Other Political Activities
Non-Candidacy Political Activities
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides all Canadians with “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression” and “freedom of association.” These rights are “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
- Employees’ right to engage in political activities at the federal, provincial, territorial or municipal level is recognized in the Public Service Employment Act, states that “An employee may engage in any political activity so long as it does not impair, or is not perceived as impairing, the employee’s ability to perform his or her duties in a politically impartial manner.”
- Employees do not need permission from the Public Service Commission to engage in non-candidacy political activities.
- Deputy heads shall not engage in any political activities other than voting in an election.
Examples of Non-Candidacy Activities
In addition to voting in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election, the following political activities may be conducted outside office hours, subject to certain conditions:
- volunteering or fundraising for a candidate or a political party;
- displaying political material such as a picture, sticker or button or placing a sign on the lawn in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate or a political party;
- attending events, meetings, conventions or other political gatherings in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate or a political party;
- developing promotional material such as campaign speeches, slogans and pamphlets for a candidate or a political party;
- using blogs, social networking sites or a personal website or video sharing to express personal views in support of, or in opposition to, a candidate or a political party.
Note: It is important to determine whether the political activities would be seen as impairing the employee’s ability to perform his or her duties in a politically impartial manner. To do so, please use the Self-Assessment Tool to determine the risks of engaging in non-candidacy political activities. When in doubt, please consult your manager or your organization’s Designated Political Activities Representative.
Make an informed decision!
Thinking of supporting or opposing a political candidate or party by engaging in a political activity such as described above? As a federal public service employee, you have the right to participate in these types of political activities. However, this right must be balanced with your responsibility to maintain the political impartiality of the public service.
Here are simple steps to help you make an informed decision:
- the nature of your duties
- the level and visibility of your position
- the nature of the political activity
- your personal or professional visibility in your community
- your manager
- your designated political activities representative
- the Public Service Commission of Canada
3. Get informed
Remember! Upholding the non-partisan nature of the public service is the responsibility of every employee!
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