Guide to Implementing the Area of Selection Policy

Document Status:
Draft: Working version
Effective Date:
December 2005

 

This Guide is provided by the Public Service Commission to help human resources advisors support deputy heads in developing organizational approaches.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal Basis
  3. Why a Policy?
  4. Policy Statement
  5. Policy Objective
  6. Application
  7. Policy Requirements
  8. Other Requirements
  9. Other Support Materials

I. Introduction

This Guide to Implementing the Area of Selection policy has been designed to assist human resources advisors in understanding the expectations of the Public Service Commission (PSC) in the creation of this policy. It will serve to explain and put into practical terms, the application of the core and guiding values that are fundamental to the policy. This guide will also outline how the PSC expects the policy to be implemented.

II. Legal Basis

Section 34 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) allows the Commission to establish areas of selection.

  • Subsection 34(1) enables the establishment of areas of selections based on geographic, organizational, occupational or employment equity criteria.

The last criterion is an important enabling provision of the PSEA, allowing an area of selection to be restricted based on membership in one or more employment equity group; and

  • Subsection 34(2) enables the expansion of an area of selection to persons who are members of an employment equity group.

This means that geographic, organizational or occupational criteria may be expanded to provide for greater participation of employment equity group members. It permits designated employment equity group members to be included in an appointment process that they would not otherwise be eligible for, since they would not be within the regular area of selection.

  • In the PSEA, area of selection is also linked with a right to recourse. Subsection 77(2) of the PSEA provides that, in an internal appointment process, a person is in the area of recourse when the person,
    • is an unsuccessful candidate in the area of selection in an advertised process; and
    • is in the area of selection in a non-advertised appointment processes:

Establishing an area of selection must not have the effect of discriminating against persons primarily on the basis of past or present province or territory of residence. An area of selection must not be established along provincial or territorial boundaries, as it would not conform to the spirit and intent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter).

Attention

Organizational criteria have been used in the past by federal organizations whose regional organizations are structured, along provincial or territorial boundaries. An area of selection must not be established using an organizational criteria which uses or closely approximates provincial or territorial boundaries. Such an area would risk offending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

III. Why a Policy?

The Government of Canada is committed to providing Canadians with access to opportunities for public service employment. The Preamble of the PSEA refers to the Government of Canada's commitment to a 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". Section 34 of the PSEA provides to the PSC the authority to establish areas of selection.

The PSC Policy on Area of Selection is a key policy in upholding the guiding values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness. This PSC Policy provides broad direction to organizations based on those values. It is flexible enough for deputy heads to exercise their authority in a manner that will help them efficiently and effectively achieve their human resources and business planning objectives.

Setting an area of selection is an important decision point in the appointment process. In establishing an Area of Selection policy, the PSC's expectations with respect to access are clearly communicated to organizations. The policy has set out minimum requirements for deputy heads to follow in order to ensure that areas of selection are established in a fair and transparent manner. Two of these requirements, which are binding on deputy heads are the establishment of national areas of selection in certain external appointment processes and the establishment of an organizational policy on area of selection.

IV. Policy Statement

The Policy Statement indicates that an area of selection provides reasonable access to internal and external appointments and a reasonable area of recourse for internal non-advertised appointments. The purpose of establishing an area of selection is to determine:

  • who is eligible to apply for external and internal advertised appointment processes; and
  • who will be eligible for recourse relating to the appointment or proposed appointment resulting from an internal appointment process.

The policy statement also specifies that a national area of selection is established for all advertised external appointment processes, with the exception of those circumstances outlined in the policy.

This policy statement reinforces the commitment of the PSC for national areas of selection which deputy heads are required to follow.

What is reasonable access?

Reasonable access will depend on many factors, such as:

  • the nature of the position;
  • location of the position;
  • employment equity objectives; and
  • linguistic responsibilities of the position being staffed; for example, in staffing a bilingual imperative position in a unilingual region, an area of selection may be quite large in order to attract a sufficient number of bilingual candidates.

V. Policy Objective

The guiding principles underlying the Policy Objective include:

  • respecting the guiding values while providing flexibility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness and providing deputy heads with the opportunity to achieve the goals and core and guiding values of the PSEA while exercising good judgement; the Commission expects that, through the effective use of human resources planning and organizational policies, efficiencies will be realized;
  • ensuring a reasonable pool of potential candidates to support an appointment process based on merit;
  • providing, improved access to employment opportunities for Canadians, in a fair and transparent manner and building a public service that includes people from across Canada, and able to serve Canadians in the official language of their choice; and
  • determining, in internal appointment processes, who will be eligible for recourse related to the appointment or proposed appointment.

What is a reasonable pool of potential candidates?

More Information

For additional details about the many factors that can influence the determination of a reasonable pool of potential candidates, please see the Guide to Establishing an Area of Selection.

Establishing an area of selection that will ensure a reasonable pool of potential candidates depends on many factors, such as:

  • human resources planning;
  • number of positions to be filled, now and in the future;
  • skills required for the position(s);
  • organizational business needs such as efficiency, flexibility and costs;
  • public service-wide interests such as employment equity and mobility;
  • employee representatives and bargaining agents; and
  • accountability in terms of being able to explain why an area of selection is appropriate for that particular appointment process.

VI. Application

The PSC Policy applies to:

  • all advertised internal and external appointment processes; and
  • all non-advertised internal appointment processes.
It does not apply to incumbent-based processes.

In this policy, the heading of Application has been added for the purpose of identifying the specific circumstances under which an area of selection must be established. Under the PSEA, the area of selection in internal appointment processes serves two purposes; in an advertised process, an area of selection provides for a reasonable pool of potential candidates, and in a non-advertised process, it establishes the area of recourse. In external appointment processes, the area of selection for an advertised process serves the same purpose as an internal advertised process, to provide for a reasonable pool of potential candidates. However, since there is no right of recourse in external appointment processes, an external non-advertised appointment process will not have an area of selection. As a result, this policy does not apply to external non-advertised processes.

This policy does not apply to incumbent-based processes since the PSEA excludes these processes from the establishment of an area of selection.

VII. Policy Requirements

Deputy heads must establish and communicate an organizational policy on area of selection.

The PSC requires deputy heads to establish an organizational policy on area of selection to:

Information

This is one of two PSC policies where there is a requirement for deputy heads to establish an organizational policy.

  • provide employees with information on the organization's decisions regarding area of selection. This respects the value of transparency in that it communicates up-front, the organization's commitments on area of selection;
  • provide access to public service jobs and reinforce the deputy head's commitment to the guiding values;
  • ensure deputy heads take into account national area of selection and consider how they can implement it; and
  • provide an opportunity for an organization to tailor areas of selection to meet its business needs.

Deputy heads must ensure in their organizational policy that an area of selection limited to employment equity groups is supported in the organization's employment equity plan or their human resources planning.

As stated previously, the PSEA, allows for an area of selection to be restricted based on membership in one or more employment equity group.

Member in a designated group means...

  • women;
  • Aboriginal peoples;
  • persons with disabilities; and
  • members of visible minorities

This allows organizations to establish an area of selection based on membership in an employment equity group in order to assist in efforts towards increasing representativeness.

Under this policy, an area of selection limited to one or more employment equity groups must be supported in an organization's employment equity plan or human resources planning.

Why?

Deputy heads will be expected to be able to support and justify their decisions throughout the appointment process. This policy requirement ensures accountability for decisions in that the decision will have to be linked to a demonstrated need and reflected in the organization's employment equity plan or their human resources planning. This supports fairness and transparency in the system.

Deputy heads must ensure in their organizational policy that lifeline provisions are respected

Lifeline provisions were originally implemented to provide employment opportunities to employees who agreed to relocate with their organization from the National Capital Region (NCR) to another location in Canada, but who might wish to return to their original work location.

Currently there are two in existence: Veterans Affairs and the National Energy Board. Employees in their national headquarters offices, i.e., Charlottetown and Calgary respectively, are included in any internal advertised appointment processes open to employees or persons occupying positions in the NCR.

It should be noted that, in the case of the National Energy Board, the lifeline provisions apply only to employees who were employed in that organization prior to July 1, 1996.

The lifeline provisions are outlined in the policy requirements in order to ensure that organizations are aware of these provisions.

VIII. Other Requirements

The EEA, in terms of achieving and maintaining a representative organization

  • Section 3 of the EEA defines the four employment equity groups members: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities.
  • Section 5 sets out the obligation to conduct employment systems reviews and institute positive employment policies and practices as well as make accommodations.
  • Section 10 establishes the need for federal organizations to prepare an employment equity plan.

The Charter, the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA), in terms of the mobility provisions.

The Charter

  • Under the section 6 mobility provisions of the Charter, citizens and permanent residents have a right to move to and take up residence in any province and territory and pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province or territory.
  • The Charter applies to the public service for both external and internal appointment processes.

AIT

  • The AIT is a federal-provincial agreement intended to reduce or eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada. The mobility provisions of the AIT apply to the public service's external recruitment practices.

SUFA

  • The 1999 SUFA is an agreement between the government of Canada and the governments of the provinces and the territories to work together on areas such as mobility for Canadians. The obligations of the public service under this agreement are the same as under the AIT.

Advice

An area of selection established in a way that is compatible with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will also be in keeping with the Agreement on Internal Trade and the Social Union Framework Agreement.

IX. Other Support Materials

Other support materials are being developed by the PSC, such as: