Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey Data Release: Supporting Documentation

If you have any questions, comments or specific feedback related to these datasets, please contact the Public Service Commission's Open Government Secretariat.

Background Information

About the Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey

The Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey (SNPS) was introduced in 2018 as a biennial public service-wide survey, replacing the Survey of Staffing (SOS) in light of changes brought about by the implementation of the New Direction in Staffing. The primary objective of the SNPS is to collect public servants’ perceptions of the federal staffing system, of the political impartiality of the public service, and their knowledge of their rights and obligations in engaging in political activities. Conducting the survey on a regular basis provides the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) and delegated departments with a clear view of areas for improvement, as well as what is working well.

The survey will provide vital information to managers, human resources advisors and deputy heads to improve staffing within their own organizations, and to the PSC on the staffing system as a whole. The information will also be used to support reporting to Parliament via the PSC's Annual Report.

The SNPS targets all departments and agencies under the Public Service Employment Act. Unlike the SOS, the SNPS includes organizations with less than 350 employees. The SNPS gathers information from a broader range of audiences - employees, hiring managers and staffing advisors - on key aspects of the staffing system (for example, merit). As in previous years, the survey also gathers critical information on employees’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities regarding political activities and non-partisanship. In 2021, questions were added regarding staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information gathered in the survey will be used to identify current and emerging trends at government-wide and organizational levels, to inform potential improvements to staffing policies and practices, and better target efforts to safeguard non-partisanship within the federal public service.

Data collection is administered in partnership with Statistics Canada.

Please visit the Public Service Commission’s 2021 Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey interactive visualisation tool to that makes use of the data in this collection.

This data release

This data release is comprised of the findings from the second cycle of the SNPS. Because the content of this survey is different from its predecessor (the Survey of Staffing), year-over-year comparisons are not always possible.

Data collection took place over a period of approximately 8 weeks - between March 16 and May 14, 2021. The survey targeted employees, hiring managers, and staffing advisors to gather their views on a wide range of staffing-related topics, including perceptions on the merit, fairness, and transparency of the staffing process, organizational staffing policies and practices, as well as political activities and non-partisanship.

Invitations to complete the survey were sent to 234,757 public servants across 75 departments and agencies subject to the Public Service Employment Act. A total of 75,440 employees completed the survey, representing an overall response rate of 34.2%.

The survey frame was made up of all in-scope employees that were on the November 2020 Public Services and Procurement Canada's incumbent file and employee lists provided by in-scope organizations that do not appear on the incumbent file.

Quality assurance

This data release has been subject to a comprehensive quality review, as per the guidelines published by Statistics Canada.

All SNPS questions require a minimum of 20 valid responses. Results are not shown when there is an insufficient number of valid responses.

Since the SNPS includes a number of branching and skip patterns targeting different groups of respondents, the number of questions each respondent is answering varies with the type of staffing process being reported. An example would be a hiring manager reporting they did not hire or attempt to hire an employee reporting to them, who would not answer questions concerning what processes they have used to hire.

Consequently, the number of valid responses per question may vary within the same organization.

Sampling and collection

This survey is a census with a repeated cross-sectional design. Responding to it was voluntary and the data was collected directly from the survey respondents. Each federal employee receiving a survey invitation (that is, a sampling unit) was contacted by email and invited to complete an electronic questionnaire.

Interpretation of survey results

The data presented in this report has been weighted to adjust for non-response and for respondents who did not want to share their data with the PSC. Therefore, the results can be generalized to the federal public service population in departments and agencies that are subject to the Public Service Employment Act.

Results are shown as counts and percentages for 2 categories of responses:

For all of the above, “don’t know”, “not applicable”, “not stated”, and “valid skip” responses are excluded except for select questions related to priority entitlement where “don’t know” is included.

Both the weighted number of responses and the weighted percentages for each of a question’s response values are given. The weighted number of respondents are rounded to the nearest whole number.

To protect the confidentiality of respondents, results are only provided for questions with at least 20 unweighted respondents. Residual suppression is applied to results where suppressed data can be derived.

Dataset Documentation

By department (including all departments) (CFPPSC_SNPS01)

By department and by Employment Equity Group: Women (CFPPSC_SNPS02)

By department and by Employment Equity Group: People with disabilities (CFPPSC_SNPS03)

By department and by Employment Equity Group: Visible minorities (CFPPSC_SNPS04)

By department and by Employment Equity Group: Indigenous peoples (CFPPSC_SNPS05)

By department and by First Official Language (CFPPSC_SNPS06)

By department and by Region (CFPPSC_SNPS07)

By department and by Occupational group (CFPPSC_SNPS08)

By department and by Age group (CFPPSC_SNPS09)

By department and by Years of Service (CFPPSC_SNPS10)

By department and by Tenure (CFPPSC_SNPS11)

Data Visualization Dataset (CFPPSC_SNPS12)

Response profile data (CFPPSC_SNPS13)

List of questions (CFPPSC_SNPS14)

List of departments (CFPPSC_SNPS15)

By department and by diploma (CFPPSC_SNPS16)


Attribute name Defined attribute name
agg_35_e Age group (English)
agg_35_f Age group (French)
Category_E Question category (English)
Category_F Question category (French)
ddis_fl_e Disability status (English)
ddis_fl_f Disability status (French)
Dept_E Federal government organization (Data Visualization) (English)
dept_e Federal government organization (English)
Dept_F Federal government organization (Data Visualization) (French)
dept_f Federal government organization (French)
Dept_number Federal government organization code number
Dept_size Size of federal government organization code number
Dept_size_E Size of federal government organization (English)
Dept_size_F Size of federal government organization (French)
ed_05_e Highest certificate, diploma or degree completed (English)
ed_05_f Highest certificate, diploma or degree completed (French)
fol_05_e First official language (English)
fol_05_f First official language (French)
gdr_10_e Gender (English)
gdr_10_f Gender (French)
iidflag_e Indigenous identity status (English)
iidflag_f Indigenous identity status (French)
lab_10_e Current employee status (ex: indeterminate) (English)
lab_10_f Current employee status (ex: indeterminate) (French)
Label_E Question label text (English)
Label_E_2021 Question label text (Data Visualization) (English)
Label_F Question label text (French)
Label_F_2021 Question label text (Data Visualization) (French)
N Number of respondents
occlevel_e Occupational group and level (English)
occlevel_f Occupational group and level (French)
Population_E Respondent population (Data Visualization) (English)
Population_F Respondent population (Data Visualization) (French)
question Question number - Variable format
Question_E Question text (English)
Question_E_2021 Question text (Data Visualization) (English)
Question_F Question text (French)
Question_F_2021 Question text Data (Data Visualization) (French)
question_q Question number - Survey format
question_value_e Response value (English)
question_value_f Response value (French)
region1_e Region of work (English)
region1_f Region of work (French)
Respondents_E Respondent population (Response profile data) (English)
Respondents_F Respondent population (Response profile data) (French)
shr_resp Percentage share
shr_w_resp Weighted percentage share
Shr_w_resp_2021 Weighted percentage share (Data Visualization)
Survey_year Year of the survey (Data Visualization)
Theme_E Question theme (English)
Theme_F Question theme (French)
total_respondents Number of respondents
total_w_resp Weighted number of respondents
Total_w_resp_2021 Weighted number of respondents (Data Visualization)
Variable_name_2021 Question number - Variable format (Data Visualization)
VISMINFL_e Visible minority status (English)
VISMINFL_f Visible minority status (French)
yrs_15_e Years of service in the federal public service (English)
yrs_15_f Years of service in the federal public service (French)
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