Ontario's forests.
Our responsibility.

Caring for Ontario's forests since 1957.

Photo by: Marc Johnson

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.

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News & Events

News & Events

2023 Annual Conference and AGM

Registration is now open for the 2023 Annual Conference and AGM: April 18th to 20th in Peterborough, ON.

This is the OPFA’s first hybrid conference, with both in-person and virtual attendance options.

The theme of the conference is: Professional Foresters Adapting Through Collaboration and Innovation.


News & Events

OPFA Shadow a Forester Program

Many people studying forestry or wanting to enter the profession of forestry, whether domestically or internationally trained, usually lack a professional network and experience in forestry. These factors have been noted as major barriers for entry into the workforce by new forest professionals around the world in a recent United Nations report.

In 2022, the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) formed a Professional Networking Task Team (PNTT). One of the goals of this task team is to provide new OPFA members, such as yourself, opportunities to gain a better understanding of forestry and develop
your professional network. To do so, the PNTT developed a program called “Shadow a Forester”.

The program provides students and provisional OPFA members the opportunity to connect with professional foresters working in various aspects of professional forestry.

Why join the “Shadow a Forester” program?
● Connect with professional foresters that work in your area of interest or areas that you would like to learn more about.
● Build your resume with experiences learnt during your conversations with professional foresters.
● Learn or have a better understanding of what you would like to pursue in your career.

How does the “Shadow a Forester” program work?
● Student and provisional members will provide their contact information in the application and describe their interests.
● A PNTT member will review the application and connect you with one or more of our professional foresters that have volunteered to introduce the “shadower”.
● The job shadowing experience will depend heavily on the professional forester providing the opportunity (e.g., online, in-person, hybrid, time allocated, etc.). Availability of the “shadower” will also be taken into consideration.
● The duration of the job shadowing experience will be mutually agreed upon by the professional forester and the “shadower”.

What branches of forestry are available for students and provisional members to learn from?
Professional Foresters in:

  • Conservation Authority
    • Learn what professional foresters do in a conservation authority. Tasks include – tree planting, writing forest management plans, by-law enforcement, tree marking, public liaisons, overall protection, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Carbon
    • Learn what professional foresters do in a forest carbon company. Tasks include – quantifying carbon credits within a forest, developing forest carbon projects, ensuring compliance with registry standards, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Management – General Management (Government)
    • Learn what foresters do working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Tasks include – auditing/reviewing forest management plans, conducting compliance activities in silviculture and operational activities in the forest, developing public policy, addressing public requests, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Management – Operations (Industry)
    • Learn what foresters do working as an Operational Forester for the industry. Tasks include – writing forest management prescriptions, overseeing road construction, and harvesting, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Management – Planning (Industry)
    • Learn what foresters do working as Planning Foresters for the industry. Tasks include – preparing/writing 10-year forest management plans, create amendments and revisions, develop annual work schedules and annual reports on activities in the forest, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Management – Policy (Government)
    • Learn what foresters do working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in the policy sector. Tasks include – introducing/revisiting new policies for forest management, keeping up with scientific research, among other responsibilities.
  • Forest Management – Silviculture (Industry)
    • Learn what foresters do working as Silviculture Foresters for the industry. Tasks include – conducting and organizing tree-planting programs, aerial herbicide programs, site preparation, cone collecting, among other responsibilities.
  • Forestry – Municipal Law Enforcement
    • Learn what foresters do working for a municipality in by-law enforcement.
  • Forestry – Non-for Profit
    • Learn what foresters do in a non-for-profit organization. Tasks vary depending on the non-for-profit organization.
  • Forestry – Science and Research (Government)
    • Learn what foresters do working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in the science and research sector. Tasks include conducting research, doing site visits for forest health related issues, among other responsibilities.
  • Forestry Consultant
    • Learn what foresters do working as consultants. Tasks depend heavily on each consultant but may include tree-marking, conducting inventory reports, collecting data in the field, writing management plans, among other responsibilities.
  • Forestry Contractor
    • Learn what foresters do working as contractors. Tasks depend heavily on each contractor but may include conducting projects for clearing right of ways for utility projects, budgeting, among other responsibilities.
  • Urban Forestry (City/Municipality/County)
    • Learn what foresters do working for cities, municipalities, counties in an urban setting. Tasks include tree-planting, tree health, conducting inventory, writing management plans, research, among other responsibilities.

Student and Provisional Members are highly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to develop your network and learn about the different branches our profession has to offer.

Please contact opfa@opfa with any questions, to request an application form or to enquire about providing a job shadowing opportunity.


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.

Practicing Forestry

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.

Become a Registered Professional Forester Today

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.

Find Out How

Find a Professional Forester

Search our member directory by name, location, or services provided.

Information about unregistered practitioners available here.

Get in Touch

Mailing Address

Ontario Professional Foresters Association

5 Wesleyan St, #201

Georgetown, ON

L7G 2E2

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