Review of Environmental Review Processes Received Dec. 07, 2016Submitted By: Linda Stordeur December 28, 2016
Dear Ms. Gélinas,
On behalf of the College of Applied Biology Council, I am writing to express our support for the Government of Canada’s efforts to develop new, fair, Environmental Assessment (EA) processes that are robust, incorporate scientific evidence, protect our environment, respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and support economic growth.
The College of Applied Biology (the College) is British Columbia’s regulatory body for applied biology professionals, and is one of only two regulated biologist associations in North America. Although BC-based, we have members from across Canada, reflecting broad interest in the principles of integrity in science. In addition to ensuring the integrity, objectivity, and expertise of our members and upholding principles of stewardship of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, a primary mandate of the College is to preserve and protect the scientific methods and principles that are the foundation of the applied biological sciences. Members of the College meet high entrance standards, are required to engage in continuing professional development, and are held accountable for their conduct and practice through robust audit and discipline processes. Accountability is a key method of assuring the public, government, employers, industry, and other professionals (e.g., engineers, foresters) that applied biology professionals provide unbiased data, opinions, recommendations, and reports used in decision-making.
Based on our experience as a regulator, we suggest that you add the concept of accountability as a cornerstone of a revised robust and transparent EA process. Currently there is no Canada-wide requirement for biologists to be registered as professionals; hence, there is no assurance of accountability for the opinions stated in Environmental Assessments. This lack of accountability results in the public and government losing confidence in the integrity of both the science and the decision-makers. To enhance confidence, the EA process needs qualified accountable professionals, whose recommendations must be based on scientific facts and must not be biased by emotions. The addition of accountability to the EA process, whether in data collection; development of reports, recommendations, or statements; or for decision-makers, will provide the public, government, and industry with a level of trust that is currently lacking.
The College has a strong interest in the promotion of professional accountability
across the nation. We would be pleased to carry on this discussion within the review process. We have included some documents with information about the College, as well a guidance document for our members on the role of the professional in decision-making.
Dr. Vanessa Craig, R.P.Bio
President, College of Applied Biology
cc. Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
Hon. James Gordon Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport Canada
Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
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