Nepotism reigns in federal public service

Managers continue to favour friends and relatives when it comes to hiring new staff
||Last Updated: 11/22/2004


ederal public-sector managers continue to hire spouses, siblings, cousins and friends, despite rules designed to ensure all Canadians have a fair chance at government jobs, according to a report in the

Ottawa Citizen


In 51 per cent of hires, key documents were missing so officials couldn’t determine whether tests of competency and fairness were respected, according to a report by the Public Services Commission that looked into hiring practices.

The report, completed in September 2002, was obtained under Access to Information searches.

“In many cases, the files had no evidence at all,” said one part of the report. “Attempts made to locate the missing information were unsuccessful.”

The commission also found a number of examples where managers avoided open competitions to hire employees.

It also said this type of activity is affecting employee morale. The report includes anonymous comments submitted by public servants, many of which were highly critical of the hiring environment in their offices.

Some wrote that is in an open joke that managers list job qualifications in such a specific way that employees can predict who in the office will get the job.

"This is done so blatantly that most staff are able to identify the successful applicant from a cursory review of the poster and statement of qualifications," said one employee. "This practice has become so blatant that some managers will joke about circumventing the competitive process. Not only does this abuse prevent the best candidates from competing but tends to be somewhat demoralizing."

The commission’s report looked at 1,000 hirings across the country at eight government departments: Fisheries and Oceans; Human Resources Development Canada; the International Joint Commission; the National Library; the National Archives; the Office of the Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner; and Veterans Affairs Canada.

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