Frequently Asked Questions

General

1. Why can't I just hire students as casual employees rather than using a student employment program such as the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)?

Hiring students should be part of your organization's overall human resources (HR) strategy. When you hire students under FSWEP, the Research Affiliate Program (RAP) or the Co-operative Education and Internship Program (Co-op/Internship), you are able to re-employ them or bridge them upon completion of their studies into term or indeterminate positions. These options are useful for retaining qualified students and getting the most benefit you can from the time invested in training them.

Student Bridging

1. What is a student bridging mechanism?

The student bridging mechanism is a staffing option provided to managers to facilitate the integration of students into positions in the federal public service after the completion of their educational programs. The hiring of a student through FSWEP, RAP or the Co-op/Internship Program may lead to temporary or permanent positions for which the student meets the merit criteria and conditions of employment.

2. When can I bridge a student and what type of staffing action can I use?

The bridging of students can occur through an internal or external appointment process. Students must have completed their studies prior to an appointment to a temporary or permanent position.

External appointment process:

Beginning with the fall 2009 FSWEP campaign, as well as in RAP advertisements, the following statement appears on all employment opportunities:

Successful completion of both your educational program and either an FSWEP or RAP work assignment may lead to temporary or permanent federal public service positions for which you meet the merit criteria and conditions of employment.

Also, beginning in the winter semester, educational institutions will be advised to place a similar statement on all Federal Organizational Advertisements for the Co-op/Internship Program. In addition, this new requirement will be conveyed to the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education to ensure that all educational institutions include this statement on future employment opportunities.

Consequently, external appointment processes to bridge former FSWEP, RAP or Co-op/Internship students to temporary or permanent federal public service positions will now be considered as advertised appointment processes. However, for students whose initial FSWEP or RAP work assignments began prior to October 2008, and, in the case of Co-op /Internship programs, prior to January 1, 2009, the bridging process is still considered non-advertised.

Internal advertised appointment process:

Working in conjunction with your organizational HR advisor, you must ensure that the area of selection includes persons appointed under Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat – approved student employment programs. Students may apply to internal advertised appointment processes only if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Meet all criteria of the area of selection;
  • Be employed as students under FSWEP, RAP or the Co-op/Internship Program on the date they apply;
  • Meet the qualifications outlined in the internal advertisement; and
  • Demonstrate that they are capable of completing their studies within the time frame indicated on the advertisement prior to appointment to a term or indeterminate position.

Federal Student Work Experience Program

1. I work for a separate agency. Can I use the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) to hire students?

Yes.

Federal organizations within the broad public service, including those not governed by the Public Service Employment Act, referred to as separate agencies, can use FSWEP to hire students.

2. Can I re-employ a former FSWEP student?

Yes.

FSWEP students may be re-employed into an identical or similar job if they:

  • Were initially selected through FSWEP, the Research Affiliate Program (RAP) or the Post-Secondary Co-operative Education and Internship Program (Co-op/Internship) in a fair, transparent, equitable and non-partisan manner;
  • Meet all of the requirements of the job; and
  • Continue to meet the eligibility criteria described in the Student Employment Policy.

Students initially hired in one organization may be re-employed in another organization if the conditions noted above are met. See the procedure to re-employ a former student at the following address: www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/sas-sde/stf-dot/prgrm/fswep-pfete/rei-rre-eng.htm.

3. What is a departmental program?

Organizations can create an advertisement to be posted on the PSC's Web site for the positions available that aim to meet particular staffing requirements. By working in conjunction with the PSC, organizations will develop and post on the PSC's Web site a detailed advertisement outlining the specific requirements of the departmental program (e.g. academic level, specialized fields of study and skills).

4. What is a non-academic term?

A non-academic term is the period in which a student is not in school (e.g. summer break).

5. What is the maximum number of hours of work allowed for full-time FSWEP jobs?

Normally, the maximum time allowed for a full-time FSWEP job is 37.5 hours per week. However, hours of work are governed by hiring organizations and collective agreements.

6. What is the maximum number of hours of work allowed for part-time FSWEP jobs?

The recommended maximum hours of work for part-time FSWEP jobs is 25 hours per week, to allow students to balance their work, studies and personal lives.

7. Is there a maximum duration for a student's work term?

The maximum duration of a student's work placement under FSWEP is one academic term. For example, assuming a three-term academic year of fall, winter and summer, students may only be hired for the length of one term (i.e. four months). The PSC will not accept any requests beyond one academic term. After this term is over, you may continue to re-employ students for as long as they remain eligible under the program by completing and submitting a request for re-employment.

8. Does a national area of selection apply to all FSWEP employment opportunities?

Since the fall 2008 campaign, full-time post-secondary positions are subject to a national area of selection (NAOS). Accordingly, a national search is performed to identify students from across the country interested in specific positions.

The following situations are exceptions to the NAOS requirement:

  • Requests for referrals for part-time positions; 
  • Requests for referrals for full-time positions, followed by a part-time component; and
  • Requests for referrals that are limited to members of employment equity designated groups.

9. What happens after I receive my referrals?

Once you receive your referrals and associated résumés, you should begin the assessment phase by contacting each student and arranging for interviews. Interviews can be conducted by telephone or in person. Following the hiring, the organization gives the results to all of the students who were referred and adds the results to the Public Service Resourcing System by using the link provided in the referral e-mail from the PSC.

10. Do I have to contact everyone on my referral list?

Yes.

You must contact and assess each student on your referral list. If you were unable to reach students after you made all reasonable efforts to contact them, the result of their assessment should indicate that the students could not be reached.

11. Do I have to submit the assessment results to the PSC?

Yes.

You must enter the referral results on-line, in the PSRS system (by using the secure account that has been assigned to you), as soon as your assessment has been completed. This information is essential not only for statistical purposes, but also to facilitate the student's re-employment.

12. At what rate can I pay my students?

Rates of pay for students are determined by the Treasury Board Secretariat in the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Students and are subject to change.

Secondary (high school) students must be paid at the regional hourly pay rate. Rates for post-secondary students are based on the student's current academic level. Please see the Rates of pay section for more information.

13. Can I pay a post-secondary student at the secondary pay-rate?

Yes.

Post-secondary students may be paid at the secondary rate of pay in the case where you cannot find any secondary-level students to perform the job. Only those post-secondary students who have indicated on their applications that they are willing to accept the secondary-level rate of pay will be referred to you. A post-secondary student must be willing to accept the secondary-level rate of pay before the job start date.

14. During the summer period, in which year of study is a student considered for salary purposes?

Students are considered to be in the year of study that they have just completed.

15. Do students have to resubmit a new application for employment every year?

Yes.

Every fall, when the campaign is launched, a new inventory is created. The registration date is posted on jobs.gc.ca. Students must submit an application every year when a new inventory is created. Although the application remains in the inventory for the entire campaign period (approximately 12 months), students have a responsibility to keep their applications up to date.

16. What documentation should be kept on the staffing file?

For monitoring and evaluation purposes, the following documents must be kept on your staffing file:

  • Request for referrals;
  • Referral package from the PSC (list, attestation, candidate information, candidate CVs and results);
  • Proof of assessment;
  • Proof of communication of results;
  • Proof of security clearance;
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship;
  • Proof of work permit (if applicable);
  • Proof of status of full-time studies;
  • Letter of offer and acceptance; and
  • Any other documentation/information related to the action, such as correspondence with the candidate.

17. As confirmation of full-time status often cannot be obtained until well into the summer months, is a verbal commitment sufficient?

No.

A proof of full-time status from the academic institution for the next semester must be requested by the manager. If the proof cannot be provided, hiring managers must request a signed statement (affidavit) from students, indicating their intention to return to full-time studies next semester. The manager must follow up with the students to ensure that the proof is provided by the academic institution prior to the students' re-employment for the next semester.

18. Can a non-Canadian student who meets the requirements of the position be hired?

No.

In keeping with section 39(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act, preference must be given to Canadian students. Accordingly, a work term must be offered to a Canadian citizen who meets the requirements before the position can be offered to a non-Canadian student.

Co-operative Education and Internship Program

1. What is the difference between a Co-operative Education (Co-op) program and an Internship?

In a Co-op program, classroom instruction is alternated with semesters of work placement and performance evaluation in workplaces related to the field of study. An internship is on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced workers that is designed to give students the required skills and knowledge for entry into a trade or profession.

2. What is the normal duration of the assignments?

The academic institution determines the duration of each co-op or internship work assignment. In general, co-op assignments last four months. Internship assignments may vary from four to 18 months. With prior approval of the academic institution, managers may offer students back-to-back work terms.

3. May I hire a student from any Co-op or Internship program?

No.

Public service managers may only recruit students enrolled in PSC-approved Co-op and Internship programs. Please consult the list of approved programs.

4. How is the area of selection for a Co-op or an Internship assignment determined?

Since fall 2008, full-time post-secondary positions are subject to a national area of selection for all student programs. When hiring a Co-op student, organizations must consider students from different institutions in order to yield a reasonable pool of qualified candidates.

5. What things should be considered in creating a reasonable pool of candidates for a Co-op or Internship assignment?

Organizations should consider:

  • Which academic program(s) will best meet their needs;
  • Whether the Co-op or Internship program is approved by the PSC; and
  • That considering students from more than one institution will result in a reasonable pool of qualified candidates, including members of designated employment equity groups.

6. Can a non-Canadian student who meets the requirements of the position be hired?

No.

In keeping with section 39(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act, preference must be given to Canadian citizens. Accordingly, a work term must be offered to a Canadian student who meets the requirements before the position can be offered to a non-Canadian student.

7. When no Canadians qualify, or when there are not enough qualified Canadians to meet my needs, can qualified non-Canadian applicants be appointed?

Yes.

If no Canadians qualify, or when there are not enough qualified Canadians to meet the organization's needs, non-Canadians who have qualified can be appointed. However, non-Canadians who are selected must be legally entitled to work in Canada.

Research Affiliate Program

1. How does the Research Affiliate Program (RAP) address intellectual property (IP) issues?

The Crown retains possession of IP related to material produced by the student while participating in the RAP. The issue must be addressed in the hiring organization's contractual agreement with the academic institution, ensuring that the Crown retains the IP rights while the student is granted the ability to publish his/her findings and research to fulfil academic requirements, or whenever necessary and appropriate. Sample agreements can be made available upon request by contacting cfp.par-rap.psc@cfp-psc.gc.ca.

2. I work for a separate agency. Can I use the RAP?

Yes.

Federal departments within the broad public service, including those not governed by the Public Service Employment Act, may use the RAP.

3. Can RAP students work full-time?

Yes.

Students employed under RAP can work full-time if their academic course loads permit. In most cases, students who are studying at the masters or PhD level have fulfilled their academic requirements and are able to work full-time until graduation. The recommended maximum amount of work for part-time RAP jobs is 25 hours per week, to allow students to balance their work, studies and personal lives.

4. Is there a maximum duration for a student's work term?

No.

The duration of a student's work placement under RAP can be any length of time that the research project requires, as long as the student remains eligible under the program. To extend the term for which a student is initially hired, managers must complete the RAP Request for Re-employment form.

5. What happens after I receive my referrals?

Once you receive your referrals, you should begin the assessment phase by contacting each student and arranging for an interview by telephone or in person. After you have held the interview, complete the referral results form (which is sent along with the list of students) and submit it to cfp.par-rap.psc@cfp-psc.gc.ca.

6. Do I have to contact everyone on my referral list?

Yes.

You must contact and assess every student on your referral list.

7. Do I have to communicate the assessment results to every candidate?

Yes.

You must advise all students of the assessment results, including those who were not found qualified as a result of the assessment.

8. Do I have to submit the results of the referrals back to thePSC?

Yes.

You must submit the results of the referrals back to the PSC at cfp.par-rap.psc@cfp-psc.gc.ca as soon as your assessment has been completed. This information is essential not only for statistical purposes, but also to facilitate future re-employments.

9. Is the RAP only available to students studying in scientific areas in which their research is purely in a laboratory setting or related field research?

Initially, this was the target student audience for RAP. We have now opened the program to any area of study in which a student would like to conduct research. The research project to which a student is assigned must help the student develop specific knowledge and research skills.

10. Do I have to renew a RAP student's work term every four months?

No.

A re-employment can be done for the entire period of the project, if the student is still registered full-time at an academic institution and the research being conducted by the student requires additional time.

11. What are the options for paying RAP students?

  • Salary
  • Stipend
  • Bursary

12. For what period is a student paid as a RAP participant?

If the student's RAP assignment is to complete a thesis or dissertation, the student should be paid up until the time he/she is ready for his/her defence. The write-up for either the thesis or dissertation should realistically take no more than two months to accomplish after the research has been completed. For all other research activities, the student should only be paid for the time worked.

13. Must students' research be directly linked to their graduation from their academic programs?

In most situations concerning the RAP, this is the case. However, students can be RAP participants when their research work is not linked to their academic programs and is not a requirement to graduate.

14. Can a non-Canadian student who meets the requirements of the position be hired?

No.

In keeping with section 39(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act, preference must be given to Canadian citizens. Accordingly, a work term must be offered to a Canadian student who meets the requirements before the position can be offered to a non-Canadian student.

Recruitment of Policy Leaders

1. How does the Recruitment of Policy Leaders (RPL) program select the people who are eligible for positions in the federal government?

A thorough assessment process based on a generic Statement of Merit Criteria required for a policy leader is employed to recruit candidates for federal organizations. Please refer to the hiring process.

2. How does the interview process work? Will the organization pay for travel costs to the interview?

Successful candidates pass through a minimum of two rounds of interviews. The first interview will involve a senior official and policy advisors and will occur in numerous sites across Canada and internationally, or by phone. Travel costs for the first round of interviews are the responsibility of the candidate. The second round of interviews takes place in Ottawa with senior officials from across the federal government. Those chosen for a second round of interviews in Ottawa have their travel costs covered by the RPL program.

3. In what language will the interview be held?

Interviews will be held in the official language of the candidate's choice (English or French).

4. What is a partially-assessed pool?

A partially-assessed pool is when candidates have been assessed against some of the merit criteria and where hiring organizations may add additional criteria to meet their specific needs. The RPL assesses candidates against a generic merit criteria required for a policy leader. The PSC provides hiring organizations with a list of candidates from this partially-assessed pool, who may be further assessed in order to meet all merit criteria on the hiring organization's Statement of Merit Criteria, including conditions of employment, in order to be appointed to a position in the public service.

5. Does the assessment include second language evaluation and security clearance?

No. As the RPL is advertised for various language requirements, it is the hiring organization's responsibility to ensure that candidates meet the language requirements of the position, whether staffed on an imperative or non-imperative basis.

With respect to security clearance, it is the hiring organization's responsibility to ensure this condition of employment is met.

6. Is assistance with relocation costs available to RPL candidates?

Yes, in accordance with the National Joint Council's Relocation Directive, Section XII, which provides guidance on relocation costs for newly appointed public service employees. It is the hiring organization's responsibility to cover these costs.

7. In the event that we wish to hire a participant from the partially-assessed pool, are we required to complete a second assessment?

Organizations are required to assess referrals against their Statement of Merit Criteria to ensure that they meet all the merit criteria, including those stated in the Qualification Standards of the respective occupational group and all of the conditions of employment (security clearance, for example). Candidates may be appointed through an external advertised appointment process.

8. Should language training be given to those appointed through the RPL program?

Organizations are strongly encouraged to make language training available to anyone appointed through the RPL program, who will derive benefit from enhancing their skill in either official language. It is mandatory in instances where individuals are appointed to bilingual non-imperative positions.

9. How can organizations within the public service learn more about the RPL program?

RPL and PSC representatives are available to meet organizational management teams so that your managers can learn more about the RPL. Please contact the PSC at rpl-rlp@cfp-psc.gc.ca.