The NDP Government is currently reviewing the professional reliance model, which uses expertise outside government to vet and critique various projects. ICBA made a submission on behalf of our members, defending the current way this work is done. Here is an excerpt:

In our view, B.C.’s professional reliance system is not broken. Many professional disciplines are engaged in providing professional reliance, and overall ICBA believes this approach has generally served B.C. well. In a province as rich and diverse as ours’, the professional reliance model allows government and industry to source expertise — across many disciplines and both domestic and international – suited to specific technical considerations as needed on a project-by-project basis. The result is a review framework that is both rigorous and robust.

It is also important to understand that professional reliance is not a “one-way street” in which government decision-making has somehow devolved to qualified professionals. Rather, government always retains responsibility for setting legislative goals (and cascading regulation, policy and guidelines), and inspecting, reviewing and monitoring for desired outcomes in the public interest. Statutory decision making – including approvals and permitting – are the final steps in the project-development process. Flexibility provided by the professional reliance model allows government and proponents to source highly qualified professionals with specific on-the-ground expertise for which they are then accountable to their governing professional body. Self-governing professional organizations are an important aspect of making modern, responsive regulatory regimes function. Professional associations – with appropriate government consultation and oversight – are generally best-placed to determine where improvements are required within their respective “communities of practice”.

Our full submission to the review panel can be found HERE.