Frequently Asked Questions - For the Surviving Spouse or Common-law Partner

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Disclaimer: This is not a legal document. Please refer to the Public Service Employment Regulations for the full legal text.

1. What is priority entitlement?

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) amended the Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER) to establish a right to be considered for employment ahead of all other persons for the surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees of the public service, in the Canadian Forces (CF) and in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), whose death is attributable to the performance of duties.

2. How long will the priority entitlement last?

The entitlement will last for two years from the day on which you, as the surviving spouse or common-law partner, make the request. Should you accept a “permanent” job (referred to as indeterminate), your priority entitlement will end.

3. How does the priority entitlement work?

The PSC, on the basis of the information provided in the résumé, enters the name of the eligible person into the Priority Information Management System database. When managers wish to hire a person, they must consider persons who have a priority entitlement before considering anyone else. To identify these persons, the PSC searches the database and refers to the manager the names of the priority persons who can potentially meet the requirements of a job opening that has been advertised to the general public.

4. Who can request priority entitlement?

You are eligible to request priority entitlement if:

  • Your spouse was any of the following persons:
    1. an employee,
    2. a member of the regular force of the CF,
    3. a member of Class A, B or C of the reserve force of the CF as prescribed under articles 9.06, 9.07 and 9.08 of the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces,
    4. a member of the special force of the CF,
    5. a member, within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, of the RCMP, or
    6. a member of the Reserve of the RCMP;
  • The death of your spouse or common-law partner was attributable to the performance of duties; and
  • The death of your spouse or common-law partner occurred on or after October 7, 2001.

5. What are the conditions?

There are three sets of conditions in order to:

  1. Receive a priority entitlement;
  2. Be considered for and referred to a specific job; and
  3. Be hired by a manager for a specific job.

a. To receive a priority entitlement:

  • You must NOT be a person who is already employed in the public service in a “permanent” way (referred to as an indeterminate period) at the time at which you make the request.
  • You must have qualified under a federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties.
  • You must make a request within two years of the coming into force of the priority on May 12, 2010 or two years from the date on which you qualified for compensation, whichever is the latest.

b. To be considered for and referred to a specific job:

  • Referrals will be made within the validity period of your priority entitlement, which is two years from the date on which you make the request.
  • A suitable “job opening” (referred to as an advertised external appointment process) that is advertised to the general public must become available for the PSC to refer you to the hiring organization.
  • You must have a skills set that corresponds to the position to be filled in addition to meeting the education and language requirements of the job, and you must be willing to accept the job in the geographic area in which it is located.

c. To be hired by a manager for a specific job:

  • You must be found qualified by the manager for the position to be filled. In addition to meeting the qualifications of the job (you only need to meet the qualifications that are identified as “essential”), you may have to meet conditions of employment such as the possession of a valid driver’s license or security requirements.
  • There cannot be other priority persons who hold a priority entitlement that is of higher importance (referred to as “statutory priorities”) and who also qualify, since these persons have a right under law to be appointed before you.

6. How long do I have to request the priority entitlement?

You must make a request within two years of the coming into force of the priority on May 12, 2010 or two years from the date on which you qualified for compensation, whichever is the latest.

7. What documents must I provide?

You must complete the attached registration request, sign the attached consent form and provide a copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan that certifies that you have, as a surviving spouse or common-law partner, qualified for compensation as a result of the death of your spouse or common-law partner and that their death was attributable to the performance of their duties. You must include the date of the death, provide a copy of your most recent résumé and be prepared to provide the names and contact information of persons to be used for reference checks.

8. What information must be included in my résumé?

It is important that your résumé reflect as accurately as possible your employment history and skills, to help the PSC determine what your competencies are. Some positions, especially in the National Capital Region, require that persons be bilingual in Canada’s two official languages, English and French. If you have language skills in your second official language or possess second-language evaluation results, please indicate this in your résumé.

9. What should I expect if I am considered for a job?

You may have to undergo a written test or an interview in order to determine whether you will be able to perform the duties of the job. Reference checks may also be conducted. The requirements of the job, referred to as “qualifications,” are described in a document entitled Statement of Merit Criteria, which you will be able to obtain ahead of time should you be referred to a job.

10. Under what authority is this priority entitlement granted?

The amended PSER came into effect on May 12, 2010. As of this date, surviving spouses or common-law partners of persons whose death is attributable to the performance of duties can make a request to be considered for the surviving spousal or common-law priority entitlement. The Regulations also contain a retrospective provision for the surviving spouses or common-law partners of persons who died during the period beginning on October 7, 2001, and ending on the coming into force of the priority on May 12, 2010. The date of October 7, 2001, corresponds to the date on which Canada and a coalition of other countries initiated military action in Afghanistan.

To learn more about the legal basis for this priority entitlement, you may wish to consult section 8.1 of the PSER at Public Service Employment Regulations.

11. To whom do I send my request?

You can mail your application to: (For each organization to complete).

12. Whom do I contact for more information?

For further information about the priority for surviving spouses or common-law partners and its administration in general, please refer to the Priority Administration page of the PSC Web site at www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/prad-adpr/guide/prt2-ch8-eng.htm.

You may also contact the PSC’s Priority Administration Group at:

Staffing and Assessment Services Branch
National Client Services Directorate
613-995-3608
Katherine.Desjardins@cfp-psc.gc.ca