What’s a Roster?

The provincial government’s recently introduced Professional Governance Act (Bill 49-2018) created the office of Superintendent of Professional Governance in order “to ensure consistency and best practices are applied in the work of qualified professionals.” One aspect of the superintendent’s authority is the ability to define “rosters”. So what’s a roster, and will rosters matter to local communities?
The details aren’t yet clear, but in general rosters are intended to be a government-vetted list of professionals who have sufficient qualifications and experience to make professional recommendations concerning high risk undertakings. The goal is to ensure only properly qualified people are hired by industry (and government) to perform work that could significantly damage “the public interest” if done wrong.
Many BCCFR member organizations have been arguing for years that only professionals with significant experience and training in watershed protection should be utilized when determining whether the community’s watershed can withstand the impact of planned harvesting (or mining, or roads, or whatever). So the question is, how would a roster help?
Long term, it could be that community complaints will finally start to have a real impact. That is assuming a professional with too many public complaints is putting his or her roster-status at risk. Simply put, if validated public complaints result in a professional being taken off the roster, then the concerns of local communities might be taken more seriously.
So rosters may indeed bring us closer to BCCFR’s goal — to give local communities a real voice in how forestry is managed in our communities and watersheds. However, that is only true if rosters are applied to the high risk activity of logging in community watersheds. For that reason, we call on FLNRO to make sure that’s the case.

BCCFR Explained in 130 Words

The BC Coalition for Forestry Reform is comprised of numerous organizations from mostly rural communities. We are neither anti-logging, nor anti-professional. We are, however, very experienced and informed about the complex issues of forest management when both timber and non-timber values are at stake. What brings us together is that under current regulation we must stand powerless as our local forests and watersheds strain and snap under the cumulative impact of decisions and actions performed under Professional Reliance. We are the people who drink our forest’s water. We hike, ride, hunt, ski, and snowshoe in our forests every day. The BCCFR advocates for regulatory and legislative changes to create a forest management regime that fully incorporates the experience, priorities, and local knowledge of the very communities most impacted by resource extraction.

Conflict of Interest – Don’t make it personal

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There’s been a few articles published suggesting that the BC government’s Professional Reliance review, and especially the recommendations of the review’s Final Report, are a personal attack on professionals. For years the public has been voicing serious concern over the inherent conflict of interest that Registered Professional Foresters operate under.  The RPF is responsible for protecting the public interest (e.g. watershed and visual quality protection) while simultaneously maximizing timber revenue for their employer.  You don’t have to be unprofessional to be in a conflict of interest — it isn’t personal, it’s the system.

Some professionals have dismissed out-of-hand the goal of reducing this conflict of interest and improving their profession’s ability to protect the public interest. But doesn’t that just confirm the public’s concern?