Political rights of public service workers

One of the hallmarks of a healthy democracy is the ability of citizens to participate freely and actively in determining who they elect to govern and make decisions on their behalf.

Make use of your political rights

PSAC members are encouraged to take an active role in exercising their democratic political rights by:

  • Signing a candidate’s nomination papers.
  • Wearing a party or candidate button in public.
  • Placing an election sign on your property.
  • Giving political opinions in public or elsewhere.
  • Working as a canvasser for a political party or candidate.
  • Working in a campaign office.
  • Participating in the formation of party or candidate policies.
  • Taking part in election-day activities on behalf of a party or candidate.
  • Attending peaceful demonstrations on political topics.
  • Soliciting funds from the public for political campaigns and parties.
  • Attending a political convention as a delegate.
  • Writing letters to the editor endorsing a candidate or party.
  • Expressing support for a party or candidate on a social media platform

Learn about the historical struggle to win your political rights »

Limits to your political rights

For some PSAC members — those covered by the Public Service Employment Act — some restrictions apply. None of the activities listed in the previous column should be carried out during your working hours.

There are also separate and special rules that apply if you wish to be a candidate in a federal, territorial, municipal or provincial election. When determining how you want to exercise your democratic rights, follow some guiding principles:

  • Don’t conduct any political activity on the job.
  • Don’t identify yourself as a federal public sector worker when working on a campaign, e.g. canvassing, making phone calls, etc.
  • Don’t identify yourself as a federal public sector worker when communicating opinions about election issues, political parties and politicians through blogs, Facebook, Twitter or other social media.
  • Don’t wear your uniform if you are required to wear one at work, or your government identification, at public meetings such as candidates’ meetings.
  • Don’t drive a government identified vehicle when participating in election activities.

If you are disciplined for political activities

If you are disciplined in any way for participation in a political activity, this can be grieved. If you are disciplined, contact your Local/Branch or your Component for representation and advise your PSAC regional office. Any attempts by management to restrict your political rights should also be brought to the attention of the PSAC regional office.

Speaking out on cuts

Additionally, PSAC members have the right to speak out factually about the work they do and about cuts that are taking place. To learn more about your right as a federal employee to speak out on cuts to public services and express solidarity with your bargaining team by wearing union material (e.g., bracelet), see our guide.

Speaking out on cuts to federal public services: Guidelines for union representatives and members »