Staffing 101 and related jurisprudence
This information is meant for PSAC members covered by the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA).
What can complaints be filed over?
- Internal appointments
- Abuse of authority in:
- Application of merit (ex: something wrong with how you were assessed, bias, bad faith, discrimination and other reasons)
- Choice of Process (choosing a non-advertised process when they should have used an advertised process)
- Choice of language (not allowing you be assessed in your choice of English or French)
- The Deputy Head’s decision to layoff an employee
- The decision by a DH or the PSC to revoke an appointment
- Failure of corrective action following a complaint against an internal appointment that was substantiated
A few things to keep in mind about staffing complaints
- You must have a “personal interest” in a complaint you file. In other words, you must be, for example, one of the people who missed out on an opportunity because a non-advertised process was improperly used when there should have been an advertised process or something went seriously wrong with their assessment of you as a candidate. You cannot file a complaint on behalf of someone else who may be too timid to file a complaint.
- You must file a complaint within the timeframes outlined on the Notice of Appointment, not on the previously issued Notice of Consideration for Appointment. Missing the timeframes because of vacation, for example, is not considered a valid reason to extend the complaint period.
- You must send your alllegations in writing by email or fax to the Director of the PSST (Public Service Staffing Tribunal) in Ottawa. These need not be perfect as I will finalise formal allegations at a later date, but should be detailed enough so that the PSST can determine if it is a legitimate complaint. A few simple paragraphs is usually sufficient. The instructions and contact information can be found here.
What is the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (PSST) and how is the new staffing system different?
Jurisprudence – Cases you should read and know about if you are considering or have filed a complaint.
Dismissed but important cases
- What is abuse of authority? Tibbs v The Deputy Minister of National Defense
- Intention (no need to show improper intention to find an abuse of authority) Tibbs v The Deputy Minister of National Defense and Rinn v The Deputy Minister of Transport
- Personal Favouritism (most important case on the subject) Glasgow v The Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services
The 8 staffing complaints that have been “substantiated” (allowed) since the new staffing system came into effect Dec. 31st, 2005
- Fettering of discretion (opting to not use discretion properly in assessment of candidates) Bowman v The Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
- Bad Faith Cameron and Maheux v The Deputy Head of Service Canada and Robert and Sabourin v The Deputy Head of Citizenship and Immigration and Burke v The Deputy Minister of National Defense
- Bad Faith and Personal Favouritism Beyak v The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources
- Bad Faith and Refusal to Exercise Discretion Chiasson v The Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage
- Bad Faith and Reliance on Insufficient Material, Personal Favouritism Ayotte et al v The Deputy Minister of National Defense
- Bad Faith and Discrimination Rajotte v The President of the Canada Border Services Agency