Government review of Professional Reliance now open
Publish date: Thursday, December 07, 2017
GLP - Government Licensed Professionals
The Government has committed to a review of professional reliance. This is the best opportunity for positive change since the professional reliance model was introduced in the early 2000’s. The participation of PEA members will impact the outcomes of this review.
Engage BC Survey
We are strongly encouraging members to participate in the survey.
We have requested assurances that no issues relating to the Standards of Conduct would arise from PEA members participating in the survey. The Public Service Agency confirmed yesterday that for members participating in the survey, “We will extend the protection outlined in the PEA collective agreement under article 36.12 Disclosure of Information to the PEA employees. Specifically, no employee shall be disciplined for bringing forth in good faith an allegation of wrongdoing.”
As well, recent communications from various Deputy Ministers to ministry staff have encouraged participation and given assurances that “All information provided by individuals (QPs, users of QP information, general public) will be combined and reported so that no individual will be identifiable.”
The survey questions include whether professional reliance balances resource development and environmental protection, whether there is sufficient transparency in the model and whether the government provides the right level of oversight.
We hope members will respond to these questions in a manner that sends a clear message to the government that there must be significant changes to professional reliance for it to achieve balance, transparency and accountability and respect the public interest.
Members can review information about professional reliance on the PEA's Professional Reliance webpage.
Meetings with Politicians – GLP Issues and Professional Reliance
In addition to meeting with Green party politicians in September, PEA staff and GLP representatives have recently met separately with the Ministers of Environment, Forests and Agriculture. These meetings have been an opportunity to provide an overview of the PEA, outline key issues facing GLP members and to discuss the Professional Reliance Review.
Ministers have been informed of:
- The 25 per cent decline in the number of professional positions that has taken place since professional reliance was introduced.
- The recent update to the PEA’s Endangered Experts report, which shows changes in position numbers for each GLP profession.
- The lack of competitiveness of GLP members’ wages.
- The recent Evidence for Democracy report demonstrating the lack of scientific integrity in BC's public service.
- Stories from members demonstrating issues with professional reliance.
We have also made Ministers aware of our position regarding the review of professional reliance. We need to restore trust and confidence in government and industry decision-making in relation to the natural resource sector to ensure the public interest is protected. More specifically we have encouraged Ministers to support:
Updating current laws, regulations and policy to bring decision-making and required expertise back into the government.
Outlining a clear role and appropriate actions for qualified professionals and their organizations.
Re-building government expertise and capacity (more professional PEA staff and supports for staff, e.g. professional development, knowledge transfer and succession planning).
Bolstering efforts at compliance, enforcement and independent monitoring.
Ensuring whistle-blower protection.
After these meetings, we remain optimistic about the potential for changes that will directly benefit PEA GLP members.
We have also recently met with various senior government staff, including representatives from PSEC, for similar discussions as outlined above.
The PEA will draft a formal submission for the professional reliance review. Members’ stories will be an important feature of this submission, and they are always the most compelling part of discussions with external stakeholders. We thank members who responded with professional reliance stories earlier this fall and we will be seeking additional stories from members in the coming weeks.
In the new year, we will also be asking members to engage in public displays of support for improving professional reliance. Information on these opportunities will be posted on the PEA’s social media channels and on the PEA website. We would encourage members to share our social media posts to increase awareness.
The public is encouraged to submit their views to the Professional Reliance Review. Please make your friends and family aware and support them in providing their feedback.
PEA staff have also been working with an outside group of stakeholders concerned about professional reliance. This group will be taking actions to inform the public and encourage the government to implement legislative and policy changes flowing from the professional reliance review report, which will be released in May 2018. The group will also be focusing on media coverage about professional reliance. The outside group includes BCGEU representatives, as BCGEU members have also been negatively impacted by professional reliance.
Please participate in the survey before January 19, 2018, and send the government a clear message.