Public Service Commission of Canada

Public Service Commission of Canada

November 13, 2007 10:11 ET

Public Service Commission Concerned About the Over-Reliance on the Temporary Workforce

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 13, 2007) - The Public Service Commission (PSC) of Canada has tabled today in Parliament its 2006-2007 Annual Report along with four audit reports. Two statistical studies were also released. The Annual Report presents the results of the PSC's oversight of the integrity of the staffing system and non-partisanship in the federal public service.

Fiscal year 2006-2007 was the first full year of operation under the modernized Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). Overall, the PSC continues to have confidence in the strength of the staffing system and is encouraged that departments and agencies have made progress in implementing new approaches to staffing. However, the PSC identified a number of issues that require attention.

"We are concerned about the over-reliance on the temporary workforce to fill permanent jobs," said Maria Barrados, President of the PSC.

This pattern of recruitment is not new. Over an eight-year period, more than 80% of the 86,000 new indeterminate employees hired for the permanent workforce had prior public service experience.

"Temporary hiring is not the way to build a permanent workforce," said Ms. Barrados. "The PSC expects departments and agencies to look at their balance of temporary and permanent hiring and to take steps to ensure that external recruitment better addresses the long-term needs of Canadians and their government."

Again this year, the PSC is concerned that there remains a gap between workforce availability and representation in the public service for members of visible minority groups. While overall recruitment rose, recruitment for members of visible minority groups has shown a marked drop from 9.8% in 2005-2006 to 8.7% in 2006-2007. If the recruitment rate of visible minority groups does not increase, the gap in representation will only be aggravated. The PSC will continue to do work in this area to examine the root causes of under-representation and will be working with departments and agencies to improve recruitment strategies.

Last year's Annual Report revealed that two individuals working in ministers' offices had been appointed to "phantom" positions within the public service. Responding to parliamentary interest in these cases, the PSC undertook an audit of the movement of public servants between the public service and ministers' offices. The PSC found there was a misuse of the staffing system and that actions were taken to move people into positions where they had no reasonable intention of fulfilling the duties of the job.

"These actions place political impartiality at risk," said Ms. Barrados. "We have made a recommendation to the employer, that Treasury Board Secretariat should develop and recommend to Treasury Board a policy governing the movement of public servants between the public service and ministers' offices to ensure that these moves are undertaken in a fair and transparent manner, upholding the principle of political impartiality, and are effectively monitored."

This year, the PSC received more than one million applications in response to almost 5,700 advertisements on the Commission's jobs.gc.ca Web site, indicating no shortage of interest in public service jobs. Permanent hiring from outside the public service grew by more than 50% from 2005-2006 to 2006-2007. While the public service workforce grew by only 1.7% last year, staffing activity increased by 11%, involving more than 110,000 staffing actions.

The PSC is an independent agency reporting to Parliament. Its mandate is to safeguard the integrity of the public service staffing system and the political neutrality of the public service. In addition, the PSC recruits qualified Canadians from across the country.

The PSC's 2006-2007 Annual Report, the four audit reports and the two statistical studies are available on the PSC's Web site at: www.psc-cfp.gc.ca.

IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.

EXPANSION OF NATIONAL AREA OF SELECTION

Maria Barrados, President of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Canada, today announced that the PSC will begin pilot projects on the expansion of national area of selection (NAOS) to non-officer level positions open to the public in December 2007, with the goal of full implementation by December 2008. She also announced the expansion of NAOS to apply to all full-time Federal Student Work Experience Program job opportunities beginning with the next recruitment campaign in fall of 2008.

The PSC will begin the final phase of NAOS implementation with pilot projects for non-officer level positions in the National Capital Region.

The PSC has taken a phased and measured approach to implementing the area of selection policy. In April 2006, NAOS was applied to officer-level positions in the National Capital Region. In April 2007, the PSC extended the use of NAOS to include officer-level positions open to the public in all regions across Canada. Officer-level positions include scientific and professional, administrative and technical functions.

Data from previous stages of implementation shows greater experience and system readiness are needed for successful expansion to all remaining groups and levels across the country. The PSC will now move forward with full implementation by December 2008, once it can ensure government-wide readiness to meet the increased volume of applications resulting from this expansion. Full implementation of NAOS will mean that all externally advertised jobs will be open to all Canadians regardless of their area of residence.

In the coming year, the PSC will support federal departments and agencies to put in place the tools and services to enable the full roll-out of NAOS to all remaining groups and levels across the country. This includes assisting departments and agencies in using the Public Service Resourcing System and managing large application volumes and collective processes, as well as providing the necessary assessment tools, including electronic tests.

"The PSC remains committed to broadening Canadians' access to job opportunities in the federal public service," said Ms. Barrados. "Ensuring access to public service jobs is a key value and priority for the Public Service Commission and we are committed to supporting federal departments and agencies in realizing the objectives of this important initiative."

The PSC is also expanding NAOS to Federal Student Work Experience Program employment opportunities. As of fall 2008, full-time students will be eligible for student jobs offered in the federal public service across Canada. The prime objective of FSWEP is to provide full-time students with work experience related to their field of study and to provide them with learning opportunities.

As of April 2006, the use of NAOS increased the proportion of jobs open nationally for Canadians from 19% to 29%. This is expected to rise to 55% as a result of the expansion that took place in April 2007.

The PSC is responsible for safeguarding the integrity of the staffing system in the federal public service, for ensuring the political impartiality of public servants and for recruiting talented Canadians drawn from across the country.

For additional details on National Area of Selection Implementation please see the attached backgrounder.

BACKGROUNDER

National Area of Selection

Greater access to job opportunities for Canadians

Under the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has the authority to set geographic limits on who can apply for jobs in the federal public service. The PSC sets out requirements and guidelines on these geographic boundaries in its Policy on Area of Selection (NAOS).
Multi-phased implementation

On November 13, 2007 the PSC announced it will begin pilot projects on the expansion of NAOS to non-officer level positions open to the public in December 2007, with the goal of full implementation by December 2008. The PSC also announced the expansion of NAOS to apply to all full-time Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) job opportunities beginning with the next recruitment campaign in fall of 2008. These are the latest steps in the PSC's phased in approach to implementing the NAOS policy.

Since 2001, NAOS has been in place for jobs open to the public at the executive level, as well as some senior officer-level positions. In April 2006, officer-level jobs open to the public and located in the National Capital Region came under NAOS.

A year later, in April 2007, the PSC expanded the use of NAOS for jobs open to the Canadian public. NAOS must now be used for externally advertised appointment processes for officer-level positions across Canada. These jobs consist of scientific, professional, technical and administration positions. Examples include commerce officers, statisticians and technicians.

The responsible approach to full implementation

Full application of NAOS to all remaining groups and levels was initially targeted for December 2007, subject to an impact assessment. Upon review of initial impact findings, the PSC has determined that more work needs to be done to ensure federal departments and agencies are equipped to meet the increased volume of applications that will result from this expansion.

We are assessing the following success criteria:

- increased departmental knowledge and comfort level using the Public Service Resourcing System (PSRS) and flexibilities to full advantage;

- increased human resources support in managing large application volumes and collective appointment processes;

- capacity for bilingual administrative support and assessment boards;

- availability of PSC and commercial e-tests and non-proctored testing assessment tools;

- additional knowledge of the impact on unique occupational groups; and

- availability of cost forecasts.

What this means for Canadians

An expanded NAOS increases access to external appointment processes to persons who reflect a myriad of backgrounds, skills and professions needed to serve Canadians in their official language of choice. For Canadians this means that they can apply for jobs with the federal public service regardless of their place of residence.

As of April 2006, the use of NAOS increased the proportion of jobs open nationally for Canadians from 19% to 29%. This is expected to rise to 55% as a result of the expansion that took place in April 2007. Full implementation of NAOS by December 2008 will mean that 100% of all externally advertised jobs will be open to all Canadians regardless of their area of residence. With the application of NAOS to the FSWEP, student job opportunities will be national as well.

Public Service Commission support for federal departments and agencies

Federal departments and agencies whose appointments in the public service are made in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act must respect the PSC's Policy on Area of Selection, which includes changes to NAOS.

The PSC has been proactive in assisting organizations in adopting the NAOS requirements. It has put in place a Web site and toll free telephone number to support organizations in NAOS implementation. To further facilitate implementation, the PSC made PSRS - a Web-based recruitment and screening tool - available to all its regional offices. PSRS has also been made available to departments and agencies, some of whom are able to manage their own advertisements and screening processes directly. The PSC is now also using the same technology for FWSEP jobs.

The PSC remains committed to ensuring a merit-based and non-partisan public service in which appointments are based on the values of fairness, transparency, access and representativeness.

www.psc-cfp.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Public Service Commission of Canada
    France Langlois
    Media Relations
    613-947-7269
    media@psc-cfp.gc.ca