Canada Employment and Immigration Union -

SERLO (Selection of Employees for Retention or Layoff)

Selection of Employees for Retention or Layoff (“SERLO”)

In a WFA situation, the SERLO process only applies when some but not all of the affected positions must be reduced. SERLO is the process in which the Deputy Head must assess and select on the basis of merit which employees are to be retained or laid-off.  The Employer must notify the Union before notifying employees at certain steps in the WFA process. Additional details are communicated to employees and in consultation with the Union (through WFA Committees).In general, an overview of the SERLO process is as follows:

  • A part of the organization is affected. This affected part could be local, regional or national and include a section, division, directorate, or entire branch/regional office.
  • Similar affected positions and employees are identified and encompass similar occupational nature with similar duties in the same occupational group and level. This includes employees on secondment/assignment or in acting positions elsewhere.
  • An overall selection strategy is put in place.
  • Merit/Selection criterion is defined. Considerations of the merit criteria are: essential and asset qualifications, operational requirements and organizational needs. In addition to essential qualifications, the sub-delegated Manager may identify and apply other merit criteria.

PSC Guide for Assessing Merit

  • Affected employees are evaluated/assessed.
  • Results of the evaluations/assessments are communicated and applied to affected employees-they are retained or laid-off.
  • Employees who have been selected for lay-off have the right of recourse. Complaints must be filed within 15 days of notification.

The Complaint Process

Workforce Adjustment and Merit

  • Employees have no recourse to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (“PSST“) in terms of the decision to lay off employees, the determination of affected part of the organization/positions to be affected, or the number of employees to be laid off.


Other Information on SERLO is available at:

The Public Service Commission (“PSC”) website:

Guide on the selection of employees for retention or lay-off

Guidance Series – Assessment, Selection and Appointment

The Public Service Employment Regulations (“PSER”):

Selection of Employees for Layoff

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