Juggling a career while constantly on the move is a substantial challenge for many military spouses.
Thankfully, military spouses reluctant to leave their current employment don’t have to start from square one thanks to the Treasury Board of Canada’s Interchange Canada program.
Interchange Canada is a federal government program that provides an employment exchange opportunity between the core public administration of the Government of Canada and other organizations in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in Canada and internationally.
“Military spouses can certainly benefit from Interchange Canada. Assignments can take place anywhere in Canada, as well as internationally. Interchange Canada assignments can be up to three years and can take place across more than one organization. Participants whose spouses are posted to another location can consider Interchange Canada to maintain employment in their home organization while developing on assignment somewhere else, all while maintaining proximity to their family,” said Martin Potvin, media relations Treasury Board of Canada.
Interchange Canada works by ensuring the participants remains part of their home organization, current employer, and continues to receive benefits and pay from the employer. Then, for up to three years, the participant works for an exchange opportunity.
“These temporary assignments help to meet organizational needs, ensure transfer of knowledge and expertise, build understanding and improve networks between government and other sectors, and contribute to the professional development of participants,” commented Potvin.
A great deal of flexibility is allowed with this program since participants continue to work for their original employer.
“Assignments can be initiated quickly, and every department has dedicated resources in the form of Interchange Canada liaison officers who are able to provide specialized help and expertise in administering an assignment,” explained Potvin.
Assignments can be initiated in one of three ways: either the manager or prospective participant use their professional contacts to identify new assignment opportunities; organizations post an opportunity in the Interchange Canada database, or prospective participants post their resume.
Through the Interchange Canada Resume Bank military spouses can upload their resume for review by managers and HR professionals who may be seeking an Interchange Canada participant in their organization.
They can also browse the Assignment Opportunities Page to view available assignment opportunities and instructions on how to apply.
To qualify, military spouses will have to meet certain criteria. For example, says Potvin, the person must be employed by their sponsoring organization for a period of six months before the start of an assessment and must remain an employee for the duration of the assignment. Additionally, participants must “possess the competencies to meet the operational and organizational requirements of the assignment.”
The Interchange Canada program was initiated in 1971 and has grown exponentially in the last few years. The number of new interchange assignments have been increasing by an average of 13.8 per cent each year since 2013-2014.
In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, there were more than 400 Interchange Canada assignments. Also that year, 10 per cent of the jobs were at the executive level while the remaining 90 per cent were of all other levels.
The Department of National Defence ranked in sixth place for the amount of outgoing Interchange Canada assignments in the 2017-2018 year.
Groups using the program at the DND included Program and Administrative Services, Financial Management and Economics and Social Sciences.
To learn more about the program, criteria, and post your resume, visit the program’s web page here.