CFBC History 1960 - 2002
Prepared by Rudi Kind, RPF & G. Wayne Coombs, RPF
Table of Contents
Part 1 - The Early Years
During the fall of 1967, a group of consulting foresters within the Association of B.C.Professional Foresters (ABCPF) revived an old idea from 1960 to organize forestry consultants in B.C.They recognized the need for greater recognition of forestry consultants, as well as the need to:
A founding committee was formed with Robin L Caesar as Chairman and W. Borre van Doorninck as Secretary/Treasurer. With the help of various sub-committees, a report was prepared outlining the proposed objectives for the new organization and its membership qualifications, as well as a draft constitution and by-laws. At an inaugural meeting on November 29, 1968, the "Consulting Foresters Group of the ABCPF" was formally constituted with 35 charter members and a five-member executive.
The mandate of the new executive was to:
Very early on, the group started to deal with aspects of public relations, namely the search for a logo and a membership plaque. The consulting group was also instrumental in having the ABCPF adopt the initials "RPF" as the official title for its members, rather than the initials "B.C.RF".
At the 1969 Annual General Meeting of the ABCPF, the group adopted the name "Consulting Foresters of British Columbia" with the acronym "CFBC".
To promote the work of CFBC, the Executive met with the Minister of Forests for the first time in June 1969. The discussions centered on the lack of good communication with senior ministry staff regarding policy changes within the Ministry, and the lack of work opportunities for consulting foresters with the B.C.Forest Service - a direct contrast to government agencies of other provinces, foreign governments, and international lending agencies who did not hesitate to engage B.C.forestry consultants on a frequent basis.
To raise the profile of consultants, several members were charged with writing articles for trade magazines stressing the advantages of using consultants and outlining the capabilities of forestry consultants. In 1973, a survey of the CFBC membership found that forestry consulting carried out by CFBC members had a gross billing of $6. 5 million. The specific breakdown of the work carried out was 25% overseas, 50% B.C.forest industry, and 25% other work. This survey showed that there was practically no work conducted for the B.C.Forest Service.
Up to 1974, CFBC membership was limited to owners of consulting forest companies and to senior foresters of these companies. In 1974, it was the decision of the CFBC Executive to change the structure of the CFBC from individual members to corporate members, with proportional representation based on the number of registered professional foresters on staff in each member company.
During 1983, the ABCPF decided that separate groups within its membership would no longer be recognized. This decision pressured the CFBC Executive to consider incorporating the Society of Consulting Foresters of British Columbia as a separate entity under the Society Act of B.C..
Throughout the years, the problem of improving relations with the B.C.Forest Service was a major concern, particularly as the Ministry was regularly discussing impending policy changes with the Council of Forest Industries (COFI), but not with forestry consultants, who were independent of government and industry and thus were in a position to give independent advice.
Typical of the Forest Service's misunderstanding of consultants was the Forest Service's refusal up to 1979 to allow the full costs of consultants for stumpage offset work. They justified this decision by stating that it would amount to a double allowance of overhead charges.
To promote work for its members with the B.C.Government, CFBC produced a number of briefs to the Forest Service with the following titles:
Efforts to increase contracting with the Ministry were never-ending. In 1984, a brief on how to select consultants was co-ordinated with the efforts of the Consulting Engineers. This brief proposed a two-envelope system - one envelope addressing the bid work plan and the other addressing the bid price - and was presented to the Ministry of Forests by CFBC and the Consulting Engineers. However, the Ministry was not prepared to have price as a separate criterion for selection; they felt that the bid price should be considered while judging the bid proposals. To further explore the topics of contracting out and consultant selection, a panel of senior executives of government and industry presented their ideas at the annual meeting of the consulting foresters during the ABCPF Annual General Meeting in 1986.Table of Contents
Part 2 - A New Beginning
Encouraged over the years by some senior members of CFBC to become more focussed, the CFBC Executive in 1987 developed the rudiments of a Business Plan to the year 1990.
This Business Plan included:
The purpose of developing a Business Plan, with specific goals and objectives, was to seek greater autonomy from the ABCPF.
After a long consultation process with the membership during 1990, it became clear that a majority of members were in favour of organizing and operating as a registered society of Consulting Foresters, and they charged the new Executive to act accordingly. Based on the advice and experience of the Consulting Engineers of B.C., the CFBC Executive then developed a draft of a constitution and by-laws for presentation at their general meeting during the ABCPF Annual General Meeting in 1991. During this general meeting, the Executive received the mandate to proceed with forming the proposed new society and making application to the Registrar of Companies. After minor amendments to the proposed by-laws, the CFBC submission to the Registrar of Companies was accepted and a certificate of registration for the Society of Consulting Foresters of British Columbia was obtained in May 1991.
On May 1, 1991, the previously elected Executive became the Board of Directors of the new Society. Their main task was now to organize the new Society, to get it off the ground, and to learn to live in the new environment of an association of companies, and not of individuals. It was decided that steps would be required to develop a higher profile and an awareness of the Society and its members. To achieve this, it was agreed that CFBC required a new directory listing member companies rather than individuals and identifying the range of services offered by each member company. To increase awareness of the CFBC to potential clients and to the public, as well as to prospective new members, a new Society brochure was developed.
To gain more information about the membership, a survey of member companies was conducted to fully inventory their size of business and type of clients. From this survey, it became clear that the amount of work from the Ministry of Forests had increased over all other work being carried out by the membership. To further raise the profile of the CFBC membership, various media outlets were contacted with details of the survey results and were given a list of senior CFBC consultants who could act as a media response team for potential enquiries.
In 1992, CFBC activities concentrated on public relations efforts promoting forestry consultants. In particular, the Society lobbied the Ministry of Forests to contract out more work rather than increasing their own staff. In addition, discussions were held with the Ministry to improvement the contract language and wording of Requests for Proposals (RFP). CFBC also requested that the Ministry allow more openness in the system of selection of contractors and in the rating of submissions, as well as a reduced requirement for security deposits by CFBC members. Subsequent to these requests, the Ministry developed a policy and procedures manual on contract administration and, to a great extent, information within this manual was based on comments and feedback received from CFBC. This manual has been amended over time and is being used by Ministry contract administrators today. Nevertheless, there are still improvements to be made in the system.
The CFBC Board of Directors also recognized the need to attract more members in order for CFBC to fully represent forestry consultants in B.C. To this end, a new information package on CFBC was prepared for distribution to prospective members. In addition, a CFBC display board was developed for use at various conventions, meetings, and conferences where potential new members and clients might attend.
Shortly after the incorporation of the Society, the question of how to obtain professional liability insurance for consulting foresters was discussed. Because of the concern that there may be a real need for professional liability, CFBC, together with the ABCPF, approached the membership of the Association to determine the perceived need. Considering the poor response to this, the ABCPF made the decision not to pursue this further. The CFBC, however, considered it important enough to pursue, and established a committee to solicit potential insurance companies as to conditions and potential fees for such insurance. The proposal by Morris and Mackenzie Insurance was the selected choice, as this company offered a 10% discount on fees for members of the CFBC. By 1995, a total of 73 policies were written, with 33 being for consultants and 40 for industry or government employees.Table of Contents
Part 3 - Development of CFBC By-laws
The CFBC by-laws provided for a six-member executive with a Chairman, Vice-chairman, and three directors to be elected for a one-year term at each annual meeting. The election of a Past Chairman was automatic. The Executive was empowered to appoint a Secretary/Treasurer that was not a member of the Society. There was also a provision for remuneration for the Secretary/Treasurer, if approved by the membership. The entrance fees and annual dues were set at $20.00 for each member. These fees, however, were not stipulated in the by-laws. In 1971, the by-laws were amended to allow the election of the Executive by letter ballot prior to the annual meeting.
The Society of Consulting Foresters as originally conceived was meant to be an association of owners of consulting practices and their most senior foresters. Thus, a senior forestry consultant who was responsible for all forestry work, but whose company was not owned by a registered professional forester in good standing with the ABCPF, could not join. In 1971, however, the restriction of membership to owners or senior foresters of companies owned by members was dropped.
In 1973, discussions were held to allow both firms and individuals to become members of the Society of Consulting Foresters. Voting privileges would be proportional to the number of registered professional foresters in the firm. However, this change was not approved by the ABCPF, as it was incompatible with the Association's by-laws.
After much discussion and reworking, the CFBC membership was redefined in 1977 as that of registered professional foresters representing the firm in which they were employed. The number of members entitled to represent a member company was related to the total number of registered professional foresters employed by that firm. The terms of the Executive and how they were elected did not change. However, the entrance fee and annual dues were now set in the by-laws at $50.00. Also, for the first time, the by-laws were now printed in book form and distributed to all members.
At the annual meeting in 1990, the by-laws were changed to make provisions for a vote on changes to the by-laws by letter ballot rather then only at a special general meeting. In addition, the number of Directors was increased to eight with a two-year term. As well, the value of the entrance fee and annual dues were no longer set in the by-laws, but at the annual meeting by the membership.
During the AGM in 1991, it was noted that the ballot from November 1990, regarding a proposed constitution and by-law changes for an independent society was approved, but not acted on. The new Executive was then charged with implementing the desires of the membership to proceed in the development of a society. The new by-laws provided for both corporate and single proprietorship businesses to be voting members. The number of directors and terms, however, would remain the same. The by-law changes also specified that membership dues were to be based on the size of the member company, prorated by the average number of staff on the payroll.
The new Constitution and by-laws were submitted to the Registrar of Companies and subsequently approved on May 1, 1991. The Executive elected at the 1991 annual meeting became the new Board of Directors (Board) under the new Constitution. With this change, the position of Chairman became President and the positions of the Vice-Chairman and Past-Chairman became Vice-president and Past President, respectively.
At the annual meeting in 1994, the by-laws were amended to have only one vote per member, with the vote no longer weighted by the number of registered professional foresters on staff of the member company. Also, to clarify membership, the term "voting member" was changed to "voting delegate".Table of Contents
Part 4 - Growing Up: 1995-1999
By 1995, it became clear that in order for CFBC to grow and be recognized among foresters and users of forestry services, CFBC would need to be more structured, with terms of reference for its directors and an overall plan of operations. To provide focus to the membership and potential clients, a new mission statement was developed. The original mission statement, "to promote the development of a viable forestry consulting industry by fostering quality work completed in a professional and ethical manner", was no longer suitable. To expedite the formal development of a planning process, and to direct the efforts of CFBC and the Board, Bruce Devitt was hired to focus the efforts of the Directors. This process first started with the development of a new and more precise mission statement: "To increase the value of CFBC membership to the forest consulting business."
As well, a Strategic Plan was also prepared, with the aim to:
This new mission statement and strategic plan led the way in the development of CFBC's first Five Year Strategic Plan in 1995 which was presented to, and approved by, the membership during the 1996 Annual General Meeting. This Plan set the yearly objectives for each of the Directors of the Board of Directors. Since this initial Plan was developed, yearly revisions and updates have been made and brought before the membership for consideration and approval. These Plans continue to play an important role in focussing and directing the Board of Directors on issues and activities which have or can have an effect on the membership.
During June 1995, a more detailed and comprehensive newsletter was prepared quarterly and distributed to improve communication with the membership about Board activities and initiatives. The President and various Directors prepared articles on specific issues. The newsletter continues to be a valuable tool to inform members.
The Constitution was amended in 1995 to increase the number of Directors from eight to nine members. At the same time, the period that a Director would serve on the Board was increased from two years to three years with an annual replacement of three directors. These moves were made to allow better continuity and stability within the Board.
To move towards separate autonomy and independence, the CFBC Annual Meeting was moved in 1995 from a very casual event during the ABCPF Annual General Meeting to a fully separate affair held on the Saturday immediately following the ABCPF Annual General Meeting. This move allowed the CFBC AGM to be a full-day affair addressing items and issues dealing solely with the affairs of CFBC. In particular, it allowed the presentation of Directors' Reports, financial report and review of the updated Five-Year Strategic Plan. The format allowed for concerns and input of the membership to be heard on all the issues that affected, or could affect, CFBC and/or consulting foresters.
The year of 1997 was a very important year for increasing the profile of the Society as CFBC took the big step into the electronics world with the development of its website: www.cfbc.bc.ca This website, set up to replace the hard-copy membership directory, provided specific information on the CFBC as well as on each of the CFBC members. The implementation of this website has greatly increased the profile of the CFBC and its membership to potential new members and future clients. This website continues to be a popular site providing an excellent link among the CFBC members, Board, potential clients, and the general public. The format of this website underwent an update during 2002.
Starting in 1997, a concentrated effort was made by the Membership Director to increase membership in the CFBC so that CFBC would have a greater voice in representing forestry consultants across B.C. when dealing with governments and the industry on issues that would affect how its members carried out their business. Coinciding with this effort to expand CFBC membership was a by-law change passed during the 1997 Annual General Meeting in Victoria that allowed an Associate Membership Category under the Membership Section of the Constitution. This way, retired CFBC member firms and retired CFBC members could continue to be part of the membership. This category also allowed consulting firms not managed or owned by a registered professional forester to be part of the CFBC organization. This move of opening up the membership to other forestry consulting businesses truly allowed the Society to be the single strong voice representing the forestry consulting industry in B.C.
In recent years, the CFBC has made a concerted effort to be more responsive to the needs of its membership by addressing issues that would directly affect them, including:
Part 5 - Current Period: 1999-2002
As a result of past initiatives, the CFBC has grown to approximately 90 members. During the current period (1999 to 2002), the Board of Directors realized that changes to the organization would have to occur in order for the CFBC to be responsive to the times and the evolving needs of the membership. This period saw the following changes:
Part 6 - CFBC Past Presidents
The Past Presidents of the Society of the Consulting Foresters of British Columbia are listed below:
First Executive elected November 1968, and served until the February 1970 when the annual election of officers commenced:
In May 1991, CFBC was registered under the Society Act of B.C.