Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey (SNPS)

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The survey collects data on the experiences of federal public service employees in staffing processes, and information on employees’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities regarding political activities and non-partisanship.

Your information may also be used by Statistics Canada for other statistical and research purposes.

Collection periods:
From March 16 to May 14, 2021
Collection methods:
Electronic Questionnaire
Survey participation:
  • Block Information Confidentiality


    Data are collected under the authority of the Statistics Act Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, Chapter S-19. Your information will be kept strictly confidential.

  • Block Information on Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements and record linkage

    Data sharing agreements

    To avoid the duplication of surveys, Statistics Canada has signed an agreement with the Public Service Commission of Canada to share the information that you provided on this survey. The Public Service Commission of Canada has agreed to keep your information confidential and use it only for statistical purposes.

    Record linkage

    To enhance the data from this survey and reduce response burden, Statistics Canada may combine the information you provide with data from other surveys or administrative sources.

  • Block Information on Topics covered in the survey

    Topics covered in the survey

    The survey asks questions about

    • staffing
    • non-partisanship
    • public servants
    • disability, difficulties and limitations.
  • Block Information on Published data

    Published data

    Statistics Canada publishes the results of its surveys in many formats. To find all the documents related to this survey, follow the links below and type the name of the survey in the search engine located at the left of your screen to filter the results.

    Data: You will find tables, profiles of a community or region, thematic maps, public use microdata files, and data visualization tools.

    Analysis: You will have direct access to Stats in brief (e.g., releases from The Daily, fact sheets), articles and reports, and journals and periodicals.

  • Block Information on Survey-specific questions

    Survey-specific questions

    What is the Staffing and Non-partisanship Survey?

    It is a survey conducted every 2 years by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC). It aims to:

    • allow the PSC to gather your opinions on the current state of the public service staffing system
    • determine whether you have the information necessary to exercise your legal rights and responsibilities with regard to maintaining non-partisanship in the public service

    This survey is one of the ways that information supporting the PSC's mandate is collected. This is the second cycle of the survey; the first cycle took place in 2018.

    When will the survey take place?

    Data collection was originally planned for March 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now take place from March 16 to May 14, 2021.

    Which topics will the survey cover and what kind of questions will be asked?

    The survey addresses 3 main themes:

    • organizational staffing policies and practices
    • perceptions of merit, fairness and transparency
    • political activities and non-partisanship in the public service.

    A number of questions have also been added to gather perceptions of staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The survey includes 3 sections, each targeting a specific group of employees. The first is for all employees, the second is for managers and supervisors only and the third is for staffing advisors.

    Why are there questions on the survey about non-partisanship?

    Under the Public Service Employment Act, the PSC is required to oversee and ensure non-partisanship in the public service. This survey is an important source of information on this topic, with questions on several aspects, including public servants' knowledge of their legal rights and responsibilities, the information provided by their organization, and the general perceptions of employees.

    For more information about the PSC's mandate with regard to political activities, visit the PSC's website.

    Why are there so many questions on the survey about disabilities?

    The health and disability questions in the Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey are aligned with those used by Statistics Canada in their Canadian Survey on Disability, ensuring a consistent approach to measuring disability. The same definition of persons with disabilities is used in calculating revised workforce availability estimates, which serve as benchmarks for measuring employment equity in the public service.

    These questions also allow for a better understanding of the disability types encountered by the public service population, including the severity of the disabilities and their impact on daily life. The information collected will help the PSC ensure that its policies, programs and practices are responsive to the public service population it serves.

    As the survey is administered under the authority of the Statistics Act, respondents' information is kept strictly confidential. Results will never be released in a format that can be traced back to a survey respondent.

    Who can participate in the survey?

    All federal public servants employed on November 30, 2020, by departments and agencies subject to the Public Service Employment Act are invited to take part in the survey. This includes public servants working for the Department of National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP who supervise public servants are also eligible to participate.

    Employees of separate agencies (for example, Canada Revenue Agency) are not eligible to participate in this survey.

    How will the survey be conducted and how can I participate?

    From March 16 to 19, 2021, all eligible public servants and employees will receive an email invitation from Statistics Canada with a unique secure access code they can use to complete the survey online. Reminders will also be sent in cases of non-response.

    How long does the survey take to complete?

    The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. However, not all sections of the survey apply to everyone, so individual completion times will vary.

    The survey does not need to be completed in one sitting. The link included in the survey invitation will allow you to end your session and pick up where you left off later.

    Is this survey mandatory?

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

    Where can I find results for the first cycle?

    Findings from the first cycle of the survey are available in the 2018 Report on the Results for the Federal Public Service.

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

    For the purposes of this survey, you are considered an employee of the department or agency you are working for at the time of the survey.

    Do I need to submit my survey for my responses to be used?

    Information from partially completed or unsaved questionnaires may be retained and used for statistical and research purposes.

    The survey has a question on sharing my information with the PSC. What does this mean?

    For this survey, Statistics Canada concluded an agreement with the PSC to share the information collected in order to avoid overlapping surveys. The PSC has agreed to ensure the confidentiality of the information and to use it for statistical purposes only. The information you provide in this survey can only be shared if we have your consent. If you do consent, information such as your name and employee number are not included in the information that will be shared under this agreement.

    Is the information I provide confidential?

    Yes, this survey is conducted by Statistics Canada under the authority of the Statistics Act, which guarantees that the information you provide will be kept confidential. To learn more about how Statistics Canada protects your information, visit our Trust Centre.

    The following precautions have been taken to ensure that your information is kept confidential:

    • names of respondents will not be included on the analysis file that will be created and made available to the PSC
    • the data will be compiled, aggregated and released in table and chart format so that a respondent cannot be linked to their responses
    • all outputs will be carefully screened to ensure that they do not reveal the identity of individual respondents

    What do I do if I encounter technical difficulties when completing the survey, or if I have questions?

    If you have any questions, please contact us:

    Phone: 1-877-949-9492 (TTY: 1-800-363-7629)
    Monday to Friday (except holidays), from 8 am to 7 pm. (EST)

    When will the survey results be available?

    The data for this survey are expected to be released in the fall of 2021. More detailed analyses and reports are expected to be available at the end of 2021 and in 2022.

    What if I need an adapted version of the survey?

    In accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat's standards, the inclusive single version of the 2021 Staffing and Non-partisanship Survey will provide an optimal experience to all respondents—regardless of ability—and is not dependent on assistive technologies.

  • For more information on the survey or to examine results from 2018, please consult the Public Service Commission of Canada 2018 report or interactive tool, or contact its Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey team at

    For more information about this survey (questionnaires, definitions, data sources and methods used): survey number 5147

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