White Paper

The Professional Chemist in British Columbia


Given the essential role of chemistry in health, environment, energy, food and many other aspects of our everyday lives and our equal familiarity with the professions of law, medicine, and engineering, it would be easy to assume that the Professional Chemist is recognized in British Columbia along with all the other professions.

That is currently not the case. Although the Association of the Chemical Profession of British Columbia (ACPBC) represents practicing chemists in the province, the occupation of Professional Chemist is the last remaining major profession that is not recognized in provincial statute, for example in a Chemists Act, and hence “Professional Chemist” is not a regulated occupation in BC.

This brief from the ACPBC addresses a number of questions about this anomaly that you might well ask in order to be convinced that a Chemists Act would be in the public interest.

What role does chemistry play in the economy and the quality of life of British Columbians?  Would direct input of the Professional Chemist into decision making on a par with other professions improve the efficiency of business and public policy?

In the first section of the brief “The Case for Chemistry as a Regulated Profession in BC” we lay out the role of chemistry and of the Professional Chemist as valuable resources for the province.

Does the Association of the Chemical Profession of British Columbia have the capacity to administer the occupation of Professional Chemist and to ensure accountability and competency in a way that protects the public interest?

Yes, the ACPBC has all the elements in place to ensure that the best interests of the public are served. In the second section, the history of the ACPBC is presented in the context of its development of all aspects of the structure of other professional associations.  More details are in the section “Capacity of ACPBC to Act as a Regulatory Authority“.

Will it be challenging to draft and implement such a statute? Will it add unnecessary complexity in regulation?

We outline an approach that is consistent with the statutes regulating other professions and with the current operating procedures of the ACPBC that provide oversight for the Professional Chemist. The conclusion is that a statute would add significant consistency and assurance of competency with only minor incremental change in regulation.  More details are in the section “Overview of Proposed Legislation“.

Is there any advantage to recognizing the Professional Chemist in British Columbia in our inter-provincial trade and commerce, or in having efficient access to highly trained professionals who are chemists?

Finally, we introduce the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), signed by all the provinces, and also the New West Partnership Trade Agreement between Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan.  Both these agreements have provisions that allow the smooth transfer of professionals between provinces, but only for professionals in recognized occupations.  It is explained that while BC has provisions for many occupations, the vital occupation of Professional Chemist is missing. Having the Professional Chemist recognized in statute in BC will increase employment opportunities and facilitate the growth of industries, such as energy development, that rely on the expertise of Professional Chemists. More details are in the section “Chemistry as a Regulated Profession in Canada“.