OFO Code of Conduct

The Ontario Field Ornithologists (“OFO”) is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming organization that is free of discrimination and harassment.

This Code of Conduct applies to all members, volunteers, and participants at OFO-sponsored activities and events (e.g. conferences, meetings, field trips), and to all electronic communications such as email and social media.

For OFO’s leadership (e.g. members of the Board or the Ontario Birds Records Committee (OBRC), the co-editors of OFO News and Ontario Birds, etc.) this Code of Conduct applies at all times.

Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion

OFO’s mission is to promote and increase the appreciation, knowledge, and conservation of Ontario’s birds while fostering an equitable, diverse and inclusive organization. For more information, please refer to OFO’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.


All OFO members, volunteers and event participants are expected to:

  • Abide by this OFO Code of Conduct
  • Treat everyone with respect, dignity, and equity,
  • Respect the rules, property, and policies of event venues, and
  • Adhere to federal, provincial, and local laws during activities/events.

All members have a role to play in ensuring that our organization is welcoming, inclusive and accessible to a wide audience. We encourage OFO members to engage with other participants at OFO events and respect the interests, rights, and skill levels of fellow birders.

Unacceptable behaviour includes:

  • Harassment or discrimination in any form (see definitions below),
  • Physical or verbal abuse, and
  • Personal attacks directed toward others

For the purposes of this code of conduct, harassment and discrimination are defined as follows:

  • Harassment is conduct by an individual that the individual knows, or ought reasonably to know, would be unwelcome or harmful to others. Harassment includes any conduct or comment that demeans, belittles, or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. Harassment includes improper conduct towards any individual, even if the improper conduct is not based on discrimination (definition below). Although harassment generally refers to a course of conduct over time, one-time incidents can also be considered harassment.
  • Discrimination means any form of unequal or different treatment that causes harm. Ontario’s Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on differences such as race, ancestry, religion, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.


  • Anyone experiencing or witnessing harassment or discrimination at an OFO event, or through electronic communications such as email and social media, is asked to inform either the President (president@ofo.ca), Vice-President (vp@ofo.ca), and/or Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (diversity@ofo.ca) in person or via email, and by submitting an Incident Report. Please report the incident as soon as possible, provided you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
  • All reported incidents will be considered seriously and responded to promptly. Confidentiality will be maintained and next steps will be discussed with the person reporting the incident.
  • Anyone witnessing a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or any other immediate or serious threat should report the situation to event security or local police, and then notify the OFO PresidentVice President, or Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Enforcement and Compliance

  • The OFO Board of Directors is responsible for upholding and enforcing this code of conduct and may take any appropriate or necessary action to do so; for example:
    • Discuss the incident with an individual whose conduct is the subject of the Incident Report,
    • Ask an individual to cease the harassment or discriminatory conduct,
    • Remove an individual from an event (without refund, where applicable),
    • Prohibit an individual from participating in future OFO activities, events or communications,
    • Revoke an individual’s OFO membership, and
    • Contact law enforcement, if necessary


Sharp-tailed Grouse
Photo: Mark Peck

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Chi Lee

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo: Mark Peck

Semipalmated Sandpiper
Photo: Brandon Holden

Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath