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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary

ONTARIO PROFESSIONAL FORESTERS ASSOCIATION (OPFA)

Registration Practices Assessment Report — Revised Summary
ONTARIO PROFESSIONAL FORESTERS ASSOCIATION (OPFA)

Introduction

In March 2012, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Ontario Professional Foresters Association   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The Ontario Professional Foresters Association is subject to Ontario's fair access law, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 (FARPA). The law spells out the association's obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.

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Commendable Practices

The Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The OPFA's registration processes can be started online anywhere in the world, and Canadian and internationally trained applicants can download application forms.
  • The OPFA provides online access to the documents, Guidelines for Full (R.P.F.) Membership and Guidelines for Associate Membership. These documents outline the OPFA's registration requirements, criteria and processes.
  • The website includes links to World Education Services (WES) and Comparative Education Services (CES), which assess the equivalency of an applicant's academic qualifications to the OPFA's education requirements.

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Recommendations

The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

Status
  • Make the following changes to the OPFA website:
 
  • State the requirements that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives. [Required]
Checked
October 2013
  • Add information about all requirements that are subject to exemptions. [Good]
Checked
October 2013
  • Place information about "good character" requirements in the Join OPFA section. Also place this information in the documents, Guidelines for Full (R.P.F.) Membership and Guidelines for Associate Membership. [Good]
Checked
October 2013
  • Add information about assessment timelines for all applicants. [Required]
Checked
October 2013
  • Provide a link to the Handbook for Applicants, which is on the website of the Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations. This handbook contains information about the appeals process. [Required]
Checked
October 2013
  • Describe how applicants can get information about the accommodation of special needs. [Required]
Checked
October 2013
  • Add information related to the OPFA's document-retention policy. [Good]
Checked
November 2013
  • Place information about how long the registration process usually takes in the Join OPFA section, in a chart or list that outlines the timing for each step in the process. [Required; Good]
Checked
November 2013

Access to Records

 
  • On the OPFA website, provide policy information related to all aspects of applicants' access to their records. [Good]
Checked
October 2013

Impartiality

 
  • Develop a conflict-of-interest policy for committee members and staff. [Good]
Checked
June 2012

Fairness

 
  • On the OPFA website, clearly explain the rationale for the Ontario work-experience requirement. [Good]
 
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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