by Stacy Dunn
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