Environmental Assessment Coordinator
Government of Canada
Sector: Natural Resources, Science
Type: Career Profile
Biology, Ecology, Ecosystems, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Sustainability, Human effect on the ecosystem, Natural resources industry
I get excited at work when I review a project based on a technology or idea that I have never heard of before. At these times, I get to learn something new. Being able to spend parts of my time outdoors doing fieldwork and travelling is also great. I wouldn’t like it as much if I had to spend all my time in an office or laboratory. There are so many possibilities in this profession. The travel, the ability to enjoy nature, and always learning new is what makes this career work for me.
In high school, I didn't have a very good idea of what I wanted to do. In my last year of school, a couple of great teachers inspired me and got me interested in working in the area of wastewater treatment. After my first year of University, I spent the summer working in this area. Throughout the rest of my degree program, I continued to work on projects related to wastewater treatment. I studied research and engineering development projects related to working in wastewater treatment plants.
When I was staring out in my career, I think it helped that I was reliable and willing to work overtime. I was also willing to take on any task or get involved in any type of project. I worked on projects where I worked with engineers. I also did direct environmental work. This included projects that related to waste auditing and implementing environmental management systems. I was also involved in volunteering and assisting with public education initiatives and community involvement.
My degree is what is called an “applied degree”. This meant I was able to work and get paid during my schooling. It also meant that I could take on the types of projects I mentioned earlier. This helped me to earn credits, fund my education, and advance my career at the same time. There are many hands-on skills to learn in this field and employers want to hire people who have experience with these types of skills. One challenging aspect to this career is the regional differences across Canada. These differences mean that it may be difficult to find work in the profession if your experience doesn't apply directly to the region you may want to work.
A career as an environmental professional is great as there are so many different areas to branch out as your interests develop and change. Regardless of your career path, take every opportunity that presents itself when you are starting out. You never know whom you will meet along the way and what doors that may open for you!
I enjoy travelling and spending summers outdoors in Ontario. I enjoy practicing yoga, fishing and swimming with my daughter.
Communication is a big part of my day-to-day work. My job is to review project applications as part of the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). I look to identify potential environmental impacts related to the proposed project activities. As I am reviewing project proposals, I will talk with coworkers, consultants and working groups. This could be face to face in meetings or by email. We share updates on proposals we are reviewing. We also share information on the projects we are working on and plan our work.
The project proposals I review take many forms. For example, it could be a proposal to do scientific research. Or, it could be related to constructing roads or buildings. Some proposals are for starting or expanding mining projects. The one thing they all have in common is that there may be a chance they will have a negative effect on the environment. I provide updates to my supervisors for on-going projects and make sure submission deadlines are on track.
I use the skills and knowledge I have developed through my study of Environmental Science and practical work experience. I use my knowledge to figure out the likely impacts of the proposed project. I use knowledge from many areas. This includes in aquatic, terrestrial, micro- biology and ecology. I also use knowledge of chemistry, math, physics, and economics. Using a wide base of information is all part of Environmental Impact Assessment process.
I use problem solving to identify possible solutions for project activities that may cause negative environmental impacts. When making decisions, I consider all the data I have as well as the risks associated with the project activities.
My STEM background supports the systematic review of technical projects. This background helps me understand how complex large-scale technical projects work. It also helps me understand how different types of projects may have negative impacts to the environment. Being able to analyze scientific data to determine the extent of possible impacts to the environment is very important.
I work as part of the Impact Assessment Team. My team talks one-on-one throughout the day sharing ideas. We send information through emails, attend meetings together, and take part in other activities within our department. I do not use other languages besides English at work, but many of the people I work with communicate in French, English and Inuktitut.
When I was
- Literature and English language arts
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Liked reading