Part II, Chapter 6: Relocation of Spouse or Common-Law Partner

Table of Contents

6.1 Legal Basis

PSER 9

(1)An employee who is on a leave of absence granted as a result of the relocation of their spouse or common-law partner and who is not entitled to be appointed under subsection 41(1) of the Act is entitled to appointment in priority to all persons, other than those referred to in section 40 and subsections 41(1) to (4) of the Act, to any position in the public service for which the Commission is satisfied that the employee meets the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Act.

(2)The entitlement period begins on the day on which the period of the leave of absence begins and ends on the earliest of

  1. the day on which the period of leave of absence ends,
  2. the day on which the employee is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period, and
  3. the day on which the employee declines an appointment to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

6.2 The Entitlement

This priority entitlement applies to indeterminate (as per PSER section 4(2)) employees who have been granted leave to relocate with their spouse or common-law partner.

Persons holding this priority entitlement are entitled to be appointed to any position for which they meet the essential qualifications, referred to in PSEA 30(2)(a), in priority to all other persons except those with a statutory priority entitlement.

There is no specified order of appointment with respect to persons holding regulatory priority entitlements.

6.3 Spouse or Common-Law Partner

For the purposes of this priority entitlement:

  • A "spouse" is a person to whom the employee is married.
  • A "common-law partner" is a person who is cohabiting with the employee in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for a period of at least one year before the leave is granted.

6.4 The Leave Provisions

To relocate, the employee is granted leave by his or her home organization pursuant to the provisions of collective agreements and Treasury Board policy. Permanent relocation leave is granted for up to one year, while temporary relocation leave is granted for up to five years.

The spouse or common-law partner of the employee does not need to be an employee of the public service, and the relocation of the spouse or common-law partner can be for any reason.

6.5 Duration of Entitlement

The priority entitlement period begins on the day on which the period of the leave of absence begins and ends on the earliest of:

  1. the day on which the period of leave of absence ends;

    Note: If the relocation leave ends, the priority entitlement also ends. If, for example, the employee takes certain other types of leave, such as maternity leave, which would end the relocation leave, the priority entitlement would end. Any changes in leave types, or employment status, should be checked against employer policies to determine possible effects on leave status.
  2. the day on which the employee is appointed or deployed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; and
  3. the day on which the employee declines an appointment or deployment to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

6.6 Specified Term Appointments

The priority entitlement continues if the employee is appointed to a specified period (term) position while on leave.

6.7 Removal from PIMS at End of Priority Period

Since the priority entitlement ends when the leave finishes, the PSC will remove the employee from PIMS at that time.

Note: If the employee takes certain other types of leave during their relocation of spouse leave period, this will terminate the relocation of spouse priority entitlement.

6.8 Status if the Priority Period Expires

The expiry of the priority entitlement period does not in itself constitute a mechanism for ending the employee's employment. Organizations should discuss this matter with their Labour Relations area to determine options.

6.9 Status if the Employee's Position is Back-filled Indeterminately

The employee becomes entitled to a leave of absence priority entitlement effective on the date the position is back-filled indeterminately as the result of an appointment or deployment. When this occurs, the organization must notify the PSC by sending a "Change in Priority Type" via the PIMS electronic registration form.

Note: The circumstances under which leaves of absence may be granted, and in which the position of an employee on leave may be back-filled, are outlined in the TBS Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements. Organizations must contact the TBS for interpretation or clarification of this directive.

6.10 Status if the Employee's Position is Declared Surplus

If the employee has not been appointed or deployed indeterminately to another position and the employee's position has not been back-filled indeterminately, then the employee on relocation of spouse leave remains the indeterminate incumbent of the position and is subject to being declared surplus in accordance with the Work Force Adjustment Directive (WFAD) Work force Adjustment Agreements and related appendices to the Collective Agreements. The TBS WFA Frequently Asked Questions provide additional guidance for managing WFA in such situations.

If the position was back-filled indeterminately, the new incumbent of the position (the leave replacement) would be subject to being declared surplus.

If it is the employee on relocation of spouse leave who is declared surplus, the organization must notify the PSC by submitting a "Change in Priority Type" via the PIMS electronic Registration Form. If the new incumbent of the position (the leave replacement) is declared surplus, the organization must notify the PSC by submitting a “new” registration of a surplus priority entitlement via the PIMS electronic Registration Form.

6.11 Appointment to a Lower-Level Position

An employee who is appointed indeterminately to a lower-level position during the priority period has a reinstatement priority entitlement.

Note: The hiring organization must inform the PSC of the lower-level appointment by submitting a PIMS Referral Feedback Form or a PIMS Request for Priority Clearance to Appoint a Priority Person. The hiring organization is responsible for updating the priority person’s PIMS registration if they become eligible for the reinstatement priority entitlement.

6.12 Documents Required by PSC to Support Registration

  • The PIMS electronic on-line Registration Form;
  • Privacy Consent Form for Priority Persons (keep in the priority person’s personnel file);
  • Signed Manager’s Attestation Form (keep in the person’s personnel file);
  • Letter or approved leave form granting the leave and specifying the type and duration of the leave.

Note 1: All supporting documents to be provided to the PSC as soon as possible but no later than 10 working days following registration

Note 2: If the responsible manager changes subsequent to registration of the priority person, it is not necessary to have a new attestation form signed by the new manager.

Note 3: Priority persons who want to be referred to bilingual positions should have valid second language results at the time of registration or should be scheduled for second language testing if they have never been tested or if their results have expired.

6.13 Travel and Relocation Costs

Travel and relocation costs are the responsibility of the Employer. All questions concerning travel and relocation should be directed to the TBS.

The responsibility for travel and relocation costs incurred while considering or appointing priority persons varies according to the situation. Typically, the hiring organization pays the costs for relocation of spouse priority persons.

Priority persons are encouraged to speak to their organization's HR staff for advice on eligibility for travel or relocation expenses.

For further information, consult the NJC Travel Directive and the NJC Relocation Directive.

These Directives are the responsibility of the Employer and all questions concerning their application and interpretation should be directed to the TBS.