History of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA)
OPFA was originally created by the 25th Legislature of the Province of Ontario via Bill 10, the Professional Foresters Association Act on April 3, 1957. This law protected the use of the term Registered Professional Forester.
According to Ken Armson O.C., R.P.F. (ret.), “Ontario foresters felt strongly that the need for provincial legislation would bind them together as a professional body for the purposes of increasing the knowledge, skills and proficiency of its members in the practice of forestry and to regulate the standards of practice of members. It was hoped that such legislation would include licensing, but Bill 10 fell short of that and the Association became a registration body.” (Who’s Running the Show; Matthew Benson. R.P.F., The Professional Forester, March 2007)
The names of the following twelve foresters appear in the original Bill as inaugural members: John Sisam; John Matthews; Thomas Mackey; Alva Bray; R. C. Hosie; Willard Phipps; George Garner; Robert Young; Edwin Ault; Charles Rowe; John Giles; and Ewan Caldwell. By the end of 1958, there were about 410 members in the Association.
The first female member of the OPFA was Rose Marie Rauter who became a R.P.F. in 1967. Although traditionally thought of as a male-dominated profession, women now make up 19% of members eligible to practice in Ontario. There are opportunities for everyone in the sector, and we recognize that diverse perspectives and experiences make us a stronger profession.
Please refer to the March, 2007 issue of the Professional Forester (50 years of the OPFA) for articles relating to the Association’s history.
On October 16, 2000, Bill 110, An Act respecting the regulation of the practice of Professional Forestry (The Professional Foresters Act, 2000), was passed by the Ontario Legislature. This legislation was proclaimed on May 1, 2001 and established OPFA as the licensing body for professional foresters in Ontario, as originally envisioned by the founding members. This law requires the OPFA to set experiential, character, education and continuing competency requirements of membership. It also describes how professional foresters are to be governed so that the public interest is protected.