Annex C : The Public Service Commission of Canada

1. Mandate and Responsibilities

The Public Service Commission of Canada is an independent agency which oversees the application, in the federal public service, of the principles of competence and representativeness in appointments and of political non-partisanship. It is a key partner in helping make human resource management more effective and efficient so that government can better serve Canadians. This is a public interest mandate and thus forms part of Canada’s governance system.

The Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) establishes the Commission, sets out its mandate and assigns the following key responsibilities to it:

  • the operation of a merit-based staffing system and the appointment of qualified and meritorious persons to and from within the public service;
  • investigation, review and recourse with respect to matters under the PSEA;
  • the delivery of training and development programs; the enhancement of the knowledge and skills of public servants and the promotion of shared values through continuous learning;
  • responsibility for matters relating to the non-partisanship of the public service such as granting leave to public servants who seek nomination as and wish to stand as candidates for election;
  • the implementation of employment equity programs requested by the Treasury Board or deputy heads; and
  • carrying out other related responsibilities provided for in the PSEA and the Employment Equity Act.
  • In order to carry out these responsibilities, the Commission, inter alia:
  • develops and administers processes and establishes standards for the selection and assessment of persons seeking appointment;
  • recruits and promotes public servants in the Executive group;
  • recruits public servants at other levels;
  • delegates its power to deputy heads to recruit (in certain cases) and to promote employees;
  • audits, investigates and monitors staffing activities;
  • makes exclusions from the operation of the PSEA or parts of the Act, with the approval of the Governor in Council;
  • makes regulations governing matters under the PSEA; and
  • provides a general report to Parliament annually on its transactions and affairs.

In addition, the Commission carries out a number of functions under delegation from the Treasury Board. These include:

  • developmental programs such as the Career Assignment and Management Trainee Programs;
  • exchange programs such as the Interchange Canada and the Foreign Government Exchange Programs; and
  • the auditing of certain personnel management functions in government departments.

Lastly, usually with the Canadian International Development Agency as sponsor, the Commission manages or coordinates projects relating to human resources management and training in countries abroad; and in concert with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Commission is responsible for maintaining a high level of Canadian representation in the secretariat of international organizations.

2. Structure and Organization

The powers, duties and functions of the Public Service Commission rest with the three Commissioners who compose the Commission - one of whom is both its President and Chief Executive Officer. They hold office during good behaviour for a 10-year term, are removable on a joint address by the Senate and the House of Commons, and have the status of deputy head.

To discharge its responsibilities, the Commission maintains an important headquarters establishment in the National Capital Region, and regional and district offices in St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton, Charlottetown, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

Contact for further information:

The Public Service Commission of Canada
300 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M7
Telephone: (613) 992-9562
Fax: (613) 992-9352