Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificate Program

Program overview

The Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificate (WDTAC), recognized by WorkSafeBC as an acceptable training program under Section 26.11 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, consists of three modules that provide specialized training in proper assessment and safety procedures for wildlife dangerous trees in specific forestry and industry-related operations.

The Wildlife Dangerous Tree Committee (WDTC) of British Columbia, an advisory body that represents all wildlife tree matters in British Columbia, is composed of representatives from the provincial government and WorkSafeBC and are responsible for coordinating and developing Wildlife/Dangerous Tree Assessor’s courses within the province.   

The WDTC has chosen the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Continuing Studies Department, to be the sole agency responsible for issuing Wildlife Dangerous Tree Certificates in the province of British Columbia. The Certifications are achieved by participants having the necessary course prerequisites attending a two-day course module that includes a mix of classroom, field instruction and qualifying exams. 

Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificates are valid for a four-year period. To ensure one’s Certification remains valid, one must renew their certificate no later than the expiry date printed on the card and letter issued by UNBC Continuing Studies. As of January 1, 2022, extensions for all modules will no longer be granted.  One must complete their re-certification prior to their Certificate expiring. 

The modules that make up the Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificate Program include:

Forest Harvesting and Silviculture module (name change to Forest Activities as of June 1, 2022)

The Forest Harvesting and Silviculture Module teaches students to identify wildlife trees and implement the necessary steps to ensure worker safety and habitat protection when operating around wildlife/dangerous trees or other trees of interest where retention may be required (e.g., CMTs, resource trees, monumental trees).

The knowledge and techniques learned in this course are applicable to workplace activities in forestry operations, silviculture, oil and gas, and road construction/deactivation.

For an introduction to the Forest Activities module view this memo:

Parks and Recreation module

The Parks and Recreation Module is developed and designed specifically for parks and recreation sites, and municipal settings, such as urban parks, where exposure to potentially dangerous trees may occur.

Students learn to identify wildlife trees and implement the necessary steps to ensure worker safety, public safety and conserve habitat within the recreational setting.

Wildland Fire Safety module

This course provides students the knowledge and technical procedures for assessing tree hazards and establishing appropriate safe-work practices in situations where there is potential exposure to dangerous trees to workers engaged in active fire suppression activities. It also provides information on assessing wildlife-tree habitat where opportunities exist. 


Module registration

The Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificate modules are intended to provide professionals and technicians working in the areas of forestry, resource management, parks management, wildland fire protection, arboriculture, or a related field with a professional development opportunity. This Certificate Program is not an entry level training opportunity.

Candidates must have the following minimum course prerequisites at the time of registration:

  1. Three or more years of practical field experience in the area of forestry, resource management, parks management, wildland fire protection, arboriculture, geophysical exploration or a related field; and,
  2. Grade 10 equivalency in reading, writing and arithmetic skills (including the ability to calculate percentages); and,
  3. Ability to identify tree species native to BC; and,
  4. Proven forestry measurement skills to determine tree diameter, height, lean, stem cross-section, and skill in distance measuring.

Additionally, candidates taking the Wildland Fire Safety module must also have the following course prerequisites at the time of registration: 

  1. Persons must demonstrate that they have recent fire-line experience, (at least 10 days over the previous three years); OR
  2. Persons have a minimum five days of documented Dangerous Tree assessment experience (harvesting/silviculture, parks) in the previous calendar year.

Note: At the time of registration AND at each course offering, participants are required to self-disclose prerequisites that they meet. This is one’s personal declaration that they meet the course prerequisites for the course module they are taking. A false declaration or misrepresentation is fraudulent. Should one not meet the necessary course prerequisites, they will be denied certification.

Please review the Wildlife / Dangerous Tree Assessor Course Administrative Standards for a description of the standards and procedures for certification as a Wildlife / Dangerous Tree Assessor.

Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor modules are offered throughout the year. However, due to seasonal constraints and instructor capacity to deliver courses, registrants may have to travel outside of their region to access a course to meet their personal employment requirements or prior to their Certificate expiring.  During the firefighting season (June/July/August), all modules will be offered on a limited basis, dependent upon forest closures and instructor availability.

Winter courses will not be offered in the interior of BC from December 1st through March 31st. We encourage you to register for courses early in the year, to ensure you are able to receive your certification prior to the start of the field season.  Courses may get cancelled under the following safety conditions: heavy rainfall or wind/snow storms, restrictive overhead conditions (e.g. heavy snowfall, dense fog, field sites not being accessible because of deep snow in the forest and/or widespread flooding or landslides).


Registration types and pricing

There are two registration types for individuals and companies looking to participate in a WDTAC module:

Public courses

Individuals and companies can sign up for public courses at the link below or complete the attached PDF registration form and submit it to cstudies@unbc.ca

To be notified of new public courses as they become available, subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Custom courses

Companies with 10 or more people to train in one or more modules can email lesley.haines@unbc.ca to request a custom offering and quote. In your request please indicate the following information: the module(s) you want delivered and the location and preferred delivery timeline of the module(s).

Note: for those companies organizing a custom offering, it is your responsibility to ensure participants that are chosen meet the minimum prerequisites prior to sending them to a course module. 

At each custom course offering, participants are required to self-disclose prerequisites that they meet. This is one’s personal declaration that they meet the course prerequisites for the course module they are taking. A false declaration or misrepresentation is fraudulent. Should one not meet the necessary course prerequisites, they will be denied certification.

The following tool can be used to guide one’s selection of participants for custom course modules and to ensure chosen participants are prepared to attend the course module(s):

Public pricing

First-time Student: $475.00
Re-certification: $430.00
Challenge: $245.00 (maximum of two spaces per delivery). Those interested in registering as a Challenge participant must follow the WDTA Exam Challenge Procedure.

Custom pricing

2-day, 1-module delivery: $4,750.00
3-day, 2-module delivery: $7,200.00
4-day, 3-module delivery: $9,650.00

Custom pricing above is based on min. of 10 people all going through all of the days of training; the price increases as people are added up to the maximum of 12.  Should the custom request be coming from a remote location where additional costs will be incurred to deliver the training, the cost may increase accordingly.

Note: For custom offerings, should the group receiving the training require more time to learn the content and practical field skills, an additional day of training can be added for a flat-rate of $900 for the extra day.


Course preparation

The WDTC is committed to providing a working and learning environment in which all students, support staff and instructors are treated with respect and dignity. 

Course participants and instructors have a responsibility to respect the rights of others and to cooperate in creating and maintaining an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. To assist in this endeavour a Code of Conduct has been adopted. 

Participants attending any WDTAC module are asked to come prepared.  This means:

Reviewing the course workbook

These pre-reading study guides can be used to ensure participants are reviewing priority topics prior to attending the course module(s).

Reviewing Level of Disturbance (LOD) handouts

Reviewing field cards

Attending with the required materials and items to bring (if owned)

Required materials

  • Hard hat
  • High visibility vest
  • Six-ring binder field book
  • Outdoor appropriate clothes and footwear
  • Probing tool (knife, bar wrench, screwdriver, etc)

Items to bring (if owned)

  • Increment borer (Parks and FA)
  • Clinometer (Parks and FA)
  • Binoculars (Parks and FA)
  • Diameter tape or carpenter tape (all modules)

Valid original identification must be presented upon sign-in at a Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor's course. Ideally, one piece of primary identification, otherwise, two pieces of secondary identification will be required.

For a list of forestry suppliers, please email cstudies@unbc.ca.

Outside of course delivery, field cards can be obtained from the following three sources:

  1. Government of B.C.
  2. Parks and FA hardcopies: call the Distribution Centre at 1-800-282-7955.
  3. Fire hardcopies: call 250-387-5965 or visit your local Fire Centre to request a set.

Other important certificate information

UNBC Continuing Studies will continue to follow the guidance provided by Northern Health, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training regarding future deliveries of our courses.

We encourage you to monitor the UNBC Coronavirus website for more information. 

Information Sharing on Misrepresentation of Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor, Wildland Fire Safety Certificates and the Process for Validating Wildlife Dangerous Tree Assessor Certificates

UNBC Continuing Studies has recently been informed by the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) of incidents whereby contractors had employees working on the fire line as Dangerous Tree Assessors (DTA) without active certification. It is a requirement by WorkSafeBC that any individual acting in the role of a DTA on the fire line must have an active WDTA Wildland Fire Safety Certification, issued by UNBC.

Starting in 2022, BCWS will be cross-referencing all contractor rosters for DTA certified personnel with UNBC’s Database. Any person that does not have current certification (i.e. failed or never took a course) will not be contracted to work, and their employer will be notified by the BCWS. Because BCWS will be working with contractors to verify Certificate information there is no need to reach out to UNBC Continuing Studies to verify Certificate information. 

Given the BCWS contract roster deadlines (June 1 for faller contracts and July 1 for Type 3 crew), and UNBC’s 2-3 week window to process Certificates/wallet cards, we encourage you to have employees trained a month prior to BCWS contract deadlines in order to have a complete roster of Certified DTA’s. 

If you are not on contract with BCWS and/or need a Parks and Recreation or FA Certificate validated because you are given Certificate information but were not issued the physical wallet card, please follow this process:

  • Contact UNBC Continuing Studies via email at csstudies@unbc.ca with the legal names (first and last), associated Certificate #(s) and expiry date(s) of the Certificate(s) for the purposes of validating Certificate information. 
  • For further information or questions about Certificate validation please contact Lesley Haines at lesley.haines@unbc.ca