Code of Ethics

Code of Ethics


No detailed Code of Ethics can prescribe the conduct appropriate under any and all circumstances. Often the choice lies between two or more evils rather than between an action which is patently right and one which is obviously wrong. It may be that, in certain situations, a member could not possibly comply with all articles of this Code simultaneously. Then the Member should try to satisfy the basic aims of the Code as far as possible even if to do so involved a breach of the letter of the Code. Therefore, this Code shall be interpreted within the following guiding principles.

(a) The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you”. The Golden Rule shall be used as the governing criterion of conduct.

(b) Loyalty to basic professional ideals shall be paramount to technical breaches of this Code. Conversely, actions which are within the letter of these articles but which violate commonly accepted standards of honourable conduct shall be considered breaches of professional ethics.

(c) No less weight shall be given to the motive for a course of action than is given to the action itself. Contrived evasions of these articles may be more culpable than overt acts of omission or commission. On the other hand, honourable errors of judgment are not in themselves unethical, and therefore their results should be judged with charity, understanding, and justice rather than by a strict observance of the written word alone.


All Members, however and wherever they may practice, are bound by the Code of Ethics set out hereunder and as such have responsibilities to the public, the profession, the client or employer; and other Members.


The Members responsibilities to the public are to:

(a) Advocate and practice good stewardship of forest land based on sound ecological principles in order to meet the objectives of the owner without compromising the opportunities for present and future generations in the use and value of the forest to society;

(b) Have proper regard in all work for the safety, health and welfare of the public;

(c) Provide factual and accurate information to advance public knowledge and understanding of forest policies, the practice of forestry and it’s function in society;

(d) Maintain high standards of conduct in daily work and strive to raise the standards of practice;

(e) Work in a spirit of integrity, honour, fairness, good faith and courtesy;

(f) Act in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner;

(g) Practice only in those fields where training and ability allows the Member to operate in a professionally competent manner;

(h) Not to make misleading or exaggerated statements regarding the members qualifications or experience;

(i) Sign only documents, plans or work which they have prepared or carried out or which have been prepared or completed under their direct professional supervision or review; and,

(j) Express opinions on forestry matters only on the basis of adequate knowledge and honest conviction, and discourage and refute the presentation of untrue, biased or exaggerated statements concerning the practice of forestry.


The responsibility of the Member to the profession is to:

(a) State clearly on whose behalf professional statements or opinions are made;

(b) Keep informed in the members’ field of practice and to be aware of current issues and developments in forestry;

(c) Not to misrepresent facts;

(d) Contribute to the work of forest societies and educational institutions and to advance scientific and personal knowledge;

(e) Conduct themselves towards other Registered Professional Foresters with fairness and in good faith;

(f) Not to publicly malign the work, reputation or business of other Members or Registered Professional Foresters; and,

(g) Advise the registrar of any practices by any Registered Professional Forester which they believe may be contrary to this Code of Ethics.


The responsibility of the Member to the client or employer is to:

(a) Act for their employer or client in a conscientious, diligent, and efficient manner;

(b) Obtain a clear understanding of the client or employer’s objectives;

(c) Not to disclose confidential information of the employer or client, without their consent except as required by law;

(d) Accept only those assignments for which the member is qualified, or seek assistance from knowledgeable peers or specialists, whenever their field of practice is outside the members’ competence;

(e) Advise their employer or client of the consequence of any contemplated course of action which in their professional opinion is not based on sound forestry practices;

(f) Levy only those charges for services rendered that are fair and due;

(g) Refuse any assignment that creates a conflict of interest;

(h) Not accept compensation in any form from more than one employer or client for a particular service, without the consent of all; and,

(i) Abstain from undignified public communication.


The responsibility of a Member to other Members is to:

(a) Not unfairly criticize the work of other Members or attempt to damage the professional reputation or business of another member;

(b) Provide opportunity for the professional development and advancement of other Members in the Member’s employ or supervision;

(c) Give credit for professional work to whom the credit is due; and,

(a) Share knowledge and experience with other Members.

Key points re: use of title outside the home jurisdiction.

January 19, 2012

This document was reviewed by the CFPFA, and accepted by CFPFA member agencies on the above date.

Note that the points herein are, in the main, extracted from an article by Doug Krystofiak, published in the November/December 1996 issue of the Forestry Chronicle. Some modifications have been made by Ed Czerwinski and Ian Millar with editorial input from other CFPFA members.

You may only use your R.P.F. (ing.f)* designation after your name in the provincial jurisdiction(s) where you are a member in good standing, and except as noted in the points below.

Legislation establishing professional foresters associations is created and approved by provincial legislatures and thus becomes law in the province which passed the legislation. That legislation does not apply in other jurisdictions. 

Can I use my R.P.F title if I go to work in another province that has professional forester legislation?

The answer is no; until you have become registered in that province. Professional legislation prohibits the use of your home title in another jurisdiction. The R.P.F. designation is reserved only for registered members who hold a valid certificate of registration for that jurisdiction. This applies also to the use of one's professional seal or stamp and the use of one's R.P.F. designation on such things as correspondence and business cards identifying a “professional” location outside of the jurisdiction in which you are registered. However, some associations** have provision for limited practice by visiting out-of-province foresters who must obtain local authorization.

If I clarify that my R.P.F. title only applies to my home association, is that alright?

The answer once again is no. The R.P.F. designation is reserved for and applicable only to registered members of that province. Using an out-of-province designation, even if one attempts to clarify it, with the home province in brackets after the designation, contravenes the "restricted" use of title provisions in the legislation because it does not clarify the fact that the proponent is not authorized (and may not be competent) to practice within the jurisdiction.

There is nothing wrong with being introduced as a visiting R.P.F. or handing out business cards which clearly identify you as a visiting R.P.F. from out-of province (i.e., your business card has your home province address on it). R.P.F.s are not to use their R.P.F. title out-of-province, except as noted above, when providing any professional services. Where there is a professional association in the province, they must contact that association for guidance regarding applicable membership.  Failure to do so may result in such individuals facing disciplinary actions by their home Association as well as legal action launched by the professional foresters association in the jurisdiction in which they misrepresent themselves.

What happens if I move to another jurisdiction where no professional forester legislation exists?

You should make it clear, to anyone that questions the designation (e.g., clients and members of the public), that it applies to your home association, thereby, making it clear that you are accountable to your Association’s professional legislation and codes of conduct and ethics.

What would happen if I continue to use my out-of-province R. P. F. title in another jurisdiction in which a professional forester association exists?

If this happens, you will most likely be acting in direct contravention of the legislation in force in that province. Upon being informed of such an infraction, an association could take immediate action to ensure that the individual cease “improper” use of title by way of a “cease and desist” letter or some other such demand.  In most jurisdictions, the next step would be to take the matter to court.

The association could also bring the matter to the attention of the R.P.F.’s home association which may also take whatever actions it deems necessary to ensure that its member complies with a request to cease improper use of title. In most instances, the home association’s codes of ethics or conduct (usually under the general topic of “Responsibilities to the Profession”) come into play. There may well be significant fines associated with improper use of title.

I am required to be very fluid in my job and must work in more than one province in any calendar year as a consultant/forester. Can I maintain membership in more than one professional foresters association?

The answer is yes and, in fact, it may be required. Often, consultants working in two or more jurisdictions maintain active R.P.F. status in both provincial organizations.  This “cost of business” is common to most, if not all, regulated professions in Canada.

Some associations have established a “temporary” or “special” permit, or membership category, as a means of further addressing this issue to accommodate non-resident R.P.F.s. Those R.P.F.s possessing such authorization would be bound by, and are accountable under the local provincial professional legislation.

If I transfer as a member in good standing, under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), to another jurisdiction, and join that association, may I continue to use the R.P.F. title in the new jurisdiction while waiting to write their jurisprudence exam?

Yes, as soon as your transfer is approved and you are registered, you will be permitted to continue to use the title as the AIT provides for mutual recognition of trades and professions which have similar entrance requirements. However, you must write, and pass, the local knowledge exam of the new jurisdiction at the first available opportunity or within a specified period in order to retain this privilege.

*Wherever R.P.F., and / or the word association, appears in the above document it is to be understood that the French, ing.f, and / or the word ordre, should be substituted, where appropriate and required.

** Wherever association or organization is used, it should be interpreted to mean the professional body responsible for the use of, or granting of, the R.P.F. title in applicable province.


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