Individuals who have an "active interest" in forensic science are eligible to be members of the CSFS. An individual with an "active interest" is normally interpreted as being someone working in the field or a student whose area of study includes a forensic component.
Types of Membership
There are six types of membership in the Society: Regular, Fellow, Emeritus, Provisional, Associate and Student. For purposes of the by-laws, Regular members include both Fellows and Emeritus members.
Provisional members are new members to the CSFS. All CSFS members, with the exception of Student members, begin as Provisional members. They remain Provisional members for one year after acceptance into the Society. At that time they are eligible for promotion to Regular or Associate members. Please note that the application deadline for consideration at that year's AGM is September 1 of that year. Any applications received after this date will be put forward to the AGM in the next year.
Student members must be registered in a post-secondary educational institution. While they remain students they are eligible for Student membership in the Society.
Associate Membership in the society shall be open to individuals involved in the field of forensic science who do not qualify for regular membership and who have exhibited the qualities of integrity and good morale character.
Membership rights of Provisional, Associate and Students members are limited; although they can participate in committees and attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) they have no voting rights.
Emeritus members are Regular members who have retired from active participation in forensic science but who retain an interest in the field. In order to become an Emeritus member, the candidate must demonstrate that he/she has contributed significantly to forensic science or to the CSFS. Emeritus membership is not automatic on retirement; it must have been earned. Candidates for Emeritus membership may be suggested by a Society member or may themselves request a change in status. Candidates for Emeritus membership are considered by the Membership Committee and Board of Directors. The Board determines if an individual will become an Emeritus member.
Fellows of the Society are Regular members who have fulfilled a number of requirements. Individuals seeking Fellowship must apply and provide documentation that they have fulfilled all requirements. The Membership Committee is responsible for determining that all requirements have been met. This information goes to the Board of Directors in the Membership Committee's report.
Most members of the CSFS are Regular members. They are entitled to serve on committees and vote at all AGMs.
BECOMING A CSFS MEMBER
The starting point to becoming a member is filling out an application form. The application form is sent to the Society office in Ottawa. Once the application is received, the applicant starts enjoying the benefits of Society membership--he or she begins receiving both the Journal and the Forum.
The application should be endorsed by a member of the Society and must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae. A member who endorses an application is vouching that the applicant fulfills the requirements for Society membership. This is not something that should be taken lightly. The application must be accompanied by a statement that the applicant has read, understands and agrees to abide by the CSFS Rules of Professional Conduct. Any applicant who does not agree to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct will not be accepted into the Society. Applicants for Student membership must be sponsored by a Society member or a professor familiar with their studies. They must also provide proof of registration in a recognized post-secondary educational institution. Applicants for Associate membership must also be sponsored by a Society member.
A short time before the Annual General Meeting (usually about two months) all the applications received since the previous AGM are sent by the Society's extremely efficient and helpful Executive Secretary to the Chair of the Membership Committee, who then sends copies of all applications (and all accompanying documentation) to the Committee members. In addition, each Section Chair receives copies of all the applications for his/her particular section and all General Section applications. The Membership Committee and Section Chairs have about a month to screen each application they've received. The Committee Chair also screens the applications.
All applicants, whether sponsored or not, are screened. This may involve calls to sponsors, checking references, and/or verifying information provided with the application.
The Membership Committee and the Section Chairs report back to the Committee Chair, who then collates all the responses and writes a report to the Board of Directors recommending acceptance or rejection of applicants.
A list of applicants is usually published in the Forum preceding the AGM so that all CSFS members can consider the applicants to the Society.
The Membership Committee recommends whether the current provisional members of the Society should become regular or associate members. Any member who wishes to comment on the suitability of a provisional member for promotion to regular or associate member will have the opportunity to comment and to vote at the Annual General Meeting.
Any candidates for Emeritus membership and Fellowship are considered by the Membership Committee. Provisional members being considered for Regular or Associate membership and Regular members being considered for Emeritus membership or Fellowship are included in the Committee's report to the Board.
The Board of Directors of the CSFS meets in conjunction with the AGM. At this time the Chair of the Membership Committee presents the committee's report to the Board.
The Board may accept or reject the committee's report. Generally the Board accepts the report, but may ask for clarification or changes. Once the report is approved, it is presented by the Committee Chair at the AGM for the members of the CSFS to vote to accept or reject applicants and to vote on the promotion of provisional members to regular or associate members. Provisional members who are not recommended for promotion to Regular membership can be considered an Associate member if they meet the criteria of Associate membership, otherwise they cease to be a CSFS member.
Society members are notified at the AGM of promotions to Emeritus member and Fellow. (The decision on promotion to Emeritus member or Fellow falls to the Board of Directors. There is no vote on these promotions by the members at large.)
Following the AGM all successful applicants are notified of their acceptance into the Society. Applicants for Regular or Associate membership are accepted as Provisional members and remain so for one year, at which time the Membership Committee will recommend for or against promotion to Regular or Associate member. Student members must provide, each year, proof that they are still eligible for Student membership. A Student member who graduates can remain a student member for one year post-graduation to allow them time to find employment in the field. After this time, the former Student member must apply for Regular or Associate membership and go through the full application process, including a year as a Provisional member.
Unsuccessful applicants are notified by the Chair of the Membership Committee, with an explanation. (In some cases, where adequate documentation is lacking, consideration of an application may be deferred until the following year so that the candidate has time to provide whatever information is required.)
Becoming a member of the CSFS is not a "done deal". All applicants are considered carefully, first by the Membership Committee and Section Chairs, then by the Board of Directors and finally by all the members of the Society. Each member of the CSFS has a duty to examine and consider applicants and provisional members presented to them and comment on their suitability (or lack thereof) for membership in the CSFS. If we want membership in our Society to have some meaning, we must all take an interest in who we admit into the CSFS and be mindful of whom we sponsor for membership. Honesty, integrity and credibility are our stock-in-trade as forensic scientists and we must be aware of their importance at all times. If we as forensic scientists want to be treated as professionals we must act like professionals. Duly considering all applicants to the CSFS is one step in ensuring that this occurs.