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public service: capitalization rules (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

[The same content is available in French in the article FONCTION PUBLIQUE (RECOMMANDATION LINGUISTIQUE DU BUREAU DE LA TRADUCTION).]

To standardize the writing of the term public service in all Government of Canada documents, the Translation Bureau makes the following recommendation.

English guidelines

Lower case

Write the term public service in lower case when you are not referring to an official title or name of a government body.

  • Canada’s public service has about 250,000 employees.
  • Robert joined the public service of Canada in 1992.
  • She was always dedicated to the ideals of public service.

Upper case

Capitalize the term public service when you are referring to

  • a government body (Canada School of Public Service; Public Service Commission)
  • an organization (Public Service Alliance of Canada)
  • an act (Public Service Employment Act)
  • the title of a document (Public Service Renewal: 15th Annual Clerk’s Report on the Public Service)

French Guidelines

Lower case

Write the term fonction publique in lower case:

  • la fonction publique fédérale
  • la Commission de la fonction publique
  • la Loi sur l’emploi dans la fonction publique
  • l’École de la fonction publique du Canada

Exception: Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada