Candidacy Request – Political Activities

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1. Requesting permission to be a candidate in an election

If you are an employee working for an organization subject to the political activities provisions of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), you must first receive permission from the PSC to seek nomination as, or be, a candidate before or during the election period.

You can make public your intention to be a candidate and undertake candidacy-related activities only after the PSC has granted you permission to do so.

For federal, provincial or territorial elections, you also need to request and obtain from the PSC a leave without pay (LWOP) for the election period in order to seek nomination as, or be, a candidate. You will cease to be an employee of the public service on the day you are elected.

For municipal elections, the PSC may make the permission conditional on your taking a LWOP or ceasing to be an employee. Otherwise, you may continue to work as a public servant while seeking nomination as, or being, a candidate or if elected.

The PSC will render a decision in writing within 30 days of receiving all the requested information. Employees who do not provide complete information may face the risk of a delay in obtaining a decision or the PSC may be unable to render a decision.

2. The Commission's permission

The Commission may grant permission only if it is satisfied that the employee's ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner will not be impaired or be perceived as being impaired.

The Commission may grant leave only if it is satisfied that being a candidate during the election period will not impair or be perceived as impairing the employee's ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner while being a candidate.

(See Candidacy in elections)

In making this decision, the Commission may take into consideration factors such as the nature of the election, the nature of the employee's duties in the organizational context, and the level and visibility of the employee's position.

If permission is granted, the employee must accept in writing and respect the conditions imposed by the Commission. Notice of the Commission's decision will be published in the Canada Gazette.

3. The Commission's authority to investigate

In accordance with the Political Activities Regulations, the Commission may investigate any allegation that an employee has engaged in improper political activities. If the Commission concludes that the allegation is substantiated, it may take any corrective action that it considers appropriate, up to and including dismissal.

The Commission may investigate any allegation made to it by a person who is or has been a candidate in an election that a deputy head has contravened section 117 of the PSEA. If it concludes that the allegation is substantiated, the Commission shall report its conclusion to the Governor in Council, which may dismiss the deputy head.

4. Contact information

For further information on requests for political candidacy requests or to obtain this fact sheet in an alternative format, please contact:

5. Procedure for requesting permission or leave for an election

Please select and complete the appropriate forms (municipal or federal, provincial and territorial). The completed form must be sent to both the PSC and the organization’s Designated Political Activities Representative. Detailed information is provided in the forms

The PSC will inform applicants of its decision, in writing, within 30 days of receiving all requested information. An incomplete form will create a delay in obtaining a decision, which may lead to the PSC not being able to make a decision before the candidate registration deadline.

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