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Surplussing and Layoffs (OPS)

Contents

Introduction

If you receive a Surplus Notice Alert (SNA)

If another position in the same work unit is being declared surplus

If you work in the same job functions as another position that is being declared surplus

If your position is being declared surplus

What will be on the SNA

Next steps

A Notice of Layoff (NOL)

Next steps

If your position is surplussed and you wish to leave the OPS

Receive pay-in-lieu of notice

Retire immediately

Bridge to your pension

If your position is surplussed and wish to be redeployed to another position

If you have not been redeployed by the end of your six-month notice period

Frequently asked questions

If you have questions or need assistance

AMAPCEO Workplace Representatives

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)


Introduction

It is unsettling to feel uncertain about your job’s future.

AMAPCEO has secured strong job security measures in your Collective Agreement, including reskilling, voluntary exits, and redeployment so that layoffs are an absolute last resort. If layoffs do occur, your union has negotiated provisions designed to help lessen the impact, including a six-month notice period, options to leave the Ontario Public Service (OPS) with an enhanced package, or ways to be redeployed within the OPS.

These measures and provisions, and one-on-one assistance along the way, are important advantages of being a unionized professional.

As always, if you are experiencing medical or emotional distress, please connect with your medical practitioner or with the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).


If you receive a Surplus Notice Alert (SNA)

A Surplus Notice Alert (SNA) is a letter given to all regular employees in a work unit (per Article 27.5.1, “an administrative district or unit, institution or other such work unit”) in the OPS where one or more permanent positions will be declared surplus.

Your Employer issues SNAs to get a better sense of how many AMAPCEO-represented employees want to stay in the OPS.

There are three types of SNAs. You will receive a SNA if:

1. another position in the same work unit is being declared surplus, or

2. you work in the same job functions as another position that is being declared surplus, or

3. your position is being declared surplus.

Details on each type of SNA are below, along with some options to consider.


If another position in the same work unit is being declared surplus

Every member in the work unit will receive an SNA. The notice will name your work unit and include the job functions and number of positions that will be reduced.

The notice means your position is not being surplussed; however, if your Employer is planning to reduce positions in your unit, you may wish to consider applying for the Transition Exit Initiative (TEI) and/or the Voluntary Exit Registry (VER).

TEI allows you to apply for an exit package to leave the OPS. Learn more about TEI on our fact sheet.

VER allows you to register your home position as a vacancy so that if another OPS employee is surplussed and is a match for your position, you will receive an exit package of greater value than through TEI, and the surplussed employee won’t be laid off. Learn more about VER on our fact sheet.


If you work in the same job functions as another position that is being declared surplus

The notice means your position is not being surplussed, but another position that has the same job functions is.

The SNA will offer you the option to volunteer to leave the OPS in place of an employee in your work unit who might otherwise be laid off through the Voluntary Exit Option (VEO).

If you apply for and are approved for VEO, you will receive an exit package.

You must apply for VEO within five working days of when the SNA was issued.

The VEO is not the same program as the VER or TEI, although the value of a VEO is the same as the VER. Learn more about VEO on our fact sheet.


If your position is being declared surplus

You should only be informed of the elimination of your position at a meeting, typically between you, your manager, an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative, and one of your Employer’s Human Resources Advisors.

Due to confidentiality, you will not be informed of the purpose of the meeting in advance, but AMAPCEO will arrange to have a Workplace Representative attend the meeting to support you.

If, after the meeting, you have concerns about returning to work for the rest of that day, please speak with your manager.

What will be on the SNA

At the meeting, you will receive a copy of a SNA declaring your position surplus. The SNA does not mean you are immediately out of a job.

The SNA will include:

  • the exit options available to you immediately; and
  • the date when you will receive the Notice of Layoff (NOL), informing you of the date on which you will be laid off (six months from the date you receive the NOL).

You will not receive the NOL for at least six working days after you receive an SNA.

Your Employer should also provide you with information about the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), a free and confidential service available to you and your family.

Next steps

When you receive the SNA, you have five working days to decide if you would rather:

Details on each option are below.

If you aren’t sure if you want to leave the OPS after you receive the SNA, you do not have to pick an exit option right away. You can still pick an exit option after you receive the Notice of Layoff.

It is very important that you speak with your Workplace Representative about your options as soon as possible. They will help answer your questions and provide guidance as you decide on your next steps.

Most often, you and your Workplace Representative will have a space to meet immediately following the SNA meeting. You can speak with your Workplace Representative then or connect with them in one or two days’ time.


A Notice of Layoff (NOL)

Unless you decide to leave the OPS right away, you will receive a Notice of Layoff (NOL) at least six working days after the SNA meeting.

The NOL will include:

  • your layoff date (which will be six months from the date you receive the NOL);
  • the exit options available to you;
  • the redeployment options available to you;
  • a form to indicate how you wish to proceed; and
  • the Human Resources contact as designated by your Employer.

Your Collective Agreement states that a NOL cannot be issued to an Aboriginal/Indigenous employee or an employee with a disability (as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code), without the consent in writing of the employee’s Deputy Minister.

Next steps

When you receive the NOL, you must decide if you would rather:

Details on each option are below.

While you have ten working days to make your decision, if you would like to try to be redeployed, you must submit an Employee Form within six working days of receiving the NOL. If you do not make a decision within ten working days, your Employer will consider you to have chosen to try to be redeployed.

It is very important that you speak with your Workplace Representative about your options as soon as possible. They will help answer your questions and provide guidance as you decide on your next steps.


 

If your position is surplussed and you wish to leave the OPS

You can choose one of the following options:

  • leave the OPS within five working days, and receive pay-in-lieu of notice of either:
    • a) a single lump sum payment, paid as soon as possible (and not later than three pay periods following acceptance of this pay-in-lieu option); or
    • b) salary continuance for the six-month notice period; or
  • retire immediately; or
  • bridge your pension.

Details on each option are below.

You may wish to consult a financial advisor to help you determine which option is right for you.

If you leave the OPS, you will not be eligible for any other surplus or redeployment options; however, for the next 24 months, you will be in what is called the “recall period,” and you will have the right to apply to restricted job competitions in the OPS.

Receive pay-in-lieu of notice

You can choose to leave your position within five working days of receiving an SNA or NOL, after which you will receive pay-in-lieu of notice of either:

a) a single lump sum payment, paid as soon as possible (and not later than three pay periods following acceptance of this pay-in-lieu option), totalling:

  • your salary for the six-month notice period, and
  • severance (one week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, to a maximum of 26 weeks), and
  • enhanced severance (an additional week of salary for every completed year of continuous service); or

b) salary continuance for the six-month notice period:

  • your salary paid bi-weekly as though you were at work, and
  • benefits during this time (except Short-Term Sickness Plan and Long-Term Income Protection), and
  • a lump sum payment, paid out at your layoff date, of:
    • severance (one week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, to a maximum of 26 weeks), and
    • enhanced severance (an additional week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, with no maximum).

Retire immediately

You can retire immediately with an unreduced pension if:

  • you are 65 years old; or
  • your age plus your pension service total 90 years (this is called “Factor 90”); or
  • you are 60 years old or older and have 20 years or more of pension service (this is called “Factor 60/20”).

You will receive:

  • your pension under the Public Service Pension Plan (for details, please contact the Ontario Pension Board); and
  • a single lump sum payment of:
    • your salary for the six-month notice period, and
    • severance (one week of salary of every completed year of continuous service, to a maximum of 26 weeks), and
    • enhanced severance (an additional week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, with no maximum).

Bridge to your pension

If you are not currently eligible to retire, you may be able to bridge your pension to reach the date you could have otherwise retired with an unreduced pension. You would not work during this time.

Bridging allows you to continue accumulate pension credits to reach your retirement date by combining:

  • your six-month notice period, and
  • the period represented by your severance (converted to a weekly paid leave), plus
  • up to two years of an unpaid leave (as required to reach your retirement date).

Date your surplus notice is effective + (part of your surplus notice period + unpaid leave + paid leave [converted from your severance] + your remaining surplus notice period) + date you qualify for unreduced pension

Your bridging period will begin with the date you received your SNA. Before your six-month notice period is over, you must take any unpaid leave as required (during which time your normal pension contributions will be deducted from your enhanced severance and remitted on your behalf), followed by the weekly paid leave converted from your severance. You must then complete the rest of your six-month notice period.

Once you have completed the rest of your notice period, you will receive:

  • your pension under the Public Service Pension Plan (for details, please contact the Ontario Pension Board); and
  • a single lump sum payment of your enhanced severance (an additional week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, minus your pension contributions for your unpaid leave of absence).

For example...

On June 1, 2020, Adhira receives a surplus notice alert informing her that her position in the OPS is being eliminated. She has 18 years of pension credit. She will turn 58 on August 15, 2020.

Adhira would be otherwise eligible for retirement with an unreduced pension on August 15, 2022, because on that date she will be turning 60 years old and would have had more than 20 years of pension credits (“Factor 60/20”).

Adhira needs to bridge her pension for 26.5 months (between June 1, 2020 and August 15, 2022). Here’s how she’s doing it:

5 months of her six-month surplus notice period
16 months of unpaid leave (pension contibutions deducted from her enhanced severance [Article 27.21])
4.5 months (i.e., 19–20 weeks) of paid leave (converted from her legislated severance [Article 27.15])
1 month of her remaining six-month surplus notice period


If your position is surplussed and you wish to be redeployed to another position

You can pursue one, or both, of following options to secure another permanent position in the OPS:

If you would like to try to be redeployed, you must submit an Employee Form within six working days of receiving the NOL.

During the six-month notice period you will work as usual, and receive:

  • your usual salary, and
  • benefits.

Learn more about TDA and bumping on our fact sheet.

If you have not been redeployed by the end of your six-month notice period

If you have not been assigned to a permanent position through TDA or bumping, unfortunately, you will be laid off from the OPS.

You will receive:

  • a lump sum payment, paid out as soon as possible after your layoff date, of:
    • severance (one week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, to a maximum of 26 weeks), and
    • enhanced severance (an additional week of salary for every completed year of continuous service, with no maximum).

For the next 24 months, you will be in what is called the “recall period”, and you will have the right to:

  • continue to identify potential TDA matches, and
  • apply to restricted job competitions in the OPS.

Frequently asked questions

Can my Employer surplus whomever they want?

Your Employer has the right to manage and direct the workforce, which includes the authority to hire, layoff, and determine organization and staffing levels. AMAPCEO has negotiated provisions designed to help avoid and minimize layoffs, including reskilling and redeployment, and enhanced entitlements to lessen the impact if layoffs do occur.

I want to take a course to update my skills, and I need some help writing my résumé. Can my Employer provide me with some assistance?

Your Employer offers free, confidential services through the Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP), including career, retirement, financial, and psychological counselling.

If you have applied for Targeted Direct Assignment, you are also eligible for training and retraining (including courses and skills development workshops) to help mitigate any skills deficiencies you may have and to increase the likelihood of redeployment. Talk to your Employer’s HR representative for assistance developing your training plan.

I am an Aboriginal/Indigenous employee. Can I be laid off?

Yes, but further to Article 27.6.1 of your Collective Agreement, the Deputy Minister for your work unit must provide their written consent before you are issued a Notice of Layoff. You must self-identify as an Aboriginal/Indigenous employee to your HR branch.

I have a disability. Can I be laid off?

Yes, but further to Article 27.6.1 of your Collective Agreement, the Deputy Minister for your work unit must provide their written consent before you are issued a Notice of Layoff. You must self-identify as having a disability (as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code) to your HR branch.

What happens if I am on a sick leave and my position is declared surplus?

Your Employer will notify you that your position is being declared surplus, and that you will receive a SNA when you return to work.

What happens if I am on a leave of absence and my position is declared surplus?

Your Employer will notify you that your position is being declared surplus, and that you will receive a SNA when you return to work.

You will have the option to:

  • return early from the leave of absence, and receive the SNA then; or
  • return at the end of the leave of absence, and receive the SNA then.

What happens if I am on a temporary assignment or secondment within the OPS and my home position is declared surplus?

You will either:

  • return to your home position, and receive the SNA then; or
  • receive the SNA and stay on temporary assignment or secondment until:
    • you are directly assigned into a permanent vacancy, or
    • the temporary assignment ends.

This is up to the Ministry of your home position.

What happens if I go on a sick leave, leave of absence, or a temporary assignment after I receive a SNA?

If you have received a SNA, and then have to go on STSP:

  • if, at the beginning of the leave, your medical practitioner indicates that the leave will be shorter than one month:
    • your surplus notice period will not change.
  • if, after one month of leave, your prognosis remains uncertain, or if, at the beginning of the leave, your medical practitioner indicates that the leave will be longer than one month:
    • your surplus notice period will be frozen for the duration of the leave; and
    • will resume when you are able to return to work.

If you have received a SNA, and then have to go on an LTIP or WSIB sick leave of absence:

  • your surplus notice period will be frozen for the duration of the leave; and
  • will resume when you are able to return to work.

If you have received a SNA, and start a leave of absence, you have a choice to:

  • freeze your surplus notice period for the duration of the leave; or
  • return early from the leave of absence.

If your position is declared surplus, and:

  • you start a temporary assignment or a secondment within the OPS before you are eligible for a Targeted Direct Assignment (TDA) match into a temporary assignment (i.e., during the first four months of your six-month notice period); and
  • the assignment or secondment is longer than six months and was filled competitively,

your surplus notice period will be frozen for the duration of the assignment or secondment; however you shall remain eligible to apply and be considered for TDA matches.


If you have questions or need assistance

AMAPCEO Workplace Representatives

Please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative in your District. They do not have to be in your Ministry.

Workplace Representatives are trained union members who have volunteered to confidentially assist members like you in the workplace. They should be your first point of contact in seeking information and representation with an issue at work.

Your Workplace Representative may ask you to use the union’s secure web-based system, RADAR, to provide details about your situation. RADAR will help you and your Workplace Representative keep track of things without the privacy concerns that could come from using the Employer’s email system.

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

EFAP is a free and confidential service available to you and your family 24 hours a day. EFAP offers immediate assistance, including professional counselling, career coaching, financial planning services, and more.

You can access EFAP by:

Fact Sheet

Bargaining Unit: Ontario Public Service (OPS)

Collective Agreement Articles: 7, 23, 27, & 38

First Published: September 4, 2020

Last Updated: December 7, 2020

Contact a Workplace Representative

See more Ontario Public Service Fact Sheets