Qualified Persons in the Natural Resource Sector

The Province is conducting a review of professional reliance in the natural resource sector to ensure the highest professional, technical, and ethical standards are being applied to resource management in British Columbia. To find out more about this review visit EngageBC.

The agencies that regulate the use of natural resources (NRS agencies) in British Columbia are looking at opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of natural resource administration. The use of qualified persons is one approach to achieving this objective.


A wide variety of qualified persons work in the natural resource sector providing knowledge and expertise to support decision-making and operational activities. A Qualified Persons Cross-Ministry Working Group (QP working group) was formed in late 2011 to look at how qualified persons working for resource users can be better utilized, and to develop a common framework and tools for examining and supporting the use of qualified persons.

This work has started to build a common lens and language for talking about the use of qualified persons across the sector. It is hoped that a broader understanding of the ways in which qualified persons are used will enable both clients and staff to identify new possibilities for better use of QPs - whether it is through bringing in new expertise or relying more on qualified persons that are already engaged in the resource activity. The framework is a guide to ensure that a particular use of qualified persons is effective and adds value to the authorization administration process for resource users and government, and to the responsible management of public natural resources.

What is a qualified person?

A qualified person is one who possesses the specified knowledge, skills, training, experience and other requirements to perform a specified type of work as:

  • set out in legislation
  • set out in government policy or
  • required by an organization satisfactory to government that has the responsibility for specifying the requirements.  

The requirements include holding an accreditation bestowed by:

  • government,
  • a professional association constituted under an Act, or
  • other organization satisfactory to government.

Attainment of the requirements is either

  • verified through a process undertaken by government, a professional association or other organization satisfactory to government, to confirm that all requirements are met, or
  • self-assessed by members of a professional association constituted under an Act, where a code of ethics requires members to operate only within their area of expertise.

Professional reliance and qualified persons

The qualifications required to perform a certain type of work may include registration with a professional association and it is likely that most of the qualified persons working in the natural resource are registered professionals. Professional reliance is a particular approach where the qualified person involved belongs to a self-regulating professional association and takes on a greater measure of accountability for their work.