WFA Answers: Priority Status


Priority Status

  • If an opting employee takes “option c-ii” (education allowance and remains on LWOP), do they have priority status should a job come up while they are on LWOP?

There is no priority status during this time. If they have not found employment after two years and are laid off, they will be on layoff priority for one year. 

  • Are you considered priority during your opting period for the purposes of applying or being referred for jobs?

You are not yet on the priority list, as you have not yet chosen an option. However, if you wish to choose option A, and you do so during the 120 days, whatever period remains of the 120 days will be added to your surplus priority. For example, if you choose option A after 20 days, your surplus priority period will be 12 months plus 100 days.

  • If an opting employee with no GRJO chooses “option a” and accepts a term position that goes beyond their surplus priority date (i.e. 12 months), do they still retain priority status for an indeterminate position?

Their surplus priority period continues to run while they are in the term position. While they are in the term position, they will continue to get referred for indeterminate jobs. The surplus period does not get extended in these circumstances.

  • Are the names of those who receive “affected letters” immediately added to the priority-hiring list, or does the process begin after a person receives their “surplus letter”?

Affected employees are those employees who may or may not lose their jobs. They are not added to a priority list because they may in fact not have any change in their employment status. Surplus employees with a guarantee of a reasonable job offer, or those who are opting and choose Option A, are placed on surplus priority. Laid off persons are placed on layoff priority for one year.

  • If there are multiple people in priority stats and a position comes up that more than one person is qualified for, how is it staffed?

For employees under Treasury Board, there is an order in which priorities are considered, in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations. The order is as follows:

  1. A department’s own surplus employees (who have not been laid-off)
  2. Employees on leave of absence whose positions have been staffed indeterminately (entire public service)
  3. Laid-off persons (entire public service)
  4. Regulatory priorities (in no particular order): surplus employees from other departments, disabled employees, Forces or RCMP who have been discharged for medical reasons, relocation of spouse priorities, etc…

Priority appointees only have to meet the essential qualifications of the job and the conditions of employment (not the asset criteria, organizational needs or other criteria). As well, priority appointments are not subject to challenge through PSST complaints. 

The priority list is managed by the Public Service Commission, which does an initial screening to see if there are priority employees on the list who match criteria of posted jobs. The Public Service Commission’s Guide on Priority Administration states:

“If priorities are being referred, an e-mail is sent to the department with the names of the potentially qualified priority persons to be assessed for the position. An automated e-mail is also sent to priority persons referred to inform them of the referral. The e-mail instructs priority persons to communicate with the hiring organization within the specific time frame stipulated by the organization (minimum of five days). Organizations must communicate and assess all priority persons who have indicated their interest in being considered for the position before all others.”

The department then assesses the employees against the essential qualifications.

For more information see the Public Service Commission’s Priority Administration page.

  • I’ve been surplused and am wondering how the priority status works. I have priority 1, would I be able have access to a job now done by a term employee or just staff positions?

The collective agreements (Treasury Board) state that “Surplus and laid-off persons shall be given priority… for… short-term work opportunities”

If you accept a term position, your surplus status is protected and you will remain on priority for indeterminate jobs.