We are currently moving our web services and information to Canada.ca.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat website will remain available until this move is complete.

Overview of the qualification standards

Archived information

Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Section 1: Overview

Pursuant to Section 31(1) of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), Treasury Board, as employer, is responsible for establishing qualification standards in relation to education, knowledge, experience, occupational certification, language or other qualifications that the employer considers necessary or desirable having regard to the nature of the work to be performed and the present and future needs of the public service. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) develops and maintains these standards on behalf of the employer.

Organization of the qualification standards

The Occupational Group Qualification Standards are no longer organized according to occupational categories because they were repealed by the Public Service Reform Act (PSRA) in April 1993.

In 1999, Treasury Board approved a streamlined Occupational Group Structure, that maintained the existing bargaining agent affiliation and amalgamated some groups. Consequently, the Occupational Group Qualification Standards are organized according to the occupational group structure that was approved in March 1999 and further restructured in 2005. A table showing a cross-walk between the Occupational Group Structure before and after 1999 is provided in Section 2 for ease of reference.

The occupational group qualification standards for the pre-1999 occupational groups are still in use, as are many of the classification standards. As OCHRO develops and implements classification standards for the 1999 occupational groups, corresponding qualification standards will also be developed.

The Qualification Standards are organized into three related sections:

  • The first section provides an overview of the organization and application of the Qualification Standards.
  • The second section outlines conditions applicable to the Occupational Group Qualification Standards and provides the actual minimum standard in terms of education, occupational certification, etc. for most of the pre-1999 occupational groups.
  • The third section, the Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages, outlines the different levels of official language proficiency qualifications required for making appointments and deployments to bilingual positions in the core public administration.


All of the occupational groups in the public service are referred to in the Occupational Group Qualification Standards. However, specific qualification standards do not currently exist for some occupational groups (i.e., SR (C), SR (E), SR (W) and SV).

The Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages apply to all positions in the core public administration that, according to Treasury Board policy, are identified as bilingual.

The Qualification Standards must be adhered to by deputy heads for all appointment processes and for all intra-group and inter-group deployments and deployments from separate agencies, except:

  • Student Employment Programs designated by the Treasury Board;
  • Acting appointments of less than 4 months in duration;
  • Casual employment, as noted in Subsection 50(3) of the PSEA; and
  • Part-time workers (-12.5 hours/week).

NOTE: In accordance with Subsection 51(2) of the PSEA, before a deployment can take place from a separate agency that does not fall under the PSEA, the PSC must first have reviewed and approved the staffing program at that agency.

These standards are to be applied within the context of the appointment process as outlined in the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) as well as the PSC Appointment Policy Framework.

Date modified: