SOURCE: Professional Employees Association

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March 19, 2015 18:00 ET

Government Continues to Cut Licensed Science Officers in the Provincial Public Service, According to Professional Employees Association (PEA)

VICTORIA, BC--(Marketwired - March 19, 2015) - A year ago, a report issued warnings over the steady decline of licensed science officers employed by the provincial government. A year later, further cuts continue to erode the number of science officers entrusted to keep British Columbia's most valuable natural resources sustainable and safe.

The update by the PEA, which represents Government Licensed science officers, says in the last year the province has cut the number of science officers by 4 percent. This is compounded by a 15 percent cut over the previous 5 years.

Professionals in the Ministry of Environment were hit hardest. The province now employs 10 percent fewer in this Ministry than it did only a year ago. In the aftermath of the Mount Polley disaster, an adequately staffed compliment of licensed science officers in the provincial government is critical to maintaining the safety of BC's natural resources. "We need to protect our environment, and having in-house trained scientists and experts is key to doing this," says PEA Executive Director, Scott McCannell.

Also concerning is the ongoing cuts to professional foresters employed by the BC Government. In only a year, reductions of 6 percent were noted. "BC Forests are one of the most valuable, publicly owned, natural resources. Cutting the number of scientists and experts who manage this resource threatens the environment and can impact provincial revenue," says McCannell.

Government licensed science officers provide independent review, analysis, research, advice and monitoring services to help ensure the efficient and effective management, utilization and oversight of B.C.'s natural resources, road and bridge infrastructure, food and water resources and some aspects of health care services.

"Science Officers are professionally trained and accredited experts and scientists," says McCannell. "They are often the first-line stewards of our natural resources and have oversight of the safety of roads and bridges. We believe there are now not enough science officers working for the province to adequately look after the interests of British Columbians -- and the situation is getting worse."

About the PEA

The Professional Employees Association is a labour union representing 2500 professionals in British Columbia, including over roughly 1150 government licensed science officers working for the province of British Columbia.

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