Staffing Reviews

The Public Service Act requires appointments to and from within the BC Public Service to be:  

  • Based on the principle of merit 
  • The result of a process designed to appraise the knowledge, skills, and abilities of applicants 

Where an eligible employee has concerns that these requirements were not met, they may initiate a Staffing Review of the appointment.  

The Staffing Review process has three steps with the first two taking place within the organization making the appointment. In the event an unsuccessful candidate remains concerned, the Merit Commissioner has authority for the third step. 

  • Step 1 – Feedback from hiring manager 
  • Step 2 – Internal inquiry by deputy minister or organization head 
  • Step 3 – Review by Merit Commissioner

Eligibility Requirements 

For step 1 and for step 2 you must be: 

  • An unsuccessful employee applicant for either a permanent or a temporary appointment over seven months  
  • A current BC Public Service employee who is either working or on layoff at the time of requesting feedback 

Employee applicants who are unsuccessful for an appointment to an excluded position may only undergo step 1 and step 2 of the process.  

For step 3 you must also be an unsuccessful candidate for a position covered by a bargaining unit  (i.e., BCGEU, BCNU, PEA).  

If you are not a BC Public Service employee, we encourage you to:  

  • Ask the hiring manager questions about the competition   
  • Request feedback about your performance in the competition  

If you have concerns about the administrative fairness of a hiring decision, you may contact the Office of the Ombudsperson. 

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

Important Time Limits  

The three-step process has strict time limits for the requestor to follow. The time limits are based on calendar days. There is a five-day limit within step 1 and 2.  

Day one begins the day after the employee receives:  

  • Step 1 – Notification of the competition outcome  
  • Step 1 – Feedback on their performance in the competition  
  • Step 2 – The internal inquiry decision   

If the fifth calendar day falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the fifth day moves to the next business day. Here are some examples: 

  • The fifth day falls on a Saturday, then the fifth day becomes the following Monday 
  • The fifth day is the July 1st statutory holiday and it falls on a Wednesday, the fifth day becomes the next day, Thursday, July 2nd 
Table summarizing the steps of the audit process: Receive, Examine, Evaluate, Decide, Review, Report.

The following outlines the three steps of the staffing review process.  The first two steps are conducted within the relevant organization. More information on Steps 1 and 2 is available for employees on the BC Public Service Agency website (MyHR).  

The process starts with notification. The hiring manager notifies unsuccessful employee applicants of the competition outcome.  

STEP 1 – Feedback from the hiring manager 

Following notification, employee applicants have five calendar days  to request feedback from the hiring manager about why they were unsuccessful.   

As soon as practical, the hiring manager (or panel representative) provides the employee with a clear and accurate explanation as to why they were unsuccessful. The explanation may be provided verbally or in writing.  

STEP 2 – An internal inquiry by the deputy minister or organization head 

Following feedback, employee applicants have five calendar days to request an inquiry. A request must be:    

  • Made in writing and must include the reasons (also known as grounds) 
  • Sent to the deputy minister of organization head responsible for the appointment (usually by email)  

Following the completion of an internal inquiry, the deputy minister or organization head:  

  • Decides to either confirm the original appointment, or direct the hiring manager to reconsider that appointment
  • Provides the employee with the decision and/or a report within 30 days   

STEP 3 – Independent review by the Merit Commissioner

Employee applicants who are not satisfied with the results of the inquiry and who are unsuccessful for a position covered by a bargaining unit may request an independent staffing review by the Merit Commissioner.

A staffing review by the Merit Commissioner is the third and final step of the staffing review process.  As staffing review is an expedited investigation that does not involve a hearing. The Merit Commissioner strives to deliver a decision within 30 days of receipt of the competition file.

The request for a staffing review must be made to the Merit Commissioner within five calendar days of the deputy minister or organization head’s provision of the inquiry decision.

The employee:

  • Submits the request for a review in writing
  • Provides a copy of the grounds submitted for the internal inquiry and the resulting decision

The Office of the Merit Commissioner:

  • Determines is the request is eligible for a review
  • Notifies the employee and the responsible organization head if a review will proceed
  • Collects documents, including missing ones
  • Contacts and meets (usually by phone) requestor
  • Contacts and meets (usually by phone) hiring manager
  • Contacts other parties as needed (e.g., other panel members, BC Public Service Agency Staff)
  • Analyzes information focusing on facts, requirements of the Public Service Act, application of relevant policies and collective agreement provisions and fairness of process
  • Issues a report to the requestor, relevant deputy minister, and head of the BC Public Service Agency

The Merit Commissioner’s decision is to either:

  • Dismiss the review
  • Direct the organization head to reconsider the appointment

The decision is final and binding.

Read about requesting a staffing review.

How to Request a Review – Optional Checklist

The specific information required to request a staffing review is outlined in this document and may be used as check list that you can view or download. 

Are you eligible for a staffing review by the Merit Commissioner?

If you have concerns that a competition did not follow the merit principle or hiring process requirements and the following requirements are met, you are eligible: 

  • You are an unsuccessful BC Public Service employee in a competition 
  • The competition was for permanent or temporary appointment lasting over seven months 
  • The competition was for a bargaining unit position  
  • You completed step 1 and step 2 of the Staffing Review Process 
  • You received the deputy minister’s (or organization head’s) inquiry decision within the last five calendar days?  

What does my request need to include?  

You need to submit to the Merit Commissioner the following information:  

  • Your name, preferred pronouns, contact information and reason for requesting a review    
  • Competition requisition number, position title and classification  
  • Ministry or organization name  
  • A copy of your request for an internal inquiry 
  • A copy of the internal inquiry decision and report if available  

Your request must be made in writing (point form is fine).  


How do I submit a request?  

  • E-mail the required information to us at 
  • In person or by courier delivery to us at Suite 502 – 947 Fort Street, Victoria, V8W 9A3 
  • State that it is a “Request for Staffing Review by the Merit Commissioner” 

If you do not meet a requirement or you aren’t certain or you need help or clarification to submit your request, you can contact our office for help at 250-953-4208 or