ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 25 — December 5, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-239 November 14, 2012

PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYMENT ACT

Regulations Amending the Political Activities Regulations

The Public Service Commission, pursuant to section 22 (see footnote a) of the Public Service Employment Act (see footnote b), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Political Activities Regulations.

Ottawa, November 6, 2012

ANNE-MARIE ROBINSON
President of the Public Service Commission

SUSAN CARTWRIGHT
Commissioner

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE POLITICAL ACTIVITIES REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. Sections 2 and 3 of the Political Activities Regulations (see footnote 1) are replaced by the following:

2. (1) A request for permission, referred to in subsection 114(1) or (2) or 115(1) of the Act, and a request for leave of absence without pay, referred to in subsection 114(3) of the Act, must be in writing and must contain the following information:

  • (a) with respect to the duties that the employee performs on a permanent and temporary basis,
    • (i) the nature of their duties, including their position title,
    • (ii) a detailed description of their duties, approved by the relevant organization,
    • (iii) the location of their place of work, and
    • (iv) the level and visibility of their position and duties; and
  • (b) the nature of the election and, if applicable, the electoral district.

(2) The Commission may, in addition to the information referred to in subsection (1), request from the employee or relevant organization any other information that is necessary to determine whether seeking nomination or being a candidate impairs or is perceived as impairing the employee’s ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner.

2. Sections 4 and 5 of the Regulations are replaced by the following:

4. In making a decision in accordance with sections 114 and 115 of the Act, the Commission must review and analyse any information that is requested from the employee and the relevant organization.

5. The Commission must, within 30 days after the day on which it receives all of the information requested under section 2, notify in writing the employee and the deputy head of the relevant organization of its decision, including reasons and any applicable conditions.

3. Section 7 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

7. (1) An allegation that an employee has failed to comply with any of subsections 113(1), 114(1) to (3) and 115(1) of the Act or that a deputy head has contravened section 117 of the Act may be made by submitting the allegation to the Commission in writing.

(2) Failure to submit an allegation in writing does not prevent the Commission from investigating the allegation if,

  • (a) in the case of an allegation against an employee, the political activity alleged to be improper could impair or be perceived as impairing the ability of that employee to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner; and
  • (b) in the case of an allegation against a deputy head, there is reason to believe that the deputy head has contravened section 117 of the Act.

4. (1) The portion of subsection 8(1) of the Regulations before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

8. (1) An allegation must be submitted to the Commission within the following time frame:

(2) Subsection 8(2) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

(2) Failure to make an allegation within the time frame prescribed in subsection (1) does not prevent the Commission from investigating the allegation if

  • (a) in the case of an allegation against an employee, the political activity alleged to be improper could impair or be perceived as impairing the ability of that employee to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner; and
  • (b) in the case of an allegation against a deputy head, there is reason to believe that the deputy head has contravened section 117 of the Act.

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), an allegation is deemed to have been submitted on the day that is,

  • (a) if the allegation is sent by mail, six days after
    • (i) the date of the postmark or the date of the postage meter impression authorized by Canada Post Corporation, or
    • (ii) if both the postmark and the postage meter impression appear on the envelope, the date of the later of them;
  • (b) if the allegation is delivered by hand or by courier service, the day on which it is delivered; and

  • (c) if the allegation is transmitted by electronic means, the day on which it is transmitted.

5. The schedule to the Regulations is repealed.

COMING INTO FORCE

6. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issues and objectives

The Regulations Amending the Political Activities Regulations (RAPAR) clarify certain provisions of the Political Activities Regulations (PAR) to facilitate decision-making, and incorporate the recommendations of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR) to prescribe a specific timeframe to render a decision after the Public Service Commission (PSC) receives complete information from federal public service employees requesting permission to seek nomination or be a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election or for leave without pay (LWOP), if applicable.

Description and rationale

Part 7 of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) establishes a regime governing the political activities of employees that balances their right to engage in those activities while maintaining the principle of political impartiality in the public service. Sections 114 and 115 of the PSEA allow the PSC to grant permission to employees who request permission to seek nomination and/or become candidates in federal, provincial, territorial or municipal elections and LWOP, if applicable. To do this, the PSC must be satisfied that seeking nomination or being a candidate will not impair or be perceived as impairing the employee’s ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner. Sections 118 and 119 of the PSEA authorize the PSC to investigate an allegation that an employee or a deputy head has failed to comply with the political activities provisions.

The PAR are divided into two parts. Part 1 prescribes how an employee who wishes to seek nomination or be a candidate in an election must first request permission or LWOP, if applicable, from the PSC, in accordance with the requirements of subsections 114(1), (2) and (3), and section 115 of the PSEA. Part 2 provides information on the timeframe for submitting allegations of improper political activities, the manner in which these allegations should be submitted (a form is prescribed), the investigations conducted under section 118 or 119 of the PSEA, and the disclosure of information obtained in the conduct of an investigation.

The RAPAR improve the clarity of the PAR and facilitate their application:

  1. Throughout Part 1, the term “applicant” has been replaced with the term “employee” in the English version, and the term “demandeur” has been replaced with the term “fonctionnaire” in the French version, for consistency with the terminology of the PSEA as well as the respective enabling legislation of the six organizations whose employees are subject to Part 7 of the PSEA: the Canada Revenue Agency, the Parks Canada Agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, the National Film Board and the Public Service Staffing Tribunal.
  2. Section 2, Content of a Request, lists which information a request for permission or LWOP must contain, and indicates that the PSC could request additional information it deems necessary to determine whether the employee’s political activities would impair, or could be perceived to impair their ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner. The information provided needs to be timely, relevant, detailed and comprehensive, and cover the nature of the duties being performed by the employee, whether on a permanent basis (an employee in their substantive position) or on a temporary basis (for example an employee on secondment, assignment, acting), the level and visibility of their position and the nature of the election.
  3. Further to the recommendation of the SJCSR, section 3, Deadline for Submission of a Request, has been replaced by section 5, which prescribes that the PSC will render a decision within 30 days from the date of receipt of all the information required in section 2. “All the information” means not only the information that is required from the employee and the relevant organizations, but also all other information that is necessary for the PSC to fulfill its obligations under subsections 114(4) and (5) and 115(2) of the PSEA.
  4. The French version of subsection 7(1), Format of Allegation, has been aligned with the English version, which indicates that the allegations “may” (as opposed to “must”) be submitted in writing, and subsection 7(2) prescribes the conditions under which the PSC may investigate an allegation not submitted in writing.
  5. The Schedule, Allegations of Improper Political Activity, has been repealed, as the PSC accepts all allegations regardless of format.

Consultation

When drafting the RAPAR, the PSC consulted with the organizations subject to Part 7 of the PSEA, the Office of the Auditor General, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Human Resources Council, and bargaining agents. There was neither objection to nor concern with the RAPAR

The RAPAR were prepublished in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on September 8, 2012, for public consultations purposes. No comments or representations were made during the 30-day public consultation period.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to these Regulations, as there is no change in administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to these Regulations, as there are no costs on small business.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

The RAPAR come into force on the day on which they are registered.

Deputy heads of organizations subject to the RAPAR will be informed by way of correspondence from the President of the PSC, copying their Designated Political Activities Representatives. It will include a communiqué for employees describing the amendments to the PAR. This correspondence will then be posted on the PSC Web site as a letter to heads of human resources.

Contact

Lydie Dancausse
Policy Advisor
Policy Development Directorate
Public Service Commission
L’Esplanade Laurier, West Tower
300 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M7
Telephone: 613-996-0507
Fax: 613-943-2481
Email: Lydie.Dancausse@psc-cfp.gc.ca

Footnote a
S.C. 2006, c. 9, s. 100

Footnote b
S.C. 2003, c. 22, ss. 12 and 13

Footnote 1
SOR/2005-373