Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q. Who can apply?

A. Canadian citizens who have completed a university degree or will have done so by June 30, 2015. The department is looking for people from diverse backgrounds with sound judgement and excellent problem-solving, interpersonal and communications skills.

2. Q. Do I need to be bilingual to apply?

A. Foreign Service Officers and Management Consular Officers require CCC/CCC level of proficiency in their second official language.  Policy Officers and Commerce Officers require BBB/BBB level of proficiency in their second official language.

Please consult the Jobs.gc.ca website for an overview/definition of language requirements.

3. Q. I want to apply to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. What must I do?

A. You must complete your application within the Post-Secondary Recruitment Campaign of the Public Service Commission (PSC) by the stated deadline. Only after you complete your application will you be invited to write the online Public Service Entrance Exam (PSEE).

4. Q. How do I know my application has been successfully completed and accepted?

A. You must apply on-line through the Post-Secondary Recruitment campaign on the Public Service Commission’s website. You will receive a message indicating the status of your application upon logout. If any information is incomplete, you will be advised that you must complete all requirements by the closing date. We cannot accept applications beyond the deadline.

5. Q. When and where will the exams be held?

A. As part of this process, applicants must undergo a series of tests. An online test will be sent to you with instructions on October 9. Candidates must undergo this test between October 9 and 15. An in-person test will be administered in November in multiple locations across Canada and overseas.

For more information on these tests and the testing process, please visit Jobs website.

6. Q. Why is a proficiency in Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Russian or Spanish valued?

A. Such proficiencies are particularly important in fulfilling our mandate. These languages can be difficult to learn and require expensive and labour-intensive training. Working ability in any other foreign language is also potentially valuable for the department and may increase career possibilities for successful candidates once they are hired.

7. Q. What is meant by a working ability in Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Russian or Spanish?

A. Individuals indicating a working ability in these languages may be tested by the department as part of the hiring process. More information on “working ability” in a foreign language.

8. Q. How quickly can I go abroad on posting? How much of my career will I spend abroad?

A. The answer varies according to the area of specialization.

Over the course of a career, the proportion of an employee’s time spent overseas will vary by stream, skill set and flexibility. However, both Foreign Service Officers and Management Consular Officers must accept “rotationality” as a condition of their employment. Rotationality means officers are required to serve at any location in Canada or elsewhere as determined by the department.

9. Q. What is the career path for a Policy Officer (EC-04) and a Commerce Officer (CO-01)?

A. EC-04s and CO-01s may be considered for deployment to other positions at the same level in the department when such positions become available. It is also possible to move between Foreign Service Officer, Policy Officer and Commerce Officer positions through appointment processes, assignments, acting assignments or appointments, and deployment.

Although Policy Officers and Commerce Officers are not expected to spend a portion of their career abroad, they are entitled to apply and be considered for all postings in relationship to their specific skills and abilities. There are currently many non-rotational officers serving in rotational positions abroad.

Policy Officers and Commerce Officers must accept “mobility” as a condition of employment. Mobility means officers are required to move periodically between positions at headquarters.

10. Q. What is the career path for an International Development Officer (PM-04)?

An International Development Officer has two career choices:

Development Officers (PMs) advance program and project development, including humanitarian assistance. Development Officers are based in Ottawa and may be assigned to Canadian missions abroad according to operational needs.

Policy Officers (ECs) work on strategic, thematic, multilateral or bilateral development policy related issues. Policy Officers are based at headquarters in Ottawa and may be assigned to Canadian missions abroad according to operational needs.

11. Q. Why is DFATD participating in the Public Service Commission’s Post-Secondary Recruitment Campaign this fall?

This campaign is being conducted to meet immediate workforce needs while DFATD reviews how its workforce can best meet the requirements of the new amalgamated department.   This review may lead to adjustments in occupational groups.

12. Q. Foreign Service Officers have the Foreign Service Development Program and Management Consular Officers have the Management Consular Training Program.  If I am accepted, will I be part of a development program?

DFATD is currently reviewing its professional development programs. There are individual professional development plans for Commerce Officers and Policy Officers. A Talent Management System is also in place at DFATD.

13. Q. Will I receive official language training?

Official language training, foreign language training and professional development training is on-going and specific to meeting DFATD operational requirements.