FAQs2022-05-06T04:20:15+08:00
FAQ

Note: When we mention deputy minister, this includes any deputy minister or head of an organization. The one exception is were we specify the Deputy Minister of the Public Service Agency, which we may refer to as the Agency Head. Likewise, we also use the terms ministry and organization interchangeably.

General Questions

What is an “appointment”? 2021-08-25T06:12:09+08:00

We use the term to mean whenever a person is starts in a position or job within the BC Public Service. 

Why do you audit appointments? 2022-03-10T06:04:35+08:00

The law requires the Merit Commissioner to monitor the application of the merit principle in the BC Public Service. The law also states that the Merit Commissioner provide this oversight by conducting random audits of appointments to and from within the BC Public Service. We use the term appointment to mean whenever a person is starts in a position or job within the BC Public Service.  

What is the purpose of an audit? 2022-05-06T04:47:29+08:00

The purpose of an audit is to address two questions for each audited appointment: 

  • Was the hiring process properly applied to result in appointments based on merit? 
  • Was the person appointed to the position qualified? 
Who audits the individual appointments and how are they qualified? 2022-03-10T06:05:35+08:00

Contract auditors examine each appointment selected for audit. These auditors have specialized experience in: 

  • Recruitment and staffing in the public service 
  • Investigative procedures  

We review the contract auditors’ investigation. We also write a report for each appointment audited. Together, we have varied and extensive experience in human resources, investigations and public administration.  

Who decides the findings or results? 2022-03-10T06:11:47+08:00

Office of the Merit Commissioner staff recommend the audit finding. The Merit Commissioner confirms the finding of each audit.

What are the results of an audit and what do they mean?2022-05-06T04:54:29+08:00

On whether the hiring process was properly applied, the possible findings are:

Finding   What it means 
Merit  The process was both properly designed and applied to result in an appointment based on merit. 
Merit with exception  The process contained one or more errors in design or application: there was no identifiable negative impact on the outcome. 
Merit not applied  The process contained one or more errors in design or application: the impact on the outcome was known to be negative and as a result, the appointment was not based on merit.  
A finding of merit not applied can also be made if there is insufficient evidence or documentation to demonstrate that the design or application of a process was based on merit. 

On whether the individual appointed was qualified, the possible findings are:

Finding   What it means 
Qualified  The person, when appointed, possessed the qualifications specified as required for the position. 
Not qualified  The person, when appointed, did not possess the qualifications specified as required for the position. 
Qualifications not demonstrated  There was insufficient evidence provided to demonstrate that the individual, when appointed, possessed the qualification specified as required for the position. 

We also make one determination on the file documentation to support the hiring decisions.

Determination  What it means 
Good  The hiring process was comprehensively documented with minimal or no follow-up required. 
Sufficient  The hiring process was partially documented. Some documents were missing or incomplete and/or some aspects of the process required clarification. There was sufficient information to complete the audit. 
Insufficient  The hiring process was insufficiently documented. Key aspects of the process not documented and/or verbal evidence was required to complete the audit. 
What appointments are subject to audit? 2022-03-10T06:12:13+08:00

The Merit Commissioner can only audit positions where the Public Service Act applies.  

On an annual basis, the Merit Commissioner conducts a merit performance audit that examines two types of appointments: 

  • Permanent appointments 
  • Temporary appointments over seven months

Other types of appointments are subject to special audits by the Merit Commissioner. These include:  

  • Direct appointments 
  • Temporary appointments under seven months 
  • Auxiliary appointments 

Lateral transfers and demotions are not subject to the merit principle and are not audited or reviewed by the Merit Commissioner. 

Does the merit performance audit include appointments that are the result of out-of-service competitions, expressions of interest or developmental opportunities? 2022-03-10T06:12:38+08:00

Yes. As long as the appointment is made under the Public Service Act, and either permanent or temporary over seven months. 

Are the appointments selected for audit truly selected at random? 2022-03-10T06:13:07+08:00

Yes. On a quarterly basis, we get lists of all permanent and temporary appointments over seven months made in ministries and organizations. We combine these lists and apply a random number generator, which creates our sample. Every appointment on our list has an equal chance of being selected as part of the sample for audit. We confirm our samples are   representative of the population of appointments. 

Why are there so many audits being done in my ministry? 2022-03-10T06:13:32+08:00

If there are many audits being done in your ministry, it’s likely due to a combination of: 

  • A higher-than-average number of appointments resulting in a greater opportunity for appointments from that organization to be selected. Each quarter, every appointment on our list has an equal chance of being selected as part of the sample for audit.  
  • Chance, as the samples are randomly selected. If an organization appears to have more than its share in one year, odds are good that it will balance out in another year.  
Who will see the audit results for the appointment? 2022-05-06T04:57:16+08:00

Twice a year, we provide a detailed report on each appointment audited to: 

  • The deputy minister in which the appointment was made. 
  • The Deputy Minister of the BC Public Service Agency.  

We encourage the deputy ministers to share the individual audit reports with the responsible hiring managers.  

Is there any comparison or analysis of the results? 2022-03-10T06:14:14+08:00

In the fall, after we have audited all the appointments for a fiscal year, we group the results. We analyze the results for any trends and common issues we observed. We publish in our Merit Performance Audit Report the overall results, observations, and recommendations to improve merit-based hiring on our website.  

What are random audits looking for?2022-03-10T06:08:38+08:00

Each appointment audit looks to determine: 

  • Was the hiring process properly applied to result in appointments based on merit? 
  • Was the person appointed to the position qualified? 
What happens when you think merit has not been applied in a hiring process?2022-05-06T03:16:04+08:00

After discussions with the hiring manager, we send a copy of the preliminary report to the deputy minister. The deputy minister or their staff, at that point, have the opportunity to provide more evidence about the hiring process that may impact the final result.:  

  • We consider any addition information received  
  • Amend the audit report where appropriate 
  • Send the final audit report to the deputy minister 

Audit finding are intended to be learning opportunity for those making hiring decisions and are not meant to be punitive. 

 

Where the audit finding is either merit or merit with exception, we only send the final audit report to the respective deputy ministers. 

 

If your deputy minister has given you a copy of the report and you do not understand the results, you can contact our Office for an explanation.  

When do you draw your samples?2022-03-10T06:27:14+08:00

We draw each sample approximately 7-10 days after the sample period had ended. Where the BC Public Service Agency is involved in coordinating the collection of documentation, we send them a list of the relevant appointments. At this point they can also identify appointments that are out of scope.   

For each sample, we send a request for the competition files to the responsible deputy minister. Requesting and receiving the competition files from the responsible organizations takes about a month for each sample. It takes our auditors about two months to audit the assigned appointments from each sample. This time normally includes some back and forth with hiring managers, who may be busy or on leaves.  

Question you may have if you are a hiring manager 

Can you give me advice about how to conduct a competition or do things better? 2022-05-06T03:10:47+08:00

No. To preserve the role of independence, the Merit Commissioner does not provide any staffing advice; providing that type of advice is outside the Merit Commissioner’s mandate. It is the role of the BC Public Service Agency to:  

  • Provide staffing guidance and advice on best practices 
  • Set human resource policies 
  • Set the Accountability Framework for Human Resource Management 

We describe our findings on fair and unfair hiring process through individual audit reports and our annual Merit Performance Audit report which also includes illustrative case studies.  

My competition has been pulled for audit. What can I expect? 2022-03-10T06:15:17+08:00

Once we receive a copy of the competition file, we will assign it to an auditor. The auditor will review the file using a standardized audit tool. If they have questions about the hiring process, they will call or email you for more information. If the process was well documented, the auditor will be able to complete the audit based on the competition file alone.  

The appointment pulled for audit was a short-term temporary (less than or equal to seven months) assignment. Do I still have to submit documentation?  2022-03-10T06:16:43+08:00

It depends. Temporary appointments of seven months or less are not included in the annual merit performance audit. If your appointment falls into that category, we will not audit it.  

If your appointment started as short-term but became permanent, you will need to submit the documentation, and we will audit the appointment.  

I wasn’t the hiring manager for this competition. How can I be expected to help out? 2022-03-10T06:18:15+08:00

We recognize that the original hiring manager may have changed jobs. If you were not the hiring manager but the appointment is now under your area of responsibility, we may contact you for information or to help us contact someone who was on the panel. We understand that you may not have answers to all our questions.   

Can’t the BC Public Service Agency answer your questions? 2022-03-10T06:18:53+08:00

We contact hiring managers when we are missing documentation or do not understand part of the process. We ask you, the hiring manager, because you are the expert on the position and the competition process and accountable for the hiring decision.  

Can an audit be delayed due to operational considerations? 2022-03-10T06:19:15+08:00

Yes. There are situations where hiring managers are unable to participate (e.g., leave, wildfire season, the COVID pandemic). In these circumstances, an audit can be delayed but not avoided. If you think you require a delay, please contact our Office at merit@meritcomm.bc.ca, or call 250-953-4208. 

How do I submit my competition file? 2022-03-10T06:16:03+08:00

If you are in a ministry, BC Public Service Agency staff will collect the documentation from you and then submit it to our Office. A representative from the Agency will provide instructions on how to submit the file.  

If you are in one of the agencies, boards or commissions that are subject to oversight by the Merit Commissioner, the procedure will vary. Likely, human resources or executive administration staff will coordinate the submission of files. If you are unsure whom you should contact, please contact our Office at merit@meritcomm.bc.ca, or call 250-953-4208. 

What happens if I can’t find all the documentation? 2022-03-10T06:19:43+08:00

As the hiring manager in a selection process, it is your responsibility is to ensure the process is comprehensively documented. Do your best to collect the documentation that you can find for the process. For missing documents, see if other panel members kept copies or check your email for draft versions. We will conduct the audit using the documents you can provide. Where there are gaps, we will ask you to recall what happened with as much detail as possible.  

What happens if I refuse to participate? 2021-08-28T00:59:37+08:00

The Public Service Act requires the Merit Commissioner to monitor the application of merit by conducting random audits of appointments to, and from within, the public service.  

 

If you are responsible for one of the selected appointments, you are required to submit your competition file. If you have properly documented the hiring process that is all that is required. But, if your process is unclear, we will need to contact you for further information.  

 

Based on the absence of documentation or any reasonable explanation, the Merit Commissioner’s audit finding will be merit not applied. 

Should I be worried about protection of privacy by giving you the competition file? 2022-03-10T06:20:06+08:00

No. All information provided to and collected by our Office is confidential and protected under the:  

  • Public Service Act  
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act 
What information do you look at when auditing an appointment? 2022-05-06T04:58:28+08:00

We review the entire hiring process and the qualifications of the person appointed. Starting from the posting, all the way through to the final notification (offer and regret letters).  

Specifically, we examine the overall approach as well as the five common stages of hiring which include: 

  • Short-listing  
  • Interviewing and testing  
  • Past work performance  
  • Years of continuous service  
  • Notification 

We evaluate the fairness of the hiring process for : 

  • Open and transparent process  
  • Objective and job-related assessments  
  • Reasonable decisions  
  • Fair and equitable treatment  

We also evaluate compliance with: 

  • Legislative and hiring policy requirements such as the requirement for a supervisory reference check before offering an appointment. 
  • Applicable provisions in the collective agreements such as ensuring unsuccessful employee candidates receive proper notification of the results so that they can access their right to a staffing review.   
How can I get a copy of the audit results for the appointment where I was the responsible hiring manager? 2022-05-06T04:46:28+08:00

We cannot give you a copy of the audit results. By law, the Merit Commissioner provides the individual audit results to the respective deputy ministers. As part of our correspondence, we encourage them to share the respective results with the responsible hiring manager.  

 

To learn about your organization’s approach to sharing audit results, we recommend you contact either your: 

  • Deputy minister’s office  
  • Strategic human resources advisor  
Can I share my audit report? 2022-03-10T06:21:01+08:00

Given the confidential nature of the information, the report should only be shared with immediate staff who need to understand the specific facts and findings of the audit.  

If you are uncertain with whom you may share the results, we recommend you contact your deputy minister’s office or your strategic HR advisor. 

I don’t understand or agree with your finding. What can I do? 2022-05-06T04:59:14+08:00

Where the audit finding is merit not applied, we send a copy of the preliminary report to the deputy minister. The deputy minister or their staff, at that point, may be able to give more evidence about the hiring process that may impact the final result. Once we receive this information:  

  • we consider it,  
  • amend the report where appropriate, and  
  • sent the final audit report to the deputy minister. 

Where the audit finding is either merit or merit with exception, we only send the final audit report to the respective deputy ministers. 

 

If your deputy minister has given you a copy of the report and you do not understand the results, you can contact our Office for an explanation.  

The audit of my competition received a finding of merit not applied. What does this mean? 2022-03-10T06:24:03+08:00

A final finding of merit not applied means that we identified: 

  • At least one error in the design or application of the recruitment and selection process (e.g., past work performance, a factor of merit, was not considered as required)  
  • The error had a negative impact on the competition outcome (e.g., The wrong person is appointed or a qualified candidate landed in the incorrect spot on the eligibility list). 

An audit is conducted after a hiring process is complete. If the audit of your competition resulted in a finding of merit not applied, there is no requirement for you to revisit or revise that hiring process. Instead the finding is intended for learning purposes and application in future processes. 

When will the audit results be available?  2022-03-10T06:24:59+08:00

We send individual audit reports to the respective deputy ministers in April and October of every year.  

Each year, we also summarize our overall results in a Merit Performance Audit Report. We provide this report to the Legislative Assembly and publish it on our website around November.  

How long does it take to get audit results?2022-03-10T06:26:23+08:00

We conduct our annual merit performance audit on a fiscal year basis (appointments made between April 1 and March 31). We divide the fiscal year audit into four sampling periods. This allows us to select and audit appointments closer to the time the competition was held, when the process is fresher in the hiring manager’s memory. We report out twice a year on two sampling periods at a time, which also helps us to report our findings closer to when the competition happened. Here is a breakdown of these periods: 

 

Sample  Appointments made  Reporting Out 
  April 1 – June 30  April of the next fiscal year 
on samples 1 and 2 
  July 1 – September 30 
  October 1 – December 31  October of the next fiscal year 
on samples 3 and 4 
  January 1 – March 31 


For example:
 

  • If an appointment made on September 14, 2021 is selected for audit, we will report out on it in April 2022 
  • If an appointment made on February 2, 2022 is selected for audit, we will report out on it in October 2022 

We draft each of the individual audit reports based on the auditor’s investigation. Before the Merit Commissioner issues the final reports, we review all the results as well as compare them to previous findings to ensure quality and consistency.  

 

Questions you may have if you are an employee 

Can I request that a competition be audited? 2022-03-10T06:27:52+08:00

No. The Merit Commissioner’s mandate is to conduct random audits of appointments, not specific competitions or appointments. The Merit Commissioner can, on request by an unsuccessful employee applicant in a competition, conduct a staffing review of a specific hiring process.  

There are problematic issues in my office, can you review the hiring practices there? 2022-03-10T06:28:19+08:00

No. The law does not allow the Merit Commissioner to review the hiring practices of a ministry or organization upon request.  

Can I find out about results by ministry? 2022-03-10T06:28:38+08:00

No. We only share the results for appointments we audit in a given ministry with the respective deputy minister. The Merit Performance Audit Report we publish at the end of each year is a comprehensive analysis and summary of the overall results for the BC Public Service. We do not report out any results by ministry or organization. 

General Questions

Does the Merit Commissioner act as an advocate for the employee?  2022-03-10T06:29:05+08:00

The Merit Commissioner must be impartial when conducting reviews and audits. The Merit Commissioner does not defend ministry actions and decisions, or advocate for employees. 

 

What happens if more than one employee requests a review of the same competition?  2022-03-10T06:29:27+08:00

A competition is not limited to one staffing review. Each review is considered on the basis of the grounds submitted. Should there be more than on review for the same competition each requestor will receive a final decision and report that specifically considers their grounds. 

 

Does a request for a staffing review mean the appointment will not proceed?  2022-03-10T06:29:51+08:00

No. The ministry can still fill the position even if a person requests a review. However, the ministry is responsible for ensuring that if a reconsideration is directed and a different candidate is successful that there is another vacant position available.  

Can the Merit Commissioner direct a ministry to appoint someone?  2022-05-06T04:39:10+08:00

No. The Merit Commissioner can either:  

  • Dismiss the review. This means the Merit Commissioner supports the ministry’s staffing decision. 
  • Direct the ministry to reconsider its staffing decision. This means the ministry must review the competition and make appropriate changes to ensure merit is applied. This may or may not result in a change to who is appointed to the position. 
What does “directing the ministry to reconsider the decision” really mean? Does the ministry have to start over?  2022-03-10T06:31:26+08:00

If the Merit Commissioner directs a reconsideration, it is up to the ministry to decide how to remedy the error(s). The ministry may decide to cancel the competition and start a fresh process. Or, they may decide to fix the error in the existing competition. This may or may not result in a change to who is appointed to the position. 

Questions you may have if you are a public service employee considering requesting a staffing review by the Merit Commissioner 

The competition was cancelled. Can I still request a staffing review?  2022-03-10T06:34:31+08:00

No. Section 19 of the Public Service Act specifies the Merit Commissioner can review an appointment. If the competition was cancelled, no appointment was made.  

I was unsuccessful for a management position. May I request an independent staffing review by the Merit Commissioner?  2022-03-10T06:34:54+08:00

No. As an excluded employee have access only to the first two steps of the staffing review process:  

  • Feedback from the panel chair  
  • Internal inquiry by the responsible deputy minister or organization head 
Someone was laterally transferred into the position I’ve been waiting to be posted so that I can have an opportunity to compete. May I request a staffing review?  2022-03-10T06:35:20+08:00

No. Section 10 of the Public Service Act exempts lateral transfers from staffing reviews. They do not have to be based on merit or the result of an assessment process.  

I was demoted to a different position. May I request a staffing review to challenge that move? 2022-03-10T06:35:57+08:00

No. Section 10 of the Public Service Act exempts demotions from staffing reviews. They do not have to be based on merit or the result of an assessment process. Nor can other employees request a staffing review of a demotion. 

Someone was directly appointed into the position I’ve been waiting to be posted so that I can have the opportunity to compete. May I request a staffing review to challenge that appointment?  2022-03-10T06:35:37+08:00

No. Section 10 of the Public Service Act permits the Head of the BC Public Service Agency to make a direct appointment in unusual or exceptional circumstances.  

Although a direct appointment must be based on the principle of merit, a competitive process is not required. This type of appointment is exempt from staffing reviews.  

An auxiliary or short-term temporary (seven months or less) assignment was used to fill a position I’ve been waiting to be posted and compete for. May I request a staffing review to challenge these types of appointments?  2022-03-10T06:36:21+08:00

No. Section 10 of the Public Service Act exempts short-term temporary appointments from staffing reviews. This means that although auxiliary and short-term temporary appointments must be based on the principle of merit, a competitive process is not required. You cannot use the staffing review process to dispute this type of appointment.  

Who knows that I’ve filed a staffing review?  2022-03-10T06:38:53+08:00

In order to conduct a fair review, the Office of the Merit Commissioner must communicate with others involved in the process. However, the number of people is limited to:  

  • Responsible deputy minister or organization head who is informed that we have received a request for a staffing review. We provide your name as the requestor, and request all the competition documentation. 
  • The deputy minister’s office may advise the responsible hiring manager. The hiring manager in turn may tell the successful candidate that a review is underway.  
I don’t want to be contacted at my workplace. Is that a problem?  2021-08-28T01:17:42+08:00

We will respect your request about how you wish to be contacted. We recommend you note your preference on your initial review request to the Office of the Merit Commissioner.  

I learned something about the selection process and I wish to add to my review request to the Merit Commissioner. May I do that?  2022-03-10T06:41:35+08:00

Yes, as long as it’s relevant to the grounds that you have already identified when you requested the review. You can provide the information by email, delivery to our office, or by telephone. It also must be provided while the review is underway.  

How will I receive the Merit Commissioner’s decision? Who else is notified?2022-03-10T06:42:14+08:00

We will email an electronic copy of the Merit Commissioner’s decision to you as soon as it is available. We will also advise the responsible deputy minister or organization head of the decision shortly after we notify you. Lastly, we advise the head of the BC Public Service Agency who is responsible for hiring in the BC Public Service.  

Who can request a staffing review?2022-03-10T06:32:46+08:00

An unsuccessful employee applicant to a competition for a permanent or a temporary appointment over 7 months, where the position is covered by a bargaining unit (i.e., BCGEU, BCNU, PEA). The unsuccessful employee must also be a current BC Public Service employee who is working or on layoff at the time of requesting feedback.  

Are there other steps that need to take place first?2022-03-10T06:33:27+08:00

Yes. Two steps need to have been taken before contacting the Merit Commissioner’s Office. They are: 

  • Request and receipt of feedback from hiring manager as soon as practically possible 
  • Internal inquiry by deputy minister or organization head.  
Are there deadlines that have to be met?2022-03-10T06:34:08+08:00

Yes. Unsuccessful employee applicants must request feedback within five calendar days of receiving notification of the competition outcome. The hiring manager then needs to provide feedback as soon as practically possible. Subsequently, unsuccessful employee applicants must request an internal inquiry within five calendar days of receiving the feedback from the hiring manager. The deputy minister is required to complete an inquiry within 30 days. 

Who do you interview about my staffing review request?2022-05-06T04:37:39+08:00
  • Besides speaking with you, as part of conducting the review we must contact the responsible hiring manager and/or panel chair about the staffing review and its grounds. The hiring manager must have an opportunity to speak to the grounds and provide any evidence they may have. 
  • Sometimes we need to contact other individuals who are connected to the competition or the grounds you submitted. These may include: 
    • Other panel members  
    • Other ministry staff such as a job description committee member or a strategic human resources director  
    • BC Public Service Agency staff such as an advisor for the specific competition or an expert in an area   
I don’t want to be contacted at my workplace. Is that a problem?2022-03-10T06:40:52+08:00

We will respect your request about how you wish to be contacted. We recommend you note your preference on your initial review request to the Office of the Merit Commissioner.  

Questions you may have if you are not a public service employee 

I am from outside the BC Public Service and was not successful in a competition. May I request feedback from the hiring manager or panel chair?  2021-08-28T01:19:03+08:00

Yes. Any applicant may request feedback from the hiring manager and/or panel chair about the process or their performance in the process. We highly encourage all hiring managers and panel chairs to respond to any unsuccessful applicant who requests feedback. But, the Act only requires hiring mangers to provide feedback to BC Public Service employees as part of step 1 of the staffing review process.    

I am from outside the BC Public Service and was not successful in a competition. What are my first steps to understand the decision?2022-03-10T06:44:23+08:00

No, there are three steps involved in a staffing review process. An internal inquiry by the deputy minister and a staffing review by the Merit Commissioner are steps 2 and 3 of the staffing review process. These steps are only open to unsuccessful applicants who are already employees of the BC Public Service.  

If you have concerns about the administrative fairness of the hiring decision, you may contact the Office of the Ombudsperson. They are responsible for investigating concerns about the administrative fairness of government decisions. 

I am from outside the BC Public Service and was not successful in a competition. What are my first steps to understand the decision?2022-03-10T06:45:36+08:00

Any applicant may request feedback from the hiring manager and/or panel chair about the process or their performance in the process. We highly encourage all hiring managers and panel chairs to respond to any unsuccessful applicant who requests feedback. But the Public Service Act only requires hiring managers to provide feedback to BC Public Service employees as part of step 1 of the staffing review process.  

General Questions 

Why is the Merit Commissioner now reviewing dismissal processes for just cause?  2021-08-28T01:23:25+08:00

In April 2018, the BC government modified the Public Service Act. They gave the Merit Commissioner the responsibility to review the processes used in just cause dismissals. The Merit Commissioner’s oversight applies to BC Public Service organizations and agencies. 

What happens after the Merit Commissioner’s review? 2022-03-10T06:48:45+08:00

The Merit Commissioner reports the overall findings of these reviews to the Legislature and publishes them on the website. Where necessary, the Merit Commissioner provides recommendations to improve processes related to just cause dismissals. 

What is the purpose of reviewing processes for just cause dismissals? 2022-03-10T06:46:01+08:00

The Merit Commissioner ensures the processes used to dismiss employees are consistent with required practices, policies, and standards. By conducting these reviews, the Merit Commissioner can identify issues and provide recommendations.  

Does the review decide if a person was rightly or wrongly dismissed? 2022-03-10T06:46:19+08:00

The Merit Commissioner’s review is about the process followed, not whether the dismissal was warranted.  

How will the Merit Commissioner know if a dismissal has occurred? 2022-03-10T06:46:41+08:00

The law requires the BC Public Service Agency to advise the Merit Commissioner of all dismissals for just cause and the agency regularly does that. 

When will files related to dismissals for just cause be sent to the Merit Commissioner?2022-03-10T06:47:09+08:00

These files will be forwarded to the Merit Commissioner: 

  • After timeframes for requesting any appeal, grievance or litigation have expired, or  
  • After any of those processes have concluded.  

We anticipate this will be no sooner than 12 months after a dismissal for just cause. Yet, it could be longer depending on the related appeal, grievances or court proceedings. 

Will the Merit Commissioner or her staff interview people as well as review the files? 2022-03-10T06:47:37+08:00

Although we have the legal authority to interview people, we expect the need to do so to be rare. In such an event, the interview would only be between the Office and those responsible for the dismissal. We do not expect to ever need to interview the person dismissed. 

How will the Merit Commissioner know that all files have been forwarded to the Office for review?  2022-03-10T06:48:03+08:00

The BC Public Service Agency tracks these dismissals and ensures that the files come to us in a timely and appropriate manner. 

How will you decide which files to review?  2022-03-10T06:48:22+08:00

The Merit Commissioner can, at her discretion, review some or all of the eligible files. As this is a new process, we are currently reviewing all eligible files related to dismissals for just cause.  

How often will the Merit Commissioner report on the dismissal processes for just cause?  2021-08-28T01:26:45+08:00

The Merit Commissioner will provide her findings to the Legislature at least once a year. 

What organizations are subject to oversight by the Merit Commissioner?  2022-03-10T06:49:07+08:00

Any organization who has the authority to dismiss employees for just cause under the Public Service Act. This includes all BC government ministries, and many provincial agencies, boards and commissions. 

How much will this cost the taxpayer?  2021-08-28T01:27:26+08:00

While this mandate will need some new resources and skill sets, we do not expect the costs to be significant. The Legislature approves the budget, including incremental expenses, for the Office of the Merit Commissioner each year.  

Questions you may have if you have been dismissed from the public service

I don’t want my name to be public in any report. Can you assure me that won’t happen?2022-03-10T06:51:02+08:00

We will not include names or identifying information in any public report released by the Office of the Merit Commissioner. Like all the reports published on our website, we will group our findings in a manner that will not identify anyone. 

I work in the education sector at a public school. Will the Merit Commissioner review my dismissal?  2022-03-10T06:53:13+08:00

No. The Merit Commissioner’s mandate is limited to employees appointed under the Public Service Act. For example, employees within ministries of the provincial government. 

What difference will the review make to me? 2022-03-10T06:52:42+08:00

Our reviews will not result in any direct impacts to individuals dismissed for just cause. The goal of the reviews is to improve future processes. 

Can the Merit Commissioner order remediation if there is a determination that I have been wrongly dismissed?  2022-03-10T06:52:18+08:00

No. Any remediation you have a right to would be determined in appeal and litigation processes before our Office receives your file. The Merit Commissioner can recommend how to improve processes related to dismissals for just cause.  

How long will it take the Merit Commissioner to review the process leading to my dismissal?  2022-03-10T06:51:53+08:00

Our goal is to review eligible files quickly. We will report the results along with other files we review during a particular cycle. There may be instances where we do not get the file for a significant time after the actual dismissal for just cause. This could occur if there is a prolonged court action or grievance. 

I was let go from my job because of restructuring I believe is unnecessary. Will you look into my case?  2022-03-10T06:51:31+08:00

No. Our mandate only covers dismissals for just cause. Termination due to restructuring is not considered a termination for just cause; it is not within the scope of the Merit Commissioner’s review. 

I don’t want the Merit Commissioner to look at my files. How can I prevent that?  2021-08-28T01:29:32+08:00

If you were dismissed for just cause under the Public Service Act, you do not have a choice about our Office considering your file. You do have our assurances that we will protect your privacy. We will not publish any identifying information in any public report. 

 

The law requires that files for all persons dismissed for just cause under the Public Service Act are available for the Merit Commissioner to review. 

 

I don’t want my name to be public in any report. Can you assure me that won’t happen?  2021-08-28T01:29:11+08:00

We will not include names or identifying information in any public report released by the Office of the Merit Commissioner. Like all the reports published on our website, we will group our findings in a manner that will not identify anyone. 

What if I would like to appeal the Merit Commissioner’s decision?  2022-03-10T06:50:16+08:00

There is no appeal process as part of our mandate to review just cause dismissal processes. The Merit Commissioner does not make decisions on if dismissals for just cause were justified.  

I was fired and want to know what the Merit Commissioner’s findings are about my case. How can I do that?  2022-03-10T06:49:55+08:00

We will not make any information related to the review of files available to the persons who were dismissed. The only information we report publicly will be based on all the reviews made, and will not include any personal identifiers.  

I was fired, can I talk to you about my case and have the Merit Commissioner review it?  2022-03-10T06:49:33+08:00

No. The mandate of the Merit Commissioner is limited to a review of the processes used in dismissals for just cause. The Merit Commissioner can only review the process after a person has exhausted all methods of appeal. Examples of appeals include the courts and union grievances.  

To be clear, our mandate is not to determine if a person was rightly or wrongly dismissed. It is to:  

  • Review the processes that led to the dismissal  
  • Determine if those processes were consistent with government practices, policies, and standards  
 

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