Vol. 149, No. 13 — July 1, 2015
SI/2015-54 July 1, 2015
VETERANS HIRING ACT
Order Fixing July 1, 2015 as the Day on which the Act Comes into Force
P.C. 2015-817 June 17, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, pursuant to section 15 of the Veterans Hiring Act, chapter 5 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes July 1, 2015 as the day on which that Act comes into force, other than section 14, which came into force on assent.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
The Order fixes July 1, 2015, as the coming-into-force date of the Veterans Hiring Act (formerly Bill C-27) [the Act], which received royal assent on March 31, 2015.
The objective of the Act is to amend the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) to give Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel and veterans increased access to employment opportunities in the federal public service. Currently, medically released CAF personnel have regulatory priority for a period of two years. Persons with a regulatory priority are considered for appointment to vacant positions after persons with a statutory priority have been considered. There is no relative order of precedence among persons with a regulatory priority.
Each year, approximately 6 600 CAF personnel are released from the Forces, approximately 1 000 of whom are released for medical reasons. Given the average age at medical release is 42, many will want to pursue new career paths. As a result, a successful transition to civilian life depends, to a large degree, on them finding meaningful employment. The Government has already introduced initiatives, such as Hire a Veteran and Helmets to Hardhats to help in this endeavour.
The Government of Canada has long established its responsibility to ensure released CAF personnel have access to a broad range of programs and services in recognition of the service to their country, and to ensure that these men and women obtain optimal independence, health, and well-being in their re-establishment to civilian life. The Speech from the Throne delivered on October 16, 2013, reconfirmed the Government’s commitment to helping veterans through this re-establishment period. Specifically, the Speech stated that the Government of Canada “will build on our successful Helmets to Hardhats program to place veterans in good jobs.”
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), having the overall mandate for the re-establishment of veterans into civilian life, has also developed an employment strategy focused on maximizing employment opportunities and creating greater opportunities for veterans through partnerships with the private sector, not-for-profit sector, and Crown corporations. The Government of Canada would now like to lead by example by providing veterans with greater employment opportunities within the federal public service.
The Act, which will facilitate access to federal public service jobs for Canada’s serving and former CAF personnel, further advances VAC’s employment strategy and complements the Government’s existing programs to help veterans transition to civilian life.
CAF personnel who were medically released from the Forces for reasons which are attributable to their service have had their military careers end prematurely for reasons outside of their control. If someone was injured in service to his or her country that resulted in the loss of a limb, for example, that individual is no longer “deployable” within the CAF. This is because all CAF personnel must be medically capable of completing all of the common tasks associated with military service and be able to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice. To recognize that the loss of employment in the CAF is directly related to their service and sacrifice, the Act creates a top statutory priority entitlement for these men and women to federal public service jobs for a five-year period. This means that, before any vacant public service position can be filled, it must first be determined if there are any CAF personnel, who were medically released for reasons attributable to their military service, who are qualified to do the job. If so, such individuals would be appointed to the position without any other non-CAF candidates being considered. CAF personnel who were medically released for reasons not related to their military service (e.g. for illnesses such as cancer not attributable to their service) will continue to have regulatory priority, but the amended Public Service Employment Regulations will prescribe that this entitlement will be for a period of five years instead of the current two-year period.
In addition, CAF personnel with at least three years of service and honourably released CAF veterans with at least three years’ military service who are not already federal public servants can participate in internally advertised hiring processes within the federal public service. Finally, preference will be given to honourably released CAF veterans in externally advertised hiring processes. Preference means that all candidates applying on advertised external processes are assessed but, in the event that two or more individuals are equally qualified, the individual with hiring preference would be appointed. Honourably released CAF Veterans with at least three years of military service will benefit from this preference for a period of five years following their release date.
It is important to note that, in all cases, veterans and CAF personnel candidates must apply, and be found to be qualified, for positions before being hired.
There are no financial implications associated with this legislative amendment.
The initiative to enhance access to federal public service jobs for serving CAF personnel and veterans has been in the public domain since Bill C-27 was introduced in the House of Commons on March 4, 2014. A news release was also issued on the same day. Veteran stakeholder groups have had the opportunity to discuss any concerns with the Department and the Minister during several stakeholder group meetings since the Bill was introduced. The Bill has been generally accepted and supported as it aims to provide positive employment opportunities for veterans.
Cabinet Business Unit
Veterans Affairs Canada
P.O. Box 7700
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island