The Government of British Columbia has announced that Paul Craven will lead the new Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance.
The office will oversee five regulatory bodies to ensure qualified professionals are acting in the public interest.
Craven brings significant experience to the role of superintendent, having previously served in the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office as executive director of strategic services and compliance. He will oversee professional regulators for agrologists, biologists, foresters, engineers, geoscientists, and applied science technicians and technologists in B.C. who work in a range of fields, including the natural resources sector.
“British Columbians want and deserve to know that decisions made about natural resources and the environment are science-based and in the public interest,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The new superintendent’s office will bring independent oversight and help restore public trust in qualified professionals by ensuring transparent and consistent best practices regarding qualifications, continuing education and potential conflicts of interest. With this new approach, we can support responsible resource development and the good jobs that result.”
The superintendent’s office will have the power to issue guidelines and directives to regulators to ensure compliance and enforcement of best practices and high professional and ethical standards. Staff will be able to investigate potential breaches of whistleblower protections and administer penalties.
“It is good to see that work to strengthen the professional reliance model is continuing in B.C.,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The establishment of this office is a direct response not only to Mark Haddock's professional reliance report, but also to the advocacy of hundreds of communities around the province. This is a big step towards improving accountability and rebuilding public trust.”
The office will have an annual budget of $1 million and 10 staff who will work with professional bodies to develop regulations in stages to implement the Professional Governance Act, which passed into law in fall 2018. The superintendent will maintain an independent oversight role and report to the Ministry of Attorney General.
Addressing professional governance is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance is now responsible for the governing statutes of five professional regulatory bodies, including the BC Institute of Agrologists, Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC, College of Applied Biology, Engineers and Geoscientists BC and the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
- The regulatory bodies oversee nearly 55,000 professionals working in B.C. across a range of disciplines in the natural resources sector, industry, transportation, construction and real estate industries, among others.
- The first phase of regulations to implement the Professional Governance Act came into force on June 1, 2019, which established the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance.
- The regulations also ban regulatory bodies from advocating on behalf of the professionals they regulate and require candidates for council election at each regulatory body to first pass a merit-based nomination process.
To learn more about the Office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance, visit: www.professionalgovernanceBC.ca
To learn more about the Professional Governance Act, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018ENV0078-002045
A backgrounder with the superintendent’s biography follows.