Professional Reliance Model in British Columbia (June 2018): Review recommends restructuring the governance of the professional associations by creating new legislation and an independent Office of Professional Regulation and Oversight
BC Government receives professional reliance final report
The Province of British Columbia has received the final report on the independent professional reliance review, commissioned by government last fall.
The professional reliance review was led by Mark Haddock, seconded from the British Columbia Forest Practices Board to author the report. The review included a public engagement, which received over 2,200 feedback forms from the public, 102 stakeholder submissions and over 1,800 surveys from qualified professionals.
The report provides recommendations on two aspects to improve the current professional reliance model.
- First, the governance of the professional associations that oversee qualified professionals (QPs), including forest professionals, engineers and geoscientists, agrologists, biologists and technicians.
- Second, consideration of improvements to 28 regulatory regimes that pertain to natural resource management.
The report recommends restructuring the governance of the professional associations by creating new legislation and an independent office, which will bring together the five statutes governing the associations.
“I thank Mark Haddock, the independent reviewer who developed this very comprehensive report,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. ”We will immediately engage with the various professional associations covered in the report, with a goal of making tangible changes this fall to improve government oversight of qualified professionals to enhance public confidence in natural resource decision making.”
Reviewing the professional reliance model is an important component of the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the B.C. Green Party caucus.
“In recent years, professional reliance has played a significant role in the loss of public trust in decision making around industrial activity,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “It is incumbent on the B.C. government to take urgent steps, as outlined in this report, to begin to rebuild that trust.”
The report also deals with a review of various regulations that fall under nine government statutes. Over the next several months, ministries that oversee these statutes will review the recommendations in detail, and continue consultation with Indigenous peoples, the business community, environmental groups and other public stakeholders.
Consideration of the recommendations will take into account the clarity of expectation required by scientists and professionals who make decisions in the public interest.
To Learn More:
Download a a copy of the Professional Reliance Review.
Report reaffirms Ombudsperson’s recommendations
“These recommendations very clearly align with ones we have made in the past,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke. “I am hopeful government will make critical changes that my office and others have been continuing to recommend.”
The Ombudsperson’s 2014 report Striking a Balance examined the challenges of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Operations using a professional reliance model in environmental protection, specifically how professionals have been used in relation to British Columbia’s regulation of riparian areas. The report found there were significant gaps in the oversight framework relating to the work done by these professionals.
“There is no question that there is still significant work ahead to ensure that all British Columbians have trust in environmental decision-making more generally,” said Chalke. “The additional light that this report sheds today is another important step in that direction.”