These frequently asked questions are intended to provide members with some general guidance on staffing processes and complaints, and are not exhaustive. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate and updated regularly, please consult the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (Board) website to ensure your information on staffing complaints is current.

Why is an appointment process not advertised in my area?

The Public Service Commission (PSC) Appointment Policy and the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) (s.29, 48 & 49) gives deputy heads broad discretion in determining appointment processes within their respective departments. Deputy heads must apply a national area of selection, with some exceptions. These exceptions include opportunities of six months or less, seasonal work, certain student appointments, and appointments where an exception is approved by the deputy head.

Are there requirements for an assessment board´s composition?

No. There are no provisions in the PSEA that require a deputy head to establish an assessment board, or that a board have a certain composition. However, if an assessment board is not properly constituted, and is unable to make a fair decision as a result, then you may be able to show that there has been an abuse of authority in the selection process. This a question of fact which depends on the specific complaint. You would need to provide evidence to show that the selection process was unfair because of the composition of the assessment board.

Can I grieve a staffing decision or process?

No. Staffing is not covered under the AJC collective agreement. It is governed by the PSEA and the Public Service Staffing Complaints Regulations. Unsuccessful candidates in an internal advertised appointment process can file a complaint with the Board within 15 calendar days following the date on which you received notice (including public notice) of the appointment, proposed appointment or revocation, as the case may be.  

What staffing complaints does the Board handle?

The Board handles complaints involving:
• abuse of authority in applying the merit criteria
• abuse of authority in choosing between an advertised and a non-advertised appointment process
• omission in assessing the candidate in the official language of his or her choice.

“Abuse of authority” can include bad faith and personal favouritism. The Board also has the authority to interpret and enforce the Canadian Human Rights Act in dealing with any discriminatory aspects of an appointment. The burden of proof generally rests with the complainant.

What is considered abuse of authority in conducting an appointment process?

The PSEA gives managers with staffing authority broad discretion to establish necessary qualifications for the position they want to staff, as well as to choose and use assessment methods that will enable them to determine whether a person meets the essential qualifications. The methods must be reasonable, and assess the essential qualifications fairly - a simple error or omission is not considered an abuse of authority.  The onus would be on you to provide evidence that there was an abuse of authority in the appointment process.

What types of staffing complaints can I file with the Board?

The PSEA provides the Board with the authority to consider, assist with resolving, hear and decide complaints involving:
• The deputy head´s decision to lay-off an employee.
The ground for complaint is that the manager abused his or her authority in selecting the complainant for lay-off. (s. 65 (1))
• The decision of a deputy head or the Public Service Commission to revoke an appointment.
The ground for complaint is that the revocation was unreasonable. (s. 74)
• Internal appointments.

How long do I have to file a complaint?

You must file a complaint within 15 calendar days following the date on which you received notice (including public notice) of the appointment, proposed appointment, or revocation. You can consult the Procedural Guide for Staffing Complaints for information on the Board´s hours of business for staffing complaints, and how to calculate time periods.