The Survey

The Participants

During the Work Environment Survey (WES) period, the survey is sent to all regular and auxiliary employees of the BC Public Service whose organizations are covered by the Public Service Act. Employees must be listed on their organization’s payroll (and not be on long-term leave) six weeks before the release of the survey.

Note: Agencies, boards, commissions or crown corporations who are interested in conducting work environment surveys may submit a request for an independent survey outside of the BC Public Service WES period.

The Questions

The Survey consists of approximately 70 questions covering a wide range of workplace topics including:

  • Employee’s day-to-day work
  • Physical environment and workplace tools
  • Development and performance
  • Co-workers
  • Supervisors
  • The organization in general
  • Commitment to the work unit, organization and BC Public Service

In addition to questions focused on engagement, the survey includes questions that provide additional context and insight into the various components of the work environment and are used by other provinces and jurisdictions in order to compare results.

BC Stats reviews the questionnaire each survey cycle to ensure questions are valid and reliable, and balances making improvements with maintaining year to year comparability.

All questionnaire changes – whether they are additions, deletions or modifications – are carefully considered prior to implementation. Improvements are based on BC Stats’ internal research, current literature and input from the BC Public Service Agency and ministry human resources representatives.


The Work Environment Survey is confidential but not anonymous.

Each eligible employee is assigned a unique userID. BC Stats uses the userID to link employee responses with the corresponding demographic information. The linkages make aggregate reports possible (for example, summarizing results by ministry and work unit).

Anonymous surveys do not allow a means of linking employee responses with demographic characteristics. The only analysis possible would be a single report for the organization as a whole which would limit the usefulness of the survey.

If you have questions about BC Stats' collection of information as it relates to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), please contact the Provincial Statistician, at 250 216-5848 or by email.

How We Ensure Confidentiality

Answers are kept confidential – In accordance with the Statistics Act, answers are kept confidential and are used only for statistical and research purposes. When survey results are published, responses are combined so that individuals cannot be identified.

Reporting criteria are followed Reporting criteria regarding minimum group size and response rates have been established to protect respondent confidentiality and ensure data quality. For example, work units with fewer than 20 employees are not reported. These criteria guard against breaches of real or perceived confidentiality by ensuring the identity of an individual cannot be inferred from other characteristics or response patterns in the results.

Cleaning – Respondent confidentiality is maintained by ‘cleaning’ all responses to open-ended questions. Cleaning refers to replacing any information that could identify an individual employee – workplace location or names of programs – with a general descriptor in square brackets.  For example, “Since I am the only manager on the 3rd floor it is difficult to stay in the loop with other managers.” may become, “Since I am the only [position in a location], it is difficult to stay in the loop with other [position]s.”

Security arrangements – BC Stats protects personal information by making reasonable security arrangements against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal. This is a requirement under Section 30 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). BC Stats policies and procedures as well as technical and physical security measures are in place to protect against the unauthorized access or disclosure of personal information.