Interpretation related to the allocation of work to the Economics and Social Science Services (EC) occupational group

Date:

To: Heads of Human Resources

There have been a number of requests for interpretation concerning the allocation of work to the Economics and Social Science Services group (EC).

As a result, the purpose of this bulletin is to:

  • Clarify the EC group definition relevant to the EC job evaluation standard; and
  • Provide a policy interpretation of the type of work that may be allocated to the EC group.

Application

Classification advisors and managers with classification authority sub-delegated to them by their deputy head are expected to comply with the information and direction contained in this bulletin and take corrective action as necessary.

This bulletin applies to departments and agencies in the core public administration and is effective .

EC group definition

The definition for the EC group is in three parts:

  • a general definition of work for the EC group;
  • a list of functions, called inclusions, which apply to this group; and
  • a list of functions, called exclusions, which do not apply to this group, but meet the definition of another group.

The primary purpose of the position must, at a minimum, meet one of the general statements and one of the inclusion statements of the EC group definition. The work must not be listed in the exclusion statements.

EC Work Streams

The EC group comprises two broad streams of work:

  1. economics, sociology and statistics; and
  2. social science services.

The nature of work performed within these two streams is distinct. A position is aligned to the applicable work stream within the EC group based on the primary purpose of the work determined within its organizational context and mandate. Further, the different streams of work have distinct educational and knowledge requirements as indicated in the Qualification Standards for the EC group. The minimum qualification standard for EC positions in the Economics, Sociology and Statistics work stream (Part A) is graduation with a degree from a recognized post-secondary institution with acceptable specialization in economics, sociology or statistics. The minimum qualification standard for EC positions in the Social Science Services work stream (Part B) is successful completion of two years of a post-secondary program with acceptable specialization in social science, statistics, library/archival work or a law-related field.

Primary purpose of the position and group allocation

There can be only one primary purpose or "raison d'être" for a position. The Guide to allocating positions using the occupational group definitions can be helpful in determining the primary purpose of the work including group allocation guidance.

1. Economics, Sociology and Statistics Work Stream

1.1 General Activities

Activities defined in the general definition for the EC group that apply to the economics, sociology and statistics stream are those that are primarily involved in:

  • the application of a comprehensive knowledge of economics, sociology or statistics to the conduct of economic, socio-economic and sociological research, studies, forecasts and surveys;
  • the research, analysis and evaluation of the economic or sociological effects of departmental or interdepartmental projects, programs and policies;
  • the development, application, analysis and evaluation of statistical and survey methods and systems; and/or
  • the development, analysis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative information and socio-economic policies and recommendations.Footnote 1

1.2 Types of work included in the EC group definition for the Economics, Sociology and Statistics Work Stream

These activities are further refined by the inclusion statements 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the EC group definition. They must be read in conjunction with the general definition and link to that work context. Positions have responsibility for one or more of the following activities:

Inclusion 5:
the application of a comprehensive knowledge of economics, sociology or statistics to economic, socio-economic or sociological studies, forecasts and surveys in a variety of subject areas in domestic and/or international settings;
Inclusion 6:
the application of a comprehensive knowledge of economics, sociology or statistics to the development, application and evaluation of statistical and survey methods and indicators for use in natural or social science research projects, or in the planning of surveys and censuses or in the determination of statistical measures and techniques for data analysis and reporting;
Inclusion 7:
the provision of advice in the fields of economics, sociology and statistics; and/or
Inclusion 8:
the leadership of any of the above activities.

1.3 Types of work excluded from the EC group definition for the Economics, Sociology and Statistics Work Stream

The following types of work are excluded from the Economics, Sociology and Statistics work stream of the EC group definition by the group definition exclusion statements:

Corporate/Business/Strategic and Program Planning

Corporate/Business/Strategic planning and program planning functions, which include risk and performance measurement activities, are examples of functions that are involved primarily in the planning, development, delivery or management of policies, programs, services or other activities directed to the public or to the Public Service. They are excluded from the EC group under exclusion statement #3. These activities meet inclusion statement #2 of the PA group definition and map to the Administrative Services (AS) and Program Management (PM) classifications respectively.

Program Administration

The Program Administration job evaluation standard lists socio-economics and statistics, including accounting and informatics, as examples of areas of "Specialized /Technical Knowledge" under the Knowledge factor. This knowledge pertains to knowledge of the concepts and methodologies of the specialized/technical occupation, in combination with program related knowledge, in order to plan, develop, deliver or manage government policies, programs, services or other activities directed to the public. This meets inclusion #2 of the Program and Administrative Services (PA) group definition and maps to the PM classification. Exclusion #3 of the EC group definition would apply.

Information Services/Communications

Positions involved primarily in the explanation, promotion and publication of federal government programs, policies and services are excluded from the EC group under exclusion statement #4. Such activities are allocated to the Program and Administrative Services group (PA) and map to the Information Services (IS) classification under inclusion statement #11 of the PA group definition.

Mathematics

Where the primary purpose of a position involves the application of a comprehensive knowledge of mathematics to the development or application of mathematical and analytical methods, including those of mathematical statistics, exclusion #5 of the EC group definition applies. Such positions are allocated to the Research group (RE) and map to the Mathematics (MA) classification under inclusion statement #5 of the RE group definition.

Economic Development

Positions involved primarily in the planning, development and management of economic development policies, programs and services and other activities designed to promote the establishment, growth and improvement of industry, commerce and export trade and the regulation of trade and commerce are excluded from the EC group under exclusion statement #6. Such activities are allocated to the Audit, Commerce and Purchasing group (AV) and map to the Commerce (CO) classification under inclusion statement #2 of the AV group definition.

1.4 Examples of Work found in the Economics, Sociology and Statistics Work Stream

Based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) assignments in the Position Classification Information System (PCIS), the majority of positions in this EC work stream are coded: Economists and Economic Policy Researchers and Analysts - 4162; Social Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers – 4164; Health Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers - 4165; and Statisticians – 2161.

2. Social Science Services Work Stream

2.1 General Activities

Activities defined in the general definition that apply to the social science services work stream are those that are primarily involved in:

  • the conduct of surveys, studies and projects in the social sciences;
  • the identification, description and organization of archival, library, museum and gallery materials;
  • the editing of legislation or the provision of advice on legal problems in specific fields.

2.2 Types of work included in the EC group definition for the Social Science Services Work Stream

These activities are further refined by inclusion statements #1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 that map to the social science services stream. They must be read in conjunction with the general group definition and link to that work context. Positions have responsibility for one or more of the following activities:

Inclusion 1:
the conduct of surveys, studies, projects and tests requiring a practical knowledge of a specialized field such as economics, history, law or psychology and requiring the development of specialized techniques and procedures, or the development and use of related processing applications, or the interpretation of findings;
Inclusion 2:
the identification, description, classification, organization and location of archival, gallery, library or museum materials; or the creation, manipulation, verification, analysis and transmission of descriptive records pertaining to such materials, both of with require a practical knowledge of the subject matter;
Inclusion 3:
the editing of legislation or the conduct of studies in matters such as land conveyancing, expropriation, litigation and labour relations requiring a practical knowledge of the specific legal area to interpret findings or prepare submissions;
Inclusion 4:
the application of a practical knowledge of a specialized field such as economics, history, law or psychology to the use and modification or adaptation of computer systems, utilities or software; and/or
Inclusion 8:
the leadership of any of the above activities.

2.3 Types of work excluded from the EC group definition for the Social Science Services Work Stream

The following types of work are excluded from the Social Science Services work stream of the EC group definition by the EC group definition exclusion statements:

Data Processing
Positions involved primarily in the operation, scheduling or controlling of the operations of electronic equipment used in the processing of data for the purpose of reporting, storing, extracting and comparing information or for solving formulated problems according to prescribed plans are excluded from the EC group under exclusion #1. Such activities are allocated to the PA group and map to the Data Processing (DA) classification under inclusion 1(a) of the PA group definition.
Clerical and Regulatory
Positions involved primarily in the collecting, recording, arranging, transmitting and processing of information, the filing and distribution of information holdings, and the direct application of rules and regulations are excluded from the EC group under exclusion #2. Such activities are allocated to the PA group and map to the Clerical and Regulatory (CR) classification under inclusion 1(d) of the PA group definition.

2.4 Examples of Work in the Social Science Services Work Stream

Based on NOC assignments in the Position Classification Information System (PCIS), the majority of positions in this EC work stream are coded: Statistical Officers and Related Research Support Occupations - 1254; Library and Public Archive technicians - 5211; and Paralegal and related occupations - 4211.

3. Other considerations

Careful consideration is required before allocating the following functions to the EC occupational group:

3.1 Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis

Many positions require some research and analysis using qualitative and quantitative information; however, careful consideration of the nature and purpose of the information and the work context within which this analysis is performed is required.

For allocation to the EC group, the analysis of qualitative and quantitative information must be for the development, analysis and interpretation of socio-economic policy and/or to conduct socio-economic or statistical research as a basis for the development of such policies. Further, this analysis requires the application of a comprehensive knowledge of economics, sociology or statistics.

3.2 Policy Development

Policy development is an activity specified in inclusion statements in numerous occupational group definitions. Allocation depends on the primary purpose of the work which in turn links back to the organizational context of the position and its mandate. For example, policy development work can be found in the context of such occupational groups as: Foreign Service (FS classification), Program and Administrative Services (AS and PM classifications), Audit, Commerce and Purchasing CO and PG classifications), Human Resources Management (PE classification), and Financial Management (FI classification).

For allocation to the EC group, policy development activities require the application of a comprehensive knowledge of economics, sociology or statistics for the development of socio-economic policy.

3.3 Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation functions, defined and mandated by the Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Evaluation, are located in the Evaluation Directorate of a department, which normally reports to the deputy head. Evaluation plays a key role in supporting government commitments for ensuring the value for money of its programs and is led by federal department and agency deputy heads. It supports policy and program improvement, expenditure management, proposals to Cabinet and public reporting.

Evaluation, as described in the Policy on Evaluation, is "the systematic collection and analysis of evidence on the outcomes of programs to make judgements about their relevance, performance and alternative ways to deliver them or to achieve the same results."

Positions that have as their primary purpose the research, analysis and evaluation of the economic or sociological effects of departmental or interdepartmental projects, programs and policies are allocated to the EC group as meeting the general group definition and inclusion statement #5 of the EC group definition.

Careful consideration of the primary purpose of the work should be given to hybrid situations for positions where evaluation and internal audit work is combined in job descriptions within departmental Audit and Evaluation organizations. Comprehensive internal audit work is allocated to the PA group per inclusion #6 of the PA group definition and classified with the AS job evaluation standard.

Inquiries

All questions pertaining to this interpretation bulletin should be directed to your Departmental Corporate Classification, who, if required, will direct their questions to the Workforce Organization and Classification Group at the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Manon Brassard
Assistant Deputy Minister
Compensation and Labour Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

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