Professional Discretion

Since 1947, the management of BC’s forests has relied on forest professionals.

Professional reliance took on greater significance with the introduction of the Forest and Range Practices Act in 2004, when professional reliance became a quality assurance strategy in the regulatory model.

Today, the professional reliance system takes different forms across the natural resources sector.

In general terms, it is a ‘results-based’ (professional reliance) regulatory model where, rather than reviewing and approving all plans or project designs, government instead:

  • sets the rules, objectives or results to be achieved;

  • relies on the professionalism of professionals hired by resource users to advise how those objectives or results will best be met (i.e. professional discretion); and

  • government monitors the results and environment, and enforces compliance among resource users through laws it has passed.

Role of Forest Professionals in the Professional Reliance System

Professional reliance is the practice of accepting and relying upon the decisions and advice of professionals who accept responsibility and can be held accountable for the decisions they make and the advice they give.

It goes beyond expecting the individual practitioner to competently apply a standard, practice or a rule. Professional reliance includes actions by the forest professional that take into account the wide range of circumstances, conditions and interests, and will balance them within the legal constructs that regulate the natural resources

Professional Reliance Evaluation Tool

Professional reliance is complicated. It is not a result or an activity; it is not an objective or a strategy. Professional reliance is a dynamic system where each component of the system needs to work for the entire system to function effectively. Use this tool to evaluate your role as a forest professional as an integral part of the professional reliance system.

Within these reports and papers, you will find information about the legal construct for professional reliance and, more importantly, the key elements, roles, and mindset integral to the application of professional reliance by forest professionals.