Report Of The Professional Reliance Task Force

For many years the BC Government has been building an approach that places greater reliance on professionals. ASTTBC, along with other professional associations, was involved with some of the early work on ‘professional reliance’ carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Forests and Range (MoFR) and the Ministry of the Environment (MoE). These discussions had ASTTBC at the table with groups such as ABCFP, APEGBC, BCIA (agrologists) and APBBC (biologists) talking about who would be recognized to assume responsibility for design work in areas such as municipal waste, riparian areas, and forest roads. These discussions led to ASTTBC members being included as ‘Qualified Professionals’ in the BC Government Municipal Sewage and Riparian Areas Regulations. Good recognition for ASTTBC as well as other professionals. A key issue emerged as a result of these ‘one off’ solutions. there was not consistency across Government nor in the application and acceptance of the QP.

In 2005 four professional associations, with financial support from the MoFR, embarked on a major review of previous work and the development of a broad framework for the whole concept of ‘professional reliance’. Unfortunately ASTTBC was excluded by the four associations – ABCFP, APEGBC, BCIA, and CABBC from the Professional Reliance Task Force (PRTF). We appealed first to the associations and then to the MoFR, with the decision ultimately left to the four associations, who confirmed that ASTTBC would NOT be at the table. While not acceptable to ASTTBC, especially given the role of ASTBC members in providing services as professionals within the four fields of forestry, engineering, agrology and biology, ASTTBC was given assurance that we would receive the minutes / notes etc. of all meetings and we would be invited to provide input as the process unfolded. This all took place in the spring – fall 2005.

In the spring – summer of 2005 the PRTF commenced developing a framework document for professional reliance. In early 2006 a draft was made available to ASTTBC. This document and subsequent drafts presented an excellent statement about the broad concept of ‘professional reliance’. It failed, though, in the area of defining who is, and who is not, a ‘professional’ able to assume independent responsibility for services. Given the prevailing attitude of the four associations, it was not unexpected that ASTTBC was not mentioned in the first drafts. In the first drafts there was a minor mention of ‘technologists and technicians’, included as a footnote which stated that technologists and technicians collect information, implement and monitor,. all ‘under the supervision’ of a ‘professional’. To demonstrate the starting point as compared with where we ended up I will cite the footnote statement in the early drafts:

“Technologists and technicians play an important role in the collection of information, implementation and monitoring of resource and environmental management activities. They work with and in support of the members of the four professional regulatory bodies. They are required to take responsibility for the work they do which is under the direct supervision of a professional, or which is consistent with the licensing provisions or practice directives approved by the councils of the respective professional regulatory bodies. Note that Registered Forest Technologists are regulated by the Foresters Act and Registered Biology Technologists and Applied Biology Technicians will be regulated by the College of Applied Biology Act when those sections of the Act comes into force.”

After considerable educating of various MoFR and MoE staff, ‘energetically’ putting ASTTBC’s views forward, the Report was changed to make specific reference to ASTTBC and in a manner that reasonably characterizes current professional regulation of technologists and technicians. ASTTBC is satisfied that the final version of the report contains a reasonable statement of ASTTBC. and the role of ASTBC registrants as being able to practice independently within the scope of their qualifications. SEE PAGE 25 of the April 2006 Report.

ASTTBC COUNCIL received the April 2006 Report at the May 2006 meeting and passed the following resolution:

“That the Professional Reliance Task Force report of April 2006 be received for information. ASTTBC Council expresses its appreciation to the Task Force and the MoFR for the contribution made to develop a framework for professional reliance. ASTTBC Council indicates its support for the professional reliance concept, the general guide outlined in the Report and ASTTBC’s commitment to take an active role in future developments as professional reliance progresses to the next stage, with the understanding that the process will be fully inclusive, open, and transparent and that there will be fair and equitable consideration of all professional qualifications.”

ASTTBC has assurances, and the Report makes this commitment, that, going forward, the process will be much more inclusive in approach.

Finally let me again emphasize that the PRTF prepared an excellent statement of ‘professional reliance’, a process in which ASTTBC had a hand, as noted above and in the formulation of some of the earlier work defining professional reliance. The April 2006 Report provides a ‘top in class’ statement on professional reliance. We commend everyone involved, notably Al Gorley, RPF, a professional consultant engaged to assist with the PRTF process and in to help develop the Report. Thanks also to BC’s Chief Forester, Jim Snetsinger, RPF, and others within the MoFR and MoE for their assistance in assisting ASTTBC ‘engage’ in the process.

ASTTBC will take an active role in professional reliance. ASTTBC will encourage members, as professionals providing technical and management services, either ‘under supervision’ or ‘independently’, to take an active interest and to become knowledgeable about professional reliance. ASTTBC members are advised to take note that ‘professional reliance’ applies to ALL areas / sectors, not just those that relate to the BC Government.

ASTTBC will set up a special place on the ASTTBC web site to deal with professional reliance and in this way keep members posted on developments.

John E Leech, AScT, CAE
Executive Director & Registrar

Report Of The Professional Reliance Task Force