The concept of merit has changed since that Public Service Modernization Act came into effect in 2003.
“Relative merit” no longer exists. This means that the Reverse Order of Merit (the process that was used during the downsizing exercises that occurred in the 1990s) isn’t a mandatory process any longer.
Management now has broad discretion with respect to merit criteria. At its discretion it can place greater emphasis on certain merit criteria than others to achieve a “right fit” decision.
The employer can rank assessment results or use any other merit criteria that is deemed to be fair and transparent.
The Public Service Commission’s Guide on the Selection of Employees for Retention and Lay-off, is the key document that explains how employers must exercise merit.
PSAC believes that the wording in this documentation allows the employer to use seniority as part of the merit criteria.
Work Force Adjustment Committees must seriously examine the kinds of merit exercises that will be used in a WFA situation to ensure that they are transparent and fair.