November 2018 Speaker Session Recap – Regulatory Update

On Thursday November 15th the EMA of BC hosted a regulatory update session. Three speakers presented on topics spanning provincial, federal, and municipal levels of government including the provincial Professional Governance Act, changes to federal and provincial environmental assessment regimes, and an update on Metro Vancouver’s air quality guidelines.

Thank you to the speakers!  The talk summaries are below, and you may view their presentation slides by clicking on their talk titles.

Professional Reliance Review: Findings and Coming Changes with the Professional Governance Act

Shelley Metcalf – Policy Analyst/ Project Manager, Professional Reliance Review, Environmental Sustainability & Strategic Policy Division

British Columbia Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy

Shelley spoke on the outcomes of the new Government of British Columbia’s impetus to review the professional reliance model for natural resource decision making. This review process was set in motion with the objectives of increasing transparency and public trust in natural resource decisions, increasing certainty for industry, and ensuring appropriate use of qualified professionals including:

Engineers and Geoscientists (EGBC), Agrologists (BCIA), Foresters (ABCFP), Biologists (CAB), Science Technologists & Technicians (ASTTBC).

The key findings of the Professional Reliance Review final report released in June 2018, and details of the Professional Governance Act (PGA) introduced in October 2018, were presented by category. If passed, the PGA will roll out in stages and be fully implemented in 3-5 years. Under the act, professional governance will be regulated by a superintendent with statutory decision-making authority. Functions and powers of the office of the Superintendent of Professional Governance were discussed and critical elements of professional governance in the Act were outlined.


The New Environmental Assessment Regime

Luke Dineley – Partner, BLG

Luke’s presentation focused on the changes to federal environmental assessment. Overhauling the environmental assessment regime has been a mandate of the current Government of Canada. Luke provided a timeline of events that led to the introduction of Bill C-69, which is now awaiting second reading in the Senate. Luke’s discussion of Bill C-69 was organized into 10 “hot” topics of discussions with critical perspectives provided: “triggering”/ application, “one project – one assessment”, no impact assessment/ no project, broader scope of review, public participation, indigenous rights and participation, politicization, regional and strategic assessments, delays/costs/investor uncertainty, and lack of federal policy direction.

Luke also touched on Bill C-68 which includes amendments to the Fisheries Act, and Provincial Bill 51, which repeals and replaces British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Act.


Update on Metro Vancouver’s Air Quality Bylaws

Esther Berube – Division Manager, Air Quality Bylaw & Regulation Development

Esther provided regulatory updates on three air quality topics: non-road diesel engine emissions regulation, enhancing the regional odour management framework, and reducing residential wood smoke.

Health impacts, bylaw objectives, consultation activities, and changes for non-road diesel engine emissions were discussed.

Esther moved on to the hot topic of Metro Vancouver’s odour management framework enhancement, noting that odour complaints are on the rise in Metro Vancouver. Esther detailed sources of odour in Metro Vancouver, consultation activities, and potential approaches to odour management including regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives.

The final air quality topic covered was residential wood smoke. Residential wood smoke is the largest source of annual fine particulate matter in the region and complaints are widespread across Metro Vancouver. Esther described health impacts and outlined a three-pronged reduction approach, steps toward regulation development, and proposed regulatory elements.

Article written by Andrea Rivers, EMA Board Member