How to submit a request for investigation

Who can submit a request

Anyone can submit a request for investigation regarding irregularities in an appointment process or an allegation of improper political activities. For example, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has received requests from members of the public, federal public servants, human resources specialists, deputy heads, bargaining agents and anonymous sources. The PSC can also initiate investigations.

When to submit a request to the Public Service Commission of Canada

The PSC investigates internal and external appointment processes where:

  • fraud may have occurred
  • an appointment or proposed appointment may not have been free from political influence

It also investigates external appointment processes where:

  • an appointment or proposed appointment may not have been based on merit
  • there may have been an error, omission or improper conduct that affected the selection of the person appointed or proposed for appointment
    • this includes an error, an omission or improper conduct that results from a bias or barrier that disadvantages persons who belong to any equity-seeking group within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

It also investigates allegations of improper political activities by public servants.
If you believe that an error, an omission or improper conduct occurred in an internal appointment process, you may file a complaint to the deputy head of the department or agency concerned and request an investigation under subsection 15(3) of the Public Service Employment Act. The PSC can only investigate these allegations in internal processes upon request from the deputy head.


Only someone who is or has been a candidate in an election can submit an allegation under subsection 119(1) of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) regarding improper political activity of a deputy head.

Before submitting a request for investigation

Open and timely dialogue between candidates and hiring departments and agencies can, in some instances, address concerns about an appointment process. Here are some examples where someone may wish to contact the hiring department or agency (the contact person identified on the advertisement, the hiring manager, or the human resources branch) to obtain further information:

  • a candidate has not received any news about their candidacy
  • a candidate has a question pertaining to their results in an appointment process
  • a candidate or individual may have questions or concerns about an appointment process or appointment

There are circumstances where it may not be appropriate to discuss the matter with someone from the hiring department or agency. In these cases, individuals can always send a request to the PSC to examine a concern.

Even when an individual has already submitted a request to investigate, the concern raised can sometimes be resolved without conducting an investigation.

Submit a request for investigation to the Public Service Commission of Canada

Select, fill out and submit the online request form that corresponds to your situation:

You may submit your form online, or send it by:

  • Mail:
    Public Service Commission of Canada
    Oversight and Investigations Sector / Investigations Directorate / Jurisdiction Division
    22 Eddy Street
    Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M7

You have the right to request and obtain the accommodation measures you require to participate in the investigations process. If you require accommodation to submit your investigation request, please contact us at the coordinates above, or call us at 819-420-8924 or 1-844-533-9202 (toll free).

To learn more about the investigation process, view our interactive flow chart.

What happens after you’ve submitted a request

The PSC will send an acknowledgement of receipt of your request for investigation by email within 2 business days.

We will analyze your request to ensure the matter falls within our jurisdiction and, if so, will determine whether there are sufficient grounds for an investigation. A jurisdiction officer may contact you for more information. 

The decision to investigate is discretionary and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, the matter may be resolved informally, without an investigation, if the department or agency involved is willing and able to resolve it. A facilitated resolution may be appropriate when people or departments/agencies have concerns about an error or omission in an appointment process; however it may not be appropriate when there are concerns about improper conduct or fraud. Individuals cannot request facilitated resolution, as it is up to the PSC to determine whether it is appropriate for the matter to be resolved at this stage of the process.

Generally, once the review of your concerns is complete, you’ll receive a letter outlining the decision to investigate or close the file. If the issue involves another individual’s personal information, the decision whether to investigate may not be shared with you. 

We strive to inform you of our decision to investigate or close the file within 40 calendar days. Response time can be affected by the complexity of the case, delays in receiving additional information, and the volume of requests received at any given time. 

Request considered to be vexatious or not to have been made in good faith 

Even if an investigation request falls within its mandate, the Commission may use its discretion to decide not to investigate if it considers the request to be vexatious in nature or to not have been made in good faith. A request is considered to be vexatious or to not have been made in good faith in any of the following cases: 

  • it seeks to harass, harm, annoy, embarrass or cause discomfort to an individual, the Public Service Commission or other federal departments or agencies
  • it is filed for a purpose other than to report and correct an alleged breach of the provisions of:
  • it seeks to disrupt or discredit the Public Service Commission’s Investigations Directorate 
  • it has an inappropriate or dishonourable purpose

In determining whether an investigation request is considered to be vexatious or to not have been made in good faith, the Commission may consider:

  • the nature and scope of the request
  • the purpose of the request
  • the wording of the request
  • the behaviour of the individual and their interactions with the Investigations Directorate’s employees
  • the timing of the request in relation to other related events
  • the number of similar requests made by the same individual or in connection with the investigation request

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