Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey 2018 – Questions and answers for all survey recipients

1. What is the Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey?

The Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey is a public-service-wide survey to be conducted on behalf of the Public Service Commission of Canada every 2 years. It is a partial replacement for the old Survey of Staffing which was collected from 2009 to 2014 and is one of several means for gathering information to support the Public Service Commission of Canada's mandate. This is the first cycle of the survey.

2. What are the main objectives of the survey?

The Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey has two objectives:

  • To obtain information on employees' perceptions of staffing conducted in organizations under the Public Service Employment Act.
  • To obtain information on employees' understanding of their rights and responsibilities regarding political activities and non-partisanship.

The information gathered will be used to identify current and emerging issues at organizational and government-wide levels, to inform improvements to staffing policies and practices and to support efforts to safeguard non-partisanship within the federal public service.

3. What is the difference between this and the old Survey of Staffing?

The Public Service Commission of Canada used the Survey of Staffing to gather staffing information until early 2014. The Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey continues with some aspects covered in the Survey of Staffing but focuses more on general perceptions than the specifics of a single identified process. Information about specific processes and your experiences as a candidate or hiring manager will be gathered via other surveys.

4. Who administers the survey?

On behalf of the Public Service Commission of Canada, Statistics Canada will conduct the survey and will send email invitations to employees working in organizations subject to the Public Service Employment Act. Because the survey is conducted under the authority of the Statistics Act, the confidentiality provisions apply to all information provided by survey respondents.

5. What kind of questions are asked?

The survey collects information on staffing practices within organizations under the Public Service Employment Act from the perspectives of managers, staffing advisors and employees. The survey also collects information on political activities.

6. What sorts of subjects will be covered?

The survey addresses three main themes: Organizational staffing practices, staffing policies and the political non-partisanship of the public service.

7. Why are there questions about non-partisanship and political impartiality?

Part of the Public Service Employment Act mandates the Public Service Commission of Canada to oversee and ensure the political neutrality of the public service. This survey provides the only available source of information regarding the political impartiality of the public service. The questions on this general topic cover several areas, including public servants' knowledge of their rights and responsibilities, how much their organization keeps them informed and general attitudes among staff.

We want to reassure you that all information provided to Statistics Canada through this survey is protected by law under the Statistics Act.
For more information about the mandate of the Public Service Commission of Canada regarding political activities, please visit the Public Service Commission of Canada website.

8. Who is being surveyed?

The survey is sent to all employees in the Core Public Administration. Those working for separate organizations (Canada Revenue Agency, for example) do not receive the survey. Civilians working for the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP members who supervise public servants under the Public Service Employment Act will also receive the survey. There are three general clusters of questions, each directed at different groups of employees. Some components are directed specifically at hiring managers, others at staffing advisors and a set of questions is directed at all employees.

9. How many people will receive this survey?

The survey is sent to all public servants working in federal organizations that fall under the Public Service Employment Act. It is a "census," so all employees in these organizations will receive an invitation and a unique link to the survey site. It is also sent to some members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Armed Forces who may not be public servants themselves, but have been identified by their respective organizations as supervising public servants.

10. Is this the only information being gathered about staffing?

Other surveys are planned for gathering more detailed information about candidates' and managers' experiences with individual staffing processes.

11. When will the survey take place?

Data collection will take place from February 22 to April 20, 2018. Completed questionnaires must be sent to Statistics Canada by April 20, 2018.

12. Is completing this survey required?

Your participation in this survey is important for safeguarding the integrity of staffing within the Federal public service and improving staffing practices within your organization. Even though your participation is voluntary, we encourage you to have your say in this survey.

13. How long does the survey take to complete?

The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete for most people. Not all sections of the survey apply to everyone, so individual times will vary. In most cases, the questions are simple to answer, making progress through the survey quick. It does not have to be completed in one sitting; the link included in the survey invitation will allow you to break off from the survey and return to it at a later point if you can only spare a few minutes at a time.

14. Is the information I provide confidential?

Yes, Statistics Canada guarantees the confidentiality of the survey under the Statistics Act. To protect confidentiality, the following precautions will be followed:

  • Names of respondents will not be included on the analysis file that will be created and made available to the Public Service Commission of Canada.
  • Data released publically will be produced in tabular and graphical form at aggregate levels only (for example, organizational or public service-wide levels).
  • All outputs will be screened to ensure that they do not reveal the identity of individual respondents.

15. How will the confidentiality of my answers be protected for the electronic questionnaire?

The Statistics Canada Electronic Collection Portal provides detailed information about the security features in place to maintain confidentiality, as required by the Statistics Act.

16. What type of staffing processes does the survey examine?

The survey is primarily concerned with how people get appointed. This can be via any type of advertised process (including the use of pools) and many types of non-advertised processes that result in either an indeterminate or specified term appointment. It is not concerned with any short-term hiring such as student positions or persons hired through temporary agencies.

17. Can I report on processes still in progress?

Unless the question states otherwise, you should be reporting on staffing that concluded during the period of January 1 to December 31, 2017, regardless of when it began. The goal is for the survey results to best reflect those policies, practices and outcomes in place during the identified period.

18. The survey asks about "sharing my information" with the Public Service Commission of Canada. What does this mean?

There is an agreement in place between Statistics Canada and the Public Service Commission of Canada that limits the use of your information to statistical purposes only and prohibits the disclosure of survey information that could identify you. The protected information will be used for statistical purposes only and analyses at the organization and public-service-wide levels only. Your information will not be shared with the Public Service Commission of Canada if you do not give permission to do so.

19. I am temporarily working in another organization. Will my information be attributed to my home organization?

For the purpose of the survey, you are included in the organization where you were working at the time of the survey.

20. Are there any technical terms used in the survey?

We have tried to avoid using technical terms, but have included a glossary for all technical terms used throughout the survey. Terms that appear in boldface in the questionnaire can be found in the glossary that can be accessed through the help {?} button.

21. When will the survey results be available?

The data for this survey are expected to be released in the summer of 2018. More detailed analysis and reports are expected to be available later in 2018.

22. What if I need an adapted version of the survey?

In adherence to Treasury Board Secretariat's standards (which include Levels A and AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), the inclusive single version of the 2018 Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey will provide an optimal experience for all respondents regardless of ability and is not dependent on a specific assistive technology. Those employees who may need an alternate version of the survey, such as being asked the questions over the telephone, are encouraged to contact their organization's human resources representative to arrange for an adapted version.

23. What if I run into technical difficulties while completing the survey?

If you have any technical questions or require assistance, you should access the online help pages, or contact Statistics Canada at the following email address at or call the assistance line at 1-877-949-9492 (TTY: 1-855-382-7745).

24. What do you mean by a "hiring manager"?

The manager portion of the survey is directed towards anyone who could have staffed a position between January 1 and December 31, 2017. Sub-delegated staffing authority is not a requirement. "Hiring manager" can include a variety of position titles, in addition to manager or supervisor, that may be used in different organizations, such as director, associate director, chief or section head.

25. What do you mean by "staffing advisor"?

"Staffing advisor" means those individuals providing operational support and advice to hiring managers. This would generally not include persons involved in corporate human resources planning.

26. Can anyone complete the survey?

The link to the survey provided in the email invitation is unique to you. Therefore, email invitations should never be shared with other people. Only those who received an authorized link can access and complete it.

27. Can someone complete the survey more than once?

The link included in the survey invitation you receive will allow you to return to the survey, change any of your responses or continue where you left off. This can be done as many times as you like; however, once you submit your data, the link becomes invalid so that the survey can only be completed once.

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