Leave without pay for relocation of spouse or common-law partner

As of this release, the collective agreements for the Library of Parliament (LoP—article 19.20), the Translation group (TR – article 21.11), and the Economics and Social Science Services group (EC – article 21.11) stipulate a leave for relocation of a spouse or common-law partner. Here is some information to answer your main questions on the topic:

Q: Which definition applies for the terms spouse and common-law partner for the purposes of this article?
A: All these terms mean the person who has cohabitated with the public service employee in question in a conjugal relationship for at least one year before the leave is granted, or the person to whom the public service employee is married (definition taken from our LoP, EC, and TR collective agreements and from chapter 7, PSC).

Q: Must my spouse or common-law partner be public service employee in order for me to be able to take the leave?
A: No. The collective agreements stipulate no limits in this area and the Public Service Commission's interpretation is along the same lines (PSC, chap. 7.4).

Q: Must the relocation take place because the partner is being forced to relocate by his/her current employer?
A: No. CAPE is of the opinion that relocation of the spouse or common-law partner may occur for any reason, including the spouse's studies, relocation of a self-employed worker, changing jobs to work for another employer, etc. (see CAPE's position in the Leduc decision, no 166-2-18092 and PSC, chap. 7.4).

Q: How long is the leave?
A: When a public service employee must relocate, the home organization grants him/her a leave of up to a one year in the event of a permanent relocation, or up to five years for temporary relocation (CAPE collective agreements).

Q: May my manager decline to grant me such leave?
A: According to CAPE, this entitlement is not discretionary. However, the employer may verify certain points, including that the marriage between the spouses does exist or that they do cohabitate in a common-law marriage, and that the spouse is actually moving. Once these points are established, the employer may not decline such leave, since it is granted "at the request of the employee/ or public service employee " (CAPE collective agreements).

Priority entitlement:
On top of the relocation leave entitlement comes a priority entitlement which applies specifically to a public service employee on authorized leave due to the relocation of his/her spouse or common-law partner.

If the public service employee’s position is filled by a replacement for an indeterminate period further to an appointment or transfer, the type of priority that applies to the public service employee on relocation leave will change to "leave of absence priority", which will begin on the date the position was filled.

There are different situations in which various different priority entitlements may apply. In the same way, some benefits, in particular retirement benefits, may be changed when relocation leave is applied, if it lasts longer than three months.


Disclaimer: Material contained on this page is intended for general information purposes only. It is not intended as professional counsel or legal opinion. Any analysis or interpretation contained herein should not be considered to be CAPE’s final analysis or interpretation and is subject to change. It is not binding on CAPE. Every case is highly fact-specific and, as a result, the outcome of any particular case will vary depending on the unique facts and legal issues involved.