Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Guidelines on reclassification

Purpose

These guidelines on reclassification are founded on the principles of policy adherence, central oversight and increased transparency. They will provide Deputy Heads with a framework within which to exercise their delegated classification authority for the reclassification of existing positions.

Definitions

Reclassification
The reclassification of a position occurs when the evaluation of its work description results in a change to either or both its occupational group and level due to a significant change in the work assigned to it. A reclassification may be upward, if the work becomes more demanding, or downward, if the work becomes less demanding.
Classification conversion
A classification conversion occurs when a change is made in the method of establishing the relative value of work for an occupational group with a resultant new pay structure.

A classification conversion is not a reclassification and does not require a staffing action. (Reference: complete definition found in Classification System and Delegation of Authority Policy)

Public service values

The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service sets out the values and ethics of the Public Service to guide and support public servants in all their professional activities. Democratic, professional, ethical and people values are identified.

In addition, the Classification Monitoring Framework defines a number of more specific values related to classification that are aligned with these Public Service-wide values. Deputy Heads, managers and human resources advisors are accountable for exercising their classification authority in a way that respects all of these values.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) has a continuing overall accountability for the integrity of the classification system including reclassification.

The Classification System and Delegation of Authority Policy authorizes Deputy Heads to classify positions in their respective departments in accordance with the policy, the appropriate classification standard, and guidelines issued by the CPSA. Departments should choose management practices and appropriate measures to meet their needs within the parameters of the framework prescribed in the policy and the information provided in these guidelines.

Deputy Heads are responsible for ensuring that:

  • managers and human resources advisors in their departments understand the classification system, including the classification standards used by the department, and receive adequate training in job evaluation;
  • work descriptions in their organization are accurate;
  • consultation with the CPSA and other departments takes place in situations where it is warranted;
  • all classification decisions have been arrived at in a transparent, equitable and consistent manner, and these decisions are appropriate and defensible; and
  • there is effective control of the department’s classification system through monitoring and internal audit to ensure the integrity of classification outcomes, and reports are submitted to central agencies as required.

Managers are responsible for ensuring that:

  • they understand the classification system, including the use of classification standards and the allocation of positions to occupational groups;
  • they obtain qualified advice on organizational design and on the content of work descriptions within their organizational context;
  • their organization design and the assignment of work to positions are efficient, effective and within budget;
  • as sponsors of the positions, they provide accurate and complete information to the human resources advisor or classification committee members, as appropriate;
  • they identify significant changes in the work assigned to a position on a regular basis;
  • work descriptions accurately reflect the work assigned and performed;
  • they establish reasonable and defensible effective dates;
  • they authorize work descriptions and encourage employees to read and sign their work description as an indication that they have read the information contained therein; and
  • revised work descriptions are submitted for evaluation in a timely manner.

Human resources advisors with delegated classification authority are responsible for ensuring that:

  • managers are advised on organizational design and work description content within the organizational context;
  • managers are advised on the application of the classification system, interpretation of occupational group definitions, and application of the classification standards;
  • the group allocation and level of the position is determined appropriately; and
  • staffing authorities are consulted and a determination is made whether a new position is required or whether an evolution of the work has resulted in the reclassification of an existing position.

Managers with delegated classification authority are responsible for:

  • approving decisions on the group allocation and level of the position; and
  • approving decisions, after consultation with human resources advisors (classification and staffing), on whether a new position is required or whether an evolution of the work has resulted in the reclassification of an existing position.

Assignment of work

Appropriate decisions on organization design and the assignment of work are all part of sound human resources management. These decisions affect the long-term ability of departments and agencies to deliver programs and services, and to compete for resources and retain competent staff.

Managers are accountable for assigning or reassigning work in a timely and systematic manner and for analyzing the short- and long-term consequences of their decisions, within the context of effective human resources planning; otherwise, these decisions could inadvertently change the level of positions, impact on career mobility and employee productivity and/or increase the cost of the Public Service. In addition, being unaware of the impacts or waiting too long to take action could result in considerable salary liability for the department, and in some cases, the entire Public Service.

Managing changes in work

Managers should take the following steps when they recognize that work has changed significantly:

  • review the content of work descriptions to identify changes (Guidelines on Work Description Writing);
  • review the impacts of proposed ongoing or temporary changes in work on the group and level of positions, and discuss the impacts of these changes with a human resources advisor as soon as they are planned;
  • deal with temporary changes in work by establishing a new position for a specified period or through an acting situation; and
  • deal with new ongoing work either by establishing a new position or assigning the work to existing positions, if appropriate, and taking the appropriate staffing action.

Reasons for reclassification

The reasons for reclassification are included in the Position and Classification Information System (PCIS) – Departmental Guide, Field #13, Reason for Classification Decision codes. The reclassification of existing positions may typically take place for reasons such as:

  • the result of a classification audit, central agency or departmental monitoring exercise or dispute resolution process (use as appropriate: code F = TB audit or monitoring; code G = Departmental audit or monitoring; or code D = Dispute resolution other than grievance);
  • the result of a classification grievance decision (use code C = Grievance);
  • the promotion of employees in incumbent-oriented occupational groups (code is under review - until further notice, leave blank and add a note in Remarks); or
  • as part of a departmental Apprenticeship or Professional Training Program (APTP) established in accordance with the Public Service Commission Guide to Staffing Delegation, Appendix 9 (use code H = Training development).

Reclassifications may also take place when the work has evolved significantly over a period of time, usually from six to 12 months. This evolution of work may occur for the following reasons (use PCIS Reason code A = Change of duties):

  • legislative changes resulting in new program requirements;
  • central agency or departmental policy resulting in changes to existing programs, or changes to organizational mandates; or
  • reorganization of work in response to conditions that increase or decrease available resources, to make more efficient and effective use of financial and human resources, or in response to other changes including technological innovations.

The effective date of the reclassification of an encumbered position may not take place in advance of the new work being assigned and performed.

Reclassification process

The process for the reclassification of an existing position where the work has evolved significantly is as follows:

  • Validate the work description, usually through an on-site review, to ensure that the work assigned by the manager and described in the approved work description is the work performed. An on-site review is required in situations where the reclassification will have a significant impact, involves contentious issues, or whenever a better understanding of the work is required.
  • For generic work descriptions, identify whether the changes apply to all or only some of the positions covered by the same generic work description (see Guidelines on Work Description Writing, Annex A – Guidelines on Using Generic Work Descriptions).
  • Consult with other human resources advisors as appropriate, especially those in human resources planning, staffing and labour relations.
  • Use an evaluation committee for all cases involving the reclassification of an existing position (Guidelines on the Evaluation Process).
  • Evaluate the new work description (Guidelines on Evaluation Process), determine the evolution of work and the appropriate effective date of the reclassification based on the date the new work was assigned and performed (see Guidelines on Work Description Writing, Establishing Effective Date). When effectively managed, no effective date should be retroactive more than eighteen months.
  • Maintain documentation supporting the reclassification decision on the classification file.
  • Enter the new position data into the departmental human resources information system in a timely manner.

Establishment of a new position

A new position must be established in lieu of reclassifying an existing position in the following circumstances:

  • A significant change in work results in an increase of more than one level in the current occupational group.
  • The position has been reclassified within the last two years. Most work does not evolve at such a pace as to justify an additional change in level within this timeline unless the position is part of a departmental Apprenticeship or Professional Training Program (APTP) established in accordance with the Public Service Commission Guide to Staffing Delegation, Appendix 9.
  • There are significant changes in the work that break the continuity of its evolution. This may include such changes as a new hierarchical reporting relationship, increased span of control, the addition of new functions, or increased responsibility for human resources.
  • There is more than one position in the organization performing similar work, and not all are being reclassified. It is important to be transparent and fair. Rather than assigning the new work to one position in preference to another, a new position should be created so that consideration may be given to the career advancement of all the employees.

The “reason” code for a new position is included in the Position and Classification Information System (PCIS) – Departmental Guide, Field #13, Reason for Classification Decision. Use code J = New position.

Appointment process

The appointment process will differ depending on whether the classification action involves a reclassification or the establishment of a new position. Human resources advisors and managers should consult with their staffing advisors in advance of the classification action in order to understand the consequences of the proposed appointment process.

Consultation to maintain relativity

Departments must consult with the CPSA in accordance with the Classification System and Delegation of Authority Policy, Section 6.5.3 in a situation where the reclassification decision will:

  • have a significant impact on interdepartmental relativity;
  • have collective bargaining implications, or
  • result in a significant increase in salary expenditures.

Documentation requirements for classification

Departments must retain the following documentation on the position file (hard copy or electronic) for all reclassifications:

  • the previous work description with the effective date authorized by the appropriate manager’s signature;
  • the revised work description with the effective date authorized by the appropriate manager’s signature;
  • the organization chart;
  • information that validates the selection of the effective date;
  • a report of the on-site review, if applicable, confirming that the work description adequately describes the work assigned and performed by the employee (co-incidence);
  • information that clearly illustrates the evolution of the work, provides the organizational context, and states why it is a reclassified position rather than a new position;
  • classification committee report signed by all committee members;
  • classification decision authorized by the delegated human resources advisor or delegated manager;
  • a rationale that supports the classification decision, and any other relevant documentation.

The classification committee report, the authorized classification decision, the rationale, or other relevant information may be contained in the same document.

Monitoring

Reclassification must be included in the ongoing departmental active monitoring program.

The CPSA will also monitor reclassifications on a regular basis as part of its overall monitoring program.

Reporting of reclassification information

In addition to the ongoing monitoring programs, for additional transparency, each department must post information about the reclassification of encumbered positions on its departmental internet web site. The information must be updated on a quarterly basis.

Use fields from the Position and Classification Information System (PCIS) – Departmental Guide for the posted information, which should include:

  • name of the organizational component within the department/agency (such as Branch or Sector) (use Field #9, Branch/Directorate/Division);
  • position number and position title (use Field #2, Position Number; and Field #5, Position title – English or Field #6, Position Title - French);
  • previous position classification (group, sub-group, level) (use Field #12, Previous Classification);
  • reclassified position classification (group, sub-group, level) (use Field #3, Position Classification Code);
  • job number if used for a generic work description (use Field #47, Job Number),
  • reason for reclassification (use Field #13, Reason for Classification Decision).

Departmental active monitoring reports on reclassification are to be made available to the CPSA on request.