Archived [2020-04-01] - Policy on Interchange Canada

Enables mobility between the core public administration and organizations in the private, public and not‑for‑profit sectors in Canada and abroad to support job enrichment, talent management and skills exchange.
Date modified: 2011-12-16

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1. Effective Date

1.1 This policy takes effect on June 1, 2012 and replaces the Policy on Interchange Canada dated February 15, 2007.

2. Application

2.1 This policy applies to the core public administration as defined in section 11 of the Financial Administration Act unless excluded through specific acts, regulations or Orders in Council.

Section 6.3.1 c) of the Monitoring and Reporting Requirements, and section 7.2 c) of the Consequences, do not apply with respect to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying, and the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. The deputy heads of these organizations are solely responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with this policy within their organizations, as well as for responding to cases of non-compliance in accordance with any Treasury Board instruments that address the management of compliance.

2.2 This policy applies to incoming participants assigned to, and outgoing participants classified in, any occupational group and level up to and including EX-05.

3. Context

Interchange Canada is an exchange program between the core public administration and other organizations in private, public and not-for-profit sectors in Canada and internationally. By taking temporary assignments, employees develop professionally while organizations participating in the Program benefit from new knowledge, skills and approaches. Organizations may use the Program for job enrichment, talent management or skills-exchange.

3.1 Treasury Board has delegated to deputy heads the authority to manage Interchange Canada assignments within their organizations in accordance with policy requirements.

3.2 This policy is issued by the Treasury Board under the authority of section 7 and 11.1 of the Financial Administration Act.

3.3 This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Foundation Framework for Treasury Board Policies and the Policy Framework for People Management.

3.4 While on temporary assignment, participants remain employees of the sponsoring organization to ensure an employer-employee relationship with the host organization is not created.

4. Definitions

4.1 For definitions of terms used in this policy, refer to the Appendix A.

5. Policy Statement

5.1 Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to help the Government of Canada provide better service to Canadians and contribute to workforce and workplace development by:

  1. supporting the acquisition and/or transfer of knowledge and expertise through temporary assignments by assisting participating organizations in meeting their business and human resources objectives;
  2. contributing to an enriched understanding of how the core public administration functions and to better understand the business of other sectors; and
  3. fostering the professional and leadership development of participants.

5.2 Expected Results

The expected results of this policy are:

  1. organizations benefit from participant contributions towards achieving business and human resources objectives; 
  2. participants acquire and/or develop new competencies or practices; and
  3. fair and transparent management of Interchange Canada assignments.

6. Policy Requirements

6.1 Deputy head's responsibilities

6.1.1 Deputy heads ensure that their Head of HR identifies a Liaison Officer to support them in managing the Interchange Canada Program within their organization and to act as the principal contact for the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer where required for corporate purposes set out in this policy and associated directive.

6.1.2 Deputy heads are exclusively responsible for approving the following:

  1. assignments of more than one year where the individual does not meet the linguistic requirements for the duties they are performing on assignment;
  2. the refund of salary, employer-paid benefits and/or relocation costs for less than the full amount if this is deemed to be the most appropriate means to advance the objectives of this policy; and
  3. waiving any or all provisions of the National Joint Council's Foreign Service Directives when the employee wishes to proceed with an assignment outside Canada without these entitlements and makes a request to do so in consultation with the bargaining agent as per the authorities in Directive 3.01 of the National Joint Council's Foreign Service Directives.

6.1.3 Deputy heads exclusively approve, on an exceptional basis, the following:

  1. extensions of up to a maximum of two additional years beyond the three-year assignment period;
  2. refund of salary of incoming participants where the amount exceeds the provisions set out in the Directive on Interchange Canada, (Appendix B, Part IV, section 4.8); and
  3. incoming assignments of participants who are employees of, and sponsored by, a personal corporation.

6.1.4 Deputy heads ensure that an employee/employer relationship does not develop between his/her organization and a participant from an outside organization; and ensure that an employee who is on an Interchange assignment outside the core public administration retains his/her status as an indeterminate employee under the Public Service Employment Act for the duration of the assignment.

6.1.5 Deputy heads may extend to incoming participants who are required to travel in the performance of their duties, refunds in accordance with the Special Travel Authorities and in accordance with the employee provisions of the National Joint Council's Travel Directive, except for:

  1. those provisions found under Part V – Emergencies, illnesses, injuries and death while on travel status; and
  2. access to government travel cards.

6.1.6 Deputy heads ensure that participants meet the eligibility criteria described in the Directive on Interchange Canada, (Appendix B, Part I).

6.2 Assignments

6.2.1 For all assignments, deputy heads ensure that:

  1. assignments are approved in writing by all parties prior to commencement and are part of the departmental integrated business and human resources plan;
  2. the compensation formula provided in the Directive on Interchange Canada, (Appendix B, Part IV, Section 4.8) is adhered to;
  3. if there is a possibility of  conflict of interest prior to, or during the assignment, the deputy head ensures that the situation is addressed in accordance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment, and with organizational Codes of Conduct, or a decision is made not to proceed or continue with the assignment;
  4. risks relating to the stewardship of public resources are adequately managed through effective internal controls in accordance with the Policy on Internal Control;
  5. the terms and conditions of the letter of agreement are respected; and
  6. ministers are not involved in decisions related to individual assignments, and recommendations from ministers or ministers' offices regarding participants will not be considered.

6.3 Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

6.3.1 Deputy heads are responsible for:

  1. monitoring adherence to this policy and its supporting directive through periodic audits and other reviews to ensure their effective implementation;
  2. ensuring that appropriate and timely action is taken to address issues relating to the management of the Interchange Canada Program; and
  3. providing reports or information as requested by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board Secretariat.

6.3.2 Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for:

  1. oversight and monitoring of compliance with this policy and the achievement of expected outcomes through a Treasury Board Secretariat monitoring framework including reporting and analysis.
  2. reviewing and reporting to the Treasury Board on the effectiveness and implementation of this policy and its directive at the five-year mark.

7. Consequences

7.1 Deputy heads are responsible for investigating and acting when issues arise regarding policy compliance and ensuring that appropriate actions are taken to address these issues, in accordance with the Framework for the Management of Compliance.

7.2 The consequences of policy application errors or non-compliance include:

  1. deputy heads may suspend all or part of delegated authorities from specific managers for Interchange Canada assignments following an application error or non-compliance;
  2. deputy heads may take into consideration application errors or non-compliance in managerial accountability agreements and performance appraisals; and
  3. the Chief Human Resources Officer, on the basis of analysis of monitoring and related information, may recommend to the Treasury Board that the deputy head's delegation of authority for Interchange Canada be reduced or suspended.

8. References

8.1 Other relevant legislation

  • Access to Information Act
  • Financial Administration Act
  • Income Tax Act
  • Official Languages Act
  • Privacy Act
  • Public Servant's Disclosure Protection Act
  • Public Service Employment Act
  • Security of Information Act

8.2 Related policies and publications

  • Government Security Policy – Policies and Publications
  • National Joint Council's Foreign Service Directives
  • National Joint Council's Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive
  • National Joint Council Integrated Relocation Directive 
  • National Joint Council's Travel Directive
  • Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment
  • Policy on Internal Control
  • Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification
  • Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector

9. Enquiries

Enquiries concerning this policy should be forwarded to your departmental Liaison Officer. For questions on this policy instrument, the departmental Liaison Officer may contact TBS Public Enquiries.

Appendix A


Addendum agreement (addenda)
a written signed document that sets out the changes to the terms or conditions of the letter of agreement.
Core public administration (administration publique centrale)
departments as defined in Schedule I, and the other portions of the federal public administration named in Schedule IV of the Financial Administration Act.
Deputy heads (administrateurs généraux)
deputy head has the same meaning as in s. 11(1) of the Financial Administration Act.
Incoming participant (participant provenant de l'extérieur)
an employee from a private, public or not-for-profit sector organization who is on an Interchange Canada assignment in an organization in the core public administration.
Letter of agreement (lettre d'entente)
a written, signed document that sets out the responsibilities of the sponsoring organization, the participant and the host organization, and the terms and conditions of the assignment.
Outgoing participant (participant en affectation à l'extérieur)
an employee from the core public administration on an Interchange Canada assignment with an outside private, public or not-for-profit sector organization.
Personal corporation (corporation personnelle)
an organization that is solely or partly owned by the incoming participant, and that is incorporated or continued under the legislation in Canada or in another country. A sole proprietorship is not considered a corporation and therefore may not enter into an agreement under the Interchange Canada Program.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-09920-0

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