Resource sector changes coming

Resource management is changing in British Columbia.

There have been changes to federal and provincial statues and processes that have significant impact on the work of applied biology professionals. Most recently the federal government passed Bill C-69, an Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act, the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

On the provincial stage, government has been consulting on potential changes to the Forest and Range Practices Act and regulation and is moving ahead with governance changes under the Professional Governance Act that impacts the five professional regulators that are covered under the act.

As a central hub in the province, the people of Prince George are very aware about how the natural resource sector works.

Back in March, the College of Applied Biology visited Prince George to talk to natural resource professionals and members of the public about the scope of practice for applied biology professionals.

This session was part of a series of workshops with the goal of refining that scope of practice under the new act. What we heard in Prince George was consistent with what we heard from other parts of the province: roles need to be clearly defined, there needs to be clear and achievable pathways to registration, and professionals are working in teams now - we need to enhance this, not put up barriers.

This advice, along with other information gathered at those sessions, is forming the basis to better define current areas of practice: a sound foundation for developing the draft practice policy that will begin a more detailed conversation with government and the long list of partners who have an interest in responsible, professional resource management.

The Professional Governance Act has enabled a provision to grant practice rights to applied biology professionals. Practice rights will mean that applied biology in the resource sector will be done by regulated professionals who are subject to oversight from the college, improving our ability to protect the public interest.

The transitions impacting professionals working in the resource sector under the Professional Governance Act will most certainly unfold in Prince George as a place where applied biology professionals, forestry professionals, engineers, geoscientists, agrologists and applied science technicians work together every day.

If you would like more information regarding the changes that are coming, the college is hosting an information and social evening at the Ramada Prince George on Sept. 19. More information can be found on the college's website.

If you have any questions regarding the College of Applied Biology or the practice of applied biology professionals, please direct your questions to Tory Davis at ea-comm@cab-bc.org.

Christine Houghton, CEO

College of Applied Biology