Horizontal Audit of Student Hiring under the Federal Student Work Experience Program
Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is the largest student program offering work opportunities in the federal public service to thousands of students across the country.
The PSC undertook the Horizontal Audit of Student Hiring under the FSWEP to determine if student hires were compliant with key requirements and to better understand practices and challenges related to the use of the program. The audit team reviewed a sample of 202 student hires, made between April 1st 2018 and March 31st 2019, in 14 organizations and conducted interviews with organizational representatives.
- The audit found that the FSWEP appointments examined were overall compliant with the program eligibility criteria established by Treasury Board Secretariat.
- Organizations indicated they found the FSWEP program challenging to use and its criteria insufficiently flexible, such as the inability to hire part-time students. They indicated that for this reason they sometimes prefer other hiring mechanisms, such as casual contracts.
- The results indicated that there was poor compliance on the requirement to develop a structured learning plan that sets out the learning goals for a student during their assignment.
- In nearly 40% of the appointments examined, organizations had not retained sufficient information to support their hiring decisions.
- In 8 student appointments from 5 of the organizations in the audit, there were indicators that the referral process may have been circumvented by the hiring managers to maximize the chances of specific students being referred to them.
Next steps and recommendations
- The PSC in collaboration with departments, will explore new approaches to optimize the use of FSWEP.
- The PSC will communicate the results of the audit to all deputy heads. The PSC expects deputy heads to ensure that decisions regarding student hiring are free of personal favoritism.
- The PSC Investigations Directorate will continue to conduct outreach activities within the HR community to help equip them with ways to prevent and detect the most frequent staffing irregularities such as errors, cheating, favoritism, and fraud.
- The PSC Investigations Directorate will also continue to receive and examine allegations of concerns relating to student hiring.
- The PSC will clarify what documentation is required to support student hiring decisions.
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