Take Action: Professional Reliance or Regulatory Outsourcing?

Bio-waste spread on farmland threatens to contaminate local wells. Development on an estuary damages salmon habitat. Logging on steep slopes puts a community’s drinking water at risk.

In each of these situations, private professionals (engineers, biologists, foresters, etc.), rather than government staff, get to determine what level of public risk and inconvenience is appropriate and acceptable. Professionals hired by industry sign off on the plans and in many cases the government may not ever review a plan or check to see if the law has been followed.

Over the last 15 years, BC’s environmental and public health laws have increasingly been gutted in the name of “professional reliance,” which has really been “regulatory outsourcing.” Vague terms, poorly written rules and virtually non-existent enforcement mean that consultants hired by industry and developers are making decisions with huge implications for our environment and public health. The government has outsourced to industry decisions about what happens to public rights, public lands and public resources, as well as to Aboriginal Rights and Title.

The government needs to hear from you

Until January 19th, a BC Government public consultation is asking British Columbians whether professional reliance works and how it should be changed. They need to hear from as many people as possible and especially from communities and individuals that have experiences with private professionals working under BC’s laws.

Please take a moment to fill out the government’s short survey, which includes several text boxes where you can write about what concerns you most about regulatory outsourcing, or experiences you’ve had with this system.

Not sure what to say? Click here to learn about the 6 principles that several environmental organizations are promoting in their submissions. You can also read this article on professional reliance in BC for more information. Please feel free to use them if they are helpful.

Thanks for taking action to protect BC’s environment and public health.