Alberta Interchange directive

This directive covers the temporary exchange of Alberta Public Service managers and senior professionals with other organizations.


​​Alberta Interchange encourages the temporary exchange of managers and senior professionals between the Alberta government and other organizations to foster stronger partnerships and strengthen professional development.

The objectives of Alberta Interchange are to:

  • Emphasize Alberta's commitment to improving the relationship among the private sector, other public sectors and government through employee exchanges;
  • Enable participants in an exchange to develop a better understanding of the vital relationships among sectors;
  • Provide employees from participating organizations and the Alberta government with the opportunity to work in different environments, enhance their own professional development, and provide an avenue for the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience;
  • Encourage new co-operative approaches to problem-solving in and between participating organizations.


The participant:

  • Gains an understanding of the administrative/decision-making process of the other jurisdiction.
  • Develops a broader perspective in his/her function.
  • Strengthens skills and competencies.
  • Demonstrates his/her potential in a new environment.

The participating organizations:

  • Utilizes the experience/contacts in future dealings with the other sector.
  • Obtains a qualified employee on a short-term or project basis.
  • Provides expanded opportunities for development to its employees.

Participation guidelines

Participation in the program is open to private industry; federal, municipal and local levels of government; academic institutions; other provincial governments; Crown boards and agencies; and non-profit organizations.

Interested individuals may through their contacts become aware of opportunities and advise their supervisor and human resources branch of their interest in an exchange.

Reciprocal interchanges should be considered.

Executive Search of Public Service Commission (PSC) is available to act as a resource to departments on the interchange process and agreement content.

Agreements involving employees at the Executive Manager level are coordinated by Executive Search. These agreements require the signature of both the department deputy head and the Public Service Commissioner.

Agreements being considered for bargaining unit employees or bargaining unit positions require advance consultation with Labour Relations, Public Service Commission.

Agreement negotiation

All parties involved (i.e., host organization, home organization and the secondee) should be part of the negotiation of the administrative details of the Interchange Agreement. The financial administration areas within each organization should also be involved in the final discussions to ensure that salary recovery documents are processed efficiently.

Should any changes occur during the assignment, amendments may need to be prepared to address the situation. (i.e. salary increase/decrease/time extension).

Administrative terms

Once an assignment has been negotiated, the Interchange Agreement outlines the relevant aspects of the Interchange assignment.

Duration of assignm​​ent
Interchange​​ assignments are usually fro​​m six months to two years in duration.
Employee status
Participants on assignment rem​​ain the employees of their home organization. At the end of the assignment, the secondee returns to his/her home organization.
Responsibilities of the assignment
Participants are expected to fulfil all of the normal duties and responsibilities of the assigned position. The assignment ma​​y be a regular ongoing position in the host organization, or it may be a special project or a temporary assignment.
Developmental objectives
Qualified manag​​ement and senior professional level employees are considered for the program. Their skills and abilities should be suited to the opportunity with the host organization and the experience they gain should contribute to their professional development.
Salary and benefits
The seconded employee will continue to receive all normal salary and benefits from his/her home organization. The home organization will recover costs incurred from the host organization.
For a secondee to the Government of Alberta working in an Executive Management position and participating as a senior decision maker on a department's executive team, the Interchange Agreement includes a salary and benefits disclosure clause (3.3). This disclosure clause advises participants that the amount invoiced for salary and benefits may be disclosed in the host department's annual financial statements.
The seconded employee's v​​​acation entitlement during the term is calculated and accrued in accordance with the home organization's policy. The employee and host organization use reasonable efforts to ensure that vacation leave is scheduled and taken during the assignment, consistent with the home organization's policies. Record of leave is provided to the home organization on a quarterly basis.
Conflict of interest/confidentiality
The Alberta Code of Conduct and Ethics applies to Alberta Government participants. Incoming participants are expected to perform​ their duties so as to respect the principles and intent of the Code of Conduct and Ethics. Potential conflicts of interest are addressed on an individual basis.
Relocation costs
Employee reloc​​ation costs are subject to negotiation between participating organizations.
Performance review
The host organization agrees to provide the home organization with an evaluation of performance on an annual basis.​​

Questions and answers

How does an individual become aware of or initiate interchange opportunities?

Most interchanges have been initiated by interested individuals who through their own contacts, become aware of opportunities. Individuals interested in pursuing an interchange opportunity should advise their supervisor and human resources branch.

Initial discussions between all interested parties should take place to explore the possibility of an interchange. If all parties agree to pursue an interchange arrangement, details such as term, duties, etc. would be negotiated by the parties. The conditions in each interchange are tailored to fit the particular circumstances of the interchange. An Interchange Agreement would then be prepared and signed by all parties. Copies of Interchange Agreements are available from Executive Search, Public Service Commission (PSC).

Do the secondments have to be full-time in nature?

No. Alberta Interchange can also be used to facilitate part-time secondments (e.g., 50% split or 80% / 20% splits).

Are all the clauses in the standard agreement required?

Some of the clauses are not mandatory and may not be applicable in certain cases (e.g., the clause on relocation is not relevant if the secondment opportunity is in the same location as the secondee currently resides). Other clauses that are required but have some flexibility around them are:

  • term of the secondment;
  • notification of termination requirements.

Who must sign the agreements?

For those agreements involving employees or positions at the Executive Manager level, the Deputy Minister of the Government of Alberta department, an authorized signatory for the external organization, the secondee, and the Public Service Commissioner must sign the agreement.

For those agreements involving employees classified at a level below the Executive Manager level, the Public Service Commissioner is not required to sign the agreements. However, all other parties identified above must sign. In the interest of executive development, departments are encouraged to forward copies of agreements involving employees at the Senior Manager level to Executive Search, PSC.

When do I have to formally amend the agreement and when can I just use a letter to indicate a change to the terms of the secondment?

Whenever there is a change to the terms and conditions of the work, an amendment should be prepared and all parties to the agreement should sign the amendment. If the change reflects a salary adjustment and the original agreement contains the statement, "and is eligible for any salary adjustments", then a letter outlining the new salary would be sufficient as long as all parties to the agreement receive a copy of the letter.

What do I have to do if the parties wish to:

  • extend the secondment;
  • terminate the secondment prior to the termination date stated in the agreement; or
  • implement any salary or benefit adjustments?​

The Interchange Agreement normally contains specific articles which outline the procedures to be followed in these situations. If the agreement does not clearly specify the procedures to be taken, then the following steps should be undertaken:

To extend the secondment

A letter of amendment extending the termination date should be prepared. All parties who signed the original Interchange Agreement should sign the amendment making it a valid legal document.

To terminate the secondment

Most of the Interchange Agreements contain a provision for terminating the term of the agreement as long as all parties agree to the termination. Therefore, formal correspondence to this effect should be prepared and signed by all parties signing the original agreement.

To implement any salary or benefit adjustments

Most of the Interchange Agreements contain a provision for implementing salary or benefit adjustments that are a result of the normal course of employment. Consequently, all that is normally required is for the Host Organization to forward correspondence to all parties to the agreement which clearly outlines the changes.

If there is no provision in the agreement for these changes, a letter of amendment outlining the changes should be prepared and signed by all parties to the original agreement.

What financial process is used to recover the salary?

On a quarterly basis, the Home Organization forwards an invoice to the Host Organization. The amount invoiced is calculated in accordance with the terms outlined in the Interchange Agreement. The finance area of the Home Organization is responsible for this function.

If the Home Organization is a Department of the Government of Alberta, when the Host Organization remits payment, the Home Organization will use the Current Expenditure Refund (CER) process to deposit these funds back into the General Revenue Fund. The net result will be that the Home Organization shows a zero charge for the payroll costs associated with the Seconded Employee (i.e., there will be a zero draw on the budgeted funds allocated for the operations of the Home Organization).

Who is involved in the salary recovery process?

Departments are responsible for invoicing and liaising with Host Organizations directly in the administration of the Salary Recovery Process for any interchanges where it is required. Executive Search, PSC staff will act in an advisory capacity only.

How do you calculate the benefit amount? What benefits are included?

For Alberta government employees seconded to another organization or department, all direct salary costs paid to, or on behalf of, the employee should be included in the calculation utilized to determine the amount that should be invoiced.

In negotiating the terms of the Interchange Agreement, it is important that the methodology for completing these calculations be clearly documented. This will facilitate the calculation process in the future when one or more of the components in the calculation (e.g., salary level, benefit rate) changes.

What percentage do you use to calculate benefits?

The percentage used to calculate benefits may vary between departments. Therefore, actual costs incurred should be used by the Home Organization when invoicing the Host Organization.

Why are the amounts on the billings for the various quarters different?

The amounts on the billings may vary between quarters as a result of changes in salary rates, increases or decreases in benefit rates, or other adjustments such as an unpaid leave of absence. Depending on salary level, Canada Pension Plan and/or Employment Insurance premiums may be paid in full early in the year thereby reducing costs for the later part of the calendar year.

What happens at year-end?

At fiscal year-end, outstanding receivables and liabilities must be accrued in keeping with standard year-end procedures. Therefore, invoices for the final quarter must be prepared prior to the end of the quarter using estimates. All parties must accrue the transactions accordingly to appropriately account for the actual financial position at fiscal year-end (e.g., the Home Organization would accrue a receivable for monies owing as a result of providing services and the Host Organization would accrue a liability of the same amount).

What are the responsibilities of the parties involved?

The department

  • Provide consultation to employees interested in the Alberta Interchange.
  • Prepare agreement.
  • Continue to pay a Government of Alberta employee's salary and benefits while on assignment.
  • Invoice host organization for salary, benefits and GST (where applicable) of employee on assignment.

Public Service Commission

  • Provides consultation to departments on the Interchange process, provides the agreement template, and facilitates review of draft agreements.
  • Signs Interchange agreements at the Executive Manager level.

Who do I contact if I don't know what to do?

If you have any questions regarding the Alberta Interchange or its procedures, contact:

Executive Search
Alberta Public Service Commission
5th Floor, Peace Hills Trust Tower
10011 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 3S8

Phone: 780-408-8460
Fax: 780-422-0468​
Email: [email protected]

Interchange Canada

Interchange Canada facilitates the temporary assignments of employees between the federal public service and other public, not-for-profit, or private sectors.

The Government of Canada's Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer coordinates all assignments. On behalf of the Government of Alberta, Executive Search, Public Service Commission, acts as a liaison between the federal government and Alberta public service departments interested in Interchange Canada.

Related information

Please contact Executive Search for the Alberta Interchange Secondment Agreement template.

About this directive

Effective Date: September 1, 2003 (updated August 2017)
Contact: Alberta Public Service Commission:
Strategic Services and Public Agency Secretariat; Executive Search