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Code of Conduct

PREAMBLE

CAPFT members regard the stewardship of the forest environment as their primary responsibility. This includes managing the land and its associated forest resources to meet the objectives of the owner and/or manager without compromising the needs of present and future generations as well as maintaining the use and value of the forest to society. The challenges faced by members grow as they are confronted with numerous and intensifying conflicts between the needs of the public, their employer/client, other members and themselves. 

The Code of Ethics was developed to serve as a guideline when making decisions. The Code of Conduct helps clarify for the members and society, the meanings and limits of the Code of Ethics. The Code of Conduct cannot cover all circumstances that a member may be faced with; at all times members must exercise reasonable and prudent judgement concerning their own conduct. 

The Standards of Practice within the Code of Conduct refer to professional and personal conduct not technical standards. They are intended to be assessable criteria, in most cases answerable by a simple yes or no or in some cases there may be specific measures that can be applied. The Code of Conduct applies to all members independent of their level or nature of employment, whether in private practice, employed by the private sector or the government. All members of CAPFT are expected to uphold theses Codes; when in doubt about what course of action to take, members are encouraged to contact another member, a member of an advisory committee established for that purpose or legal council. In the event of a complaint against a member, that person should be able to demonstrate that they acted ethically in dealing with the situation. 

To be of any value to the College, Codes of Conduct must be enforceable. The CAPFT Code of Conduct is no exception and discipline hearings will be carried out as stipulated in the CAPFT bylaws and the Disciplinary Procedure Policy.

 DEFINITIONS

College member: a member in good standing of the College of Alberta Professional Forest Technologists  

confidential information: any knowledge, fact and/or news that is intended for or restricted to secret or private use (adapted from Gage Canadian Dictionary) 

conflict of interest: the interference of ones personal or professional duty or interest with another (Webster's Dictionary) 

continuing education: life long learning, in this case, in the field of forestry and associated disciplines as defined by the  College policy on continuing education requirements 

ecological principles: the fundamental truths or laws as the basis of reasoning or action regarding the study of communities on interdependent organisms together with the environment they inhabit and with which they interact (adapted from the Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Environment, CAPF code of conduct)

forest: large area of land covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth; something of or in a forest - forest environment, forested land, forest ecosystems (adapted from Webster's 11 Dictionary and The Gage Canadian Dictionary)

forest management: generally, the practical application of scientific, economic and social principles to the administration and working of a forest estate for specified objectives (Professional Standards of all Forestry Professionals in Canada)

forest resource: any physical or biological component, or cultural value, recognized within a forest (Professional Standards of all Forestry Professionals in Canada) 

practice of forestry: the development, acquisition or application of scientific principles and practices relating the forestry, products of forested land and integrated management of forested land and, without limitation, includes: 

   (i) the appraisal and evaluation of forests and forested land, 

   (ii) the development of integrated forest resource management plans and programs for harvesting and renewal of forest crops and administration of forested land,

   (iii) the classification, conservation, reclamation, improvement or protection of forests, forested land or forest soils for forestry purposes,

   (iv) the preparation of forest resource management plans,

   (v) the development of improvements on forested land for forestry purposes,

   (vi) the conducting of economic or market studies of forestry,

   (vii) the teaching of forestry at a college or university, and 

   (viii) the conducting of research activities pertaining to forestry 

   (sec 1 (h) of the Forestry Profession Act

productive capacity: the maximum amount that can be produced (Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary) 

professional: of or having to do with a profession and which is appropriate to a profession (adapted from Gage Canadian Dictionary) 

scientific information: information that is obtained according to rules laid down in exact science for performing observations and testing the soundness of conclusions. It is systematic, accurate and is assisted by expert knowledge (Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary) 

standard of practice: a quality or measure serving as a basis or example or principle to which others conform or should conform or by which the accuracy or quality of others is judged (Oxford Encyclopedic Dictionary) 

stewardship: the husbandry of resources of the forest for the benefit of others (Professional Standards of all Forestry Professionals in Canada) 

 

DUTIES AS A COLLEGE MEMBER

Ethic 1a): Maintaining the Integrity of the Forest Resource

 College members shall, in all aspects of their work, regard as their primary responsibility the maintenance of the integrity of the forest resource and perpetuate its productive capacity and values to society; 

Commentary:

The responsibilities of College Members are varied and complicated. Forest management decisions are to be based on sound ecological principles that apply to each forest use and also recognize society's diverse objectives or needs. 

Standards of Practice:

1. College members shall consider the forest resources for their inherent value, as well as the value they provide for economic, recreational, aesthetic, and cultural needs. 

2. College members shall choose management decisions that are in the best interest of the public, recognizing the economic value and need for forest resources. 

3. College members shall use sound ecological principles to drive and evaluate all management decisions. 

4. College members shall make management decisions based on valid, current information with consideration for potential uses and values of the resources. 

5.  College members shall examine the potential impacts that will result from a management decision and will mitigate any impacts that will imperil any resource. 

Ethic 1b): Integrity and Courtesy

College Members shall perform their work in a spirit of integrity and courtesy, and conduct themselves towards others and other College members with honesty, fairness, and good faith; 

Commentary:

 College members have an obligation to themselves, the College, the employer and the public to conduct business affairs in a respectful and dignified manner. Failure to do so may discredit their reputation as well as other College members, and their employers. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall not lie to or knowingly mislead or misrepresent a client, an employer or other persons. 

2.  College members shall refrain from spreading malicious gossip about others especially if the intent is to damage the reputation of a member, or to gain advantage over that member. 

3.  College members shall not maliciously injure or discredit the work or the reputation of others. 

4.  College members shall not use bribes or favours as a means of securing or holding employment. 

5.  College members shall only assess the professional quality of work of another College member, on behalf of a third party, with the knowledge of that College member. 

6.  College members shall observe professional courtesy and not take advantage of a mistake of another member to gain a client or personal benefit. 

7. Where a difference of opinion exists between members, CAPFT members shall use a professional means to deal with the difference, such as open debate, editorials in professional journals or other publications, or if required professional mediation. 

8.  College members shall not interfere with the dealings of another member unless there is a breach of professional ethic, the Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct or the law. 

9.  College members shall use the appropriate mechanisms established by CAPFT to address concerns regarding the professional conduct of another member, if that conduct is deemed likely to damage the reputation of the profession or the public interest. 

10.  College members shall dissociate themselves from all activities and enterprise that do not meet standards established by legislation or the College. 

Ethic 1c): Competency in the Performance of Work

College members shall undertake only work that they are competent to perform by virtue of their training and experience; 

Commentary:

Due to the variety of work in the field of Forestry it is imperative that members recognize their own experience level and only take on work that they are capable of performing. 

Standards of Practice:

1. College members shall maintain competence in all areas of their practice. 

2. College members shall only claim competency in those areas that they have training or experience. 

3. College members shall not advise or act in those circumstances where they are not competent to do so.

Ethic 1d): Sharing Experience

College members shall share the lessons of their experience with other College members. 

Commentary:

In this age of rapidly changing technology, government policy and legislation, as well as societal changes, it is every members responsibility to assist each other in remaining current. This also includes sharing found techniques and technologies (that are not patented nor confidential) that help members to achieve the common goals of sound Forest Management. Through sharing experiences, the Practice of Forestry can be improved. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall share through verbal, written and or visual means both positive and negative lessons they have experienced to assist other members if faced with a similar experience. 

2.  College members shall strive to improve the practice of forestry through active participation in the College and through constructive criticism of the practice of forestry.

Ethic 1e): Continuing Education

 College members shall make a personal commitment to a process of continuing education to keep current in the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their duties and responsibilities; 

Commentary:

The practice of forestry is constantly changing. A College member should strive to seek out any new scientific research, technical data and experience regarding the forest resource issues in which they are striving to make a management decision. Sources for this information and training may include professional and technical organizations, scientific publications, conferences, formal training, and the participation in public and professional presentations. 

Standards of Practice:

1. College members shall strive to improve their education and knowledge regarding the practice of forestry and shall strive to meet or exceed the continuing education standards specified by the College. 

2. College members shall seek to increase awareness and knowledge of the forest resources and their management. This includes the review of current literature, attending development seminars and the use of other related sources of information. 

3. College members shall strive to be familiar with the function and value of current technology and its applications relative to their fields of specialization. 

4. College members shall strive to enhance their competency by seeking the review and evaluation of their work by more experienced College members. 

5. College members shall prepare work that is consistent with current scientific information. 

Ethic 1f): Professional Responsibility

 College members shall maintain a professional responsibility to the public, their employer, their clients, the College,[c1]  and the practice of forestry. 

Commentary:

Management decisions regarding the forest ecosystem may not satisfy all resource values or meet all resource objectives. The College member can only attempt to maintain the standards of practice outlined in this Code of Conduct. 

Standards of Practice:

1. College members shall be aware of, understand and uphold the Act, regulation, bylaws and ethics governing and pertaining to the profession and the College.  [c2] 

2. College members shall take reasonable action and notify the College of knowledge of a contravention of the Act governing the profession or of the regulation, bylaws, policies or ethics governing the College. 

DUTIES TO THE PUBLIC

Ethic 2a): Regard for Safety, Health and Welfare

 College members shall have proper regard in all their work for the safety, health and welfare of the public; 

Commentary:

Operational forestry involves a diversity of activities, some of which are hazardous. There are instances where the public has access to a work site where the conditions might be detrimental to their safety, health and welfare. This may include hazardous operational situations, emissions to air and water, soil contamination, vehicle and aircraft safety and climatic conditions. 

Forestry activities may have either positive or negative effects to the welfare of the public. College members should be aware of the social, environmental, economic and global issues of forest management that affect public welfare. This includes the regard for the aesthetic value of forest resources, the cultural and economic benefits of the forest and it's products and broader issues such as wildlife habitat, ecological integrity and long term viability. 

Some members of the general public may not be aware of the many natural and man made hazards in the forest environment.  College members have an obligation to identify and advise where possible of these situations. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall comply with all laws and regulations concerning public safety. 

2.  College members shall demonstrate proper safety practices and procedures. 

3. College members shall ensure that all necessary safety precautions and public notifications are maintained. 

4. College members shall take appropriate action, or notify a proper authority so that the authority may take the appropriate actions necessary to avoid a circumstance or prevent a situation from arising, that in the member's opinion may endanger the safety, health and welfare of the public. 

5. College members shall not prepare, propose or approve any plan, or consent to any action that in their opinion may unduly jeopardizes the safety, health and welfare of their fellow employees, their employer or the public. 

Ethic 2b): Contributing to Public Understanding of Forestry

 College members shall promote opportunities to contribute to public understanding of matters related to the practice of forestry; 

Commentary:

 College members receive specialized training and experience in forestry and are qualified to speak on behalf of the practice of forestry. Most of the public considers College members to be credible sources for providing technical information on forestry issues. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall strive to educate the public on forestry practices and issues. 

2.  College members shall strive to be skilled in oral and written public presentation. 

3. College members shall promote the practice of forestry and their profession in a positive manner, identifying achievements as well as areas where, in the member's opinion, improvements can be made. 

Ethic 2c): Preparation/Signing of Documents

College members shall sign only those documents, plans, reports, maps and specifications, prepared personally or produced under their direction, supervision or review;

Commentary:

 College members are accountable for the quality of their work and the quality of the work prepared by others under their supervision.  College members may be subject to a complaint or may face civil litigation for faulty work. These processes serve to protect the public interest with regard to the professional management of the forest resources. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall ensure all work conducted on their behalf meets College standards. 

2.  College members shall assign work only to others that are competent to perform that work, or that are under their direct training and supervision. 

3.  College members shall ensure that the contents of a document they are signing complies with the law and that the recommendations constitute good stewardship of forestland. 

4.  College members shall comply with the policies that may be adopted by the College.

Ethic 2d): Credit for Assistance

 College members shall give consideration and/or recognition for assistance, methods, facts or opinions provided by the public and special interest groups; 

Commentary:

The public is demanding and has a right to have input into the ways their forest resources are being managed. As College members we have an obligation to acknowledge and consider advice arising out of forums such as Public Advisory Committees, open public meetings, special committees or the ideas brought forward by concerned citizens and special interest groups. 

Ethic 2e): Expressing Opinions Concerning the Practice of Forestry

 College members shall be prepared to express opinions on forestry matters only on the basis of knowledge, skill, experience, and honest conviction, and refute untrue, biased or exaggerated statements. 

Commentary:

College members are usually regarded by the public as credible sources of information. The training and experience of College members allows them to separate fact from speculation, accurate information from biases and reality from perception. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall not render advice or opinion unless competent to do so. 

2.  College members providing opinion shall state that it is based on a given set of facts and assumptions and qualified accordingly. 

3.  College members shall take action to refute all known untrue, biased, or exaggerated statements concerning the practice of forestry. 

4.  College members shall not present opinion as established fact. 

DUTIES TO AN EMPLOYER OR CLIENT

Ethic 3a): Proper Practice

 College members shall act for their employer or client in a conscientious, diligent, and efficient manner;

Commentary:

 College members put service above personal gain and quality above quantity. Members are obliged to faithfully carry out their employer's or client's objectives or directives, up to the point when that work may conflict with the law or other professional duties and responsibilities. Members should strive to deliver accurate and thorough work in a timely and efficient manner. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall only provide services from within their realm of experience and expertise. 

2.  College members shall be realistic, honest, and accurate in the preparation of appraisals, estimates, reports and statements. 

3. College members shall strive to deliver all work in a timely, complete and accurate manner, and give fair notice of any anticipated delays or deficiencies in their work. 

4.  College members shall return and respond to all inquiries in a timely manner. 

5.  College members shall immediately upon detection, report any errors or omissions to their employer or client. 

6.  College members shall endeavor to accurately convey any advice or instructions given by themselves. 

7.  College members shall recognize and honour an employer's or client's right to obtain a second opinion if desired. 

8.  College members shall charge fees that are fair and reasonable to the industry standards. 

9.  College members shall give fair notice to the employer or client when work cannot continue for personal, professional or ethical reasons. Withdrawal from a contractual agreement may result in a liability to the contract holder. 

Ethic 3b): Confidentiality

 College members shall provide professional services in the best interests of each employer or client and not disclose confidential information without the consent of the employer or client, or except as required to do so by law; 

Commentary:

 College members must exercise good judgment in the use and disclosure of confidential information gained through the course of employment. This information is the exclusive property of the employer or client and must remain so until released by the appropriate party. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall not disclose confidential or proprietary information received from, or prepared for, a previous or current employer or client without the consent of the employer or client. 

2.  College members shall not accept compensation from more than one party for the same product or service without the consent of all parties involved. 

3.  College members shall not use confidential information for their benefit, or the benefit of a third party without the consent of the owners of that information. 

4.  College members shall inform the appropriate persons if in the circumstance when their knowledge of confidential information indicated that the law or these codes have been violated. 

5.  College members are responsible for the maintenance of confidentiality by all persons employed by, or associated with the member. 

6.  College members may, when required and at their discretion, disclose appropriate confidential information to work associates who require that information to do work for the same employer or client. 

7. College members shall not disclose, or use for their personal gain, any confidential information they may have obtained while working on a board or commission, without the consent of the board or commission or the owner of that information. 

Ethic 3c): Conflict of Interest

 College members shall not undertake any assignment that may create a conflict of interest with their employer or client without the full knowledge of the employer or client; 

Commentary:

 College members must exercise caution when handling information gained through their experiences that may be confidential or not considered public knowledge. This information in not intended to be used for their, or anyone else's personal gain, and must be treated appropriately.  College members should pay close attention to the interests of clients and employers and be aware of any possible conflict of interests between clients, or between themselves and employer or client. In the event of a possible conflict of interest, College members should consult with the parties involved or seek legal council. 

Standards of Practice:

1.  College members shall avoid suspected as well as clear conflicts of interest. 

2.  College members shall immediately inform their respective employer or client if a conflict of interest situation arises and explain the nature of that conflict of interest, unless the information is confidential. 

3.  College members shall not knowingly accept any work that would give them confidential knowledge about a matter for which they can reasonably expect to be later asked to act on, or render a decision on, as a member of a board or regulatory body. Should this situation occur, members shall refrain from voting on such matters and will divulge the potential conflict of interest to the board or regulatory body members. 

Ethic 3d): Advice to an Employer or Client

 College members shall advise their employer or client of the consequences of any contemplated course of action that, in their opinion, is not based on sound forestry practices. 

Commentary:

 College members are hired because of their specialized knowledge regarding the practice of forestry. That knowledge includes an understanding of the potential moral, legal and environmental consequences of forestry related activities that may not be understood by the employer or client.  College members may not be responsible for their employer's or client's final decisions and actions, but they are responsible to fully inform their employer or client of potential consequences. 

Standards of Practice:

1. When College members believe that their employer's or client's actions are detrimental to good stewardship of forested land, they shall promptly notify and use reasonable efforts to ensure that the employer or client comprehends the reasons for the member's concerns and the possible consequences of these actions to the environment, the public or the employer or client. 

2.  College members shall express the results of their work as precisely and accurately as possible, noting any unresolved issues. Where alternatives are provided, the implications of the choices shall be disclosed. 

3.  College members who overrule recommendations by another member, have then taken the responsibility for the actions undertaken.

 

Revised March 11th, 2013