With today’s proposed amendments to the Public Service Act, the government is continuing to make progress on the recommendations outlined in the ombudsperson’s Misfire Report, announced Finance Minister Carole James.
The proposed amendments will give the Office of the Merit Commissioner responsibility for reviewing just-cause dismissals in the BC Public Service, and are in response to recommendation 27 of the Misfire Report.
“While just-cause dismissals are not common in the public service, we want to ensure that when they do occur, there are checks and balances in place,” James said. “By fulfilling recommendation 27 of the ombudsperson’s Misfire Report, we help make sure public servants’ workplace rights are respected.”
The changes will expand the role of the Office of the Merit Commissioner in three ways.
First, the merit commissioner will provide oversight to ensure the BC Public Service Agency’s practices for just-cause terminations are consistent with government policies and standards.
Second, the commissioner will conduct independent reviews of public-service just-cause termination processes to ensure adherence to government standards, and to identify any systemic issues. These reviews will take place following the completion of all labour relations or litigation proceedings.
Finally, the commissioner will publicly report the aggregate results of these reviews and, where necessary, provide recommendations to strengthen just-cause termination processes.
The merit commissioner is an independent officer of the legislature, created to oversee the principle of merit-based hiring within the public service. The commissioner’s new role will be effective retroactive to April 1, 2018, subject to legislative approval.