Merit Performance Audits

Each fiscal year we conduct a Merit Performance Audit for over 260 public service appointments to determine whether:  

  • The hiring process properly conducted  
  • The person appointed to the position qualified  

We provide the individual audit results to the responsible deputy minister or organization head so they know the status of merit-based hiring within their organization and how hiring practices may be improved. Our audit findings are not intended to override or overturn decisions made by hiring managers. Instead, we hope our findings will help hiring managers to improve future hiring practices.   

Overall audit results are provided to the Legislative Assembly and the BC Public Service Agency so they are aware of the status of merit-based hiring throughout the BC Public Service. This information is also available on our website.  

Government organizations that can be audited  

The Merit Commissioner may conduct a Merit Performance Audit on appointments where the Public Service Act applies.  

  • This includes positions in most ministries, agencies, boards and commissions  
  • This does not include positions in educational institutions, health authorities, or crown corporations  

For a list of organizations subject to the oversight of the Merit Commissioner, see the last page of our most recent  Annual Report.   

Types of appointments that can be audited 

  • 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 

For more information, see Appointment Types and Special Audits and Studies. 

Table summarizing the steps of the audit process: Receive, Examine, Evaluate, Decide, Review, Report.

Each quarter of a fiscal year we select a random sample of appointments. The purpose of using a random sample of appointments is to ensure our results represent the state of hiring in the BC Public Service. We request appointment information from the responsible deputy ministers and organization heads. Once we have obtained competition documentation, we audit the file as per the following steps.  

Examine Competition File 

With respect to the hiring process, we review the overall approach and the five common stages of the hiring process:  

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

With respect to the individual being appointed, we review their application and monitor their progress through the hiring process (e.g., testing, interviewing, reference checks). 

Evaluate Against Standards 

With respect to the hiring process, we evaluate whether it met the requirements of the Public Service Act and, the relevant policy requirements and collective agreements provisions.  

We also evaluate the fairness of the hiring process for: 

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

With respect to the person appointed, we review their qualifications stated in their application and their performance in accordance with the mandatory requirements and established standards. We also compare their overall rank in the process with their final status. Based on this information, we evaluate if they were qualified to be appointed to the position.  

Make Findings 

For each audited appointment, the Merit Commissioner makes two findings. These findings are whether: 

  • The recruitment and selection process was based on merit  
  • The individual appointed was qualified 

For each audited appointment the Merit Commissioner also determines where there was sufficient and appropriate documentation to support the hiring decision. 

Review Findings 

We review and compare all of our Merit Performance Audit findings for quality and consistency. 

Report Findings 

For each audited appointment, we provide a report to the responsible deputy minister or organization head.   

We also analyze the overall findings which are contained in the annual Merit Performance Report. This report is:  

  • Presented to the Legislative Assembly  
  • Posted on our website.   

Look at our complete audit program which illustrates the steps we take.  

If you can’t find what you are looking for, please review our Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact us at 250-953-4208 or