Canada will . . . continue to gain from a public service that strives for excellence, that is representative of Canada's diversity and that is able to serve the public with integrity and in their official language of choice;
The public service, whose members are drawn from across the country, reflects a myriad of backgrounds, skills and professions that are a unique resource for Canada.
Building tomorrow's public service today: Modern, impartial and fair
To promote and safeguard a
non-partisan, merit-based and representative public service that serves all Canadians
Message from the Commissioners
We have the honour to present the 2015-2016 Annual Report of the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC).
Read the full message from the Commissioners…
The PSC is unique among federal organizations. We report independently to Parliament on the health and integrity of the staffing system and non-partisanship of the public service. We are also part of the Executive and an important partner in people management within the Government of Canada. Fulfilling these roles provides us with a distinct perspective and shapes the way we influence the public service staffing system.
As noted in our last Annual Report, we continue to see that the overall staffing system is functioning effectively and continues to improve over time and that deputy heads and their organizations effectively manage their respective staffing systems.
We also see a pressing need for the staffing system to be more responsive to a complex and rapidly changing environment. In this context, we undertook to work collaboratively with organizations to better understand the emerging and practical realities of staffing in order to meet the current and future needs of departments and agencies.
On , these forces culminated in the introduction of the New Direction in Staffing, the most ambitious change to the staffing system since the Public Service Modernization Act was enacted more than a decade ago.
The stage has been set for shifting the staffing culture in government. We streamlined our policies and established a strengthened oversight model framed on shared accountability and commitment to the ongoing improvement of the staffing system.
In so doing, we have positioned those to whom we delegate the authority for staffing to take ownership of staffing, customized to their organizational context and to think through what this responsibility means within their organization. These changes also encourage sub-delegated hiring managers to apply their judgment and discretion when staffing, in keeping with their ultimate accountability for the decisions they make and for human resources professionals to be strategic partners in the hiring process.
This modernization of our approach does not mean we have lost sight of the core responsibilities that Parliament entrusted to us more than 100 years ago. Rather, these changes will strengthen our ability to achieve our mandate — to promote and safeguard non-partisanship and merit-based appointments in the federal public service. This is especially important in a changing environment and for a public service which is itself changing and evolving to better serve Canadians.
This has been a pivotal and exciting year for the PSC. In some ways, the document you are now reading also signifies a new era for the PSC. The move to Open Government, including access to open data, has provided us with an opportunity to communicate with you in a more strategic yet comprehensive manner. We welcome your feedback on the format and content of this year's Annual Report.
We look forward to reporting on our progress next year as we move forward on public service renewal, in partnership with those responsible for other areas of people management, to take the New Direction in Staffing from policy to practice.
Dynamics of the Staffing System
View infographics on the dynamics of the staffing system…
Long description of Infographic: Overall public service hiring in 2015-2016
PSEA Population as of
Percentage of population
Year-over-year change (%)
Employment for an indefinite duration.
Employment for a fixed duration.
Employment for a maximum duration of 90 days per calendar year in a given organization.
Employment through one of the Student Employment Programs.
Hiring and Population by Region in 2015-2016
Ontario (except NCR)
National Capital Region (NCR)
Quebec (except NCR)
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Hiring By Tenure and Fiscal Year
Hiring continues to increase while the PSEA population remains stable.
Top 5 Occupational Groups (and EX) by Hiring Activities in 2015 2016
% of all indeterminate and term hiring
CR — Clerical and Regulatory
PM — Program Administration
AS — Administrative Services
EC — Economics and Social Science Services
GL — General Labour and Trades
EX — Executive
Top 5 Hiring Organizations — Indeterminate and Term Hiring Activities in 2015-2016
Number of indeterminate and term hiring activities
% of all indeterminate and term hiring
Indeterminate and Term Population
Employment and Social Development Canada
Department of National Defence (Public service employees)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Hiring activities refers to indeterminate and term appointments to the public service, the hiring of casuals as per subsection 50(1) of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and the hiring of students under the Student Employment Programs Participants Exclusion Approval Order.
The PSEA population includes active employees in departments and agencies under the exclusive appointment authority of the PSC (employees of departments and agencies named in Schedule I, most of the agencies in Schedule IV and some agencies in Schedule V to the Financial Administration Act). This does not include separate agencies such as the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Parks Canada.
In 2015-2016, due to the implementation of the new pay system, 1 350 hiring activity records and 1 973 population records were missing a regional indicator and are labelled as 'Unknown.'
Top Five Occupational Group hires are based on the total number of indeterminate and term hires for 2015-2016.
Long description of Infographic: How did people join the public service?
Applications to the Public Service by Mechanism/Program in 2015-2016
Number of Applications
Year-over-year change (%)
Student Recruitment Programs (FSWEP/RAP)
Graduate Recruitment Programs (PSR/RPL)
There were 2 712 advertisements open to the public, up 27.3% from 2015-2016. 270 343 people applied to these advertisements. These people may have applied to more than one advertisement. Note that a single advertisement can lead to multiple hires.
Hiring into the Public Service by Tenure in 2015-2016
Year-over-year change (%)
Total Hiring Activities into the Public Service in 2015-2016: 45 965 (up 12.0%)
Hiring into the Public Service by Mechanism/Program in 2015-2016
Student Recruitment Programs
Graduate Recruitment Programs
The Federal Student Work Experience Program provides summer and part-time jobs for full-time secondary school, CEGEP, college, technical institute and university students
The CO-OP/Internship Program provides practical work experience for postsecondary students enrolled in a Co-op or Internship program approved by the PSC
The Research Affiliate Program provides work experience for postsecondary students to help develop specific knowledge with actual ongoing research operations in the federal public service
Recruitment of Policy Leaders
Year-over-year change in Hiring into the Public Service by Mechanism/Program in 2015-2016
Year-over-year change (%)
Student Recruitment Programs
Graduate Recruitment Programs
Some of these people who were hired this year applied in previous years and some that applied this year may be hired to the public service in future years.
Student Recruitment Program hiring includes initial hires and extensions of employment with a break in service as well as hires occurring prior to an advertisement being cancelled (for RAP and CO-OP).
The figures shown here for the Graduate Recruitment Programs include external term and indeterminate hiring only. The RPL and PSR programs are also used to make appointments within the public service (including non-PSEA federal government organizations, which are not represented here).
Hiring of former students refers to the use of the student bridging mechanism to make an indeterminate or term appointment of an individual who had been employed through a Student Recruitment Program.
In previous years, the PSC reported FSWEP applications by campaign (October to October). To be consistent with other reports, the PSC is now reporting FSWEP applications by fiscal year. Due to this, 2015-2016 FSWEP applications to the public service are no longer comparable to numbers published in previous PSC Annual Reports.
Long description of Infographic: Who is applying and who is being hired?
Average Age of Hires in 2015-2016
Average Age: 34 — of all persons hired (indeterminate, term, student, and casual) in 2015-2016. This has remained relatively stable for the last 25 years.
Percentage of Indeterminate and of Term hires under the age of 35, by fiscal year
% of Indeterminate hires between the ages of 20 and 34
% of Term hires between the ages of 20 and 34
Over 50% of both term and indeterminate hires to the public service were under the ages of 35 in each of the last 5 years. According to the 2015 Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, 34.1% of the labour force is between the ages of 20–34.
Proportion of applicants to the public service by home region in 2015-2016
Number of applicants
Percentage of applicants
Ontario (except NCR)
National Capital Region (NCR)
Quebec (except NCR)
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
Roughly 25% of NCR hires are from other regions.
Quick Fact: The National Capital Region (NCR) covers 4,700 square kilometres surrounding Ottawa and Gatineau. It includes many neighbouring urban and rural communities.
As in previous years, the majority of applicants to the public service in 2015-2016 were located in Ontario, Quebec, and the NCR.
Roughly 25% of NCR hires are from applicants who reported a home region other than the NCR in their application. This percentage has increased over the past four years (2014-2015 — 22%; 2013-2014 — 21%; 2012-2013 — 19%).
Average age of hires by tenure includes the ages of all individuals hired by tenure. If an individual was hired more than one time in 2015-2016, that person would only be counted once.
Long description of Infographic: Official Languages and Employment Equity
Linguistic Requirements of the Position for Term and Indeterminate Hires in 2015-2016
Percentage of Positions
English or French
63.0% of all hires in bilingual positions in 2015-2016 occurred in the National Capital Region.
Did you know? For the last 5 years, approximately 43% of public service positions were bilingual.
Exclusion to language requirements
The vast majority of employees meet the language requirements of their bilingual position within the established time limit from a non-imperative appointment. There were only five non-compliant cases in 2015-2016.
First Official Language of Applicants to the Public Service in 2015-2016
First Official Language
Percentage of Applicants to the Public Service
Applicant and Hiring Rates of Employment Equity Designated Groups, by fiscal year
Employment Equity Designated Group
2011 Workforce Availability
Members of visible minorities
Persons with disabilities
Linguistic Requirements and First Official Languages: Percent distributions are based on cases where language requirements of the position are known (97.3% of all hiring activities).
The percentage of public service positions that were bilingual is provided by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS).
Employment Equity (EE): Applicant percentages are based on applicants to advertised processes who self-declared through the Public Service Resourcing System. The 2011 workforce availability for the public service was provided by TBS. Applicant data for women cannot be reported due to a change in data capture.
The hiring figures for these three EE designated groups are extracted from the TBS EE Data Bank where a match was found in the PSC hiring and staffing activities file covering the fiscal year. These include appointments as a result of both external advertised and non-advertised processes. They exclude appointments to separate agencies and term appointments of less than three months.
With the implementation of the new pay system, EE hiring data for 2015-2016 is not currently available and will be published at a later date.
Long description of Infographic: What happens once people join the public service?
7.4% Promotion Rate. In 2015-2016, there were 13 496 promotions, up 21.9% from the previous year.
3 227 term employees became indeterminate in 2015-2016.
88% of new indeterminate executive hires were already in the Public Service.
10.5% lateral movement rate. There are opportunities for employees to change jobs at the same level. In 2015-2016, there were 19 219 lateral movements.
8.5% acting appointment rate. In 2015-2016, there were 15 576 acting appointments, up 9.2% from the previous year.
Who is eligible to retire?
Percentage of population eligible to retire
Within the next 5 years
47 113 public servants are eligible to retire within the next 5 years.
Priority entitlements come first: managers must consider hiring a qualified person with a priority entitlement before all others. There were 787 appointments (up 12%) of individuals with a priority entitlement in 2015-2016 and 1 846 active entitlements of as .
Did you know? The PSC currently manages 11 types of priority entitlements to help eligible employees who are managing transitions in life and employment.
With the new Veteran's Hiring Act that came into force on , qualified veterans who were medically released for reasons attributable to service are now the first to be considered in any appointment process.
Active Priority Entitlements, as of
Active Priority Entitlements
Medically released CAF (attributable to service)
Leave of absence
Relocation of spouse
Reinstatement to higher level
Surviving Spouse or Common law Partner
Medically released CAF not attributable to service
RCMP medically discharged
Internal Movement: The numbers for promotions, lateral movements and acting appointments include indeterminate and term employees. Rates are calculated by dividing the number of staffing activities by the average term and indeterminate population at the start and the end of the fiscal year.
Acting appointments exclude acting appointments of less than four months.
Non-partisanship is a cornerstone of an independent, professional public service and of the Westminster model of government. It is central to the PSC's mandate and helps to ensure continuity of knowledge and the integrity of the relationship between the government of the day and those who advise them and carry out their decisions.
Read more about how we're protecting non-partisanship…
The introduction of the merit system more than 100 years ago formed the foundation for a competent, professional, non-partisan federal public service. Merit-based appointments continue to play an essential role not only by protecting against political patronage, but also by ensuring that employees are hired, and can advance, based on their abilities rather than on favouritism or political influence.
Public servants have a responsibility to ensure that policy and operational matters are not influenced by their personal political affiliations. Adhering to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector is a condition of employment for all federal public sector employees. It requires, among other things, that public servants carry out their duties in an impartial manner, helping to ensure Canadians have confidence in their public service.
"Canadians can count on public servants to remain true to our tradition as a non-partisan, professional public service, continually working in the public interest, ensuring sound stewardship and delivering results."
The PSC administers the political activities regime set out in the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) by:
Providing guidance to public servants on their participation in political activities;
Granting permission for candidacy in elections; and
Investigating allegations of improper political activities and taking corrective action, when needed.
However, we are not alone in safeguarding the non-partisanship of the public service — each public servant shares this responsibility.
2015 Federal Election
The 2015 election was the first fixed-date federal election since they were introduced in 2007. At 78 days, its campaign period was also Canada's longest since 1872.
Leading up to the election, public servants interested in running for office or who wanted to engage politically sought information about their rights and responsibilities related to participating in political activities.
Over a four-year period, 46 employees, more than double the number of employees from each of the two previous elections, sought candidacy permission from the PSC. We received the first request more than 34 months before the start of the election.
Before granting permission to become a candidate, the PSC must be satisfied that an employee's ability to perform his or her duties in a politically impartial manner will not be impaired, or be seen to be impaired. Each candidacy request is examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors including the:
Nature of the election;
Nature of the employee's specific duties within the context of their organization; and
Level and visibility of the employee's position.
2015 Federal Election Candidacy Requests
40th General Election
41st General Election
42nd General Election
Employees who requested permission
Employees registered as candidates with Elections Canada
Of those employees who received permission, 17 registered as candidates and two were elected. To mitigate the risks to political impartiality, given the increased visibility and recognition that would be associated with seeking candidacy at the federal level, the PSC imposed conditions on permission for these public servants. Conditions included periods of leave of absence without pay or having the employee assume modified duties if not elected. The PSC denied permission for three public servants, where the risks to political impartiality could not be adequately addressed.
2015-2016 Candidacy Requests
Relatively few elections were held in Canada in 2015-2016 due to the cyclical nature of elections. As a result, we received fewer candidacy requests in comparison to other years, with most relating to the federal election.
2015-2016 Candidacy Requests
Number of requests
Number of elections
Employment Eligibility of Former Ministerial Staff
Following the federal election, we received 98 requests from former ministerial staff to confirm their eligibility to apply for jobs open to public servants.
The PSEA allows former ministerial staff to apply for jobs open to federal public servants for a period of one year after their employment in the Minister's office ends. To be eligible, they must have worked as ministerial staff for at least three consecutive years and have ceased to be employed in that capacity.
The 92 individuals deemed eligible were provided with:
Electronic access to internal federal job postings;
Information about the federal hiring process; and
Information about their rights and responsibilities related to engaging in political activities should they become federal employees.
Targeting Employee Awareness
Our engagement with public servants indicated that, in general, they have a strong appreciation of the importance of non-partisanship. They also understand and recognize the importance of a sound and objective analysis to determine whether seeking nomination or becoming a candidate for a political party would impair, or be perceived as impairing, their ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner.
Today's communications landscape is also influencing employee engagement in political activities. Public servants continued to seek advice in relation to political activities, particularly on their use of social media given its potential to blur the lines between their professional and private lives.
To respond to this changing environment, we have augmented our Suite of Political Activities Tools to help public servants assess their specific circumstances and make informed decisions about whether the activities they are considering would respect the principle of political impartiality in the public service.
We also focused on raising awareness among employees newer to the public service. The PSC's Survey of Staffing data on political activities had shown that this group of employees was less aware of their rights and responsibilities and more likely to participate in political activities. We drew on the PSC's network of young professionals for valuable insight on how to communicate with this target group more effectively, including by reaching out via social media during the federal election, to raise awareness and share information.
Long Description of Employee Awareness Related to Political Acitivities and Participation Rate in Political Activities by Tenure
Employee Awareness Related to Political Acitivities and Participation Rate in Political Activities by Tenure
< 1 year
1 to < 3 years
3 to < 10 years
10 to < 20 years
> 20 years
Together with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer and other departments and agencies, we explored the relationship between political activities, and values and ethics in order to develop a common understanding of key issues, tools and resources to assist public servants in making informed decisions.
In this rapidly changing social context, we will continue to monitor and adapt the way we communicate to reinforce the importance of non-partisanship as a cornerstone of our professional public service.
Taking a New Direction in Staffing
After 10 years of operating under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), the PSC observed that the staffing system was functioning well — but that change was needed to meet the evolving needs and expectations of hiring managers and candidates and to adapt to the ever-changing staffing environment.
Read more about how we're taking a new direction in staffing…
In 2015-2016, we completed a review of our appointment framework and the associated oversight model to respond to this new context and to bring us closer to the intent of the PSEA.
Towards a New Direction
The PSC has drawn upon a wealth of intelligence derived from our oversight findings, reports and other data to understand how the staffing system was functioning. But that picture, comprehensive as it was, did not sufficiently account for the day-to-day operating of the staffing system.
For that reason, we engaged with those directly involved in the staffing system. This meant talking to hiring managers with varying operational considerations from across the country, engaging with human resources professionals on their role in staffing and gaining insights into the experience of candidates.
Our review and extensive consultation with the staffing community and bargaining agents culminated in a renewed appointment framework and oversight model, now known as the New Direction in Staffing (NDS).
In , we held a one-day event that brought together more than 100 senior public servants from both the HR and hiring manager communities who deal with the day-to-day practical realities of the hiring process.
The participants, from over 50 organizations, worked together to tackle problems and report back on the key issues they face while staffing. The feedback and intelligence obtained through this working session helped inform changes to our policies.
Modernizing our Appointment Framework
The NDS is the most significant change to the staffing system in 10 years. Designed to simplify staffing and enhance the quality of hire, the NDS lays a foundation, consistent with the requirements set out in the PSEA, for each department and agency to approach staffing based on its own needs and unique operating environment.
A key change is the marked reduction in the number of 'rules' that constrained staffing. The NDS has moved from a suite of 12 policies to a single Appointment Policy with significantly fewer requirements.
Beyond reducing requirements, the NDS represents a true shift from a rules-based system to one that encourages greater managerial discretion to meet organizational needs, while remaining consistent with the expectations set out in the PSEA.
We have also simplified the delegation instrument that gives deputy heads the authority to make appointments. It now focuses on the core obligations needed to establish and maintain a healthy organizational staffing system and provides deputy heads with the ability to customize their staffing systems, based on their organization's characteristics and needs.
Since the implementation of the PSEA, the PSC has systematically audited departments and agencies under our authority, which together with yearly reports from each organization, have been the basis of our understanding of the staffing system. It has meant significant effort by those organizations each year, however, with the value gradually diminishing over time.
For this reason, we have strengthened and reoriented the oversight model, enhancing the role of deputy heads in monitoring staffing in their respective organizations, while reducing reporting demands. To supplement ongoing monitoring, deputy heads are required to conduct a comprehensive review based on their organizational risks at least once every five years and provide the results to the PSC.
In tandem, we will conduct system-wide audits every two years, beginning in 2017 to detect and correct deficiencies and support ongoing system-wide improvement. Together with a renewed Survey of Staffing which will, in alternate years, collect information from respondents on their perceptions of staffing, we will have a comprehensive view of the staffing system.
The PSC will also retain risk-based audits, to be conducted when the PSC deems it necessary, and will continue to investigate in areas under our authority.
Taken together, these elements of our updated oversight model will substantially strengthen the integrity of the staffing system, be more relevant, provide more flexibility to departments and agencies and allow for more timely detection and correction of issues. In addition, the PSC will be able to better integrate this intelligence to support continuous improvement system-wide.
Realizing Implementation: Supporting and Partnering with Stakeholders
Learning from our experience implementing the PSEA 10 years ago, we recognized that a change of this magnitude, in a very large organization like the public service, requires an equally significant cultural shift.
To achieve this, we needed to ensure that the changes make sense to those implementing them. To this end, we engaged a group of departments and agencies to help shape the development of the new appointment framework. Beyond providing operational considerations to inform changes, these 'Early Adopters' became ambassadors for change across the government.
To equip leaders at all levels to lead change within their own organizations, we simplified access to staffing information and directly engaged key stakeholders to support them with implementation. Ongoing outreach with bargaining agents and training of human resources professionals, hiring managers, executives and deputy heads has provided opportunities to gain a sound understanding of the technical changes and cultural shift required for the NDS to be successfully implemented.
In 2016-2017, we will continue our outreach to promote this culture change among all stakeholders, in order to make the NDS a success, encourage them to take informed and responsible risks related to staffing and find new and innovative ways to recruit and build their workforce, based on their unique context and business needs.
The PSC would like to recognize the contribution of the following Early Adopter organizations:
Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada
Canada Border Services Agency
Department of National Defence
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada
Renewing the Public Service
Public service renewal is essential to ensure that the public service is prepared and capable of delivering results for Canadians. We support departments and agencies in their renewal efforts by centrally recruiting individuals with the skills and competencies needed for the future and by investing in new approaches to modernize staffing, assessment and recruitment services.
Read more about how we're renewing the public service…
Public service renewal is underway. Starting in 2013-2014, hiring across the federal public service has increased each year in all areas.
Long description of Public Service hiring trends 2001-2016
Hiring By Tenure and Fiscal Year
As we help build tomorrow's public service, we are modernizing our approach to attracting and assessing candidates and working with human resources professionals and hiring managers to increase student and graduate hiring and the placement of persons with a priority entitlement.
Student and Graduate Hiring
In 2015-2016, student hiring increased by 6.3% from 2014-2015 and accounted for 25.8% of all hiring into the public service.
To support hiring into the public service, we conducted more than a hundred outreach events to promote Government of Canada recruitment programs in academic institutions to attract students and recent graduates. In addition to our ongoing outreach, we collaborated with departments and agencies on targeted recruitment in areas of high demand or in areas where there has been difficulty recruiting.
These activities spanned the country to promote the broad range of jobs available in the federal public service.
Partnering on Student Recruitment
Together with the Privy Council Office, we piloted a Student Security Officer Program in the 2015-2016 student recruitment campaign which is now available to all organizations through the Federal Student Work Experience Program.
The PSC currently manages 11 types of priority entitlements to help eligible employees who are managing transitions in life and employment, such as employees who become disabled or those who relocate with their spouse or common-law partner.
In 2015-2016, there were 787 appointments of individuals with a priority entitlement, an increase of 12% over last year.
A particular focus this year was supporting Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Department of National Defence (DND) in implementing the provisions of the Veterans Hiring Act (VHA) related to public service staffing.
Improving access for veterans
In 2015, Parliament passed the VHA to enhance hiring opportunities for serving and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This Act, which came into force on , amended the PSEA and introduced three major changes:
A new five-year priority for appointment;
A 'veterans preference'; and
A 'mobility provision' for veterans and CAF members.
The new five-year priority statutory entitlement means that qualified veterans who are medically released for reasons attributable to service will be the first to be hired in any appointment process. In addition, the period of the priority entitlement for veterans whose medical release was not due to service (the regulatory entitlement), was extended from two to five years.
The 'veterans preference' requires that qualified veterans be hired prior to all other individuals for jobs open to the Canadian public, while the 'mobility provision' allows veterans and current CAF members to apply for jobs otherwise open only to federal public service employees.
These changes enable the federal public service to retain veterans with valuable knowledge, skills and experience. Expanding the job options available to veterans who want to continue serving Canadians also helps organizations deliver on their mandates.
Greater Access to Job Opportunities
The PSC improved the job application system by merging the website used to advertise internal job postings with the external jobs.gc.ca site (previously only used for opportunities open to the public). This provides all applicants, including veterans and current CAF members, with direct electronic access to all internal and external job opportunities from any location.
Veterans can also use their jobs.gc.ca account to highlight their status to hiring managers and invoke the 'veterans preference' or 'mobility provision.'
Supporting implementation of the VHA
To support VAC and DND in implementing the VHA, the PSC made significant changes to the priority entitlement and job applications systems and provided support to individuals with a priority entitlement.
Working together with VAC, DND and other central agencies, we developed and delivered learning and outreach activities for veterans, active CAF members, public service managers and human resources staff to raise awareness of the provisions of the VHA and provide ongoing advice and guidance.
The PSC also hired two CAF veterans to provide guidance and information to medically released veterans. These 'navigators' help them use job search tools and follow up with hiring organizations on their behalf, when necessary, to ensure veterans and CAF members receive equitable treatment.
VHA results to date
In the nine months after the VHA came into force, 156 veterans whose medical release was due to service (the statutory entitlement) were registered in the priority entitlement system. Of these, 19 were appointed to positions in the public service. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, 122 of the 486 veterans with a regulatory entitlement were appointed.
Since the changes were introduced, eligible veterans and current CAF members have used the mobility provision to participate in about half of all staffing processes open to public servants. During the same period, veterans applied to about one quarter of all processes open to the public. We expect the number of appointments of current and former CAF members to increase steadily as hiring processes are concluded.
Navigators for Veterans Testimonial
“As a beneficiary of the new Veterans Hiring Act (VHA), I have been able to obtain indeterminate employment with Health Canada. Upon the passing of the VHA, I inquired as to how the process would work … this started an ongoing dialogue of support and information … about navigating the system under the new Act. I am very grateful to Jules for his help, and also very grateful to Health Canada for showing leadership in hiring veterans.”
—S.J. (Sean) Stadnisky
Senior Program Officer First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
Canadians benefit when the public service is built from a diversity of backgrounds drawn from across the country. The PSC remains responsible for identifying and eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring and for developing policies and practices that will help ensure that employment equity, official languages and geographic considerations are reflected in recruitment and staffing decisions.
In 2015-2016, we created new tools to reduce barriers when assessing candidates, improved accessibility for job applicants, and developed targeted recruitment and retention initiatives adapted to the business needs of organizations.
Advancing accessibility for job applicants and employees
The PSC supports accessibility for all applicants by promoting the principles of universal test design, which emphasize fairness and accessibility for test-takers and modern assessment techniques such as Unsupervised Internet Testing (UIT).
Our standardized tests are designed to be used broadly and exclude characteristics that are irrelevant to the required qualifications being tested. When universal test design principles and accessibility are considered from the inception of a test design, barriers are minimized and the need for individual test accommodation is reduced. Examples include using short questions, which can reduce irrelevant barriers related to memory skills, and writing questions in plain language to increase accessibility for all test-takers.
We shared our expertise in universal test design at numerous events to raise awareness about accessibility among human resources advisors, hiring managers and persons with disabilities.
The use of PSC UIT also supports increased accessibility for job applicants by allowing them to take some standardized tests (early on in a staffing process for screening purposes) at their convenience, from any location and using their own assistive technologies.
In 2015-2016, the number of appointment processes using UIT increased by 12%. We will continue to promote the use of accessible assessment methods that enable accessibility to the broadest range of applicants possible.
Second Language Evaluation Self-Assessment
In partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the PSC piloted a new second language self-assessment test designed to give employees an indication of their second language skills. A user survey indicated that 78% of respondents felt the tool gave them a better idea of their language training needs.
we launched the test on our website so that all users, including the general public, can now better understand their language proficiency levels, prior to applying for a federal public service position. By , the test had had over 35,000 views.
Hiring and retaining Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population. They represent an important share of Canada's future workforce and a competitive advantage for Canada. However, Indigenous employees have been leaving the public service at a faster rate than they are being hired.
Organizations have identified the recruitment of Indigenous peoples as an important priority, specifically the need for post-secondary graduates. Working with departments and agencies, we focused our efforts on helping them attract and recruit Indigenous peoples to the public service. For example, as part of the 2015 Post-Secondary Recruitment campaign, we launched a pilot Aboriginal Persons Inventory project in . The inventory accepted 669 applications over a six-month period and qualified candidates continue to be available for hire. It is too early to understand the impact of the inventory, but we will report on appointment data when it becomes available.
We will continue our outreach and awareness activities across the federal public service by promoting the Aboriginal Persons Inventory more broadly, facilitating an interdepartmental working group on Indigenous recruitment, and collaborating with organizations on programs and activities designed to increase Indigenous peoples' representation.
Indigenous Student Recruitment Initiative
In 2014, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)'s Quebec Region created 'IhireAboriginal', a student recruitment initiative focused on encouraging Indigenous students to apply through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP). One year later, the number of Indigenous students registered in the FSWEP for the Quebec Region had almost doubled. As a result, the number of Indigenous students hired by INAC's Quebec Region office had also increased significantly by 47% in 2015.
Access for persons with disabilities
In 2015-2016, the PSC undertook a quantitative study entitled Application by and Appointment of Persons with Disabilities in the Public Service. Results showed that over the past 10 years, the representation of persons with disabilities within the public service has remained steady, exceeding the level of workforce availability every year.
However, the percentage of persons with disabilities applying and being appointed to the public service remained below the overall level of workforce availability. This inconsistency may be in part due to a disproportionate number of new recruits who self-identify as having a disability within the first few years after appointment, thereby increasing representation of persons with disabilities in the public service population. It also suggests that some individuals may be apprehensive about self-identification at the time of hiring.
We will continue to monitor the application and appointment rates of persons with disabilities to ensure that their representation in the public service is maintained and enhanced. Such findings could also be informative for other employment equity groups and support the development of effective practices.
Ensuring Staffing Integrity
Under the PSEA, the PSC is accountable to Parliament for the overall integrity of the staffing system. We work in partnership with deputy heads who are accountable for how our delegated appointment and appointment-related authorities are exercised in their departments and agencies.
Read more about how we're ensuring staffing integrity…
We assure the integrity of the staffing system through our regulatory authority, our policy framework and our oversight. The oversight model gathers information on the integrity of the staffing system and includes two important oversight mechanisms: audits and investigations.
Over the past eight years, the PSC has conducted staffing audits of 65 organizations. Our audits provide important feedback to support deputy heads in understanding their staffing risks as well as the effectiveness of the controls and governance required for the continued improvement of their staffing practices.
Two organizational audits carried over from the PSC's 2014-2015 Audit Plan were completed this year: the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the Courts Administration Service. Both audits had positive results demonstrating the organizations had appropriate frameworks, practices and systems in place to manage their appointment activities. We did find that both organizations could improve the sub-delegation controls, an issue commonly cited in other audits. Effective controls, such as the completion of the required training for a sub-delegated position, help ensure that the conditions of sub-delegation are respected and that managers are ready to assume the responsibilities of sub-delegation.
To enable more timely feedback to organizations and Parliament and to support ongoing improvements to the staffing system, the PSC will publish its audit reports on the PSC website as they become available instead of issuing them all together yearly. This approach will allow organizations to respond more quickly to audit findings and recommendations.
In 2015-2016, we conducted risk-focused staffing assessments, a change in our approach in recognition of the upcoming changes to the PSC's Appointment Policy. These assessments examined key staffing risk areas, including the controls around sub-delegation and whether the organizations conducted monitoring. They were also intended to support deputy heads in implementing the NDS by examining how they might adapt staffing practices and policies to reflect their organizational context.
Nine staffing assessments were conducted in 2015-2016. All nine organizations had established a sub-delegation instrument that outlined how delegated managers were to carry out staffing authorities. They also had processes in place for conducting staffing in a way that met both the deputy head's and the PSC's requirements. However, some organizations had not included certain sub-delegated authorities in their delegation instruments. Authorities not sub-delegated are thereby limited to the deputy head. The PSC suggested ways these organizations could improve the effectiveness of their staffing frameworks.
The PSC identifies and corrects irregularities in staffing through the investigation of specific hiring processes. The PSC has the exclusive authority to investigate cases which involve errors, omissions or improper conduct in external appointments and in all suspected cases of fraud and political influence. Deputies have the authority to investigate errors, omissions or improper conduct in internal appointment processes.
Hiring managers and human resources professionals play an important role in identifying and addressing issues that pose a risk to the staffing system by resolving mistakes early and referring cases to us where fraud, political influence or improper conduct is suspected.
We received 212 requests for investigations in 2015-2016, which continues to represent a small number, relative to the volume of staffing transactions conducted each year. Within the same period, 61 requests were accepted for investigation and 48 of 74 investigations completed (opened this year and in previous years) were founded.
Fraud and improper conduct
Anyone can ask the PSC to investigate alleged fraud or improper conduct. However, most allegations are referred to us by organizations.
In 2015-2016, we investigated the majority of allegations of fraud and improper conduct referred by organizations. Some investigations referred by organizations do not proceed if there is insufficient information to validate claims or if we cannot obtain more information. Of the 46 founded cases of fraud and improper conduct, 83% originated from referrals from organizations.
All types of staffing fraud — for example, claiming false credentials where technical job expertise is required — are serious and can have negative repercussions, especially if there is an impact on public health or safety.
In 2015-2016, the PSC placed a strong emphasis on sensitizing organizations to fraud during the application process and during the administration of supervised or unsupervised tests. We released a paper on Best Practices for Unsupervised Testing and posted summaries of investigations on our website. We will continue to work to build awareness among organizations and candidates on what constitutes fraud.
Our ongoing communications with organizations emphasize the PSC's investigations mandate and the requirement for organizations to refer certain cases to us. In 2015-2016, these efforts paid off with an increase in the number of cases referred by organizations for investigation.
Examples of Improper Conduct and Fraud
Improper Conduct — Nepotism
Two directors were found to have acted inappropriately in the hiring of an individual who was related to one of the directors.
One employee was found to have committed fraud by submitting an illegitimate Bachelor's degree in administration awarded on the basis of 'life experience' by an unaccredited online institution.
Public Services and Procurement Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada have demonstrated leadership by proactively working with the PSC to identify those situations that should be referred to the PSC for investigation. In doing so, they are actively engaged in maintaining the integrity of the staffing system.
Error or omission
The bulk of allegations submitted, which may or may not lead to investigations, come from candidates who felt that there was an error or omission that led to them being unfairly eliminated from an appointment process. The number of these types of requests has decreased over the past three years. Accordingly, the number of investigations involving potential errors and omissions has also decreased over the past three years.
Errors, Omissions or Improper Conduct
Requests for Investigations
Number of Investigations Launched
This decline was due in part to our facilitated resolution mechanism which aims to resolve cases and eliminate the need for an investigation. This year, we conducted facilitated resolution in seven situations. This trend has allowed us to focus on addressing higher risk allegations such as improper conduct and fraud.
Building on the changes to our appointment framework and our oversight model, we are turning our attention to the next phase of the New Direction in Staffing — shifting from ‘policy to practice.’
Over the coming years, we will continue to work with our partners across the federal public service and beyond to look at new approaches to recruitment so that we can best meet the evolving expectations of hiring managers and Canadians.
This means finding new ways to attract high quality candidates, streamlining our application processes and exploring new, targeted and effective approaches to candidate assessment.
With the rapid development of social media and communications tools, we will work with our partners to ensure a consistent understanding of public servants' rights and responsibilities with respect to political activities and non-partisanship.
Implementation of our strengthened oversight model will remain a priority in the coming year. Leveraging the principles of Open Government, we will also be prioritizing the timely sharing of system-wide intelligence — an increasingly important means to support the PSC's mandate of safeguarding the integrity of staffing and the non-partisan nature of the public service.
By doing so, we will be building tomorrow's public service today.