Part II, chapter 10: Surviving spouse or common-law partner

10.1 Legal basis

PSER, paragraph 8.1(1)

8.1 (1) If the death of any of the following persons is attributable to the performance of duties, their spouse or common-law partner is entitled to appointment in priority to all persons, other than those referred to in sections 39.1 and 40 and sub-sections 41(1) and (4) of the Act, to any position in the public service in an advertised external appointment process for which the Commission is satisfied that the spouse or common-law partner meets the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Act:

  1. an employee;
  2. a member of the regular force, reserve force or special force;
  3. a member, within the meaning of sub-section 2(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
  4. a member of the Reserve of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
  5. and (f) [Repealed, SOR/2015-115, s. 6]

Conditions

(2) The priority applies if the spouse or common-law partner:

  1. is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. makes a request within two years of qualifying for compensation.

Death prior to these Regulations

(3) If the death of the persons referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (f) is attributable to the performance of duties and occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on the coming into force of this section, their spouse or common-law partner is entitled to appointment in priority to all persons, other than those referred to in sections 39.1 and 40 and sub-sections 41(1) and (4) of the Act, to a position in the public service in an advertised external appointment process, for which the Commission is satisfied that the spouse or common-law partner meets the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Act if the spouse or common-law partner:

  1. is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. makes a request within two years of the latter of:
    1. the coming into force of this section, or
    2. the spouse’s or common-law partner’s having qualified for compensation.

Entitlement period

(4) The entitlement period for appointment in priority referred to in subsections (1) and (3) begins on the day on which the request is made and ends on the earliest of:

  1. the day that is two years after the day on which the request is made;
  2. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; and
  3. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner refuses an appointment for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

10.2 Application

The priority entitlement applies to surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees whose organizations are subject to the PSEA or who were members in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and whose death is attributable to the performance of duties, as outlined in PSER 8.1(1).

For the purpose of this priority entitlement, a death is deemed to be attributable to the performance of duties if the spouse or common-law partner qualifies for compensation as a result of the death of that person, under a federally or provincially legislated plan, such as the Government Employees Compensation Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act or the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act.

10.3 The entitlement

Unlike the other priority entitlements, this priority entitlement applies to advertised external appointment processes only.

Persons holding this priority entitlement are entitled to be appointed in priority to all other persons, except those with a statutory priority entitlement, to any term or indeterminate position in the public service for which they meet the essential qualifications, referred to in PSEA 30(2)(a). There are no restrictions with respect to the group and level or location of the position to which an appointment may be made pursuant to this entitlement, as long as the person meets the essential qualifications.

There is no specified order of appointment with respect to persons holding regulatory priority entitlements.

10.4 Conditions of eligibility

In order to qualify for this priority entitlement, the surviving spouse or common-law partner must:

  1. Not be employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made.
  2. Qualify under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties.
  3. Make a request within two years of qualifying for compensation.

10.5 Retrospective provision

If the death of the persons referred to in paragraphs (1) a) to f) described under 8.1 above is attributable to the performance of duties and occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010, their surviving spouse or common-law partner is entitled to be appointed in priority to all other persons, except statutory priorities, in advertised external appointment processes, to any term or indeterminate position in the public service for which they meet the essential qualifications, referred to in PSEAparagraph 30(2)(a), if they meet the following conditions:

  1. The surviving spouse or common-law partner is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made.
  2. The surviving spouse or common-law partner qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties.
  3. The surviving spouse or common-law partner makes a request within two years of the latter of:
    1. the coming into force of this section, or
    2. the surviving spouse’s or common-law partner’s having qualified for compensation as outlined in PSER 8.1(1).

The date of October 7, 2001 corresponds to the date on which Canada initiated military actions in Afghanistan.

10.6 Duration of the entitlement

The priority entitlement period begins on the day on which the request is made and ends on the earliest of:

  1. the day that is two years after the day on which the request is made; or
  2. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; or
  3. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner refuses an appointment for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

Note:

The start dates and durations of the various priority entitlements are set by the PSEA and/or PSER and cannot be altered. The Priority Information Management System (PIMS) will only begin notifying persons with a priority entitlement once they are registered. Late registration will reduce the period PIMS identifies job opportunities and may result in lost opportunities for the person.

10.7 Procedures for the determination of classification on registration (occupational group/level)

The person with a priority entitlement is to be shown as SS 00 on the PIMS on-line Registration Form. This code indicates that the person is not an employee in the public service. In the event that the person with a priority entitlement is employed for a specified period (term) or has previously occupied a position in the public service on a term or casual basis, the group and level may serve as an indication for recommended groups and levels.

10.8 Appointment to a lower-level position

The concept of lower-level (or higher-level) appointments does not apply to this priority entitlement. Appointments of these persons with a priority entitlement cannot result in eligibility for the reinstatement priority entitlement.

10.9 Documents required by the Public Service Commission to support registration

Death of employees of the public service

Retrospective period (death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010)

Only the Public Service Commission registers the surviving spouses or common-law partners in cases of employees of the public service whose death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010.

The surviving spouse or common-law partner must provide the Public Service Commission with:

  1. The Priority Information Management System on-line Registration Form
  2. Signed copy of the Privacy Consent Form for Persons with a Priority Entitlement if the organization has completed a full registration
  3. A copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that he or she as the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death

Note:

All supporting documents to be  provided to the PSC Priority Entitlements Consultant as soon as possible but no  later than 10 working days following registration.

Death of members of the Canadian Armed Forces and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of their members and provide the Public Service Commission with:

  1. The Priority Information Management System on-line Registration Form (keep in the organization’s file)
  2. Signed copy of the Privacy Consent Form for Persons with a Priority Entitlement if the organization has completed a full registration
  3. A copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death

Note:

All supporting documents to be  provided to the PSC Priority Entitlements Consultant as soon as possible but no  later than 10 working days following registration.

Death of employees of the public service and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after May 12, 2010

Respective organizations must register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of these persons and provide the Public Service Commission with:

  1. The Priority Information Management System electronic on-line Registration Form (keep in the organization’s file)
  2. Signed copy of the Privacy Consent Form for Persons with a Priority Entitlement if the organization has completed a full registration
  3. A copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death. For cases involving the death of a Canadian Armed Forces member, provide a copy of the letter from the Directorate of Casualty Support ManagementFootnote 1, specifying the date of death of the Canadian Armed Forces member and the spouse or common-law partner's entitlement to compensation under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act

Note:

All supporting documents to be  provided to the PSC Priority Entitlements Consultant Advisor as soon as  possible but no later than 10 working days following registration.

10.10 Supporting tools

The PSC has developed the following tools, which organizations may wish to adapt to their needs for the implementation of the priority entitlement, including the registration of persons who may be interested in benefitting from it:

For the surviving spouse or common-law partner

10.11 Considerations for effective administration

Organizations should exercise due consideration of the circumstances of these persons and ensure appropriate sensitivity on the part of hiring managers and human resources (HR) staff.

These persons with a priority entitlement may not be familiar with the staffing processes, procedures, assessment methods and terminology used by organizations subject to the PSEA. The PSC expects organizations will take the time to ensure that the person with a priority entitlement understands all aspects of appointment processes in the public service, answer any questions they may have about the position and explain how their assessment will be conducted.

10.12 Travel and relocation costs

Footnotes

Travel and relocation costs are the responsibility of the Employer. All questions concerning travel and relocation should be directed to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS).

The responsibility for travel and relocation costs incurred while considering or appointing person with a priority entitlements varies according to the situation. Typically, the responsibility for payment and the amounts payable are negotiated between the hiring organization and the person with a surviving spouse or common-law partner priority entitlement.

Persons with this priority entitlement are encouraged to speak to their deceased spouse’s organization's HR staff for advice on eligibility for travel or relocation expenses.

For further information, consult the National Joint Council (NJC) Travel Directive and Relocation Directive.

These Directives are the responsibility of the Employer and all questions concerning their application and interpretation should be directed to TBS.

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