Professional reliance is a regulatory principle that is used in several resource management domains in British Columbia, including forestry and mining. The Ministry of Environment has promised to review this principle and its application throughout the government. This is likely to have important impacts on watershed stewardship on Crown Land throughout the Province.

Briefly, the principle of professional reliance is that the government will rely on the judgment of qualified professionals to assess complex situations on Crown lands and ensure that management objectives are met. This means that experts hired by proponents and licensees are making expert judgments on the balance of values, the level of acceptable risk. Local communities typically have little input as the ‘management objectives’ are expected to communicate governmental outcomes.

We at CBWN are tracking this issue, collecting resources and information from various perspectives. At our Fall Meeting, Sept 23 in Nelson, we hope to be able to host a dialogue that helps all members to understand what ‘professional reliance’ is, and how the professional reliance review might affect us.


Vancouver Sun article reporting the review announcement:

NDP orders review of government reliance on industry-hired experts, August 12, 2017, Vancouver Sun

NDP orders review of government reliance on industry-hired experts

Professional Reliance Report, Environmental Law Centre

Haddock, Mark. 2017. Professional Reliance and Environmental Regulation in British Columbia

Andrew Nikiforuk, February 21, 2017 “Another Wild West Show? BC’s Regulatory Experiment with Professional Reliance

Association of British Columbia Forest Practitioners

ABCFP Advocacy on behalf of Professional Reliance

  • Intended to be results-based instead of procedures-based regulation