The Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia has been in existence since 1966. Our purpose is to serve the interests of the guide outfitting industry.
Join us! There are various forms of membership, depending on who you are and how you’d like to get involved in our mission.
WHY BE A MEMBER OF THE GUIDE OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION OF BC?
Who is the GOABC?
Guide outfitters are the founders of British Columbia’s tourism industry and are an important part of the outdoor heritage in our province. Tahltan First Nations hunters in Telegraph Creek initiated guiding services in the late 1800s to meet the demand for quality hunting excursions. We are proud to say, the original family, now in its third generation, remains heavily involved in the industry to this day.
In 1961, the provincial government had the foresight to establish guiding territories, currently 245 areas. Five years later, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) was established in 1966 to represent the guide outfitting community. Our tag line, Wildlife First, indicates our dedication to advocating for science-based wildlife management.
The association is a not-for-profit society, representing approximately 65% of the guide outfitting businesses in BC. These small and medium sized enterprises located throughout rural and often remote areas of the province provide 2,500 jobs and generate approximately $191 million in revenue to the economy each year.
Why should I be a member of the GOABC?
We are your industry association, addressing the issues you face and working for the betterment of the guide outfitting industry. It is our goal to create increased certainty for guide outfitters and their families.
How do I ensure the GOABC is focused on the right issues?
The GOABC is led by a 17-member board of directors, eight of whom are elected at the annual general meeting; the other nine positions are elected by their local region. Board meetings typically take place monthly; the five-member executive meets weekly.
There are many important files that we work on simultaneously, with input from our various task forces and advisory groups – see the GOABC Committee Structure chart on page 8. Many members chose to participate in these committees, sharing their valuable insights and wisdom, to produce a recommendation. The board then diligently reviews and debates these topics to develop our positions and actions. Members are free to bring forward issues via their local president or the GOABC president at any time.
There are three full-time staff members who execute on the direction of the board and serve the membership from the office in Surrey, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
What circle of influence does the GOABC have provincially, nationally, and internationally?
Our executive director and appointees actively participate on a range of committees, coalitions, and task forces at the provincial, national, and international level. We invest a great deal of time and resources to foster the relationships that provide opportunities to engage in like-minded discussions for the benefit of wildlife in BC. These efforts have given the GOABC influence at various levels of government and policymaking, in the areas of resource management and tourism, as well as on the international conservation stage.
|• Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC)||• Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF)|
|• Adventure Tourism Coalition (ATC)||• E-Licensing|
|• Together for Wildlife||• Water Sustainability|
|• Forest and Range Practices Act||• Provincial Park Use|
|• Forest Stewardship Plans||• Adventure Tourism Policy|
|• Land Use Planning||• Crown Fees|
|• Quota Negotiation||• Range and Tenure Issue|
|• Destination BC Marketing||• Management Plans|
|• Provincial Angling Advisory Team (PAAT)||• Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team|
|Canadian Federation of Outfitters Association||(CFOA)|
|– Border Crossing||– Species at Risk Act|
|– Transport Canada (boats and airplanes)||– Firearms|
|• Dallas Safari Club (DSC)||• Wild Sheep Foundation|
|• Safari Club International (SCI)||• Grand Slam Club/Ovis (GSCO)|
|• Conservation Committee for SCI Foundation||• Guides and Outfitters Committee for SCI|
How has the GOABC responded to COVID-19?
Ever since March 2020, COVID-19 has been a key file for the GOABC. We increased the frequency of our email communication to members, keeping them updated with the various programs and support as circumstances changed. We assisted members gain access to government programs and began our Townhall series, providing an interactive way for members to connect, share ideas, and stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape.
Through our various provincial and federal relationships, we have engaged all levels of government, lobbying for a safe and phased reopening of the Canada-US border. In June we were one of the first sectors to respond to the Tourism Minister’s request for an industry best practices document and have made it available to all members and partners via our website. We have received praise from government and WorkSafeBC on its comprehensiveness and urge all members to use it to guide the development of plans for their operations (in concert with the templates provided by WorkSafeBC.)
In September 2020 we submitted our Range Stewardship Program (RSP) the government of BC as part of the Stronger BC COVID-19 recovery strategy. The RSP undertakes to create or retain 250 jobs and protect 125 small businesses in rural and indigenous communities. It is a 12-week program that deploys personnel into the field to find and remove refuse, monitor wildlife and habitat, maintain trails and cabins, and develop and implement COVID -19 operating protocols. The program has a budget of $5.6 million from the $1.6 billion Stronger BC plan. It is intended to sustain the industry during this challenging time.
What is the GOABC doing to help non-hunters understand the value of wildlife and the role hunting plays in wildlife management?
In August of 2019, we launched the Who Cares? public relations campaign. The initiative is designed to slowly socialize a different perspective about hunting and the vital role it plays in wildlife management.
This outward-facing public relations strategy is aimed at urbanites who do not hunt (also known as “the 70% in the middle”). Each one-minute long video story is crafted around one or more of the three Cs – Conservation, Consumption and Community. It is our intention to disrupt stereotypical perceptions to share why we hunt and demonstrate how our values of freedom and food security align with theirs.
Does the GOABC want to build relationships with resident hunters?
Absolutely! We are always working to build and improve relationships as we believe there is far more that unites us than separates us. It’s important to all be pulling in the same direction. We are actively building relationships with the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BCHA), BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF), SCI West Coast and SCI Interior BC, and the Wild Sheep Society of BC (WSSBC).
What are "Certainty Needs"?
We are constantly working to reduce “red tape” and improve business certainty within the guide outfitting industry. We are in ongoing conversations with government regarding specific action items that will give business owners in our sector more confidence that their needs are being taken into consideration when government makes decisions.
The top three needs we are currently working to acquire are:
• Compensation legislation – expropriation of tenure/quota (similar to the Mining Act).
• Ability to purchase Crown land for base camps.
• Allocation splits on certificate.
Some of the key things we’ve already accomplished are:
• Multiple licensing improvements:
– Removed the resident requirement for assistant guides.
– Changed the assistant guide age from 19 to 18.
– Eliminated assistant guide licenses, replacing it with the Hunting Guide Certification.
• Removal of automatic penalty for harvest that exceeds quota.
• The GOABC a vendor for non-resident hunting and species licences.
• Increased terms for licence of occupation to 45 years and terms for leases to 60 years.
• Option for 1-year or 5-year guide outfitter licences.
• BC corporations permitted to own guide territory certificates
• Increased term of guide territory certificates from 10 years to 25 years.
• Permission for guiding non-hunting activities within the outfitter’s guide territory.
Plus, many more! Request a copy of the Certainty Needs document for the complete list.
What has the GOABC done to control excess logging?
The association has made submissions on many Forest Stewardship Plans, commented on the Professional Reliance Review, made presentations to the Provincial Forestry Forum and the Standing Committee on Finance. We continue to advocate for putting a value on wildlife so that they are considered in resource-extraction decisions. We also advocate for the Forest and Range Practices Act to actively include the “recreation” resource value in land use planning decisions.
What are the most indispensable benefits of membership?
Security Bond Coverage: Membership provides automatic coverage under the security bond required for any improvements on Crown land. Outfitters enter into various leases, licences, and permits with the Province of BC to operate on Crown land and are therefore required to post security as specified by government. All GOABC members are covered by a blanket security bond that is held in trust by the association and the Province of British Columbia.
Liability Insurance: Our liability insurance program is custom designed for the outfitting industry by HUB International Insurance Brokers, Canada’s largest insurance broker and leading insurance provider in North America. Similar to the “Costco” model, we are able to take advantage of bulk buying discounts for our members. HUB has combined GOABC members’ exceptional focus on client safety (which is evidenced by members’ low-claims history) to provide GOABC members an exceptionally well-priced, robust insurance package.
There are many options available insurance-wise with other associations and organizations that may offer similar-looking coverage at attractive premiums. However, experience has demonstrated that, year over year, the GOABC Member’s insurance package is the most tailor-made, comprehensive insurance coverage available for the outfitting sector at the best price. With three different premium levels available depending on the scope of your operation, the GOABC Member’s insurance program is your best insurance option available. This is truly a “value-added” advantage to members as this program and pricing is ONLY accessible to GOABC members.
• The GOABC website (www.goabc.org) is a high-ranking website that provides a portal to our members’ websites. Potential clients looking to book a hunt or find an outfitter have a variety of ways to refine their search, using location, species, keywords, activities, etc.
• The GOABC Members website (for members only) provides access to a variety of members-only documents and resources, including a method to pay fees online. It also has a Job Postings page where members can connect with job seekers.
• Mountain Hunter™ magazine is the association’s flagship publication, distributed to hunters world-wide via direct mail and retailers across Canada and the USA. This full-colour magazine is produced three times per year and is filled with stories for hunters by hunters from around the world who have fulfilled their dream of hunting with a guide outfitter in British Columbia, Yukon, and Northwest Territories. Outfitters must be an Active Member of the GOABC for stories and photos of hunts with them to be eligible for inclusion. Clients who hunt with a member of GOABC and pay the Wildlife Conservation fee receive a complimentary one-year subscription to Mountain Hunter™ (if their outfitter submits their name and mailing address.)
Leveraging word of mouth advertising, the publication is a powerful tool to communicate with prospective and returning clients. Feature stories and Highlight of the Hunt (previously Guides Gallery) photos and stories are published at no charge to members; advertisements can be purchased at competitive rates in varying sizes.
Consistent Communication: With countless things happening in the life of an outfitter it can be challenging to stay on top of everything that is taking shape provincially, federally, and internationally. GOABC helps our members by keeping abreast of industry news and then distilling it down to a single “need-to-know” newsletter per month. When additional or urgent matters arise that warrant your attention, we reach out with a special eblast.
Regional in-person meetings take place throughout each local branch and we bring everyone together for an annual general meeting, either in Kelowna or Victoria. When circumstances prevent us from meeting physically, we meet virtually by means of Townhall and/or Zoom meetings.
General Support: The GOABC team is well-versed in the various challenges faced by outfitters and is happy to help whenever you run into a roadblock. Many resources are available to help navigate government processes and red tape. You are probably not the first members to run into the hurdle you face and over the years we have developed a multitude of resources to make your life easier. We provide training for the new online WILD system, many templates for things such as hunter contracts and waivers, and guidelines for things such as COVID-19 Industry Best Practices.
What additional internal programs do you offer?
Assistant Guide Certification: The GOABC administers the Assistant Guide exam and issues certification on behalf of the government of BC. The program began in 2015 and has certified more than 2,300 guides.
The exam and accompanying study guide can be accessed via the GOABC website at www.goabc.org/assistant-guide-certification. The exam fee is $250 + GST; the threshold to pass is 75%. Upon successful completion of the exam, guides receive a wallet card with their photo ID, a hunting guide hat, and a pin, and are eligible to seek employment with a licensed guide outfitter. Cards are valid for five years. Renewal and replacement cards are available online for a fee of $50 + GST.
Book your Hunt: The GOABC has formed an exclusive agreement with Book Your Hunt.com, enabling members to post their hunts on this platform, providing you another means to reach a broad base of perspective clients with your current offerings.
Destination BC Co-op Marketing Grant: This is a competitive, application-based program that provides co-operative, consumer-focused marketing and promotion support. The GOABC has qualified for the grant annually since 2012. The grant funding is used to promote Mountain Hunter™ magazine as the primary vehicle to captivate interest and create emotional urgency to visit BC; generate leads for BC outfitters; and, amplify traveler advocacy about BC.
Grant funding is also used to support Active Members from British Columbia attending eligible consumer shows held within North America. These shows meet the DBC criteria* because they provide the ideal opportunity for outfitters to meet buyers face-to-face, build buyer confidence and influential relationships, and close deals. (*Unfortunately, due to the source of the funding, this grant is only available to BC outfitters.)
DNA: One challenge that many governments face is the scarcity of funding to conduct the science needed to manage wildlife effectively. The DNA collection program began in 2011 to collect DNA samples from harvested animals. The program utilizes the time that guides and outfitters spend in the field to gather data to help scientists better understand wildlife populations in BC. Collection kits are available to members free of charge.
First Nations Guide Mentorship Program: Starting in 2019, government has entrusted the GOABC with $200,000 to fund projects that establish positive ongoing relationships between outfitters and individual First Nations, improve wildlife management, cooperation regarding land use, and assist with reconciliation.
Through mentorship and training, the project aims to foster cooperation, opportunity, and capacity on the land where guide certificate areas overlap with First Nation traditional territories.
The scope of the initiatives can include acquiring business knowledge (e.g. marketing and business valuation); re-claiming lost cultural knowledge and traditional practices (e.g. hunting, traversing); facilitating knowledge-exchange for at-risk Indigenous youth to teach cultural knowledge and traditional practices; and facilitating reconciliation through Indigenous history, ways of knowing, and healing. Intake occurs once per year. All Active Members with a project idea are encouraged to apply.
Global Rescue: This partnership provides medical, security and evacuation services and can help de-risk the scheduling of new hunts. Their “cancel for any reason” travel insurance means your clients can book with confidence knowing they can recoup 75% of non-refundable payments. GOABC members have access to a support team that can answer any questions and assist with adding travel insurance or a Global Rescue membership to future bookings/hunts.
Species Licence Administration: This NEW program enables Active Members to obtain “consignment tags” through GOABC. These species tags can then be activated as required by calling the GOABC office. There is a 48-hour wait time between activation and validation. This wait period must be observed prior to the commencement of hunting – but the program saves the outfitter in a great deal of back and forth into town, visits to FrontCounter, and wait time. Of special note – the two-day wait is not added to the 48-hour delay.
This class of voting membership is intended for those who hold a current guide outfitters licence/certificate and/or angling guide licence and are actively engaged in the business of guide outfitting. Dues and other fees are due annually and we ask that you notify GOABC immediately if you cease operations for any reason.
Annual dues are $320 (plus GST) per year and are not pro-rated during the year. Local dues of $50 (where applicable) are also payable at the same time.
Benefits of Active Membership with GOABC include:
- Security bond coverage
- Liability insurance
- Proud Member plaque
- Proud Member pin
- Subscription to Mountain Hunter™ magazine
- Monthly newsletter
- Members’ updates
- 20% discount on GOABC merchandise
- Outfitter program discounts
Life Membership - $1,000 One-time Fee
Designed for those who wish to make a lifelong commitment to the mission and vision of GOABC.
- Life Member certificate
- Life Member pin
- 20% discount on event registration
- Subscription to Mountain Hunter™ magazine
Pillar Life Membership - $1,500 One-time Fee
Introducing a new level of dedication to conservation, stewardship, and sustainable use of wildlife in British Columbia. The GOABC’s NEW Pillar Life Membership level surpasses the commitment of Life Membership, taking you to a new peak of support.
All Life Members are eligible to upgrade to this elite class of support and in recognition will receive:
– SITKA vest with Pillar Life Member crest
– Choice of silver belt buckle or pendant with Pillar Life Member crest
– Additional exclusive Pillar Life Member perks at all GOABC events