Laboratory Standards & Quality Assurance

Environmental data provides critical information regarding the health of our natural resources. The Laboratory Standards and Quality Assurance Unit is responsible for ensuring that environmental data produced by, for or on behalf of the Province of British Columbia is fit for its intended purpose. This includes data generated by industry as required by permit, long-term trend data used to report on the health of our rivers and streams, and data regarding health and safety. Environmental data is used to inform important decisions and as such it is imperative to ensure it meets stringent quality objectives. To achieve these objectives our unit provides auditing programs, laboratory services, data surveillance, sampling and analytical methods and guidance. Our services cover every aspect of environmental data generation; from sampling to analysis.

Environmental Data Quality Assurance Regulation

The Environmental Data Quality Assurance Regulation (EDQAR) stipulates requirements regarding sampling, analysis, quality control and reporting.

An intentions paper and response form for assuring data quality for environmental regulation in B.C. are now available:

British Columbia Field Sampling Manual

The information contained within the British Columbia Field Sampling Manual (BCFSM) includes all aspects of QA/QC, sampling methods and techniques, templates and considerations that are crucial in the formulation of sampling plans. Sampling methods published in the BCFSM must be followed by permit holders. As an openly published document the manual also provides guidance for environmental professionals to facilitate consistency in sampling and ultimately the data produced by that sampling.

British Columbia Environmental Laboratory Manual

The British Columbia Environmental Laboratory Manual (BCELM) provides analytical methods that are approved by the Province for the analytical testing of environmental media. The BCELM is a living document that is frequently updated to address emerging contaminants and technological changes.

Directory of Qualified Laboratories

In accordance with the Environmental Data Quality Assurance Regulation (EDQAR), a person required to collect samples and submit environmental monitoring data as a requirement of an order, permit, licence, approval or certificate issued under an enactment administered by the minister must cause the samples to be analyzed by a qualified laboratory. The Directory of Qualified Laboratories (the Directory) publishes an easily accessible list of qualified laboratories.

Split Sample Audit Program

Industries that operate within B.C. are required to monitor and test the quality of the effluents they are permitted to discharge. Analytical data provided to ENV by permit holders is used to monitor and ensure compliance with the permits that authorize their discharge and ultimately account for the environmental protection they are designed to accomplish. The Split Sampling Audit Program is designed to ensure that the environmental data produced by industry meets an acceptably high level of quality.

To learn more about the program please read the guidance document found at the following link. For additional information please submit any questions or concerns to SplitSampleAudits@gov.bc.ca.

B.C. Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee

The B.C. Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (BCELTAC) is a partnership-based body made up of stakeholders from government and the private sector. The committee functions as technical advisory group that provides guidance to the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in the development and maintenance of field sampling and laboratory methods.

2019 Membership List of the BCELTAC

  • Dr. Joyce Austin - Knowledge Management Branch, B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV)
  • Dr. Heather Osachoff - Regional Operations Branch, ENV
  • Mark Hugdahl (Chair) - ALS Environmental
  • Stephen Varisco (Vice-Chair) - Powertech Labs
  • Rick Zolkiewski - AGAT Laboratories
  • Cindy Ott - Contaminated Sites Approved Professionals (CSAP)
  • Matthew Norman - Element Materials Technology
  • Dr. Barry Loescher - Bureau Veritas
  • Patrick Novak - CARO Analytical Services
  • Lauretta Liem - Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • David Hope - Pacific Rim Labs
  • Dr. Curtis Eickhoff (Chair BCELTAC Sub-Committee) - Nautilus Environmental.
  • Tim Crowther (Vice-Chair BCELTAC Sub-Committee) - ALS Environmental
  • Lydia Huebler (BCELTAC Sub-Committee) - Bureau Veritas
  • Craig Buday (BCELTAC Sub-Committee) - ECCC