Using Self-Declaration Information for Self-Identification
These notes have been developed to respond to enquiries received from organizations on the use of employment equity (EE) self-declaration information for self-identification purposes.
In this document, "EE information" refers to self-declaration information and/or self-identification information.
Self-declaration is the term the Public Service Commission uses for the collection of EE information voluntarily provided by applicants in appointment processes, under the authorities of the Public Service Employment Act (sections 11, 23, 30, 34 and 36), the Employment Equity Act (sections 4.4, 5 and 9), and the Canadian Human Rights Act (section 16) and its confidentiality is protected under the Privacy Act.
Self-declaration information is used for statistical purposes (reports, analyses and special studies) and in the case of processes targeted to EE groups, to determine eligibility. The self-declaration information of applicants appointed to the public service may also be used for compiling workforce representation figures for reports to Parliament.
Self-identification is the term used for the collection of EE information voluntarily provided by employees, under the authority of the Employment Equity Act (section 9), for the statistical purposes of analyzing and monitoring the progress of EE groups in the federal public service and for reporting workforce representation figures to Parliament.
When applying through the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS) and Publiservice electronic systems, applicants who agree to self-declare are asked to choose between two consent purposes:
- Appointment processes and statistics related to appointments and EE workforce representation.
- Statistics related to appointments and EE workforce representation.
Both choices allow for the use of the collected information for workforce representation purposes, e.g., self-identification. However, the first choice also allows organizations to use the information for staffing purposes to determine eligibility in processes where EE is a screening or selection criterion.
In the case of non-advertised processes targeted to one or more EE groups, given that the PSRS or Publiservice application systems are not used, candidates need to indicate in their application that they belong to the targeted group in order to be appointed. The use of the EE information provided can be confirmed in the letter of offer.
Letter of offer
Departments and agencies can choose to provide a hard copy of the self-identification form with the letter of offer or to include an electronic link to it in the letter.
The following text may be used in a letter of offer for processes where EE is a screening or selection criterion (area of selection or organizational need):
- "As you have been appointed based on your self-declaration as a member of an employment equity (EE) group, your EE information must meet the screening/selection criteria, otherwise your appointment cannot take place.
- Your self-declaration information will be used as self-identification information for statistical reporting on the representation of EE groups within the public service workforce. Changes to your EE information can be made by advising (name of EE coordinator) in writing, or by completing the self-identification form which can be found at: XX".
The following text may be used in a letter of offer for processes where EE is not a screening or selection criterion (area of selection or organizational need):
- "If you have already self-declared in your job application, this information may be used as self-identification information for statistical reporting on the representation of employment equity groups within the public service workforce. If you have not self-declared, or want to provide additional information, you are encouraged to complete the self-identification form, which can be found at: XX".
Collection of information and confidentiality
The starting date for using self-declaration information for self-identification was May 3, 2010, unless an organization had been doing so since the first letter to Heads of Personnel (00-32) on the same subject, issued in 2000.
Providing self-declaration information is voluntary.
On the day of the appointment, the EE information of the person being appointed must meet the screening/selection criteria, where applicable, in order for the appointment to be made.
If the self-declaration information of an applicant is different from the EE information previously provided by that person, the self-identification information should be updated to reflect the new information. However, if a person did not self-declare, the EE information that is in the organizational human resources system should not be changed unless a request is received in writing from the applicant or employee.
Both self-declaration and self-identification information is designated at the "Protected B" level. For the use, handling and safeguarding of information, please consult the Treasury Board Security Organization and Administration Standard and Code of confidentiality for the collection of self-identification data in the Public Service of Canada.
All applicants' information, including EE self-declaration information, is kept on organizational staffing files for the minimum prescribed time for staffing audit purposes, i.e., five years from the last administrative action.
Departments and agencies will continue to conduct self-identification surveys as required under the Employment Equity Act (section 9).
Additional information on self-declaration
- Letter to Heads of Human Resources (10-05): Using self-declaration information for self-identification.
- Letter to Heads of Human Resources (10-25): Explanatory Notes on Employment Equity Self-declaration in the Appointment Process
- PSC Guidance series: Integrating Employment Equity in the Appointment Process
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