Minister Heyman Announces Government Review of Professional Reliance
ASTTBC and Technology Professionals welcome the review and their support!
The announcement to review professional reliance by the Minister of Environment and Climate Action Change, George Heyman, provides a unique opportunity to consider the critical role of self-regulating professions and their contributions, responsibilities and accountabilities. On making the announcement Minister Heyman said, “Reviewing the professional reliance model is a top priority for this government because the public must be assured that we have a strong transparent process in place that upholds the highest environmental standards.” The initiative will assess the current legislation governing qualified professionals (QPs) in the natural resource sector and the role their professional associations play in upholding the public interest. The Terms of Reference for the review name five professional associations including ASTTBC.
“What is unique about this initiative is the rare opportunity for an open dialogue with all stakeholders on the inter-dependence of the many stakeholders and how the system works… or doesn’t work,” said John Leech, CEO for the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, an association of 10,500 engineering and applied science technology professionals. “ASTTBC appreciates the Minister’s interest in, and commitment to, the important role and contribution of professionals and is open and eager to engage with Government as we work collectively to best practice in service to the people of British Columbia.”
ASTTBC has long encouraged Government to take a more active role in the oversight of self-governing professional associations. Leech pointed to a number of basic changes to the overall system that he believes will help all professional associations and Government enhance their relationship and contributions:
- all professional associations to report through ONE Ministry rather than the current model where the five professions report through four Ministries. This simple change will result in closer ties between Government and the associations, help to formalize the links between the professions and provide better Government oversight;
- professional associations to be fully and formally audited at least once every 5 years against professional regulatory best practices. This requirement exists in other provinces in Canada and there are great models in other parts of the globe such as the UK. This will serve to hold the professions to account and enhance best practices;
- professional associations to file an annual report to Government on critical elements required for a self-regulating profession; The professional associations, to varying degrees, are currently pro-actively offering this to Government. A minimum expectation should be framed for all to follow;
- scopes of, and rights to, independent practice as a QP must be re-assessed to ensure appropriate and full utilization of all professional skills. We have much to learn from the health professions on this key element of professional reliance;
ASTTBC anticipates an opportunity to reflect on the role of Government in project approvals, construction and maintenance to enhance understanding and government oversight. It is expected that the review will consider the roles and responsibilities of government professionals and other stakeholders. Ensuring government staffing for the sustainability of the professional reliance model will be a key ingredient going forward.
“ASTTBC fully supports Minister Heyman’s review of professional reliance and is confident that working together we can assure even the most skeptical of professional reliance that the system does work, just as we rely on health care professionals to deliver the best quality care for all British Columbians” concluded Leech.