Professional Governance Act (Bill 49-2018) introduced in British Columbia to make sure decisions affecting the province’s natural resources are science-based, transparent and protect B.C.’s unique environment for future generations
Qualified professional legislation to restore public trust in natural-resource decision-making
Victoria, B.C. — The Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has tabled new legislation intended to improve regulation of the qualified professionals who make decisions about British Columbia’s natural resources.
Bill 49 follows a public engagement process to review the Professional Reliance model of decision-making and an independent report and recommendations by noted environmental lawyer Mark Haddock. The government said the goal of the legislation is to “help strengthen public trust that the health and safety of their communities always come first.”
The legislation is aimed at making sure decisions affecting the province’s natural resources are science-based, transparent and protect B.C.’s unique environment for future generations.
The Professional Governance Act will, if passed, modernize and strengthen the roles and expectations of qualified professionals in the province, in turn providing greater, science-based public oversight of how B.C.’s natural resources are managed. It will also establish an office of the superintendent of professional governance to ensure consistency and best practices are applied in the work of qualified professionals moving forward.
“This legislation is about making sure we live up to our responsibilities to British Columbians in protecting our natural heritage for our kids and grandkids,” said George Heyman. “British Columbians are rightly proud of our natural resources and environment — they represent who we are and where we’ve come from. This legislation recognizes that legacy and symbolizes a recommitment to putting the public interest first when it comes to managing our natural resources.
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A Perspective on Moving from Talk to Action
Bob Peart, the coordinator of the Professional Reliance Working Group of Concerned Citizens, said, “We thank the government for taking this first step towards protecting B.C.’s natural resource sector by legislating the governance of qualified professionals. The Haddock report shone a spotlight on the myriad ways that the current professional reliance regime is failing communities and ecosystems. We strongly encourage the government to implement the report’s recommendations in their entirety, in a clear and transparent manner; and now await the next steps in the process.”