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Clive Bryson

Photo credit: Clive Bryson

Professional Reliance Model

Concerns have been expressed about the effectiveness of the professional reliance model for overseeing environmental aspects of many development activities. There is now an established B.C. Provincial Government practice of deregulation and of giving registered professionals the responsibility for certifying compliance with environmental conditions and upholding standards. New results-based or performance based standards refer to regulations that specify a desired outcome but give discretion to the regulated entity on how to achieve that outcome. This role was previously performed by Ministry of Environment staff that was responsible for enforcing regulations. A variety of professionals - biologists, foresters, engineers, agrologists, and architects (and many others) oversee private sector development of plans and on-site activities. These professionals can be the evaluator, designer and on-site supervisor. These functions require professional judgment, the reliability of which is overseen by professional associations and their disciplinary procedures. While there are benefits to relying on registered professionals, there are also concerns associated with the effectiveness of this reliance model to uphold the public interest and maintain consistent standards when acting for the private sector. Issues of lack of oversight by government, little public accountability and lack of measurable standards have been identified as problems with the professional reliance model.   top  home