Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is a federal government department that supports the well-being of Veterans and their families and promotes the recognition and remembrance of the achievements and sacrifices of those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict, and peace.
The department delivers programs and services such as disability benefits, financial benefits, rehabilitation, pension advocacy, education, training support, and case management services to current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and their family members.
About 3,400 employees work at VAC across Canada. More than half are located at the department’s head office in Charlottetown. There are up to 1,000 different job titles in the organization.
“The department is currently hiring 300 full-time positions to support the work in our Disability Benefits program,” says Anne Marie Pellerin, Senior Director, Human Resources, with VAC.
“This is one of the biggest programs in our department. The hiring process started in July, and it will take a couple of months to fill all 300 positions. It is quite a large undertaking that includes posting, assessing, and hiring; we have many HR staff dedicated to this process. The 300 positions are funded for the next two years, so the staffing process must be completed as quickly as possible.”
“We have adjusted our hiring process by asking applicants to provide more information to us in relation to the specific job they are seeking, and how they meet the criteria,” says Anne Marie. “By providing more information up front, HR and the hiring managers can do an in-depth assessment as to whether the applicant meets the requirements for the job, as outlined in the Statement of Merit.
“The assessment process may also include take-home exams and interviews by video or teleconferencing.”
From August 2019 to July 2020, VAC recorded 841 hires and rehires. “The number does not necessarily reflect unique individuals. It includes, for example, students who may have worked with us in the summer and then returned as part-time employees in the fall or winter; in this case, they would be counted twice, as a hire and a rehire.
“Hiring typically increases in January and September, due to student hiring/re-hiring, the start-up of new projects, and reinvestments in workload plans.”
For Veterans’ Week in November, VAC hires many casuals to help prepare for the series of events. “Casual workers fill a short-term immediate need and can be hired directly by a department throughout the year. The nature of the programming or project dictates the number of staff required.”
Casuals workers may apply for permanent part-time or full time positions as well as term positions (positions with a specified end date) that are posted externally. Permanent and term employees are eligible for any internal or external positions.
“With a department of this size, retirements, promotions, or resignations mean that attrition is ongoing. This creates vacancies that have to be staffed on an ongoing basis.”
Timeframe of process
Anne Marie says the timeframe between submitting an application to accepting a job offer can vary, depending on the position and the number of applicants to be screened, assessed, and interviewed. “It’s important for applicants to monitor their e-mail for notifications regarding their assessment and the status of the process.”
Positions open to the public are advertised on the Government of Canada jobs site at www.canada.ca/GCjobs. Some postings are used to create inventories so that VAC has a pool of potential applicants available to fill future vacancies. Those postings may not have a closing date and may remain open for an extended period of time.
Anne Marie says that hiring preference may be given to certain individuals or groups, in order to achieve a representative and diverse workforce. Considerations related to employment equity and/or CAF experience will be indicated on the job posting.”
To get an idea of level of language proficiency, sample tests are available online. Google Public Service Commission Second Language Evaluation test.
To start your job search with the Canadian Federal government, visit www.canada.ca/GCjobs and click Applying for Federal Jobs.
Check out this video on the application process: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GW7P3g9hhI
Employment opportunities at Veterans Affairs Canada
September 13, 2019
“As positions become available, applicants who meet the initial screening qualifications may be contacted for further assessment,” says Donna Burke, Acting Director, Human Resources, VAC. “Advertisements for specific positions or immediate job openings are also posted on this site. These will have a closing date and may be posted for a short period only.
“Depending on the position, the language requirements of VAC jobs are either English Essential, French Essential, or bilingual imperative. There are various language proficiency levels.”
To get an idea of your level of language proficiency, sample tests are available online. Google Public Service Commission Second Language Evaluation test.
VAC’s staffing authorities are delegated to the department by the federal Public Service Commission and legislated by the Public Service Employment Act. Positions available to the public are open to persons residing in Canada and Canadian citizens residing abroad.
There can be an exception to who can apply for these jobs. VAC may identify a certain group to achieve a representative and diverse workforce, such as employment equity or Veterans, and this will be indicated on the job posting.
If you belong to one of the designated employment equity groups (Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, member of a visible minority group or female) you have the option of indicating that on your application.
Indeterminant jobs are permanent. A term employee has an end date. Casual workers fill a short-term immediate need, and can be hired directly by a department for up to 90 working days in a calendar year, per department. Advertisements on www.canada.ca/GCjobs may list casual opportunities, or you can provide your resumé for consideration for casual work.
“Being hired as a casual worker will give you federal government work experience,” says Donna. “However, as you are not an employee of the department or the public service, you can’t apply for internal job postings, only for jobs open to the public.”
If there is a need for contract work, there is a separate procurement process through Public Works and Government Services Canada. More information can be found at www.buyandsell.gc.ca.
To start your job search with the federal government, visit www.canada.ca/GCjobs and click Applying for federal jobs
Create a job alert
“All positions open to the public to apply at VAC must be posted for a minimum of 24 hours, so it is important to keep an eye on the website,” says Donna. “You can create an email job alert, which will send job postings directly to your email address. You can filter the postings based on a number of refining options such as salary range, classification groups and levels, work location, language, government organizations, and more.”
Applying for a federal government job
- Log into your account. From the My Jobs menu, you can see the positions you have applied for and the status of your applications.
- Visit www.Canada.ca/gcjobs and search for government jobs. You can search jobs by work location, organization, classifications group and level, salary, and so on. Search Prince Edward Island to see the jobs available on the Island.
- Check federal government department websites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find job openings that may not be listed on the jobs website.
- “When you apply for a job, follow all instructions and read the job ad carefully to make sure you address the essential and any other qualifications,” says Donna. “Be clear and precise in your application. Provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet the qualifications you’ve been instructed to address. You need to say what you did, when you did it, who you did if for, why you did it, and how you did it. For example, if you just say you have experience as an executive assistant, a manager can’t assume what you did in that role.”
- Check the closing date. “Applications will not be accepted after that date,” says Donna. Submit the application before the deadline. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply, because the application process can be fairly lengthy.
- Some initial screening may be done by computer. If you answered no to an essential qualification, you will be screened out.
- During the hiring process, persons with disabilities can ask for an accommodation which is designed to remove obstacles during the application or assessment. For example, if you have a visual impairment, you could be given a test presented in a larger font, or be provided a reader service.
- To find out about the status of your application and the jobs you have applied to in the past, log in to your account.
- The next level of screening or assessment will be done by the hiring manager and/or an assessment board, and may include an HR person. They determine if you meet the qualifications you have been instructed to address in your application and may verify information against your resumé. Additional assessment could include an interview, testing, and reference checks. You could be interviewed by telephone or in person.
- A job offer will be made to the successful candidate, and/or the competition may be used to establish a pool of qualified candidates available for future opportunities. Make sure your email service does not have a filter that could block emails from the public service.
Your resumé and references
“When you demonstrate the experiences required on the application, make sure your resumé and cover letter (if instructed to provide one) includes those experiences as well.
“Also, make sure all information is up to date, including your phone number and email address. If the posting asks to provide references, let the reference know that they may be called.”
Advice for people who have applied and are not succeeding
“Keep trying,” says Donna. “Read the advertisement carefully. Follow the instructions, be clear in your application, and be available.
“Don’t screen yourself out. The application process may seem daunting. Just go through step by step. Even if it takes some time, don’t get discouraged. The big thing is to apply and do the best you can. I always tell people: apply apply apply.”
Opportunity for advancement
“There are various mechanisms to potentially move up or around once you are an employee,” says Donna. “Internal job advertisements are open only to employees of the department or the public service.”
Government of Canada jobs: www.canada.ca/en/public–service–commission/jobs/services/gc–jobs/information–candidates.html
Text instructions to apply: www.canada.ca/en/public–service–commission/jobs/services/gc–jobs/how–apply.html