Complaints & Discipline
The Ontario Professional Foresters Association is accountable to the public for governing the conduct of professional foresters in Ontario. Its main objective is to regulate the practice of professional forestry in order that the public interest may be served and protected. One of the ways the Association fulfills this objective is to develop and enforce professional ethics and standards of practice. Individuals must be members of the Association in order to engage in the practice of professional forestry. As licensed professionals, members can be disciplined under the Professional Foresters Act, 2000 for violating standards of conduct prescribed by the Act, the regulations and by-laws.
When the Association receives a complaint against a member, the Association has a duty to investigate the validity of the complaint. A protocol has been developed for this and that protocol is available to all members of the Association. The affected member is notified when a formal complaint has been received and is given the opportunity to speak to the complaint and to provide such material that may be necessary, in order to dispute the complaint. The Association works with the member to ensure any material received is complete and that all of the identified components of the complaint are covered in the member’s response.
In the complaints process and the discipline process, the Association determines if the complaint is valid and if so, acts as prosecutor through the complaints investigation and disciplinary process. This is consistent with the Associations role of “regulating the practice of professional forestry.” It will be necessary for the member who is the subject of a complaint to obtain advice elsewhere regarding the substance of the complaint. However, OPFA can provide support and information regarding procedural matters and ensures material supplied by both the member and the complainant is complete.
The complaints process allow the Association to acquire the necessary technical expertise to be able to determine the validity of complaints. The discipline process allows, via the public hearing process, for the calling of expert witnesses, so there is the opportunity to acquire special technical expertise as part of both processes when required.