The Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) is committed to actively contributing to sustainable forest management by assuring the highest professional standards of practice in forestry. OPFA carries out this mandate by: Advocating the highest standards of practice; Establishing and enforcing high standards of professionalism among members; Promoting competency and continuing education among members; and enhancing public awareness about professional forestry.
Bill 13 Supporting People and Business Act, 2021 received royal assent on December 2, 2021 and the changes to the Professional Foresters Act therefore came into effect upon that date. These changes refine the scope of practice of professional foresters and will allow the public to better understand their role.
These changes include new definitions, rewording the scope of professional forestry, and clearer wording related to protecting the title used by professional foresters. The changes more clearly define professional forestry and reduce overlap with different occupations that also work in forestry. Please note that the changes do not include any changes to Regulation 145/01 ; that is there is no change to the occupations that are excluded.
For the public: A clearer description of the scope of practice of a professional forester raises awareness of what a professional forester does, and means that the public will be more informed when making inquiries or if they are filing a concern or complaint with the OPFA.
For employers and landowners: Clearer definitions and scope of practice mean that employers and landowners will have a better understanding of when they would benefit from hiring a professional forester.
For OPFA Members: A clearer definition of what professional foresters do, with less overlap with other occupations that work in forestry, allows professional foresters to be secure in their role in the workplace. The changes also provide better title protection and ensure that only professional foresters may portray themselves as such.
For the OPFA: Clearer definitions and scope of practice, with less overlap with other professions working in forestry, and better title protection enable the OPFA to respond to inquiries and address concerns and complaints more effectively.
The OPFA looks forward to continuing to collaborate with other professions and occupations that provide valuable environmental and business services to the people and employers in Ontario, in areas beyond changes to our governing regulations.
Photo by: Kandyd Szuba
What Foresters Do
Registered Professional Foresters (R.P.F.s) are responsible for serving the public interest by sustainably managing forests. R.P.F.s form part of the professional forestry team responsible for planning and approving all activities related to forest management. They enable landowners to make decisions such as when, where and how to access, harvest and reforest areas. They also ensure the protection of forest values including fish, wildlife, soil, carbon and water. They help protect human infrastructure such as utility corridors and care for and plan urban forests.
OPFA has over 900 members of which approximately 600 are licensed to practice in Ontario today. Today’s foresters pursue careers to ensure a healthy future for both people and the environment. Careers range from practical day to day management of our forests to conducting cutting-edge scientific research in a variety of forestry related disciplines. Traditional forestry careers have included forest management to meet multiple objectives such as protecting biodiversity and producing wood products. Today professional foresters work in urban forests, private woodlots and Crown land.
OPFA is dedicated to regulating its members and ensuring the highest standards in the practice of professional forestry, and in advancing the practice and awareness of the profession for both public and privately owned lands in the province of Ontario.
Membership in OPFA is open to anyone who has or is seeking a career in the forestry profession, during or after completion of a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from an accredited Canadian University or has equivalent academic qualifications.