VICTORIA, British Columbia, June 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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
smccannell@pea.org
Office: (250) 385-8791 ext. 203

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