The EMA of BC hosted a Speaker Session on Professionalism in Environmental Management on April 18, 2013. The session was intended to provide members with professional insight into the opportunities and challenges of maintaining the highest ethical standards. Three speakers were featured:
- Peter Mitchell, Director, Professional Practice, Standards and Development; Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC)
- Pierre Iachetti, Executive Director; College of Applied Biology (CoAB) British Columbia
- Mike Russell, Sr. Vice President; Metrix Professional Insurance Brokers
Professional Standards at APEGBC
Peter Mitchell’s presentation focused on the newly formed Organizational Quality Management (OQM) Program certification process by APEGBC. The program was developed to “improve the quality management of professional engineering and geoscience practices at the individual and organizational level”. The program standardizes documentation, authentication (use of seals), and creates awareness of practice guidelines under the professional duties of the association. The program may also reduce the liability and risk associated with professional practices. Participation in the program is voluntary. Employees of OQM certified organizations are exempt from APEGBC Practice Reviews. The OQM manual is available to anyone from the APEGBC website.
The College of Applied Biology: Accountable Professionals
As Executive Director, Pierre Iachetti spoke on behalf of the College of Applied Biology (CoAB) of British Columbia. The mandate of the CoAB is to protect the public interest, foster professional development, and administer the member audit program. The discussion focused on the membership requirements and the rigor followed by CoAB to ensure the integrity of its members, holding them to the highest level of professionalism and accountability. The use of the professional seal as a standard for professionalism and accountability was discussed. While the use of the seal is optional, CoAB encourages its members to use it as a means of conveying professionalism and accountability.
Risk Assessment and Management of Risk
Mike Russell, Professional Insurance Broker, discussed contract due diligence and insurance for environmental services providers. He stressed the importance of contract review and the due diligence requirements in support of a comprehensive understanding of the risk and liability entered into through contracts. While insurance may protect professionals and companies from errors and omissions and certain acts of negligence, some contracts expose companies and individuals to risk not covered by their insurance plans. The need for clearly defined scopes of work, good client communication, and fair contracts was highlighted.
Thank you again to these speakers for sharing their knowledge with EMA of BC members.