Rescinded [2015-02-24] - Special Assignment Pay Plan (SAPP)

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Notice on the Special Assignment Pay Plan Policy – March 2012

Please be advised that the Special Assignment Pay Plan (SAPP) is rescinded effective February 24, 2015.

A three-year transition period with the following conditions applies effective February 24, 2012:

  • No new special assignment pay plan agreements are to be established.
  • No extensions or changes to existing SAPP agreements are to be made.
  • No changes to existing departmental SAPP quotas will be approved.

Individuals currently on SAPP may complete their existing assignment per their established agreement as long as no extensions or changes are made after February 24, 2012.

All existing SAPP assignments must be completed by February 24, 2015. This means that all employees on SAPP must be regularized or retire per the requirements of the Plan by February 24, 2015.

For more details, please consult the FAQs on the rescission of the Special Assignment Pay Plan.

Policy objective

To provide deputy heads some flexibility, within the compensation system of the Public Service, in the recruitment, assignment and compensation of employees.

Policy statement

Deputy heads, or their designates, may recruit or assign a specified number of employees, for a period of up to three (3) years, to duties and responsibilities which have not been classified, or have been classified at a lower level than the level to which the employee is appointed.

This plan applies to all employees, other than those appointed to Management Category levels.

This authority is also extended to the Director of the Career Assignment Program (CAP) of the Public Service Commission.


This policy applies to all departments and other portions of the Public Service listed in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Policy requirements

Assignments under this plan shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations. Before initiating assignments, managers or personnel advisors should consult the appropriate staffing authority.

Assignments may be used for:

  • special recruitment of persons qualified for appointment to the Public Service;
  • special projects for employees required by a deputy head to conduct or participate in a specific project not forming part of the usual and continuing functions of the department;
  • training or development of employees selected by a deputy head for training or development to increase their knowledge and skill to the future advantage of both the employee and the Public Service; or
  • pre-retirement assignment of employees approaching retirement who are selected by a deputy head to apply their knowledge of the department's objectives, programs and procedures in a staff or advisory role.

Assignments shall be made within quota limits established by the Secretary to the Treasury Board. Quotas will be established in accordance with the demonstrated needs of a department, upon written request by the deputy head. Quotas must be exercised within established departmental resource allocations.

There are two types of quotas:

  • basic quotas: established for an indeterminate period to meet ongoing requirements for flexibility in recruiting and assigning employees (see Appendix A); and
  • supplementary quotas: established for a specified period to meet unusual or non-recurring requirements.

Candidates for SAPP assignments shall be provided with written offers of assignment, detailing the nature, location, duration and conditions of the assignment, the measures to be taken to regularize their employment status following completion of the assignment, and the department responsible for implementing those measures.

Candidates should provide written acceptance or rejection of offers of assignments.

Assignments may be modified or extended, as agreed between the employee and the deputy head or designate of the department, or the director, CAP, as applicable.

Assignments shall be deemed to have been interrupted when an employee is unavailable for work for 30 consecutive and contiguous working days for any of the following reasons:

  • certified sick leave;
  • leave without pay;
  • assignment to a Public Service special development program, eg. CAP, ENAP, ENA, Collège d'Europe;
  • secondment or interchange assignment outside of the Public Service.

When an assignment has been interrupted, an employee may resume the assignment upon return to full-time employment, for a period equal to the portion of the assignment remaining at the beginning of the interruption.

Salary increases within the range for the employee's certified group and level shall continue to apply throughout the SAPP assignment, and be administered in accordance with the relevant collective agreement or pay plan.

All conditions and entitlements specified in the collective agreement or compendia applicable to the employee's certified group and level shall continue to apply to an employee assigned under this plan.

Changes in the certified group or level of employees on SAPP assignments shall be made within the provisions of the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations when:

  1. a review of the duties performed by the employee immediately preceding the SAPP assignment causes an upward reclassification of those duties, and the classified level of the position before the review was coincident with the certified level of the employee;
  2. the employee receives an appointment at a higher level and the department decides to allow the employee to complete the assignment;
  3. a conversion to a new classification standard, or to a new occupational group or sub-group, is implemented for the occupational group or sub-group to which the employee holds an indeterminate appointment.


Departments will ensure that basic or supplementary quotas are not exceeded, and that individual records are established for each assignment, including the following information:

  • identification, including the certified level of the assignee;
  • the rationale for the assignment, and for extension(s), if any;
  • commencement and finishing dates of assignments and extensions;
  • evidence of acceptance by the employee of the assignment and any extensions.


This policy replaces chapter 21 of PMM volume 4.


Enquiries relating to this policy should be referred to the responsible officer designated in departmental/organizational headquarters, who in turn may direct questions regarding interpretation to the Human Resources Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Appendix A - Basic SAPP quotas

DepartmentBasic quotas
Agriculture Canada40
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency10
Canada Labour Relations Board4
Canadian Aviation Safety Board12
Canadian Centre for Management Development7
Canadian Grain Commission4
Canadian Human Rights Commission8
Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat3
Canadian International Development Agency28
Canadian International Trade Tribunal12
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission10
Canadian Secretariat1
Canadian Space Agency15
Canadian Transport Commission8
Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs1
Communications Canada10
Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada11
Correctional Service Canada27
Department of Forestry/15
Department of Western Economic Diversification10
Emergency Preparedness Canada10
Employment and Immigration Canada60
Energy, Mines and Resources Canada22
Environment Canada32
External Affairs Canada21
Federal Court of Canada4
Federal-Provincial Relations Office3
Finance Canada, Department of10
Fisheries and Oceans, Government of Canada24
Health and Welfare Canada37
Immigration and Refugee Board10
Immigration Appeal Board2
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada40
Insurance Canada, Department of4
Investment Canada6
Justice Canada, Department of8
Labour Canada10
National Capital Commission4
National Defence30
National Energy Board6
National Library of Canada4
National Museums of Canada10
National Parole Board4
Office of the Chief Electoral Board4
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages4
Office of the Governor General's Secretary3
Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners5
Privy Council Office, Government of Canada14
Public Archives Canada5
Public Service Commission of Canada22
Public Works Canada40
RCMP Public Complaints Commission2
Registry of the Tax Court of Canada3
Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise26
Revenue Canada, Taxation60
Royal Canadian Mounted Police8
Secretary of State of Canada15
Solicitor General Canada/a) Secretariat8
Statistics Canada23
Status of Women Canada1
Supply and Services Canada32
Supreme Court of Canada1
Transport Canada53
Treasury Board of Canada, Office of the Comptroller General6
Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat17
Veterans Affairs Canada16