Work Force Adjustment Q&A

Do you have a question about the Work Force Adjustment (WFA) process and how it may affect you? Read the answers to a selection of the member-submitted questions, and submit one of your own if you’re still unsure. We will be updating this page on a regular basis, so be sure to check back.

  • How does WFA affect teleworkers under Duty to Accommodate?

Workers who are being accommodated due to a disability or other ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act must be treated equitably with other employees.  Workers on telework whose positions are affected would receive the same notices as other employees who are declared affected, and have the same rights under the WFAA as other workers.

In addition, they must be accommodated.   The employer cannot exclude them from consideration for a job offer simply because of their need to telework, unless an assessment has been done to determine whether it is possible to provide telework in the new job.   In applying for other jobs or being referred to other jobs, management must consider the accommodations required.  Accommodation, including telework where necessary for the employees, must be provided unless to do so would constitute undue hardship for the employer, considering health, safety, and cost. 

If a member is treated adversely due to their disability (or other ground) or accommodation is refused, they should contact their union representative about possible recourses (PSST complaints or grievances).

  • How many more adjustments are coming? Do we have any numbers for specific departments and locations?

In general, the federal 2012 budget will impact 96 departments, agencies and organizations. The union only knows for sure what has been announced so far, in terms of overall numbers.  Affected notices have been given to 32 departments, agencies and organizations so far.  Your component will know more about what the plans might be in a particular department, through the information gathered at the joint union-management committee.  However, often this information must be held in confidence.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has done an estimate, based on the Budget cuts in each department, of the probable job cuts in each department by region.

We are working with Components on a daily basis to monitor the cuts, to assist members and to alert the public to the services they depend on are being eliminated.

  • How does alternation work? Does one employee have to be declared surplus first? Can an employee alternate between an employee affected and an employee that is being relocated but is opting to retire instead?

Alternation is available when an opting employee – an employee who has been declared surplus and not given a guarantee of a reasonable job offer – wishes to switch jobs with an employee who wants to leave the public service and has not been affected by WFA.

Alternation cannot occur between two employees who are both affected by a workforce adjustment situation.

Alternation allows the two employees to switch and the alternate can retire with a transition support measure or the education allowance. The opting employee must be qualified for the alternate’s job (including language requirements), and the alternation must be approved by management.

  • How does the process works for retirement between 55-59 without penalty?

If you are between 55 and 59 years of age and have been declared surplus, but not given a reasonable job offer, you may be able to receive a waiver of the penalty reduction.  (Normally, there is a penalty of 5% per year).

To qualify, you must meet certain criteria.  You must be laid off or resign under the WFAA, but it will not apply if you have refused a reasonable job offer or if you take the education allowance.

For further information on general pension entitlements, please visit the PSAC website.

  • If a person leaves through the WFA, can they also retire and collect both the transition support measure and their pension?

You are not automatically entitled to the transition support measure. It’s applicable if you become an opting employee and choose option 2 (TSM) or option 3 (Education allowance). The entitlement is based on a formula in Annex B to the Workforce Adjustment Appendix in your collective agreement and is determined by your years of service.

You may collect both the TSM and your pension possibly with a waiver depending on your years of service and pension entitlements.  When you are laid-off or resign under the WFA provisions, you are entitled to all other benefits under the collective agreement, as well as pension and any other benefit entitlements, which are all separate from, and in addition to, the payments under the WFA Appendix.

  • Does a person have to put their name forward now for alternation or can they wait until letters come out?

It advisable to wait to see if you are affected by a workforce adjustment situation.  Once a WFA situation is triggered, there are a number of rights under the collective agreement.

  • Why are some departments not told how many positions will be let go?

We believe that the government has intentionally instructed departments, agencies and organizations to stagger the announcements of affected and surplus employees every two weeks or so. Departments and agencies subject to the Workforce Adjustment Appendixes are obligated to make the name and work locations of affected employees available to the bargaining agent including the identity and location of the work unit(s) involved, the expected date of the announcement, the anticipated timing of the workforce adjustment situation and the number, group and level of the employees who are likely to be affected by the decision.

Departments and agencies provide the union with the names of employees who are affected. Sometimes the initial notice will include the numbers of the jobs being cut too. If the numbers of jobs actually being cut are not included in the initial notice, components normally acquire this information from the employer during subsequent discussions.   

Do you still have questions about the Work Force Adjustment process? Submit a question.