With performance agreements on the horizon, we know that many ACFO-ACAF members have questions or concerns about their PMAs. The PMA process can be stressful and can have important implications for career advancement and mobility. Our Labour Relations team is here to support all members through this process and to answer any questions you may have.

In that vein, we have put together a useful list of answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about PMAs. If don’t see your question below or if you need further details or advice, don’t hesitate to contact us at labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com or by calling 1-877-728-0695 and the first available Labour Relations Advisor will be happy to assist you.

Do I have to sign my PMA if I do not agree with it?

Yes, you are required to sign your PMA under Article 50 of the collective agreement. However, your signature does not indicate that you agree with your assessment and will not be taken as signifying agreement. Any concerns or points of disagreement that you have with your assessment can be included in the employee comments section. For more information on the employee comments section, see question ten below.

My work objectives do not follow the S.M.A.R.T method (current Treasury Board policy), what recourse do I have?

If your objectives do not adhere to the S.M.A.R.T method, especially if they are not measurable, your performance assessment is not in compliance with Treasury Board policy and your assessment may not be fair or equitable. In this case, we encourage you to contact ACFO-ACAF. One of our Labour Relations Advisors can assist in establishing measures that meet the S.M.A.R.T method either through an informal discussion with your manager or by escalating to a grievance if necessary.

Does my employer have the right to ask to see my previous PMA as part of the hiring process?

There is nothing prohibiting your manager from asking to see your previous PMA. You are not required to provide it personally, but we generally encourage you to do so if asked. Even if you do not provide your previous PMA, your former manager may do so. There is no right to privacy regarding your PMAs. Different managers and departments are still considered the same employer (the public service).

That said, managers are required to apply equal treatment across the board. If your manager has asked to view your PMA, they should apply the same standard to other candidates and ask to view their PMAs as well. If you believe you are being singled out, we encourage you to contact us.

I work harder and better than my coworkers yet everyone in my team received the same rating as me. What should I do?

If you have been told by your manager that there has been a blanket rating application or that the whole team is being rated the same, we encourage you to contact ACFO-ACAF. That is not a legitimate use of the PMA process and rating scale.

If you have not specifically been told by your manager that there has been a team-wide rating application, but you are dissatisfied with your PMA or feel it does not reflect your effort, we encourage you to talk to your manager first. Provide tangible examples of the work you have done and ask for concrete steps to take moving forward. You can also use the comments section of your PMA to provide examples of your work.

Generally we encourage all members to make their work visible throughout the year, so it can be accurately reflected in their PMAs. If you are assisting on a project or doing additional work, let your supervisor know either in person or via email.

My supervisor has asked me to complete a self-assessment, can I refuse to do it as it’s not my job?

Refusing to complete a self-assessment after being asked to do so by your manager would be considered insubordination and you could be subject to discipline. As long as this process is equitable (i.e. being asked of everyone your manager is evaluating), there is nothing prohibiting it.

It’s important to remember that some managers genuinely value employees’ feedback on their own performance. If you are asked to complete a self-assessment, consider it an opportunity to provide your own context and information about your work.

I had no issues at my mid-year review, I was on track to meet my objectives, but at the year end assessment I received a Succeed Minus. What recourse do I have?

If there are issues with your performance at work, they should be brought to your attention early and should not be a surprise when you receive your PMA. If you receive a rating that surprises you, we encourage you to have a conversation with your manager. Ask for more information about why you received this rating and what is needed for you to improve. If you are dissatisfied with this conversation, contact ACFO-ACAF and we can arrange a meeting with your manager to discuss your concerns.

I feel I am not being given full credit in my performance assessment. What should I do?

If you feel your work has not been appropriately valued, we encourage you to have a conversation with your supervisor to determine why you received this assessment and their opinion on what is needed for you to improve. If you do not agree with your assessment, Article 50 of your collective agreement gives you the right to say so in the employee comments section of your PMA.

It’s important to remember that your performance assessment is partly your manager’s subjective opinion of your performance. It should always be based in facts, but it will be partly subjective.

I’ve heard that if I have two consecutive years of negative assessment I could lose my job. Is this true?

There is a policy in place to address negative performance and your managers must adhere to that policy. If you receive a negative assessment, you are at risk of being put on an action plan. You can be terminated if your performance does not improve within 18 months of being put on the action plan. Termination, demotions and withholding increments do occur, but they are very rare.

If you have been put on an action plan or if circumstances have led to discipline, we encourage you to contact ACFO-ACAF immediately. A Labour Relations Advisor can guide you through this process and ensure your rights are protected. We encourage all members to contact us if they have any concerns about their job, not just those that arise when receiving their PMA.

I have no interest in performance management as I’m close to retirement, can I refuse to fill out the form?

Refusing to fill out the form would be considered insubordination and you could be disciplined so we do not encourage it. Even if you do not see your PMA as useful to you, it could be useful to your team, your manager and the person filling your role after you retire. Consider it an opportunity to provide feedback.

Am I allowed to write whatever I want in the employee comment box or does the employer have the right to change my comments?

The employer does not have the right to change your comments in the employee comments section of your PMA. You are entitled to write whatever you want, but the comments are not a protected statement. You are still subject to the same values and ethics as you are in all other aspects of your job. We recommend that you keep your comments professional and relevant and that you avoid insubordination and defamatory or harassing remarks. A good rule is to only include comments in your PMA that you would say to your manager in person or via email.

The PMA process is finished – can I still include comments? Is there a deadline to attach comments?

No, there is no deadline to attach comments under Article 50 of the collective agreement. Your manager does not have the right to deny you the ability to attach comments even after the PMA is complete.

My supervisor has only occupied their position for a month – how can they assess me? What are my rights in this situation?

Article 50 of the collective agreement requires that the person conducting your review must have personally observed or been advised by someone who has observed your performance for at least half of the review period. If this is not the case, contact a Labour Relations Advisor.

Does the employer have the right to deny my telework/leave with income averaging/compressed schedule request on the basis that I am having performance issues at work?

Unless your request is part of an accommodation, all the above requests are discretionary. This means that relevant performance issues could factor in having such requests declined or to existing arrangements being changed. If you believe that this is the case, we encourage you to contact Labour Relations. We may be able to address this issue and will offer advice on how to proceed.

What happens when I contact ACFO-ACAF regarding an issue I have with my PMA?

When you contact ACFO-ACAF with an issue about your PMA, you will speak confidentially with a Labour Relations Advisor who will want to understand the full context and background of your concern. We recommend you prepare any relevant documentation for this initial discussion. After this discussion several different options are possible, from ongoing consultation as you address the issue yourself to ACFO-ACAF contacting the employer on your behalf with your permission. ACFO-ACAF will never take any action, including contacting the employer, without being directed to do so by you. After getting the specifics of your concern, the LRA will offer advice and recommendations on how best to address your issue and will assist you in whatever option you choose.