Media Release: A first step towards fixing professional reliance

Publish date: Thursday, June 28, 2018

A first step towards fixing professional reliance

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Victoria, BC: Today, the British Columbia government released the Professional Reliance Review.

“This report represents an important step towards fixing professional reliance in B.C.,” said Scott McCannell, Executive Director of the Professional Employees Association (PEA). “The government’s commitment to moving forward on the two main recommendations of the report are admirable.”

A significant recommendation emphasizes the need to identify opportunities to improve ministry staffing levels and resources to enhance government oversight. “Due to staffing level cuts in the past, some ministries aren’t able to meet basic levels of oversight,” said McCannell. “The government needs to improve ministry staffing levels to bring back balance to stewardship and development in B.C.”

The report points to significant failings in the professional reliance model and makes clear that professional reliance compromises the public interest and resource development oversight. “Because of professional reliance, we no longer knows what’s happening on crown land,” said McCannell.

The professional reliance model was adopted by the former BC government in the context of an extensive plan to reduce “red tape” by eliminating environmental and health protection laws and concurrently reducing, by over 25 per cent, BC’s civil service scientists and experts responsible for stewarding and policing BC’s natural environment.

In 2017, PEA members were surveyed by Evidence for Democracy. The subsequent report, Oversight at Risk, found that 68 per cent of government scientists surveyed believe that there are insufficient resources to effectively fill their branch or ministerial mandate.

The PEA is a member of the Professional Reliance Working Group, a coalition of environmental, labour and professional organizations. It was formed to be a strong, unified voice urging the government to take back primary responsibility for stewardship of the environment by restoring laws, standards, and compliance systems.

The PEA is a labour union that represents over 1200 scientists and experts working for the BC public service including engineers, foresters, geoscientists, agrologists and more.


Media contact:

Scott McCannell, Executive Director
Office: (250) 385-8791 ext. 203

Brett Harper, Senior Communications Officer
Mobile: (778) 587-7397
Office: (250) 385-8791 ext. 206


In this section

The PEA was formed in 1974, by a group of professionals working in the public sector. The story goes that the founders of the union mortgaged their houses to fund negotiations of the union’s first collective agreement. 

Now, the PEA is BC’s union for professionals. We represent a wide range of professionals including lawyers, foresters, engineers, agrologists, teachers, veterinarians, fundraisers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists program managers, librarians and more.

Our union is led by the PEA Executive. They represent members from across the chapters of the PEA and set the overall vision and direction for our union.

Resources for our members

Navigating a union can sometime be a challenging process. Under this section of the website you will find resources to help you navigate the PEA. In the members section you'll find expense claim reimbursements, information on the PEA's scholarship and bursary program and our grants and donations program.

Collective bargaining and job action resources explain the process of collective bargaining and what to do in the unlikely event of job action. 

Local reps can also find resources to help them complete their job more effectively. This includes ways to welcome new members, how to take notes in investigation disciplinary meetings and more.

The heart of our union

The PEA is made up of nine chapters, or groups of members who either work for the same employer or are in the same field of work. Each chapter has an elected executive tasked with running the affairs of the chapter. Each chapter is entitled to representation at the PEA Executive, the governing body of the union. 

Our members work for a range of employers: the Province of BC, the University of Victoria, St. Margaret's School, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Law Society of BC, Legal Services Society, the Okangan Regional Library and health authorities across BC.

Professionals need unions now more then ever

Since the 1970’s, when the PEA was formed, our mission has been to ensure our members can work in safe, productive environments and receive fair and reasonable wages and benefits for the valuable work they do. We help individuals and groups of professional workers to understand the challenges they face in their workplaces and some of the solutions available to them. 

We work with potential members to become certified as a union and achieve the wages, benefits and respect they deserve. 

The Professional | Volume 46 Issue 1

The Professional is the PEA's award-winning, quarterly magazine for members.

The January-February 2020 issue includes a Vancouver Sun op/ed piece from PEA Executive Director Scott McCannell on the Legal Services Society strike.

Read the January-February 2020 issue



The PEA was formed in 1974 to represent licensed professionals in the BC Public Service. Since then the organization has grown to include a wide range of professionals from across BC. Find our more about our governance, staff and strategic direction.

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