In 2001, BC became the first province to create the role of a Merit Commissioner and remains the only provincial jurisdiction to have the position. The role, created by a change to the Public Service Act, was made to support the government’s commitment to a strong, professional and vibrant public service by:
- Conducting random audits of appointments made under the Public Service Act
- Conducting staffing reviews at the request of eligible unsuccessful employee applicants
In 2001, the Commissioner of the Public Service Employee Relations Commission (PSERC) also had the role of Merit Commissioner.
In 2003, PSERC became the BC Public Service Agency led by a Deputy Minister. The Deputy Minister also had the role of the Merit Commissioner.
In 2005, a government amendment to the Public Service Act made the Merit Commissioner an independent officer of the Legislature. As a result of this change, the Merit Commissioner is a dedicated position that reports directly to the Legislative Assembly.
In 2018, the BC government passed further changes to the Public Service Act. In addition to conducting audits of appointments and staffing reviews, the role of the Merit Commissioner was authorized to:
- Conduct reviews of the processes of dismissal for just cause in the BC Public Service.
A Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly is responsible for recommending a Merit Commissioner and the Legislative Assembly as a whole is responsible for approving the appointment. The Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints the Merit Commissioner to a renewable three-year term.