Upcoming provincial and municipal elections: Candidacy and Non-Candidacy Political Activities of Employees (13-03)


The Public Service Commission has moved since this document was first published and therefore the address and telephone numbers indicated may no longer be accurate. Please consult the Contact Us page for up-to-date contact information.


Note: The following message was sent to deputy heads on February 28, 2013.

In light of the May provincial election in British Columbia and fixed date municipal elections across Canada, in 2013, I would like to provide you with important information to be shared with your employees concerning their legal rights and responsibilities regarding political activities.

The Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) recognizes the right of employees to engage in political activities while maintaining the principle of political impartiality in the federal public service.

A political activity is defined by the PSEA as: carrying on any activity in support of, within or in opposition to a political party; carrying on any activity in support of, or in opposition to a candidate before or during an election period; or seeking nomination as or being a candidate in an election before or during the election period.

Employees may engage in a political activity as long as it does not impair, or is not perceived as impairing, their ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner. Whether a political activity could impair, or be perceived as impairing, their political impartiality, depends on factors such as: the nature of the activity; the nature of an employee’s duties within the organization; and the level and visibility of their position.

As a deputy head, the PSEA limits your political activities to voting in federal, provincial, territorial and municipal elections.

Please note that activities that do not fall under the PSEA’s definition of a political activity may be subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and to your organization’s code of conduct.

A detailed communiqué is attached to assist you in informing your employees about their legal rights and responsibilities related to political activities. Should your Designated Political Activities Representative or yourself require additional information or assistance with your communication efforts, please contact Kathy Nakamura, Director General, Political Activities and Non-Partisanship Directorate, at 613-995-1125.

The PSC appreciates the important leadership role you play in ensuring a professional and non-partisan public service.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 613-992-2788 if you need additional information.

Anne-Marie Robinson

Communiqué to employees