This archived statute consolidation is current to November 10, 1992 and includes changes enacted and in force by that date.

Public Service Act

[SBC 1985] CHAPTER 15

Assented to February 21, 1985

  1.  Interpretation and application
  2.  Personnel management
  3.  Division established
  4.  Deputy ministers
  4.1  Pensions — deputy ministers
  5.  Appointments on merit
  6.  Probation
  7.  Commission established
  8.  Panels
  9.  Appeal to commission
  10.  Inquiry Act
  11.  Commission's decision final
  12.  Canadian preference
  13.  Oaths
  14.  Prerogative powers
  15.  Dismissal and suspension of employees
  16.  Retirement
  17.  Annual report
  18.  Regulations
  19-56.  Spent
  57.  Commencement

Interpretation and application

1.  (1) In this Act

"commission" means the Public Service Commission established under section 7;

"deputy minister" means

(a) the deputy of a minister,

(b) an officer who, by an Act, is declared to have the status of a deputy minister, or

(c) a person designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as a deputy minister;

"division" means the Government Personnel Services Division established under section 3;

"employee" includes a person employed under this Act

(a) in a ministry, or

(b) by a board, commission, association or organization designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council;

"ministry" includes a division or department of the government.

(2) This Act does not apply to the employment or appointment of a person who the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers

(a) will be acting in a confidential capacity to the Lieutenant Governor, a member of the Executive Council, the Legislative Assembly or a member of it, or

(b) will be employed in or appointed to a position that requires special professional, technical or administrative qualifications.

(3) A person referred to in subsection (2) (a) or (b) may be appointed or employed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on terms and conditions, including remuneration, specified by him.

(4) This Act, other than subsection (2) or (3) or section 13, does not apply to a person employed or appointed under subsection (3).

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-1.

Personnel management

2.  The Provincial Secretary and Minister of Government Services may issue directives respecting government personnel management, including directives respecting

(a) recruitment, selection and appointment of staff,

(b) training, development and the health and safety of employees,

(c) general administration of all labour relations matters of the public service,

(d) terms and conditions of employment, including rates of compensation and employee expenses and allowances, subject to any applicable provisions of a collective agreement,

(e) job evaluation and classification,

(f) standards of job performance and employee conduct,

(g) all matters respecting discipline, suspension and dismissal of employees,

(h) establishment and maintenance of a personnel management information system, and

(i) monitoring and auditing of all personnel functions.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-2.

Division established

3.  (1) A division of the Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services to be known as the Government Personnel Services Division is established.

(2) The purpose of the division is to

(a) assist the minister in carrying out his duties under this Act, and

(b) act as bargaining agent for the government in accordance with section 3 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-3.

Deputy ministers

4.  (1) Every deputy minister, associate deputy minister and assistant deputy minister shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(2) An associate deputy minister has all the powers of a deputy minister under this Act.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-4; 1988-46-46.

Pensions — deputy ministers

4.1  (1) When calculating the amount of service for a person who is, at the time this section comes into force, or who, after that, becomes a deputy minister,

(a) each year of service that he was an employee, either before or after he was a deputy minister, within the meaning of one or more of the following Acts, shall be counted as 1 1/2 years of pensionable service for the purpose of any of those Acts:

(i)  the Pension (College) Act;

(ii)  the Pension (Municipal) Act;

(iii)  the Pension (Public Service) Act;

(iv)  the Pension (Teachers) Act.

(b) [Repealed 1988-52-68.]

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the calculation under

(a) section 6 (7) of the Pension (College) Act,

(b) section 5 (1) (e) of the Pension (Municipal) Act,

(c) section 6 (5) of the Pension (Public Service) Act, and

(d) section 6 (3) of the Pension (Teachers) Act.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a person holding the position of acting deputy minister.

(4) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of pensionable service granted under section 34 (4) of the Pension (Public Service) Act.

Historical Note(s): 1987-43-76, effective July 24, 1987 (B.C. Reg. 250/87); 1988-52-68.

Appointments on merit

5.  (1) Appointments to and from within the public service shall be based on the principle of merit as determined in subsection (2) and shall be the result of a process designed to appraise the qualifications and capabilities of eligible applicants.

(2) The matters to be considered in determining merit shall, having regard to the nature of the duties to be performed, include the applicant's education, skills, knowledge, experience, past work performance and years of continuous service in the public service.

(3) The division shall consult with the representative of the employees' bargaining agent certified under the Public Service Labour Relations Act, with respect to the application of the matters that determine merit under subsection (2).

(4) The division may direct, in respect of a vacancy or class of vacancy in the public service, that

(a) applicants be limited to a stated geographical area or locale, and

(b) applicants be limited to employees generally, or to employees of a stated

(i)  occupational group,

(ii)  position level, or

(iii)  organizational unit.

(5) The division may, by directive, delegate to a deputy minister, in respect of his ministry, the powers of the division under subsection (4), subject to any instructions contained in the directive.

(6) Subject to a directive issued under section 2, where a vacancy is filled through a lateral transfer or a demotion, subsection (1) does not apply.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-5.


6.  (1) A person who is appointed to a position in the public service shall be on probation until he has worked the equivalent of 6 months full time employment.

(2) Where the appointment is made from within the public service, the deputy minister or an employee authorized by him may waive all or part of the probation period.

(3) The deputy minister may, during the probation period, reject for just cause a person appointed to a position under his control.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-6.

Commission established

7.  (1) A commission to be called the Public Service Commission is established.

(2) The commission shall consist of at least 3 members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, one of whom shall be designated as chairman.

(3) A member of the commission shall hold office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding 6 years.

(4) Where there is a tie vote on any matter before the commission, the decision of the chairman shall be the decision of the commission.

(5) A member of the commission shall be reimbursed for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred by him in the performance of his duties and be paid remuneration in an amount fixed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-7.


8.  (1) The chairman may, in writing, authorize one or more of the members of the commission to sit as a panel of the commission on any appeal, and, where so authorized, a panel has all the powers of the commission.

(2) A majority of members of the commission may, but only on the motion of that majority of members of the commission, direct that a decision of a panel on an appeal be reviewed by the commission.

(3) Where a direction has been made under subsection (2), the commission shall, as soon as practicable, reconsider the appeal and, after reconsidering it, section 9 (7) applies.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-8.

Appeal to commission

9.  (1) An applicant who is an unsuccessful applicant for appointment to or from within the public service may appeal to the commission on the ground that section 5 (1) has not been complied with.

(2) The commission may make regulations prescribing

(a) the manner of bringing appeals and the time limits within which they may be brought, and

(b) all matters respecting practice, procedure and costs on appeals.

(3) Where an applicant commences an appeal under subsection (1), the commission shall, before hearing the appeal, inform the deputy minister of the particulars of it.

(4) The deputy minister may, within 14 days after being informed under subsection (3), direct that the appointment or the proposed appointment in respect of which the appeal was brought be rescinded and reconsidered.

(5) Where the deputy minister makes a direction under subsection (4), the appeal shall not proceed.

(6) Where the deputy minister fails to make a direction under subsection (4) within the 14 day period, the commission shall promptly proceed with the appeal.

(7) The commission may, after hearing an appeal,

(a) dismiss the appeal, or

(b) direct that the appointment or the proposed appointment be rescinded and reconsidered.

(8) The commission may summarily dismiss an appeal under subsection (1) where it considers that the appeal is frivolous or vexatious.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-9.

Inquiry Act

10.  For the purpose of an appeal under section 9 or a review under section 8 (2), the commission has the protection, privileges and powers of a commissioner under sections 12, 15 and 16 of the Inquiry Act.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-10.

Commission's decision final

11.  Subject to section 8 (2), a decision or order of the commission or a panel of the commission is final and binding.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-11.

Canadian preference

12.  The government shall appoint only Canadian citizens to the public service, but, if no qualified Canadian citizen applies for a position, it may appoint another person as a temporary appointment.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-12.


13.  A person appointed to the public service and a person appointed or employed under section 1 (3) shall swear or affirm, and sign an oath in the prescribed form.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-13.

Prerogative powers

14.  Nothing in this Act or in a collective agreement between the government and a bargaining agent representing its employees, impairs the authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to remove or dismiss an employee.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-14.

Dismissal and suspension of employees

15.  (1) A minister or deputy minister may dismiss an employee for just cause, subject to the employee's rights under the grievance procedures provided in a collective agreement between the government and a bargaining agent representing its employees.

(2) The minister, the deputy minister or an employee specifically authorized by the minister or deputy minister, may suspend from the performance of his duties an employee who is guilty of misconduct, negligence or incompetence in the performance of his duties, or who is charged with a criminal offence that would render him unsuitable to perform his duties.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-15.


16.  Unless otherwise provided by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, retirement is compulsory for all employees who attain the age of 65 years, and the effective date of retirement shall be the first day of the month next following that in which the anniversary of the date of birth occurs.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-16.

Annual report

17.  The minister shall lay before the Legislature as soon as practicable, a report for the fiscal year ending March 31 respecting the work of the commission.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-17.


18.  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-18.


19-56.  [Consequential amendments and repeal. Spent. 1985-15-19 to 56.]


57.  This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Historical Note(s): 1985-15-57.

[Editorial Note(s): Section 7 effective November 17, 1986 and sections 1 to 6 and 8 to 56 effective March 2, 1987 (B.C. Reg. 248/86).]