Progress in the Campaign for Professional Recognition in 2016
In the previous report posted in March 2016 we described a program of submitting briefs on regulations in areas where the expertise of the Professional Chemist is of vital importance. We worked from a list of eleven areas we submitted to the BC Ministry of Environment in June 2015 that they accepted as a starting point. A number of questions to be addressed were discussed and adopted. These were:
- What is the job function that the chemist would provide?
- What is the chemical work done in this area? (work activities)
- How is the ACPBC uniquely qualified to provide oversight for that function?
- Identify all regulations in place in each of these areas in statutes overseen by BC MoE but include other Ministries when applicable. Identify perceived gaps in regulations.
- Include examples of inaccurate results/advice that caused problems. This could also include failure to make the correct measurements.
As reported in March, the initial three areas were:
- The Certificate of Restoration Application Manual – a regulation of the BC Oil and Gas Commission;
- Environmental Data Quality Assurance (EDQA) regulation – a regulation of MoE involving the accreditation of laboratories for data submitted to MoE; and
- Landfill Criteria for Municipal Solid Waste – a regulation of MoE.
Since March, two additional submissions have been added:
- Amendment of the Hazardous Waste Regulation being considered in the next year; and
- Spill Response, Bill 21 amending the Environmental Management Act, and enabling regulations
In these latter submissions we began copying the two consequential Assistant Deputy Ministers in the Ministry of Environment Mark Zaccharias and Kaaren Lewis, as well as Peter Trotzki, Director, Legislation Section, Strategic Policy Branch, (Sustainability and Strategic Policy Division), MoE. In the case of the Spills Response, we copied Anthony Danks, the Director of the Spill Response legislation. While he did not respond directly to our requests concerning the Qualified Professional status of the P.Chem., ACPBC was invited to a Spills Response workshop on April 20 and 21 in Richmond, attended by Tom Fyles. Subsequently, Audrey Wagenaar of the Professional Affairs Committee has become a member of the Technical Advisory Committee on Spills Response. She is also slated to become a member of the crucial Professional Reliance Advisory Committee where questions of Qualified Professionals will be discussed.
Additionally, Paul West and Tom Fyles met with Rishi Sharma, Director, Corporate Initiatives & Stakeholder Relations (Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training).
Clearly, Professional Chemists are on the radar of the government staff at this point, with our credibility largely recognized. However, just as encouraging has been the access that ACPBC has achieved to Parliamentary Secretaries and to two highly relevant Ministers.
First, Tom Fyles and Paul West met with two Parliamentary Secretaries:
– Parliamentary secretary Greg Kyllo (Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training; Minister Shirley Bond)
– Parliamentary secretary Linda Reimer (Community, Sport, and Cultural Development; Minister Peter Fassbender )
They then met with Minister Amrik Virk (Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services) who was interested in the materials science and commercialization opportunities that involve chemists. The meeting included both the Deputy Minister and the Chief of Staff. The Minister seemed enthusiastic about the role of chemists in the advancement of the technology sector in BC.
At the end of the spring sitting we met with Minister Mary Polak (Environment) and her Chief of Staff. The meeting was very positive and she expressed the view that the chemists had to be included (as professionals) within her ministries area.
Subsequently, over the summer, we have kept open communication with Director Trotzki. Jason Crawford, Chair of Professional Affairs has contacted Joyce Austin, the point person on EDQA several times. A decision note has been submitted to ADM Lewis on the EDQA, including a request for the role of the Qualified Professional including the P.Chem. in the revised regulation. In contacts with Director Trotzki, it has been made clear that decision on how to accommodate the Professional Chemist is being discussed at the highest executive level. Our requests to meet with him have been delayed several times. We have always anticipated that the decision point would be difficult when ACPBC reached that stage.
The positive reception by the government has been received through a consistent and affirmative message from the ACPBC to government:
- First, that the ACPBC is a regulatory authority in waiting. In these meetings we stressed that the Professional Chemist is fully prepared for recognition as a regulated occupation in British Columbia with the ACPBC as the regulatory authority.
- Second, that the Association works in the public interest by setting and maintaining high standards of professional practice and ethical conduct for its members.
In summary, ACPBC needs to press home this current advantage that has been achieved in attracting the attention of government. The Professional Chemist needs to continue to pursue a statute or enactment specifying the ACPBC as the regulatory authority. The statute must lead to the listing of the Professional Chemist as a regulated occupation both in the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA). In the province, the P.Chem. needs to be included in the Qualified Professional (QP) definition of all Acts, Regulations and protocols in which the scope of practice of the chemist is identified.