September 7, 2010 â€“ With recent events such as the BP oil spill, professionals and employers worldwide are becoming wary of the potential risks they run when dealing with our fragile environment. Industry personnel have become acutely aware of the need for specific competencies, skills, and training within the workforce of the environmental sector. But in a sector where the range of specializations is vast, understandably the development of certification with strong regulatory support takes time.
For over a decade, ECO Canada (Environmental Careers Organization) has offered professional certification for environmental professionals through seven designations that formally recognize their unique skills and knowledge. However, as a result of the recent increased demand for advanced skills recognition in the environmental sector, the past 6 months have seen significant progress.
In March, at the 2010 GLOBE Conference, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between ECO Canada and the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand(EIANZ). The document demonstrated a mutual understanding for the growing need for professional standards and certification in this field, both locally and internationally.
In May the Project Lead for the Nova Scotia Ministry of Environment announced the proposed Licensed Environmental Site Practitioners (LESP) Program, in which the province of Nova Scotia would recognize people holding the Canadian Certified Environmental Practitioner (CCEP) designation, among others, as qualified to sign reports related to contaminated sites.
In August ECO Canada merged the seven designations to form what is now the Environmental Professional (EP) designation. And, in doing so, have gained backing for EP and further developments of certification from the following employers:
Supporting organizations include:
- CCS Corporation
- Hazco Environmental Services
- Maxxam Analytics
- University of Toronto
- GLOBE Foundation
- AMEC Earth & Environmental
- SNC-Lavalin Group
- Rescan Environmental Services
- Watters Environmental Group
- SLR Consulting
- EBA Engineering
- City of Calgary
To demonstrate their support SLR, Rescan and Genivar have either held meetings to discuss the value of certification or provided ECO Canada with the space, resources and contacts to communicate the value of certification to their environmental staff. AMEC Earth & Environmental alone currently employs 60 certified members. Furthermore, representatives from the above list of employers have publically supported the designation at industry events.
While the EP Certification is still making its way to the mainstream of everyday environmental practice, its recent momentum gained from industry support in Canada as well as the initiatives blossoming overseas is indicative of a global shift in environmental work â€“ a shift to making business choices that use the most competent and qualified workers in order to ensure a protected environmental landscape for the public.
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Since 1997, ECO Canada Certifications have been administered by ECO Canada and awarded by the Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board (CECAB). In adherence to ISO 17024â€”the international standard for Personnel Certification Bodies, CECAB is held to strict operational standards. This third-party verification means that CECAB conforms to international standards in the areas of quality management, conflict of interest (prevention of), and best practices for certification program management.
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Find environmental profession products, services, and information at www.eco.ca
Trouvez des produits, services et renseignements sur les professions en environnement Ã www.eco.ca
Gain formal recognition of your environmental expertise at www.cecab.org
Obtenez une reconnaissance formelle de vos compÃ©tences en environnement Ã www.cecab.org