Rescinded [2015-02-24] - Special Assignment Pay Plan (SAPP)

Provides information on the policy objectives, requirements, and responsibilities. It also outlines the number of basic SAPP quotas for departments.
Date modified: 1991-09-01

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

More information



Print-friendly XML

Note to reader

Notice on the Special Assignment Pay Plan Policy – March 2012

Please be advised that the Special Assignment Pay Plan (SAPP) is rescinded effective February 24, 2015.

A three-year transition period with the following conditions applies effective February 24, 2012:

  • No new special assignment pay plan agreements are to be established.
  • No extensions or changes to existing SAPP agreements are to be made.
  • No changes to existing departmental SAPP quotas will be approved.

Individuals currently on SAPP may complete their existing assignment per their established agreement as long as no extensions or changes are made after February 24, 2012.

All existing SAPP assignments must be completed by February 24, 2015. This means that all employees on SAPP must be regularized or retire per the requirements of the Plan by February 24, 2015.

For more details, please consult the FAQs on the rescission of the Special Assignment Pay Plan.

Policy objective

To provide deputy heads some flexibility, within the compensation system of the Public Service, in the recruitment, assignment and compensation of employees.

Policy statement

Deputy heads, or their designates, may recruit or assign a specified number of employees, for a period of up to three (3) years, to duties and responsibilities which have not been classified, or have been classified at a lower level than the level to which the employee is appointed.

This plan applies to all employees, other than those appointed to Management Category levels.

This authority is also extended to the Director of the Career Assignment Program (CAP) of the Public Service Commission.


This policy applies to all departments and other portions of the Public Service listed in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Policy requirements

Assignments under this plan shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations. Before initiating assignments, managers or personnel advisors should consult the appropriate staffing authority.

Assignments may be used for:

  • special recruitment of persons qualified for appointment to the Public Service;
  • special projects for employees required by a deputy head to conduct or participate in a specific project not forming part of the usual and continuing functions of the department;
  • training or development of employees selected by a deputy head for training or development to increase their knowledge and skill to the future advantage of both the employee and the Public Service; or
  • pre-retirement assignment of employees approaching retirement who are selected by a deputy head to apply their knowledge of the department's objectives, programs and procedures in a staff or advisory role.

Assignments shall be made within quota limits established by the Secretary to the Treasury Board. Quotas will be established in accordance with the demonstrated needs of a department, upon written request by the deputy head. Quotas must be exercised within established departmental resource allocations.

There are two types of quotas:

  • basic quotas: established for an indeterminate period to meet ongoing requirements for flexibility in recruiting and assigning employees (see Appendix A); and
  • supplementary quotas: established for a specified period to meet unusual or non-recurring requirements.

Candidates for SAPP assignments shall be provided with written offers of assignment, detailing the nature, location, duration and conditions of the assignment, the measures to be taken to regularize their employment status following completion of the assignment, and the department responsible for implementing those measures.

Candidates should provide written acceptance or rejection of offers of assignments.

Assignments may be modified or extended, as agreed between the employee and the deputy head or designate of the department, or the director, CAP, as applicable.

Assignments shall be deemed to have been interrupted when an employee is unavailable for work for 30 consecutive and contiguous working days for any of the following reasons:

  • certified sick leave;
  • leave without pay;
  • assignment to a Public Service special development program, eg. CAP, ENAP, ENA, Collège d'Europe;
  • secondment or interchange assignment outside of the Public Service.

When an assignment has been interrupted, an employee may resume the assignment upon return to full-time employment, for a period equal to the portion of the assignment remaining at the beginning of the interruption.

Salary increases within the range for the employee's certified group and level shall continue to apply throughout the SAPP assignment, and be administered in accordance with the relevant collective agreement or pay plan.

All conditions and entitlements specified in the collective agreement or compendia applicable to the employee's certified group and level shall continue to apply to an employee assigned under this plan.

Changes in the certified group or level of employees on SAPP assignments shall be made within the provisions of the Public Service Employment Act and Regulations when:

  1. a review of the duties performed by the employee immediately preceding the SAPP assignment causes an upward reclassification of those duties, and the classified level of the position before the review was coincident with the certified level of the employee;
  2. the employee receives an appointment at a higher level and the department decides to allow the employee to complete the assignment;
  3. a conversion to a new classification standard, or to a new occupational group or sub-group, is implemented for the occupational group or sub-group to which the employee holds an indeterminate appointment.


Departments will ensure that basic or supplementary quotas are not exceeded, and that individual records are established for each assignment, including the following information:

  • identification, including the certified level of the assignee;
  • the rationale for the assignment, and for extension(s), if any;
  • commencement and finishing dates of assignments and extensions;
  • evidence of acceptance by the employee of the assignment and any extensions.


This policy replaces chapter 21 of PMM volume 4.


Enquiries relating to this policy should be referred to the responsible officer designated in departmental/organizational headquarters, who in turn may direct questions regarding interpretation to the Human Resources Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Appendix A - Basic SAPP quotas

Department Basic quotas
Agriculture Canada 40
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 10
Canada Labour Relations Board 4
Canadian Aviation Safety Board 12
Canadian Centre for Management Development 7
Canadian Grain Commission 4
Canadian Human Rights Commission 8
Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat 3
Canadian International Development Agency 28
Canadian International Trade Tribunal 12
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission 10
Canadian Secretariat 1
Canadian Space Agency 15
Canadian Transport Commission 8
Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs 1
Communications Canada 10
Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada 11
Correctional Service Canada 27
Department of Forestry/ 15
Department of Western Economic Diversification 10
Emergency Preparedness Canada 10
Employment and Immigration Canada 60
Energy, Mines and Resources Canada 22
Environment Canada 32
External Affairs Canada 21
Federal Court of Canada 4
Federal-Provincial Relations Office 3
Finance Canada, Department of 10
Fisheries and Oceans, Government of Canada 24
Health and Welfare Canada 37
Immigration and Refugee Board 10
Immigration Appeal Board 2
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada 40
Insurance Canada, Department of 4
Investment Canada 6
Justice Canada, Department of 8
Labour Canada 10
National Capital Commission 4
National Defence 30
National Energy Board 6
National Library of Canada 4
National Museums of Canada 10
National Parole Board 4
Office of the Chief Electoral Board 4
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages 4
Office of the Governor General's Secretary 3
Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners 5
Privy Council Office, Government of Canada 14
Public Archives Canada 5
Public Service Commission of Canada 22
Public Works Canada 40
RCMP Public Complaints Commission 2
Registry of the Tax Court of Canada 3
Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise 26
Revenue Canada, Taxation 60
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 8
Secretary of State of Canada 15
Solicitor General Canada/a) Secretariat 8
Statistics Canada 23
Status of Women Canada 1
Supply and Services Canada 32
Supreme Court of Canada 1
Transport Canada 53
Treasury Board of Canada, Office of the Comptroller General 6
Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat 17
Veterans Affairs Canada 16
Date modified: