Part II, Chapter 8: Surviving Spouse or Common-Law Partner

Table of Contents

8.1 Legal Basis

PSER 8.1

8.1 (1) If the death of any of the following persons is attributable to the performance of duties, their spouse or common-law partner is entitled to appointment in priority to all persons, other than those referred to in section 40 and subsections 41(1) and (4) of the Act, to any position in the public service in an advertised external appointment process for which the Commission is satisfied that the spouse or common-law partner meets the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Act:

  1. an employee;
  2. a member of the regular force of the Canadian Forces;
  3. a member of Class A, B or C of the reserve force of the Canadian Forces 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 Canadian Forces;
  5. a member, within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act; and
  6. a member of the Reserve of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Conditions

(2) The priority applies if the spouse or common-law partner:

  1. is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. makes a request within two years of qualifying for compensation.

Death prior to these Regulations

(3) If the death of the persons referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (f) is attributable to the performance of duties and occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on the coming into force of this section, their spouse or common-law partner is entitled to appointment in priority to all persons, other than those referred to in section 40 and subsections 41(1) and (4) of the Act, to a position in the public service in an advertised external appointment process, for which the Commission is satisfied that the spouse or common-law partner meets the essential qualifications referred to in paragraph 30(2)(a) of the Act if the spouse or common-law partner:

  1. is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. makes a request within two years of the latter of:
    1. the coming into force of this section, or
    2. the spouse’s or common-law partner’s having qualified for compensation.

Entitlement period

(4) The entitlement period for appointment in priority referred to in subsections (1) and (3) begins on the day on which the request is made and ends on the earliest of:

  1. the day that is two years after the day on which the request is made;
  2. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; and
  3. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner refuses an appointment for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

8.2 Application

The priority entitlement applies to surviving spouses or common-law partners of employees whose organizations are subject to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) or who were members in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and whose death is attributable to the performance of duties, as outlined in subsection 8.1(1) of the Public Service Employment Regulations (PSER).

For the purpose of this priority entitlement, a death is deemed to be attributable to the performance of duties if the spouse or common-law partner qualifies under a federally or provincially legislated plan, such as the Government Employees Compensation Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act or the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties.

8.3 The Entitlement

Unlike the other priority entitlements, this priority entitlement applies to advertised external appointment processes only.

Persons holding this priority entitlement are entitled to be appointed in priority to all other persons, except those with a statutory priority entitlement, to any term or indeterminate position in the public service for which they meet the essential qualifications, referred to in PSEA 30(2)(a). There are no restrictions with respect to the group and level or location of the position to which an appointment may be made pursuant to this entitlement, as long as the person meets the essential qualifications.

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

8.4 Conditions of Eligibility

In order to qualify for this priority entitlement, the surviving spouse or common-law partner must:

  1. not be employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. qualify under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. make a request within two years of qualifying for compensation.

8.5 Retrospective Provision

If the death of the persons referred to in paragraphs (1) a) to f) described under 8.1 above is attributable to the performance of duties and occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010, their surviving spouse or common-law partner is entitled to be appointed in priority to all other persons, except statutory priorities, in advertised external appointment processes, to any term or indeterminate position in the public service for which they meet the essential qualifications, referred to in PSEA 30(2)(a), if they meet the following conditions:

  1. the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not employed in the public service for an indeterminate period at the time the request is made;
  2. the surviving spouse or common-law partner qualifies under any federally or provincially legislated plan for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties; and
  3. the surviving spouse or common-law partner makes a request within two years of the latter of:
    1. the coming into force of this section, or
    2. the surviving spouse’s or common-law partner’s having qualified for compensation.

The date of October 7, 2001 corresponds to the date on which Canada initiated military actions in Afghanistan.

8.6 Duration of the Entitlement

The priority entitlement period begins on the day on which the request is made and ends on the earliest of:

  1. the day that is two years after the day on which the request is made;
  2. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner is appointed to a position in the public service for an indeterminate period; and
  3. the day on which the spouse or common-law partner refuses an appointment for an indeterminate period without good and sufficient reason.

Note: The start dates and durations of the various priority entitlements are set by the PSEA and/or PSER and cannot be altered. The Public Service Commission (PSC) will only begin referring the priority person once they are registered in the Priority Information Management System (PIMS). Late registration will reduce the effective period of the priority entitlement and may result in lost opportunities for the priority person.

8.7 Procedures for the Determination of Classification on Registration (Occupational Group/Level)

The priority person is to be shown as SS 00 on the electronic Registration Form. This is done because these priority persons are not normally employed in the public service. In the event that the priority person is appointed for a specified period (term) or has previously occupied a position in the public service on a term or casual basis, the group and level may serve as an indication for recommended groups and levels.

8.8 Appointment to a Lower-Level Position

The concept of lower-level (or higher-level) appointments does not apply to this priority entitlement. Appointments of these priority persons cannot result in eligibility for the reinstatement priority entitlement.

8.9 Documents Required by PSC to Support Registration

Retrospective Period (death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010)

  • Death of employees of the public service

Only the PSC registers the surviving spouses or common-law partners in cases of employees of the public service whose death occurred during the period beginning on October 7, 2001 and ending on May 12, 2010.

The surviving spouse or common-law partner must provide the PSC with:

  1. the PIMS electronic on-line Registration Form;
  2. the Privacy Consent Form for Priority Persons; and
  3. a copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that he or she as the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death;

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

  • Death of members of the CAF and of the RCMP

The CAF and the RCMP register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of their members and provide the PSC with:

  1. the PIMS electronic on-line Registration Form (keep in the organization’s file);
  2. the Privacy Consent Form for Priority Persons (keep in the organization’s file); and
  3. a copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death.

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

Death occurred after May 12, 2010

  • Death of employees of the public service and members of the CAF and of the RCMP after May 12, 2010

Respective organizations must register the surviving spouses or common-law partners of these persons and provide the PSC with:

  1. the PIMS electronic on-line Registration Form (keep in the organization’s file);
  2. the Privacy Consent Form for Priority Persons (keep in the organization’s file);
  3. a copy of the letter from the appropriate federally or provincially legislated plan certifying that the surviving spouse or common-law partner has qualified for compensation as a result of the death of the person that is attributable to the performance of duties, including the date of the death. For cases involving the death of a CAF member, provide a copy of the letter from the Directorate of Casualty Support Management, specifying the date of death of the CAF member and the spouse or common-law partner's entitlement to compensation under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act.

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

8.10 Supporting Tools

The PSC has developed the following tools, which organizations may wish to adapt to their needs for the implementation of the priority entitlement, including the registration of persons who may be interested in benefitting from it:

For Implementing Organizations

  1. FAQ - To assist those responsible for implementation in organizations

For the Surviving Spouse or Common-law Partner

  1. Sample letter – Employees and Members of the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Death After May 12, 2010
  2. FAQ – To explain the priority entitlement, requirements and application procedures
  3. Registration Request Form – To be completed by survivors wishing to apply for the entitlement and returned as per the implementing organization’s instructions

8.11 Considerations for Effective Administration

Organizations should exercise due consideration of the circumstances of these priority persons and ensure appropriate sensitivity on the part of hiring managers and HR staff.

These priority persons may not be familiar with the staffing processes, procedures, assessment methods and terminology used by organizations subject to the PSEA. The PSC expects organizations will take the time to ensure that the priority person understands all aspects of appointment processes in the public service, answer any questions they may have about the position and explain how their assessment will be conducted.

8.12 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 responsibility for payment and the amounts payable are negotiated between the hiring organization and the surviving spouse priority person.

Priority persons are encouraged to speak to their deceased spouse’s 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.