The government proposes to establish an Office of Professional Regulation and Oversight that would be an agent of government, independent from the natural resource sector ministries, and focused on professional governance issues. Ultimately, the intent of the Office would be to oversee professional legislation, develop best practices for governance, and regulate professional organizations as needed. This office would standardize 10 elements of professional governance through umbrella legislation, including a new power to regulate firms, improve council authority to pass certain bylaws, require continuing professional development, clarify public interest duties, and address codes of ethics, reporting duties and whistleblower protection.
ACEC-BC is asking that the rush to introduce hasty legislation be stopped and that the government engage in meaningful and substantive dialogue with ACEC-BC and other interested parties to develop effective legislation that works to protect the public interest without imposing unnecessary regulation.
News Bulletin issued by Engineers & Geoscientists BC
On October 4, 2018 Engineers & Geoscientists BC issued a news bulletin concerning the provincial government's plans to introduce legislation that would implement recommendations of the Professional Reliance Review Final Report, including establishment of an Office of Professional Regulation and Oversight - New legislation anticipated for Professional Reliance recommendations
Professional Reliance Review - Final Report
On June 28, the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change released its final report on the review of professional reliance in the natural resource sector. The changes proposed in the report would introduce sweeping changes to the governance of regulators like Engineers and Geoscientists BC, and could potentially impact their ability to maintain a strong, responsive regulatory framework.
The proposed changes would impact all members, not just those who work in the natural resource sector. ACEC-BC member companies employ professionals in all of the five professions named in the review's Terms of Reference.
On August 28, 2018 ACEC-BC wrote a letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Hon. George Heyman, expressing our concerns about some of the recommendations in the Ministry's final report.
In particular, ACEC-BC does not support the creation of the Office of Professional Regulation and Oversight. We believe such an office is unnecessary, overly bureaucratic, adds costs and uncertainty and could be prone to undue influence from special interest groups.
We reiterated our position in a Letter to the Editor appearing in The Province newspaper, on Thursday September 20, 2018.
The five professional regulatory bodies, including Engineers and Geoscientists BC, are also united in their opposition to the proposed office.
Professional Reliance Review - Background
The Professional Reliance Review was initiated by government in October 2017 with the goal of examining the current legislation governing qualified professionals in the natural resource sector, and the role their professional associations play in upholding the public interest.
ACEC-BC's initial response is contained in our Submission to the Provincial Government Review of the Professional Reliance Model, dated January 2018.
The five professional regulators named in the review’s Terms of Reference are: