Bylaw 9 – Standards of Ethical and Professional Conduct
Published: July 2022
Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct
9-1 (1) Registrants must conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct set out in Schedule A to this Bylaw 9, including
(a) the standards of competence established in Standard 1 of the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct, and
(b) the standards of ethical and professional conduct established in Standards 2 to 9 of the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct.
(2) The Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct does not deny the existence of other important ethical and professional standards that are not specifically included, the violation of which may be deemed under the Act to constitute professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a registrant, or the incompetent performance of duties undertaken while engaged in the practice of professional forestry.
Forest resource activities
9-2 (1) Subject to subsection (2) and any other applicable enactment, every registrant providing professional service in a forest resource activity must comply with the standards of practice, including any particular standards of competence or standards of ethical and professional conduct respecting that activity, that are described in the applicable guidelines specified in Schedule B to this Bylaw 9, as updated and amended from time to time by the council.
(2) In exceptional circumstances, a registrant may depart from a particular standard set out in guidelines specified in Schedule B if it is appropriate to do so for an identified reason, which must be specifically documented and supported by a written rationale that is consistent with the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct.
(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a standard that is identified in the applicable guidelines as a mandatory requirement.
Practice advisory program
9-3 (1) The registrar must administer a practice advisory program to provide practice guidance to registrants to assist them in dealing with professional or ethical issues.
(2) The registrar may appoint practice advisors for the purpose of the practice advisory program.
(3) Information or practice guidance provided by a practice advisor
(a) does not constitute a decision or ruling of ABCFP,
(b) does not bind the council, any committee, or any officer, employee or agent of ABCFP in the exercise of its or their powers or in the performance of its or their duties under the Act or any other enactment, and
(c) does not relieve any registrant of the responsibility to conduct their own due diligence and exercise their own professional judgment in any specific situation.
Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct
(Association of BC Forest Professionals)
All registrants of the Association of BC Forest Professionals are bound by the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct.
Registrants are responsible to hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public and the protection of the environment.
The practice of professional forestry is undertaken in a manner that protects the public interest by ensuring the multiple values society has assigned to BC’s forest are balanced and considered. To protect the public interest, all registrants practising professional forestry must be accountable and adhere to the following ethical and professional standards:
Standard 1 — Competence
Registrants, maintain sufficient knowledge, skill, and ability in order to address the matter in question, and must:
(a) practise only in those fields where training and ability make the registrant professionally competent;
(b) maintain competence in relevant specializations, including advances in the practice of professional forestry and relevant science;
(c) provide accurate information detailing their qualifications and experience.
Standard 2 — Independence
Registrants exhibit objectivity and are professionally independent in fact and appearance, and must:
(a) uphold the public interest and professional principles above the demands of employment or personal gain;
(b) distinguish between facts, assumptions and opinions when providing professional opinions;
(c) clearly identify each registrant who has contributed professional work, including recommendations, reports, statements or opinions;
(d) not disclose confidential information without consent, except as required by law;
(e) present clearly to employers and clients the possible consequences if professional decisions or judgments are overruled or disregarded.
Standard 3 — Conflict of Interest
Registrants must avoid situations and circumstances in which there is a real or perceived conflict of interest, and must:
(a) ensure conflicts of interest, including perceived conflicts of interest, are properly disclosed;
(b) take appropriate action to resolve or mitigate identified conflicts of interests;
(c) take necessary measures so that a conflict of interest will not bias decisions or recommendations.
Standard 4 — Due Diligence
Registrants work with constant and careful attention, and must:
(a) ensure work is complete, correct, and clear;
(b) provide professional work that is measurable or verifiable;
(c) have regard for the common law and applicable legislation or regulations, including relevant enactments of British Columbia, federal enactments, and enactments of other provinces;
(d) have regard for applicable standards, policies, plans and practices established by the government or ABCFP;
(e) undertake work and documentation with due diligence and in accordance with any guidance developed to standardize professional documentation for the profession of forestry.
Standard 5 — Integrity
Registrants always conduct themselves honourably and in ways which sustain and enhance their professional integrity and the integrity of the profession as a whole. Registrants must:
(a) inspire confidence in the profession by maintaining high standards in daily conduct and work;
(b) abstain from undignified public communication;
(c) not misrepresent facts.
Standard 6 — Forest Stewardship
Registrants work to improve practices and policies affecting forest stewardship. Registrants must:
(a) obtain a clear understanding of objectives for land and resource use;
(b) uphold forest stewardship and practise the responsible use of forest resources based on the application of an ecological understanding at the stand, forest, and landscape levels, which maintains and protects ecosystem function, integrity, and resilience;
(c) take respectful and appropriate steps to raise identified concerns with another registrant about any practice that may be detrimental to forest stewardship, and to seek to resolve those concerns.
Standard 7 — Safety
(a) maintain safe work practices and consider the safety of workers and others in the practice of professional forestry;
(b) hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, and the promotion of health and safety in the workplace.
Standard 8 — Professionalism
Registrants provide professional service and conduct themselves at all times in a manner that is respectful, responsible, and appropriate to the circumstances, and must:
(a) promote public knowledge of forestry with truthful and accurate statements on forestry matters;
(b) refrain from unfairly criticizing the work of other registrants or attempting to injure the professional reputation or business of another registrant;
(c) contribute to the advance of scientific and professional knowledge of the profession and others;
(d) be conscientious in providing professional services;
(e) take respectful and appropriate steps to raise identified concerns with another registrant about their professional competence, or about conduct by the other registrant that may constitute professional misconduct, conduct unbecoming a registrant, or a breach of the Act or the bylaws, and to seek to resolve those concerns;
(f) cooperate with and demonstrate respect for the regulatory processes of ABCFP; and
(g) not, by their words or actions, threaten, intimidate or harass any complainant, witness or other person involved in a regulatory process of ABCFP, or any councillor, committee member, officer, employee, contractor or other person acting on behalf of ABCFP.
Standard 9 — Reporting
(a) report to ABCFP and, if applicable, any other appropriate authority, any instance where, on reasonable or probable grounds, the registrant believes that the continued practice of professional forestry by another registrant, or by another person, including a firm or employer, might pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people;
(b) report to the regulatory body for another profession under the Professional Governance Act and, if applicable, any other appropriate authority, any instance where, on reasonable and probable grounds, the registrant believes that the continued carrying on of the regulated practice of that profession by a registrant of that other regulatory body, or by another person, including a firm or employer, might pose a risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people;
(c) report to ABCFP any other concern described in Standard 6(c) or 8(e) about the practice, competence or conduct of another registrant that it is not possible or appropriate to raise directly with the other registrant, or that cannot appropriately be resolved with the other registrant in accordance with Standard 6(c) or 8(e).
Practice Guidance for Forest Resource Activity
The following guidelines are specified for the purpose of section 9-2(1):
• Guidelines for Professional Services in the Forest Sector – Crossings
• Guidelines for Professional Services in the Forest Sector – Forest Roads
• Guidelines for Professional Services in the Forest Sector – Terrain Stability Assessments
• Watershed Assessment and Management of Hydrologic and Geomorphic Risk in the Forest Industry
• Guidelines for Legislated Riparian Area Assessments
• Guidance for Forest Professionals Practicing in Visual Resource Management
• Guidelines for Wildfire Management