Councillor Candidate

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C.E. (Christine) Plante, P.Geo. | Whitehorse, YT

I am running for Council with EGBC because I feel it is critical to play an active role in the organization which regulates and maintains fairness and equality amongst my profession. I feel that I can bring an authentic and progressive voice to this organization from the Yukon, where there is no regulation for practicing Geoscientists.

Further to this, I work within the public sector, in a capacity which oversees the product of engineers and geoscientists regulated by EGBC and Engineer’s Yukon. I think that it is critical in this transition to provincial oversight that our association’s voice is strong and collective as professionals in both private and public capacity. It is vital that the key successes achieved in our self-governance model are shared with British Columbians and provincial government so that as the Professional Governance Act is drafted and implemented, the legislation can resemble the fit of its users.

As a member of EGBC, I believe that the work our association does today will help shape the professional members of our future. I believe that we can maintain consistency and strength while evoking change in areas which require our attention, and that our society, economy and environment will benefit from our efforts towards sustainable development.

I am running for Council because I want to work for the community that continues to inspire my interest in Geology and Engineering. As a Councillor, I will bring my passion for the natural and built environment, experience in public sector and in senior management, and lastly, a collaborative and positive attitude to EGBC.

Education

M.Sc. (Sustainable Development), University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College, 2018
B.Sc. (Earth and Environmental Sciences), University of British Columbia, 2010

Professional History

Senior Project Manager, Community Services, Land Development, Yukon Government, 2014–present
Manager of Field Services, Community Services, Land Development, Yukon Government, 2011–2013
Project Manager, Infrastructure Development, Yukon Government, 2010–2011

Related Professional Activities

Member, Canadian Geotechnical Society, 2019–present
Councillor, Judicial Council, Yukon Territorial Court, 2016–present
Advisory Panel Member - Yukon Initiating Group, Canadian Mountain Network, 2016–present
Member, Yukon Women in Mining, 2015–present
Student Representative, University Board; Science, Technology and Environment, University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College, 2016–2018

Community Involvement

President, Takhini Valley Community Association, 2017–2018
Director, Community Midwifery Association Yukon, 2015–2018
Director, BC SPCA Board Kelowna, 2007–2009

Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing the association?

As EGBC ventures into this new and complex chapter with the Professional Governance Act replacing the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, the key challenge will be guaranteeing transfer of desired legislation into the new Act. It will be critical to ensure that the approaches which have been well developed and successful to our professional practice transcribe smoothly into the development of multiple sector appropriate legislation.

This means, as each set of regulations are released by government for public and stakeholder consultation, EGBC must be equipped with sound, evidence based policy positions which support the association while being mindful of the effects of those positions on the other applicable professions. This is important because like us, those other sectors may worry for the loss of applicable legislation, or the inclusion of unsuitable content to their practice.

Likewise, it is imperative that we uphold public faith in our practice and maintain integrity and professionalism while we navigate through what may sometimes be a challenging process. This means we must remain transparent, inclusive and available to the public and our membership throughout this process so that we still deliver on the initiatives and work which we were previously mandated to.

Finally, while going through this time of change, we must maintain focus on the health and vitality of our current practice while ensuring that integrated sustainability measures, technological advancements, climate change considerations and a versatility to political will are considered as we navigate these coming years.

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

A key issue facing the geoscience profession is some jurisdictions in Canada do not have a professional organization. Geoscience is not regulated in the Yukon and practicing professionals may choose to join another regulating body. Many of the Yukon population practicing Geosciences are regulated through EGBC, which means that association governance and local government mandates may at times not align. I believe that active engagement from the membership practicing outside of British Columbia is vital to ensuring excellence in their work, which translates into public trust and confidence in the work of EGBC.

Women are more actively pursuing education in Engineering and Geosciences; however, there still exists a heavily imbalanced gender ratio in senior management, professional advancement, and placement in leadership roles. EGBC must identify and address the perceived or actual barriers which prevent women from pursuing leadership roles. Understanding limitations is a key step in effecting change.

There are increasing concerns regarding the natural environment, which are compounded by accelerated climate change effects in our northern hemisphere; particularly in our mountainous and arctic regions. Additional diligence is required as we modify our landscape; acute care is required in design and material selections. Improving the built environment to withstand these changes means using projected climate models and informed scientific evidence, thus ensuring a holistic and adaptive approach.  

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

EGBC will remain an industry leader by ensuring that we remain current and progressive in our mandates. We will continue to ensure that our public and private assets are developed with care and consideration for both those who see their benefit today and those who will manage those assets and be responsible for the legacy of those developments in future. The quality work of our membership will showcase the effectiveness of our association.

We will rise to this occasion of legislative rewrite and will become stronger with the fellow natural resource regulators whom we stand beside in our new legislation. We will continue our efforts to recruit our membership’s opinions and expertise as we write this new chapter.

EGBC will continue to be a leader in innovation, holistic approach and sustainable balance with design and exploration across our globe. Our new legislation will prevail as one which is leading edge, and we will be stronger from this experience.

For Council to achieve its goals and meet its fiduciary responsibilities, Council has identified the need for diverse voices on Council, with a blend of the following skills and competences: leadership, financial literacy, risk management, human resources, strategy, regulatory understanding, governance and technical proficiency. Please highlight the areas of strength you bring to the role.

As a senior project manager responsible for numerous economically and environmentally sensitive projects, transparency and fairness have become vital to my practice. As a public servant, my role in project delivery is also to protect the public purse. I am always looking for areas to improve my knowledge and expand my skill sets.

With political agendas and territorial elections dictating and often redefining my mandates for work, it is critical that I am open-minded in my method of project delivery. Development of vital infrastructure in communities requires quick and decisive decision making, transparent budgetary balancing, and assurance that my resource allocations align with the needs of those communities.

Projects carried out by our department are large and complex, so decisions that precipitate a project through completion require deliberate and well detailed financial accountability. Variances are scrutinized and publicized, so critical thinking and effective management of my project portfolios is key to success.

Land developed by government requires a balanced approach to risk management; with each of those risks governing if and how we can carry out our work. Our commitment to the public includes ensuring we have made best efforts and use best practice in how we mitigate risk, and that we conduct our work calculatedly when risk cannot be mitigated.

Land Development requires a massive project footprint, and regulation is prevalent throughout this entire process; each particular project impact is filtered through correct channels to ensure design, practice and product are in compliance with applicable legislation.

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