It's time to bring environmental decision-making back to the public interest.
A Natural Resource Officer, tasked with stewarding our forests, without the tools needed to address forest practices until it is too late. An ecologist with serious concerns that an industry-paid biologist's plans will compromise the proper functioning of a stream's ecosystem, and no forum to stop it.
These are just two of the concerns that BCGEU members like you shared directly with the provincial government as part of a formal review of the 'Professional Reliance' system. In the BCGEU's written submission to the review this January, and an in-person meeting with the review team in March, the BCGEU has weighed in to share our members' stories, and pushed for changes to environmental laws to make sure decisions are made in the best interest of all British Columbians.
For the past 15 years, the provincial government has increasingly used professional reliance and deferred to industry-paid professionals including biologists, archaeologists, engineers and environmental scientists to conduct studies, monitor activities and more. Combined with deep cuts to the public service, this system has meant that government decision-making has been largely turned over to private professionals, who are working for the best interest of their clients, not the public interest. Overall, public confidence in environmental and natural resource management in BC has been seriously eroded.
The provincial government heard from thousands of citizens, stakeholders and qualified professionals during its consultation period, including many of you who shared your stories and concerns about the oversight of our environment and natural resources.
A final report with recommendations will be released to the public soon, and then the provincial government will decide how to respond. We need to keep up the pressure, and make sure our local MLAs understand the pressing need for change!
The BCGEU has joined forces with a broad coalition of groups including the Professional Employees Association, Evidence for Democracy, Organizing for Change, Ecojustice, the BC Wildlife Federation and the Fraser Watershed Initiative to make sure the recommendations from the Professional Reliance policy review are put into action.
It's time to bring environmental decision-making back to the public interest. You can add your voice by encouraging action by your decision-maker in a tailored message here: www.whodecides.ca