10 things to know about Authenticating Professionals under Alberta’s Wetland Policy

The requirement for professional sign off as it relates to Water Act applications under the Wetland Policy has recently been implemented in Alberta. Whether you are proposing to develop or disturb a wetland, or you have been asked to assess impacts to a wetland, here are 10 things you should know.

  1. Alberta Environment and Parks has published the wetland Professional Practice Standard, which describes both the requirements and responsibilities of an authenticating professional, as well as competencies required to complete Wetland Policy-related tasks.

Alberta Wetland Policy Professional Practice Standards

  1. Requirements for authenticating Wetland Policy documents includes:
    • Being an environmental/land management professional member in good standing with one or more Professional Regulatory Organizations (PROs);
    • Practicing as a professional member for five years or more;
    • Practicing wetland science, design or engineering for three or more years after receiving professional designation; and
    • Having professional liability insurance.
  2. There are ten PROs that are subject to this requirement. These PROs govern the following environmental/land management professional groups:
    • Biologists
    • Engineers & Geoscientists
    • Engineering and Geoscience Technologists
    • Agrologists & Agrology Technologists
    • Foresters[1]
    • Forest Technologists2
    • Planners
    • Chemists
    • Land Surveyors
    • Landscape Architects
  3. PROs are organizations that self-regulate the practices of subsets of Albertans. These subsets represent different types of professionals whose work overlaps environmental management.
  4. Each of the ten PROs govern their professional members similarly, in that they must meet the education, practice, and disciplinary actions as prescribed by each PRO.
  5. Authenticating professionals must meet the requirements to sign off on any of the following Wetland Policy submissions:
    • Wetland Impact and Assessment Report (WAIR)
    • Wetland Impact and Assessment Form (WAIF)
    • Wetland Restoration Design
    • Wetland Restoration Validation Report
    • Wetland Restoration Verification Report
  6. By authenticating a Wetland Policy document, the authenticating professional takes on the liability of the information and recommendations provided in the document, and authenticates that the wetland assessments, designs and/or reports were completed according to the requirements set out under the Wetland Policy and associated Directives and Tools.
  7. It is up to the proponent (person or organization that proposes the land use activity) to hire a qualified authenticating professional.
  8. It is up to the authenticating professional that is signing off on Wetland Policy submissions to ensure their wetland assessment/design/report team is competent to conduct the tasks they are assigned.
  9. To date, only the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists PRO has a publicly available roster of self-declared Authenticating Professionals.

Authenticating Wetland Professional Roster

[1] Foresters and Forest Technologists PROs joined organizations after publication of the Wetland Professional Practice Standard