April, 2000

Ontario Proposes Legislation
To License Geoscientists

The Ontario government has opened public consultations on draft proposed legislation that would create a self-regulating body of professional geoscientists in Ontario, the province’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines Tim Hudak announced on March 7.

"The licensing of Ontario's geoscientists will reinforce this province's position as one of the safest, most attractive places in the world for mining investment," Mr. Hudak told Mining Millennium 2000, an international mining convention in Toronto. "It will enhance the professional standing of our geoscientists, better protect the public and enhance investor confidence."

The draft proposed legislation responds to February 1999 recommendations of the Mining Standards Task Force, a joint committee of the Ontario Securities Commission and Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) set up in the wake of the Bre-X scandal. The legislation would create a self-regulating body to establish professional standards and help safe-guard the public against unskilled or unethical actions. The body would designate "qualified persons" to review and approve any mineral exploration results to be made available to the public.

Maureen Jensen, director of mining services for the TSE, applauded the draft legislation and said it would reinforce Ontario's position as a leading international centre for mine financing. "It will strengthen public and investor confidence in the mining industry and the securities market," she said.

"The Ontario government has demonstrated that it is prepared to work with the geoscience community to enhance professional standing and accountability, and to protect the public," said William Pearson, president of the Association of Geoscientists of Ontario. The draft proposed legislation meets a commitment made to Ontario's geoscientists that the government would help them establish a self-regulating professional organization, added Mr. Pearson.

A consultation period, during which all groups affected by this legislation may have their voices heard, runs until April 20.

"Ontario has one of the largest and strongest geoscience communities in the country," Mr. Hudak said. "It is time for Ontario to support their drive for professionalism and accountability, and to declare ourselves a centre of geoscience excellence."


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