Media Fact Sheets

 

What is the ABCFP?

What is the ABCFP (PDF version)

About the ABCFP

The Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP) is the registering and regulatory body for forest professionals in BC. The ABCFP is the largest forestry association in Canada and was the first to include Registered Forest Technologists. The ABCFP has over 5,400 members who work in every corner of the province.

What is the ABCFP’s mandate?

The ABCFP’s primary mandate is to register and regulate the province’s forest professionals; however with the changes to the Foresters Act in 2003, the ABCFP added advocacy to its mandate. We advocate on behalf of the people of BC – not our members – for good forest stewardship.

What are forest professionals?

There are two main types of forest professionals in BC – Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) and Registered Forest Technologists (RFTs). RPFs are involved in managing the forest and planning how it will be used and cared for. RFTs have a narrower scope of practise and are involved in many technical forestry activities such forest health, forest engineering, silviculture and more.

Both RPFs and RFTs have post-secondary education (at least an undergraduate degree for RPFs and at least a college diploma for RFTs) and have passed a rigorous registration exam. All forest professionals must adhere to the ABCFP’s Bylaws and Standards of Professional Practice as well as all relevant legislation.

Both RPFs and RFTs can work for government, academia or industry. Many forest professionals own and operate consulting businesses of all sizes.

How is the ABCFP governed?

The ABCFP is led by a volunteer council. The council is made up of 10 elected members (either RPFs or RFTs) and two lay members who are appointed by the provincial government. The council sets the strategic direction and goals of the ABCFP while the staff, led by the CEO, takes care of daily operations.

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The ABCFP’s Complaints and Discipline Process

The ABCFP’s Complaints and Discipline Process (PDF version)

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is a privilege delegated to a professional group by the Legislature when it is clear that the public can best be served by regulating the profession. Certain professions perform activities that if carried on in a negligent or fraudulent way, can be dangerous to the public or contrary to the public interest1. Many well-known professions such as medicine, dentistry and law are self-regulated professions.

All self-regulated professions seek to protect the public against incompetence and misconduct. The ABCFP upholds the public interest respecting the practice of professional forestry by ensuring the competence, independence, professional conduct and integrity of its members and by ensuring that each person engaged in the practice of professional forestry is accountable to the association.

Like all self-regulated professions, the ABCFP takes its responsibility very seriously. We have a rigorous complaints and discipline process that is fair and transparent.

Who can lodge a complaint?

Anyone – whether a fellow professional or member of the public – can lodge a complaint against an ABCFP member. The ABCFP can only entertain complaints about our individual members and not their employers.

How can I complain about an ABCFP member?

The ABCFP has a complaints and discipline section on our website. It outlines the steps you need to take and explains what you can expect from the process. Complaints must meet four 'tests' before they are accepted by the ABCFP's registrar. All of these tests are explained on the website. There's even video that helps explain everything in plain language.

Our best advice for people wishing to lodge a complaint is to gather as much information as possible before submitting it to the ABCFP. The registrar will be your contact and will keep both you and the member you are complaining about informed every step of the way.

Will my complaint be taken seriously?

Absolutely! We pride ourselves on protecting the public's interests in BC's forests. We treat every complaint with care and work hard to ensure every party is kept informed each step of the way.

What happens to members who are guilty of breaching a bylaw or the Foresters Act?

There are a number of options including fines, remedial education, removal of practice rights and more. In addition, members who are found guilty of breaching the ABCFP's bylaws or the Foresters Act will have their name published in the ABCFP's member magazine as well as on our website.

Can I see all the complaints lodged against ABCFP members?

Yes. All closed complaints are published on our website. Complaints are filed by year they were lodged.

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1 What does it mean to be a self-governing regulated profession?, by Robert Schultze, AASS, AACI, CAE, Journal of Property Tax Assessment & Administration, Volume 4, Issue 3.

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Forest Stewardship Plans in BC

Forest Stewardship Plans in BC (PDF version)

What is a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP)?

Forest Stewardship Plans (FSP) are complex forest planning documents that are required under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA).

A FSP is the broad regional plan that describes the way an area will be managed for a variety of resources including the harvesting of trees. Through legislation and regulation the FSP must address the objectives set by government for the land, for example, objectives for soils, wildlife, water, biodiversity, timber etc. The FSP is produced for specific areas by 'agreement holders' who have acquired long-term rights for harvesting trees sustainably. The agreement holder writes the plan to achieve the objectives and submits the plan to government for approval. The FSP is a document that shows how an agreement holder is going to ensure that their operations on the ground are consistent with the objectives set by government.

What Role do Forest Professionals Play in FSPs?

Forest professionals provide the judgement and advice related to the practice of professional forestry within the FSPs in several ways:

  • For agreement holders: the forest professional may provide options and advice regarding how a result can be achieved in the plan;
  • For the government decision maker: the forest professional may provide options and advice regarding whether the result should be approved;
  • In some instances the agreement holder and the decision-maker are also forest professionals who can apply their knowledge of the science to the location.

In each example forest professionals apply their science knowledge and expertise to the circumstance in question. They do so with an independent mind toward the objectives that the government has for the land.

Forest professionals are competent, independent professionals dedicated to sustainable forests.

The government, as a representative of the public, defines the objectives for the land and provides additional orders for resource values over specific areas of land.

The Individual Forest Professional and Professional Reliance as a Foundation of FRPA

The forest professional is in a difficult position regarding the FSP because good stewardship has a multiple of different possibilities and outcomes. We recently asked our members about their professional judgement in their employment circumstance. Forest professionals do generally understand that it is the government and the industry that has the final stewardship decision regarding what will happen on forest land. While their advice and judgement will often form the direction in the management of forest resources, we also heard that in many instances that advice was not followed, was constrained to cost-neutral options only, or did not form the basis of the eventual management decision. There are many different reasons why this occurs. However, it is important to note that where professional judgement is not followed, then professional reliance ceases to exist.

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For more information contact:

Dean Pelkey
Director of Communications
Association of BC Forest Professionals
Ph: 604.331.2321
E-mail: dpelkey@abcfp.ca
Twitter: @abcfp