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British Columbia has nine non-partisan statutory offices that support the work of Members of the Legislative Assembly by carrying out important functions, from the monitoring of government programs and performance to ensuring compliance with provincial laws. They are headed by independent officers who are appointed by, and report to, the Legislative Assembly. Reports of some offices are also reviewed by all-party parliamentary committees.
To ensure their independence, statutory officers have: a legislated mandate; annual budgets reviewed by an all-party parliamentary committee; and the authority to hire staff. An independent process is also used to select statutory officers for appointment and for setting remuneration.
Office of the Auditor General
Carol Bellringer, FCA, MBA
The Auditor General, an officer of the Legislature appointed under the authority of the Auditor General Act, exists to help Members of the Legislative Assembly hold the government accountable. Through its financial audit opinions, the Office of the Auditor General gives legislators and British Columbians assessments about the fairness and reliability of the financial statements and public accounts of the government. The Office also reviews the wider operations and performance of government organizations or programs and whether they are achieving objectives effectively, economically, and efficiently. The reports of the Auditor General are tabled with the Legislative Assembly and discussed, in a public forum, with the all-party Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner
Lynn Smith, QC
Acting Conflict of Interest Commissioner
The Commissioner is an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly appointed under the Members' Conflict of Interest Act, by resolution of the Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner performs three separate but related roles: advising Members confidentially of their obligations under the Act; providing opinions in response to requests from Members or members of the public respecting compliance or contraventions of the Act; and meeting with Members within 60 days of their election, and then on an annual basis, to review a disclosure statement of assets, liabilities and financial interests of Members, their spouses and minor children. The office is located in the legislative precinct on the 1st floor, 421 Menzies Street.
Facsimile: 250-356 6580
Chief Electoral Officer
An officer of the Legislature, the Chief Electoral Officer is responsible for the fair and impartial administration of the electoral process in BC pursuant to the Election Act, the Recall and Initiative Act and the Referendum Act. Elections BC also administers campaign financing and advertising rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. The Chief Electoral Officer heads Elections BC, the non-partisan office responsible for administering provincial elections, plebiscites, voter registration and list maintenance, enumerations, referenda, electoral boundaries, election financing, registration of political parties and constituency associations, registration of election advertisers, recall petitions, initiative petitions and initiative votes, and other aspects of the provincial electoral process.
Toll-Free: 1 800-661-8683
TTY: 1 888-456-5448
Office of the Human Rights Commissioner
Human Rights Commissioner
The Human Rights Commissioner is a new independent officer of the Legislature appointed under the Human Rights Code and is responsible for protecting and promoting human rights. The Commissioner assumed formal responsibilities effective September 3, 2019.
The Commissioner’s responsibilities include: identifying and promoting the elimination of discriminatory practices, policies and programs; developing and delivering public information and education about human rights; undertaking and supporting research respecting human rights; examining the human rights implications of any policy, program or legislation; and promoting compliance with international human rights obligations. While the Commissioner may call an inquiry into broad human rights issues or systemic discrimination, the responsibility for screening and adjudicating individual and group complaints remains with the Human Rights Tribunal.
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Information and Privacy Commissioner, Registrar of Lobbyists
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner monitors and enforces compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection Act. An independent officer of the Legislature, the Information and Privacy Commissioner conducts reviews of access to information requests, investigates complaints, initiates investigations or audits in the public interest, monitors compliance with the Acts, comments on the access and privacy implications of proposed legislation or policy, and promotes freedom of information and protection of privacy principles through public education and outreach. The Commissioner is also designated the Registrar of Lobbyists pursuant to the Lobbyist Registration Act, and is responsible for maintaining the Lobbyists Registry and enforcing the legislative requirement for lobbyists to register.
Toll-free: 1 800-663-7867
Office of the Merit Commissioner
The Merit Commissioner is an officer of the Legislature mandated to provide independent oversight and insight into merit-based hiring in the BC Public Service. The Merit Commissioner monitors the principle of merit in appointments as defined in the Public Service Act and conducts final level review of staffing decisions at the request of unsuccessful employees.
Office of the Ombudsperson
As an independent officer of the Legislature, the Ombudsperson investigates complaints of unfair or unreasonable treatment by provincial and local public authorities and provides general oversight of the administrative fairness of government processes. It conducts three types of investigations: investigations into individual complaints; investigations that are commenced on the Ombudsperson’s own initiative; and investigations referred to the Ombudsperson by the Legislative Assembly or one of its Committees.
The Ombudsperson has a broad mandate to investigate complaints involving provincial ministries; provincial boards and commissions; Crown corporations; local governments; health authorities; colleges and universities; schools and school boards; and self-regulating professions and occupations. A full list of authorities can be found in the Ombudsperson Act. The Office of the Ombudsperson responds to approximately 8,000 inquiries and complaints annually.
The Ombudsperson conducts confidential investigations that are consultative, fair, resolution-oriented, and designed to remedy underlying problems. The Ombudsperson may make recommendations to improve public administration and issues various types of reports which are tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
Telephone: 250 387-5855
Toll-Free: 1 800 567-3247
Facsimile: 250 387-0198
Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
Police Complaint Commissioner
The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is the independent oversight agency that provides an accessible way for the public to voice their concerns about the conduct of any municipal/special municipal police officer or department. The Police Complaint Commissioner ensures thorough and competent investigations of police complaints and fair adjudication of police misconduct allegations with respect to both citizens and police officers alike. The Commissioner, an independent officer of the Legislature, is responsible for ensuring compliance with Part 11 – Misconduct, Complaints, Investigations, Discipline and Proceedings, of the Police Act, as well as maintaining records of all complaints and their dispositions. The Commissioner is also responsible for advising, informing and assisting all parties involved in the complaint process and provides statistical information about complaint and misconduct trends and reports regularly to the Legislative Assembly and the public.
The Commissioner can make recommendations to police boards for improvements to the manner in which they deliver their services to the public, such as recommendations for policy creation or recommendations for changes to existing policy. In addition, this office can make recommendations for improvements of the complaint process.
Toll-Free: 1 877-999-8707
Office of the Representative for Children and Youth
Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth
Representative for Children and Youth
An independent officer of the Legislature appointed under the authority of the Representative for Children and Youth Act, the Representative for Children and Youth has a three-part mandate: reviewing, investigating and reporting on the critical injuries and deaths of children in care or children receiving reviewable services from public bodies; advocating on behalf of children and their families respecting designated services; and monitoring, reviewing, and auditing the provision of designated services. Effective September 30, 2013, advocacy services were expanded to include young adults with special needs aged 19 to 24.
Last Updated: June 18, 2019