if it is because of late registration or other administrative delays.

  • Only one type of priority entitlement has no set end date because of its nature: Surplus with a Guarantee of a Reasonable Job Offer.

Organizations appoint (hire) persons with a priority entitlement ahead of others to most types of indeterminate (permanent) and term (temporary) positions (jobs). However, there are exceptions depending on the type of staffing action an organization uses to fill its position.

  • Priority entitlements do not apply to the following staffing actions:
    • deployments (a transfer to a position of equivalent level)
    • acting opportunities
    • student appointments
    • assignments or secondments

The Guide on Priority Entitlements has a complete list of the staffing actions for which priority entitlements are or are not considered.

While your priority entitlement provides greater access to job opportunities and assists in gaining employment in the federal public service, you must meet both the essential qualifications (through assessment) and the conditions of employment of a position to be appointed to it.

Essential qualifications are the basic requirements for the position.

  • They include official language proficiency.
  • They might include some or all of the following qualifications:
    • education
    • experience
    • knowledge
    • occupational certification
    • abilities and skills
    • aptitudes
    • personal suitability

Conditions of employment are requirements that a person must meet to be appointed and that must be maintained throughout the time a person occupies the position.

  • Conditions of employment include security requirements and may include travel, overtime and/or shift work.
  • Specialized positions can include other requirements, such as:
    • having specialized certifications
    • having a driver’s licence or the mobility associated with having a driver’s licence (this is sometimes necessary for work located in remote areas not accessible by any public transit)
    • wearing and maintaining a uniform

There is no guarantee of obtaining a position through a priority entitlement. Be an engaged and active participant to have the best chance of success in your job search process.

2.2 Priority entitlements: types

There are two types of priority entitlements:

Statutory priorities apply to, in order:

  1. Canadian Armed Forces members released for medical reasons attributable to service
  2. an organization’s own surplus employees
  3. employees returning from a leave of absence / leave of absence replacement employees
  4. persons who have been laid off

Regulatory priorities apply to:

  • Canadian Armed Forces members released for medical reasons not attributable to service
  • employees who become disabled
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police members discharged for medical reasons
  • reinstatement
  • relocation of spouse or common-law partner
  • surplus employees in other organizations
  • surviving spouses / common-law partners of persons whose death is attributable to the performance of duties

Statutory priorities rank higher than regulatory priorities and must be applied in a specific order. Regulatory priorities are equal to one another.

When two persons with a priority entitlement meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of a position, the hiring manager will first check to see which priority entitlement each person holds to determine who to appoint and will then follow the prescribed order.

When two persons with a priority entitlement have the same entitlement rank and meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of a position, the hiring manager can decide which one of them to appoint.   

  • Hiring manager or hiring organization means the manager or organization in charge of the hiring process or looking to fill a vacancy.
  • Home organization means the organization with your permanent position or the organization that activated your priority entitlement.
  • Home human resources representative means the human resources representative assigned to your file from the organization with your permanent position or the organization that activated your priority entitlement.

3. Roles and responsibilities

3.1 Persons with a priority entitlement

Your role as a person with a priority entitlement is to find an indeterminate position and provide yourself with continuity of employment.

To do this, you must begin by taking responsibility for your job search and your profile information.

Some of the ways you can take responsibility for your job search include:

  • participating fully in the hiring process
  • replying to job opportunities and communications in a timely and professional manner
  • updating your employment profile and keeping your contact information up to date
  • researching job opportunities independently through the GC Jobs site and browsing organizations’ websites
  • applying for all opportunities that interest you and for which you believe you meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment
    • indicate your priority entitlement when you do this
  • networking with friends, former coworkers and acquaintance
  • subscribing to government social media and following the news (employment trends are changing; even if organizations do not advertise their job opportunities directly on these sites, you can find references to potential future job opportunities or plans, and can use your network to maximize this information)
  • working with your home human resources representative to focus your job search
  • adjusting your Priority Portal profile if you will be unavailable for a lengthy period (if, during this period, you are in the middle of a hiring process, advise the process’s contact of your unavailability)

Finding a new position requires effort, focus, active participation and commitment. The greater your involvement in the process, the better your chances of success.

Your employment profiles are the collections of personal and employment information you used to set up profiles on job search forums, both internal and external to the federal government.

These job search forums could be:

Keep all your employment profile information up to date. For example, if you acquire new skills or experience, change your contact information or complete new education or trade credentials, you should update your employment profiles as soon as possible to reflect those changes.

If you accept an offer of employment (a job), inform your home human resources representative right away.

  • If the position is in the federal public service, send your home human resources representative a copy of the signed letter of offer once you have it.
    • To ensure timely and effective pay administration, if you are a public servant or a person who has a lay-off priority entitlement, also send the manager of your previous substantive position a copy of your letter of offer.
  • Your home human resources representative will notify you of any impact on your priority entitlement, including the end of the entitlement or a change to the entitlement type.
    • Normally, a term (temporary) appointment or casual employment (contract of up to 90 working days per calendar year in an organization subject to the Public Service Employment Act) will have little to no impact on your entitlement.
    • Normally, an indeterminate (permanent) appointment will either end, change or affect your entitlement in some way.

Your home human resources representative will inform you of your particular situation upon learning the details of your appointment and will provide confirmation of that information when they receive your signed letter of offer. The representative will also advise you about your availability and profile information in the Priority Portal.

The Public Service Commission uses the Public Service Employment Act’s definition of the federal public service for the purposes of priority entitlements.

If you have any questions about an assessment process, please communicate directly with the contact person for the process. When sending an email to the contact person, copy your home human resources representative. If you need additional assistance, contact your home human resources representative and/or the Public Service Commission.

If you have any questions about your priority entitlement or if you need assistance with your job search, contact your home human resources representative, who will provide you with, or direct you to, support throughout your entitlement period.

3.2 Home human resources representatives

Your home human resources representative is the person from your home organization who is responsible for helping you with your priority entitlement.

  • For Canadian Armed Forces members who wish to activate their priority entitlement, this is initially the Directorate Transition Services and Policy within the Department of National Defense. Then, the member is directed to the National Priority Management Team where the registration is initiated.
  • For Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, this is a human resources advisor from the public service arm of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
  • For surviving spouses or common-law partners, this is a human resources advisor in the spouse’s or common-law partner’s home organization.

Your home human resources representative will:

  • explain which entitlement you are eligible for and what it means
  • advise you when you meet all of the criteria for your priority entitlement
  • begin your registration in the Public Service Commission’s system in a timely manner

In certain situations, the person who would like to benefit from a priority entitlement and be registered in the system must be the one to reach out and contact the home human resources representative to begin the process (for example, surviving spouse or common-law partner). The home human resources representative will notify the person of their eligibility for a priority entitlement early in the process.

All priority entitlements require documentation to support their validity. Some of the entitlements require documentation from the person with the priority entitlement (for example, a Canadian Armed Forces member released for medical reasons requires a letter from a competent authority certifying the person’s ability to return to work). Your home human resources representative will tell you what, if any, documentation you need to provide.

Your home human resources representative will provide you with, or direct you to, support throughout your entitlement period. Examples of support include:

  • providing information about employee assistance programs and other available resources
  • providing assistance with résumés and cover letters and interview preparation or directing you to available resources
  • helping you obtain valid second language evaluation results and, if you do not have them, discussing what options are available to you throughout your entitlement period and providing you with suggestions on preparing for these assessments
    • valid second language evaluation results can help speed up the appointment process
    • Canadian Armed Forces second language evaluation results are transferable to the public service, even E results, if obtained after 1995
  • working with you to obtain regular access to a computer, phone and the Internet if these are not tools available to you
  • explaining accommodation in the hiring process, what it means and how and when to request it when needed

3.3 Hiring managers

The hiring manager is the manager in charge of the hiring process or looking to fill a vacancy.

During the hiring process, the hiring manager will:

  • provide you with information about the position (job) and the assessment process
  • allow you a reasonable amount of time to prepare for an assessment
  • assess you for the position
  • provide feedback and answer any questions you might have about your results
  • appoint (hire) you if you meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of the position

Federal public service job opportunities sent to you by the system or advertised on GC Jobs contain information to help you determine whether the position is right for you.

In addition to the job opportunity’s essential qualifications and conditions of employment, the information also includes:

  • the name of the hiring organization
  • the title of the position
  • the position’s group and level
  • whether the position is permanent or temporary
  • the position’s location

The job opportunity also indicates if it is part of a staffing process targeted towards one or more designated employment equity groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, visible minorities).

  • If the process is targeted towards one or more designated groups, you also need to be a member of the designated group(s) to be considered for the job opportunity.
  • To indicate that you are a member of one or more designated employment equity groups, self-declare in the relevant sections of your profiles in the Priority Portal and in GC Jobs.
  • Both the email from the system and the advertisement on GC Jobs contain a contact who can be reached for more information.

When you are invited for an assessment in the form of an exam or interview, the manager is expected to give you a reasonable amount of time to prepare for it.

  • The preparation time depends on the length and complexity of the assessment, the merit criteria evaluated and whether there is a set preparatory period.
  • Other factors could be involved, such as ensuring acceptable accommodations (if required) and ensuring that the assessment can be completed before the end of a person’s entitlement period.

If you have any questions about preparation time for an assessment, communicate with the contact for the staffing process as soon as possible and advise your home human resources representative of the situation.

If you need additional assistance, contact your home human resources representative and/or the Public Service Commission as soon as possible. Do not wait until the day of the assessment or until after the assessment to mention a problem, as it could be too late.

The hiring manager must make sure that you meet all of the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of the position to be able to appoint you.

  • Meeting the essential qualifications of the position means achieving the pass mark for each qualification, not necessarily being the person with the top results.

3.4 The Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission:

  • sets and interprets priority entitlements policy and develops guidance materials for organizations and persons with a priority entitlement
  • validates priority entitlements and ensures that organizations respect entitlements when staffing positions
  • maintains the Priority Information Management System, which notifies you of job opportunities as a person with a priority entitlement
  • provides persons with a priority entitlement and organizations with advice, guidance and support regarding priority entitlements
  • works with persons with a priority entitlement and organizations to answer questions and resolve issues

If you have any questions about your priority entitlement or a hiring process, contact the hiring organization and/or your home human resources representative, as well as the Public Service Commission as soon as possible. Resolution options can become limited over time, depending on the situation.

4. The Priority Information Management System

4.1 What is the Priority Information Management System?

The system is a web-based tool that contains an inventory of persons with a priority entitlement.

The system identifies positions in the federal public service that persons with a priority entitlement may want to consider.

4.2 Registration in the Priority Information Management System

Your home human resources representative will ask you if you consent to being registered in the system after explaining what consenting means during your initial discussion about your priority entitlement.

If you consent:

  • Your personal and employment information will be included in the system’s inventory and shared with federal public service organizations to validate your priority entitlement and identify job opportunities for your consideration.
  • The Public Service Commission might share your information, in accordance with the Privacy Act, with any portion of the federal public administration not required to consider persons with a priority entitlement to increase your access to job opportunities (this means outside of the Public Service Employment Act’s definition of the federal public service).

If you do not consent:

  • You will not be registered in the system.
  • You will retain your priority entitlement.
  • You will be entirely responsible for searching for a new position.
    • The Public Service Commission will not be able to assist you with your search, but your home human resources representative will still offer support.

How to consent:

  • Normally, you give consent by completing your portion of the registration process through the system’s Priority Portal.
  • However, if your home organization completes all portions of your registration in the system, you will be asked to sign a paper copy of the Privacy Consent Form for the Public Service Commission.

Work with your home human resources representative to register in the system as soon as possible. This will lessen the risk of administrative errors or oversight and allow the system to start identifying job opportunities for you.

Even if you are not available for job opportunities right away, we recommend registering in the system at the beginning of your entitlement period. You can make yourself unavailable for consideration for as long as you require in the Priority Portal.

4.3 How the Priority Information Management System works

How does the system identify positions (job opportunities) for persons with a priority entitlement?

  1. Home human resources representatives register persons with a priority entitlement in the system.
  2. Hiring organizations enter their position information in the system.
  3. The system launches a search of persons with a priority entitlement against the position information.
  4. The system sends each person with a priority entitlement identified by the search an email advising them of the position and of the next steps in the consideration process.
  5. The system also sends the names of the identified persons with a priority entitlement to the hiring organization.

Once the registration for a person with a priority entitlement has been completed and activated in the system, the system can begin identifying job opportunities that hiring organizations have entered into the system for the person.

  • The information persons with a priority entitlement enter during their part of the registration process must be accurate and complete, as this is what the system uses to identify job opportunities for them.

When hiring managers have an indeterminate (permanent) or term (specified period or temporary) position to fill, they come to the Public Service Commission and search the system to check if there are persons with a priority entitlement who could meet the requirements of the position.

To launch a search, the hiring manager’s human resources team enters the position’s information into the system.

The system identifies all persons with a priority entitlement whose profile information corresponds to the information submitted by the organization. The information the system uses to identify persons with a priority entitlement includes:

  • the group and level of the position
  • the position’s location
  • the language requirements of the position
  • whether the position is full-time, part-time or seasonal
  • whether the position is permanent or temporary

The system notifies both the persons with a priority entitlement and the hiring organizations of the search results:

  • Persons with a priority entitlement receive an email advising them of the job opportunity and how to respond if they are interested in it or not.
  • Hiring organizations receive a list of the persons with a priority entitlement who were identified by the system so that they know who they are awaiting responses from.
    • Persons with a priority entitlement should promptly advise hiring organizations whether or not they are interested in the job opportunity; this demonstrates professional communication skills and gives a positive impression to the hiring organization.

If no persons with a priority entitlement meet the requirements of the position, the hiring organization can proceed with staffing the position.

The system is more likely to identify you for job opportunities if you:

  • are open to equivalent groups and levels
  • are realistic about your mobility given the job opportunities in your desired locations of work
  • have a complete and detailed profile in the system

5. The Priority Portal

5.1 What is the Priority Portal?

The Priority Portal is where you can access and update your profile in the system.

5.2 The Priority Portal: setting up your account

After informing your home human resources representative that you want to be registered in the system, they will normally start the registration process by entering initial information into the system.

The system will then send you an introduction email to help you set up an account in the Priority Portal and proceed with the next steps in the registration process.

Before you access the Priority Portal for the first time, we recommend reading both the introduction email and the Priority Portal User Manual. Accessing the Priority Portal for the first time without reading the instructions can be tricky.

The Priority Portal has two options to set up an account and login: Sign-in Partner and GCKey.

  • Sign-In Partner allows you to use user name and password information you may already have with one of the financial institutions listed.
  • GCKey requires you sign up and create a new user name and password. Keep this information safe for future reference.
  • Detailed information about both options are in the links on the Priority Portal’s login screen and in the Priority Portal User Manual.

Once you have set up your Priority Portal account, the Priority Portal will take you to the Shared Secrets page. Complete the page and enter the temporary passcode sent to you in your introduction email. This page and the following one, which asks for your Personal Record Identifier / Service Number / Regimental Number, require that the information entered match the information that your home human resources representative entered exactly.

  • If you get an error message on either of these two pages, it is usually for one of the following reasons:
    • it has been more than 10 days since the passcode was issued (the date of the introduction email)
    • the information you entered does not match the information that your home human resources representative entered

If you have any questions about the Priority Portal or need help accessing the Priority Portal, contact your home human resources representative or the Public Service Commission.

5.3 The Priority Portal: completing your profile

After logging into the Priority Portal, you will notice a list of sections in the main body of the page; these sections make up your profile in the Priority Portal and in the system.

The first time you login, you will see that most sections have a red X next to them. Each X represents a section that you must complete. Once you complete a section, the red X next to the section will change to a green check mark.

  • If a green check mark does not appear, it is usually because the save button was not clicked before exiting the section.
  • If you have questions about what belongs in a section, consult the Priority Portal User Manual.

The following includes important information about some of the sections. It does not include all of the information you need to enter into your profile.

5.3.1 Privacy consent form

Read the form and click on the button I consent to register in the system and change the red X to a green check mark.

Click on the button I do not consent if you do not want to register in the system. The red X will remain, and you will have the opportunity to return later if you change your mind and decide to consent.

5.3.2 Personal information

Ensure that your contact information is always accurate and up to date in this section. It is the information the Public Service Commission and organizations will use to communicate with you throughout your entitlement period.

  • Your email address is the most important part of your contact information as it is the main method of communication.

Check your email’s inbox for communication on a regular basis.

If you did not receive any emails at the beginning of your entitlement period:

  • check your junk mail folder to verify if any emails were redirected there
  • verify that your email address in this section of your Priority Portal profile is accurate
  • if there is still a problem, contact the Public Service Commission

5.3.3 Recommended groups and levels

The first time you log into the Priority Portal, this section will be read-only. You will be able to modify this section once your file is activated in the system.

You can add up to 10 groups and levels for indeterminate (permanent) positions (jobs) and up to 10 groups and levels for term (temporary) positions to your profile.

  • The groups and levels for indeterminate and term positions do not have to be identical.
  • The groups and levels should be equivalent to your previous substantive group and level in the federal public service, if you held one.
    • A substantive group and level means the group and level of the permanent position you held before becoming a person with a priority entitlement.
  • Your home human resources representative must approve all changes to this section.

If you did not hold a previous substantive group and level in the federal public service prior to becoming a person with a priority entitlement, your home human resources representative will work with you to determine which groups and levels should be added to this section. This applies to persons with the entitlements of medically released Canadian Armed Forces members (attributable and not attributable to service), Royal Canadian Mounted Police members discharged for medical reasons and surviving spouses or common-law partners.

Persons with a priority entitlement who did have a substantive group and level in the federal public service may include groups and levels equivalent to one level lower than their substantive group and level, following a discussion with their home human resources representative.

  • If these persons are appointed to an indeterminate lower-level position during their entitlement period, they will hold reinstatement priority entitlements.
    • A lower-level position does not just mean the new position has a lower salary.
    • For more information as to what constitutes a lower-level position, contact your home human resources representative or the Public Service Commission.

Groups and levels considered to be promotions will not be approved and will be removed from your profile.

  • If interested in higher groups and levels, you can self-refer to the positions.

Self-referral means that you identify yourself to an organization to be considered as a person with a priority entitlement for a particular staffing process.

Unless advised, the Public Service Commission is unaware of self-referrals.

Persons with a priority entitlement can self-refer until the Notice of Appointment or Proposed Appointment is posted for an internal process and until a letter of offer is issued for an external process.

Persons with a reinstatement entitlement cannot self-refer to higher-level positions as persons with a priority entitlement because of the nature of their entitlement.

  • If interested in a promotion, they must apply as a regular candidate.

5.3.4 Mobility

While the Government of Canada is the largest employer in the country, federal public service positions are not located in every municipality.

  • Positions are located where the manager needs the work to be performed.
  • The Priority Portal identifies some locations as having limited job opportunities.

If there are limited federal public service job opportunities in your region, consider expanding your mobility beyond that area.

  • Going where the jobs are increases your access to job opportunities and your chances of a successful job search.

Discuss travel and/or relocation costs with the hiring organization and your home human resources representative.

5.3.5 Résumé

There is no page limit to your résumé, but it should focus on relevant information.

  • You can list all your educational information and achievements.
  • Include as much information as necessary under experience: it is better to have more relevant information than to be too brief.
    • Explain what experience you acquired, when and how you acquired it and where or in what context it was acquired, as these are all important details a hiring manager may be interested in knowing.

The résumé section provides a template to use if you are unsure of how to format a résumé. You are not required to use it.

For help preparing your résumé, ask your home human resources representative about the assistance available through your organization.

5.4 The Priority Portal: activating your file

Once you have completed and saved all of the sections in your profile, only green check marks will remain beside the sections. A button called Submit for Activation will then appear at the bottom of the page.

Click on the Submit for Activation button.

You have now completed your portion of your registration in the system. The system will send an email to your home human resources representative informing them that you completed your part. The home human resources representative will review your information and activate your file.

You will now be able to modify more of the sections in your profile when you return to the Priority Portal. Some of the information will remain read-only (for example, your priority entitlement information). Some modification requests will require your home human resources representative’s approval (for example, requests to change the groups and levels in your profile).

Remember to keep all of your profile information up to date throughout the duration of your entitlement period.

If you have any questions about activating your profile or making changes to it, contact your home human resources representative.

5.5 The Priority Portal: additional features

When you are logged into the Priority Portal, you will see that the top of the main page displays three links with important information.

5.5.1 What’s New?

This section informs you of any system, process or policy changes.

  • The Public Service Commission may send you emails advising you of some of these changes or post banners on the Priority Portal’s main page.
  • If you miss these notifications, the What’s New? section will help keep you informed.

5.5.2 New Notification(s)

This section shows you all the changes that have been made to your profile since activation.

  • This is where you can check for any modifications made to your profile.
  • Each notification shows:
    • the status of your profile at the time of the update
    • the date and time of the update
    • what was updated and/or the reason for the update
    • who submitted the update (the person with the priority entitlement, the home human resources representative or someone from the Public Service Commission)
  • The notifications appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent one at the top of the page.
  • Pending notifications remain visible after activation, for records purposes.

The Priority Portal User Manual contains further information on this section. If you have any questions about this section, contact your home human resources representative.

5.5.3 Special Job Opportunities

This section contains job postings that are not identified to you directly through the system but that are available to you as a person with a priority entitlement.

If you are interested in any of the job opportunities and believe you meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment, you must self-refer.

The postings in this section can be:

  • positions with ongoing advertisements (continuous intake) on GC Jobs
  • organizations that do not use GC Jobs but would like to make a job opportunity available to persons with a priority entitlement
  • certain processes with an advertisement period that has ended on GC Jobs but whose organizations want to make them better known to persons with a priority entitlement to encourage them to continue to self-refer

Each posting has a link to more information about the job opportunity and instructions on how to self-refer for the job opportunity.

If any new information is available in any of the three sections since you last logged into the Priority Portal, a red number will appear next to the section with the new item(s), indicating the number of missed messages, notifications or opportunities.

  • The number disappears once you access the section.

6. Where can you find job opportunities?

The Public Service Commission runs two systems that are your main sources of federal public service job opportunities:

    • GC Jobs  
    • Priority Information Management System (the system)

Organizations subject to the Public Service Employment Act and that consider persons with a priority entitlement during their staffing processes use GC Jobs and the system.

Both GC Jobs and the system are advantageous for persons with a priority entitlement and are best used together for a more successful job search.

We recommend exploring possibilities beyond GC Jobs and the system to increase the number of job opportunities available to you.

There are federal organizations that are not subject to the Public Service Employment Act and that are not required to consider persons with a priority entitlement.

  • These organizations do not use the system.
  • They may or may not advertise their job opportunities on GC Jobs.
  • You may find job opportunities on their websites.
  • You would apply for these organizations’ job opportunities as a regular candidate, in accordance with their application criteria.
  • Permanent employment in these organizations could end your priority entitlement.
  • Discuss any job opportunity with these organizations with your home human resources representative before accepting an appointment.

To determine if a federal organization is subject to the Public Service Employment Act and the provisions related to priority entitlements, consult the Eligibility for job opportunities in federal organizations link.

Personal networking can be as helpful in the public sector as in the private sector.

  • If you previously worked at an organization, contact the manager and explain that you are a person with a priority entitlement searching for a new position.
  • If you are currently working at an organization on a temporary basis, keep your ears open for potential job opportunities (such as talk of future vacancies) and/or speak with your manager and human resources about circulating your résumé to areas of the organization that interest you.

Many federal government organizations also participate in job fairs. If you have the opportunity to attend a job fair, be prepared with copies of your résumé and a general cover letter.

Persons in certain professional fields, or members of professional associations, may also have their own social network groups and professional development or networking events. These networks and events can help you further your career development, make connections and find employment leads both inside and outside the federal public service.

If you find a job opportunity through networking, the hiring manager must still ensure you meet the requirements of the position, including the essential qualifications and conditions of employment.

7. GC Jobs

7.1 What is GC Jobs?

GC Jobs is the main access point to job opportunities in the federal public service.  

While you can find references to federal public service job opportunities on websites such as jobbank.gc.ca, these refer you back to GC Jobs for details on the job opportunities and instructions on how to apply.

7.2 GC Jobs: benefits to persons with a priority entitlement

GC Jobs enables you to be proactive and to focus your job search on positions and employers that interest you.

  • GC Jobs provides access to job opportunities that would not be available solely through the Priority Information Management System.
  • It also provides access to the full range of job opportunities available to you as a person with a priority entitlement (such as internal hiring processes, non-advertised hiring processes and processes that have already closed) that external sites such as jobbank.gc.ca cannot show you.

To take advantage of GC Jobs’ benefits for persons with a priority entitlement:

  • create an account and a profile in GC Jobs
  • this may take some time, but the investment is worthwhile as your profile is what you will use to apply directly for positions advertised on GC Jobs
  • ensure that the name, priority reference number and email address in your GC Jobs profile is identical to that in your Priority Information Management System profile 
    • GC Jobs will confirm this information with the Priority Information Management System. Once confirmed, GC Jobs will provide you with the same access as a public service employee using GC Jobs from a government computer.
    • If your name, priority reference number and email address do not match, you will have the same access to GC Jobs as a member of the public.
  • set up automated email alerts to notify you of new job opportunities corresponding to your chosen set of criteria (such as location, job classification, salary)

Persons with a priority entitlement who are proactive with their job searches are often successful in finding permanent employment. In the last 5 years, nearly half of the persons with a priority entitlement found their job this way.

8. GC Jobs: the Job Search page

The Job Search page in GC Jobs contains sections that will help you in your job search as a person with a priority entitlement. However, there are also sections where the process or a step in the process does not require the consideration of priority entitlements.

The following will touch on the important points of each section. Note that the names of the sections as seen on the Job Search page are the headers, with explanations of the titles in each section.

8.1 Internal jobs

This section contains job opportunities that are typically limited to a certain group of people within the government; this limitation is called the area of selection.

  • As a person with a priority entitlement, most of these limitations do not apply to you.
  • If you are not in the area of selection, but you are interested in the job opportunity and believe you meet the essential qualifications, inform the contact for the job opportunity that you would like to be considered for it as a person with a priority entitlement.

8.2 Jobs open to the public

These job opportunities are open to the public and are called external processes.

  • In your application, indicate that you are a person with a priority entitlement to benefit from your entitlement during the appointment process.
  • We recommend you also indicate in your cover letter and/or résumé that you are a person with a priority entitlement.

Given that the surviving spouse or common-law partner entitlement applies only to jobs that are open to the public, this is the only section of GC Jobs persons with that priority entitlement will see.

For both internal and external opportunities, you might see a type of job opportunity called an anticipatory process.

  • An anticipatory process is a hiring process where the hiring manager does not have any current vacancies but is anticipating future needs and proactively searching for people.

If a job opportunity from an anticipatory process interests you:

  • notify those responsible that you are a person with a priority entitlement, but be aware that it may take more time than usual to appoint (hire) through an anticipatory process, as there may be no current need to staff a position
  • apply within set application deadlines and rules, as the process may take longer than usual, so you can be considered both as a person with a priority entitlement and later as a regular candidate if your entitlement ends
    • doing this is to your advantage because if you are not appointed through the anticipatory process during your priority entitlement period, you can continue in the process as a regular candidate

We encourage you to apply for any opportunities that interest you if you believe you meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of the position, including anticipatory processes.

8.3 NoC

NoC means Notification of Consideration.

This section contains notifications organizations must post for internal processes when they are at the stage of considering a person for appointment to a position (hiring them for a job).

The Notification of Consideration section can be of interest to you because it contains information about job opportunities called internal non-advertised processes.

  • These job opportunities are not in the internal job section, as they were not advertised opportunities (in other words the hiring manager considered only one person for the position).
  • Your priority entitlement provides you with access to these opportunities during the consideration period indicated in the Notification of Consideration.
  • If you are interested in a job opportunity and believe you meet the essential qualifications, promptly inform the contact for the process that you would like to be considered for the job opportunity as a person with a priority entitlement.
  • You have until the end of the indicated Notification of Consideration period to self-refer to these job opportunities.

Section 43 of the Public Service Employment Act allows for an exception to the consideration of persons with a priority entitlement for a position. If hiring a person with a priority entitlement means that someone else would become a person with a priority entitlement, the requirement can be waived. 

  • If this situation applies to a job opportunity that interests you and you have concerns, contact your home human resources representative.

8.4 Search archives

The job opportunities in the archived section are there because their advertisement periods have closed.

For internal processes, you can self-refer until the end of the Notification of Consideration period.

For external processes, you can self-refer until the organization issues a letter of offer.

If you find an interesting job opportunity in the search archives section, promptly inform the contact for the process that you would like to be considered for the job opportunity as a person with a priority entitlement.

For staffing processes targeting members of one or more employment equity groups (women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and people with disabilities), only persons with a priority entitlement who self-declare as members of the targeted employment equity group(s) will be considered.

8.5 NAPA

NAPA means Notification of Appointment or Proposed Appointment.

This section contains notifications organizations must post for internal processes when they are at the stage of proposing a person for appointment or appointing someone.

Your priority entitlement will not be considered for any job opportunity in these notifications, as it is too late at this point.

8.6 NAA

NAA means Notification of Acting Appointment.

This section contains notifications for what are called acting appointments.

  • An acting appointment is when an employee temporarily does the work of a higher-level position.
  • For acting appointments that exceed a certain duration, organizations must post notifications.
  • Priority entitlements do not come into play for acting appointments.

9. Applying to job opportunities

9.1 Assessment is a requirement

Everyone must meet the essential qualifications and conditions of employment of a position in order to be appointed (hired) to it, no matter their current (person with a priority entitlement, employee) or former (former Canadian Armed Forces member, person who worked in a similar position) situation.

This is a requirement of the Public Service Employment Act.

As each position (job opportunity) has its own set of essential qualifications and conditions of employment, a hiring manager has to check that you meet the particular set of essential qualifications and conditions of employment for the position you would like to be appointed to.

  • The hiring manager will check your qualifications through assessment and document all results to the staffing file.

9.2 Application instructions

Follow any application instructions the hiring organization has provided, whether on advertisements, in an email you received from the Priority Information Management System or through direct communication.

  • If this is not possible or if you have questions, communicate with the contact for the job opportunity to discuss your situation.

Your application itself may become part of the assessment process.

  • Read all of the information about the process before applying to determine if this is relevant, and if so, how.
    • For example, job opportunities on GC Jobs might have online questions or an online exam.
    • Another example: a manager may use your cover letter to assess your writing skills (written communication).
  • The application instructions should include information about such situations.

If you have any questions about your application being part of the assessment, communicate with the contact provided to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

9.3 Tools to help you apply for job opportunities

The two tools most commonly used by hiring managers to start assessing potential new employees are a cover letter and a résumé.

  • Different tools could also be used at this step, so always carefully read and follow all application instructions.

Normally, a hiring manager uses your cover letter and résumé during the first part of the assessment process to determine if you meet the essential education and experience qualifications.

9.3.1 Cover letter

In the federal public service, hiring managers usually request cover letters as they indicate how a person’s qualifications match the essential qualifications of the position.

What to do:

  • tailor your cover letter to each job opportunity
  • clearly explain how you meet each essential qualification you were asked to demonstrate and when and where you met them
  • use the essential qualification as a paragraph header and give detailed examples in the paragraph
  • indicate how long (the duration) you met the essential qualification
  • use plain language
  • limit your use of jargon and acronyms, especially any that may be unfamiliar to the hiring manager

The hiring manager cannot make any assumptions about your qualifications. Help the manager understand your qualifications by providing clear and detailed examples.

9.3.2 Résumé

A résumé is usually used to verify and/or complete the information provided in the cover letter.

What to do:

  • prepare a résumé.
    • your résumé can be generic as long as it has enough information to support the statements made in your cover letter
    • however, it is better to tailor your résumé to the job opportunity you are applying for
  • be factual, accurate, and provide specifics (such as dates of events or dates you held different jobs) as the hiring manager will fact-check your cover letter against your résumé
  • use plain language
  • limit your use of jargon and acronyms, especially any that may be unfamiliar to the hiring manager
  • use as many pages as required, but ensure that all of the information included is relevant

Keep your résumé up to date, especially your contact information.

9.4 The assessment process

As a person with a priority entitlement, you only need to meet the qualifications that the manager has determined are essential to the position (job opportunity). You must also meet the conditions of employment of the position, which are normally addressed by the hiring organization after the assessment stage.
Essential qualifications include the language requirements of the position, and may include:

  • education
  • certifications
  • experience
  • knowledge
  • abilities
  • skills
  • personal suitability factors

As a person with a priority entitlement, you do not need to meet other merit criteria, requirements or qualifications that are called assets or criteria that may be required of a job opportunity, in order to be appointed to it.

  • These other merit criteria include operational requirements and organizational needs.

As mentioned, you must meet the job opportunity’s conditions of employment.

  • While the conditions of employment might be similar, or sometimes identical, to the operational requirements, the two categories are different, and you must only meet the conditions of employment.
    • For example, the requirement to travel occasionally or the requirement to work overtime occasionally and/or on short notice.

Assessment methods may include:

  • written tests
  • interviews
  • reference checks
  • practical exams
  • reviewing past performance assessments (if available)
  • standardized tests
  • simulations

The hiring manager and human resources work together to determine which assessment methods are appropriate to assess the position’s essential qualifications.

  • The hiring manager has the authority over the decision.

There is no set order for assessment methods. For example, a hiring manager can decide to start with reference checks or by reviewing performance appraisals.

To prepare for an assessment process, you can:

  • ask the organization the method(s) that will be used to assess each essential qualification
  • research each essential qualification and prepare potential questions and answers that a manager might ask

Post-assessment feedback

Feedback, whether you were successful or not in the assessment process, can be a learning opportunity and may be helpful in preparing for future assessments.

  • If you request feedback, listen, understand and ask questions, not only about where you may have fallen short, but also where you excelled.
  • During the discussion, ask for tips and advice on how you could have done better. Not only does this help you learn, it leaves a positive impression with the manager that you are committed to your own development.
  • A feedback discussion can also be an opportunity to ask if the hiring manager may be aware of any upcoming opportunities or if they may have other contacts or leads.
  • Following the discussion, integrate the feedback and comments provided into your preparation for future assessments.

9.5 Assessment results: questions or concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about your assessment results, there are 2 resolution processes available to you, depending on your situation.

9.5.1 Request for additional feedback

A request for additional feedback is a discussion between a person with a priority entitlement and the hiring organization to explain assessment results, obtain feedback and provide an opportunity to correct assessment errors.

  • It is available for all process types.
  • You can request additional feedback directly from the hiring organization when you are informed of your assessment results.
  • It is a fast, efficient and timely process.

The purpose of the discussion is not to challenge results. However, if the discussion reveals that an error was made during the rating or scoring of your assessment, there is an opportunity for correction.

  • Examples of possible errors include a question that was overlooked during the correction of an exam, a miscalculation during the addition of the results of an assessment or experience that was not taken into account when your cover letter and résumé were reviewed.

The discussion is also not the time to provide additional information, unless the situation is exceptional.

  • If you think you need to provide additional information, contact your home human resources representative or the Public Service Commission before the discussion.

If you are not satisfied with the discussion with the hiring manager, contact your home human resources representative. Your representative will advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation. You may also contact the Public Service Commission for assistance.

The request for additional feedback process is the timeliest and most efficient means to resolve issues related to your assessment as a person with a priority entitlement as you can make a request as soon as the hiring organization informs you of your assessment results.

9.5.2 Staffing complaint to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board

A staffing complaint to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (the Board) is a formal recourse mechanism available to persons with a priority entitlement in certain circumstances.

  • It is available to you if you were assessed in the context of an internal appointment process and were within the area of selection.
    • It is available even if you did not apply within the advertised time frame (in other words, whether you applied as a candidate or through self-referral or if the system identified the job opportunity for you).
  • You are usually informed about the opportunity to file a complaint at the end of the appointment process, when the Notification of Appointment or Proposed Appointment is posted on GC Jobs, which could be after your assessment.
  • The Notification of Appointment or Proposed Appointment explains the possible grounds for complaint as well as how to file a complaint.

The Board’s staffing complaint process is separate and distinct from the Public Service Commission’s process for requesting additional feedback.

If you have questions about the complaint process, contact your home human resources representative.

9.6 Communication

Effective communication is a key factor in a successful job search and gives hiring managers and human resources personnel a positive and professional impression of you.

To do:

  • reply to all emails, phone calls and other correspondence in a timely manner
  • promptly confirm your attendance for all assessments
  • respect the please respond by deadline in any correspondence, if applicable
  • always communicate in a professional tone and manner
  • do not write using abbreviations, text messaging format or slang, even if you might know the person you are contacting outside of the work environment
  • contact your home human resources representative or the Public Service Commission before replying if you encounter a problem

If you are unable to meet a deadline or attend an assessment:

  • reach out to the contact for the position to explain your situation as soon as possible
  • ask about rescheduling possibilities
  • follow all instructions if the deadline or assessment is rescheduled
  • notify the contact right away if you need accommodation during the assessment process

Missing a deadline or scheduled assessment can result in undesirable consequences, such as missing a job opportunity.

  • Depending on when you notified the contact of your unavailability, they might only accept certain valid or compelling reasons (such as a medical or family emergency) to reschedule you.
  • It is acceptable for the contact to ask for documentation to support the compelling reason, if available.
  • If you do not have a valid reason for missing a deadline or assessment, the hiring organization may not reschedule you, and might no longer consider you for the job.

However, this does not mean that you should go to or continue an assessment if you are unwell.

  • If you are not well enough to attend a scheduled assessment, communicate with the contact for the position as soon as possible and explain your situation.
  • If you are starting, or in the middle of an assessment, and feel unwell, advise the person conducting the assessment right away.
  • Contact your home human resources representative for more information on what to do in these types of situations.
  • This applies to opportunities to which you self-refer and opportunities the system identifies for you.

The email the system sends you asks you to respond to the hiring organization within a certain time frame to indicate your interest in their position.

  • Reply whether you are interested or not.
  • If you are interested, reply to the hiring organization to let them know. They will follow up with you to indicate a time frame for submitting your full application. If you are unable to send your information to the hiring organization on time, contact the hiring organization as soon as possible to explain your situation.
  • If you are not interested, explain why in your reply.

9.7 Accommodation in the assessment process

Accommodation is a process that seeks to remove possible barriers in the hiring process that prevent people from fully participating.

Accommodation is not a change in the nature or level of the requirements being assessed.

If you need accommodation:

  • inform the contact for the position about your accommodation needs as soon as possible
  • provide complete information about the nature and extent of your limitation(s) and/or your accommodation request
  • provide all information about past accommodations and how they may apply to the current request

Provide all information requested about your limitations and/or the reason behind your request for accommodation as soon as possible. Without this information, an appropriate accommodation cannot be determined.

Some examples of accommodation include:

  • receiving more time to complete a test due to medical reasons
  • being provided with a sign language interpreter during an interview
  • rescheduling an interview if it falls on a religious holiday
  • receiving information in alternative formats
  • being provided with reader services
  • being provided with technical support
  • being provided with attendant services

If you need accommodation during any stage of the hiring process, reach out to the contact for the position as soon as possible.

  • This applies to positions to which you self-refer, as well as those the system identifies for you.

If you have any questions about the accommodation process, contact your home human resources representative.

9.8 The expiration of your priority entitlement

When your priority entitlement expires, hiring organizations can no longer appoint you as a person with a priority entitlement, even if they are in the process of considering you for a job opportunity.

This means that:

  • if a hiring organization was considering you for a job opportunity because the system identified it for you, your consideration for the job opportunity will end
  • if you self-referred as a person with a priority entitlement to a non-advertised or archived job opportunity, your consideration for the job opportunity will end
  • if you self-referred to an internal advertised staffing process as a person with a priority entitlement, and you were not part of the area of selection, your consideration for the job opportunity will end

Keep organizations considering you for a job opportunity informed about the upcoming expiry of your priority entitlement period so that they can complete your assessment as soon as possible.

To be appointed (hired), a hiring manager with the proper authority must make an offer to appoint you to a position, and the offer must be formalized in writing with the signature of the appropriate manager and with your signature accepting the offer.

  • To be appointed as a person with a priority entitlement, you must sign your offer while your entitlement is still active.
    • Your start date for the position can be in the future, but everyone must sign the offer before your entitlement expires.
  • If this is your situation and your entitlement will soon expire, contact the hiring manager as they will need to send your offer for signature as soon as possible.

If your assessment is incomplete, the hiring manager may offer you a conditional offer of appointment.

  • A conditional offer of appointment is an offer of employment that is conditional on meeting certain merit criteria and/or conditions of appointment, within a specified period.
  • If you do not meet all of the conditions in the prescribed period, the offer becomes null and void.
  • A conditional offer of appointment is as binding as a non-conditional offer of appointment.
  • The hiring manager determines if a conditional offer of appointment is feasible in a particular situation.
  • To be a valid priority appointment, all essential merit criteria and conditions of employment must be met before the expiry of your priority entitlement period, and the letter of offer must also be signed by both parties. This is true even if the effective date of the appointment falls after the end of your entitlement period.

If your priority entitlement expires:

  • If you self-referred to a staffing process (internal or external) as a person with a priority entitlement before the advertisement’s closing date, and you meet the application criteria for the process, you can still be considered even after your entitlement expires.
    • Your consideration for that job opportunity will continue as a regular candidate from that point onward.

As a regular candidate:

  • You might need to meet additional requirements identified by the hiring manager, such as:
    • Asset qualifications for the work to be performed now or in the future
    • Current or future operational requirements
    • Current or future needs of the organization
  • The hiring organization will consider you in the same manner as other candidates.
    • For example, a manager could decide they need the person with the top mark for a certain qualification or could consider other factors in their hiring decision, which would apply to you as well.

Continuing in the process as a candidate means retaining the possibility of the hiring organization appointing you to the position. This is why proactive searches and self-referral during the active advertisement period are encouraged.

10. Support and resources

10.1 Support

If you have any questions or concerns about your priority entitlement, please contact your home human resources representative or the Public Service Commission.

If you have any questions or concerns about any part of the consideration process for a job opportunity, reach out to the contact for the staffing process.

  • If the issue is not resolved after your discussion, contact your home human resources representative and/or the Public Service Commission.

If you are a member of a bargaining unit, your representative might also be a source of information and support in certain situations.

Timeliness is essential. If there is a problem, we encourage you to address it right away. Waiting might mean that there could be fewer options available to help resolve the matter.

10.2 Public Service Commission: contact information

10.2.1 Priority entitlements consultants

Priority entitlements consultants are available to answer your questions about priority entitlements and the use of the Priority Portal. The consultants can help you with questions about the various sections of your profile and questions about your entitlement and the feedback process.

To contact a priority entitlements consultant:

National Capital Region: 819-420-6931
Toll-free: 1-855-235-3113
Email: cfp.ap-info-pa.psc@cfp-psc.gc.ca

10.2.2 Veterans advisors

Veterans advisors are public servants who held entitlements of medically released Canadian Armed Forces members. They specialize in providing guidance and advice about policies, practices and procedures related to priority entitlements, finding jobs in the public service and career management to Canadian Armed Forces members with a priority entitlement.

To contact a veterans advisor:

Email: CFP.AP-Demandes-PA-Inquiries.PSC@canada.ca

10.3 Resources

The resources section contains a list of websites with information to help you at any stage of your priority entitlement and job search.

10.4 Glossary

This glossary explains abbreviations and terms persons with a priority entitlement could encounter during their job search.

AgriDocs / RDIMS
Records, Documents Information Management System (the names of information management systems)
ATIP
Access to information and privacy
BAB/BAB, BBB/BBB, CBC/CBC (and similar variations)

These are not abbreviations; rather, they are the linguistic profiles of the job opportunities.

  • The letters indicate which level of English and French is required:
    • A is for beginner
    • B is for intermediate
    • C is for expert
  • The order of the letters represents a particular skill:
    • The first letter indicates reading comprehension
    • The second letter indicates written expression
    • The third letter indicates oral interaction
  • You may also see these written as CBC or ABB or BBC
CAF
Canadian Armed Forces
COE
Conditions of employment
COOP
Post-secondary co-op / internship program
DCSM
Director Casualty Support Management
DOR
Date of release (for Canadian Armed Forces members)
EA
External advertised
EE
Employment equity
ENA
External non-advertised
EWBD
Employee who becomes disabled
EX
Executive
FSWEP
Federal Student Work Experience Program
GC/GoC
Government of Canada
HR
Human resources
HRA
Human resources assistant or human resources advisor
HRC
Human resources consultant / coordinator
IA
Internal advertised
INA
Internal non-advertised
LOA
Leave of absence
LR / LBRel
Labour relations
Miramichi
This is a commonly used name for the public service’s pay centre as it is where the pay centre is located.
MPRR
Member Personnel Record Resume (for Canadian Armed Forces members)
MNET
Military Occupational Structure Identification Code / National Occupational Code Equivalency Tool
NAA
Notification of acting appointment
NAPA
Notification of appointment or proposed appointment
NCR
National Capital Region
NoC
Notification of consideration
Org
Organization
PIMS
Priority Information Management System
PPE
Person with a priority entitlement
PRI
Personal Record Identifier
PRN
Priority Reference Number
PS
Public service (Note: PS can also mean Public Safety Canada in certain contexts)
PSC
Public Service Commission
Priority hire
This is a commonly used term for priority entitlements, persons with a priority entitlements or a priority appointment.
PSEA
Public Service Employment Act
PSER
Public Service Employment Regulations
PSRS
Public Service Resourcing System, the former name for GC Jobs
RAF
Request for additional feedback
RCMP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
SLE
Second language evaluation
SoMC
Statement of merit criteria (former term for merit criteria)
VAC
Veterans Affairs Canada

For the names and acronyms of all federal organizations, refer to the resources section and the Eligibility for job opportunities in federal organizations list.

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