By: The Working Forest Staff
BC FOREST PROFESSIONALS — Today (FEB 5TH) marks a significant day in the future of the Association of BC Forest Professionals. We are moving forward to be governed under a new, modern Professional Governance Act that allows us to continue to protect the public’s interest through the regulation of the forest profession.
The Professional Governance Act (PGA) is being brought into force through regulations, which also repeal the Foresters Act that has governed the ABCFP since 1947.
The PGA is similar to the Foresters Act in that it also grants the ABCFP the privilege of self-regulation although we won’t have the same autonomy in our self-regulation status.
Under the PGA the fundamentals for the forest profession remain the same:
- A Forest Professionals Regulationcontinues our existing reserved practice rights – albeit using some different words to describe it; and
- continues to protect our existing reserved titles.
New ABCFP Bylaws also take effect today. New bylaws are needed in order to transition the rights and authorities from the existing Foresters Act and meet the new requirements of the PGA.
The transition to the PGA creates some limited, new obligations for forest professionals directly, including:
- A new Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct (Bylaw 9);
- Statutory duty to report unsafe or harmful practices (PGA Section 58);
- Mandatory continuing professional development (Bylaw 10);
- Practice reviews that can lead to mandatory actions (Bylaw 11); and
- Requirement to provide more information for a public online directory of forest professionals (Bylaw 13).
I encourage you to download and hang on your wall a printable version of your new Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct (the Code) from the ABCFP website. In early February, watch for the release of an interpretative practice guide to assist with your understanding of the Code, a schedule of upcoming Code-related webinars, and an online E-course.
As well, our new publication The Professional Governance Act: What You Need to Know, provides more information on how the PGA affects you as a forest professional. Be sure to watch for more information and learning opportunities about the PGA in our bi-weekly Increment newsletter and BC Forest Professional magazine. Upcoming soon will be a FAQ and a schedule of PGA-related webinars about new bylaws, including CPD changes.
The Association of BC Forest Professionals is a strong and thriving profession. Our transition to a new legislative regime is an opportunity for continuous improvement, and to build even more public trust.
As your CEO, I will move the association ahead with confidence and pride under the Professional Governance Act knowing that BC’s forests continue to be in good hands with forest professionals.
Christine Gelowitz, RPF
Chief Executive Officer, Association of BC Forest Professionals