Position Profile


Job Title:  Environmental Protection Officer (EPO) - Entry Level (7 positions)

Work Unit:  Operations, Provincial/Compliance Units (5 Regions)

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1040849

Date:  March 2017
 

Purpose

 

Reporting to the Compliance Assurance Lead (CAL) this position is an entry level position whose regular duties will be to assist permanent Environmental Protection Officers (EPO) in support of the compliance assurance program to meet regional operational goals. This position may be assigned to a permanent EPO for supervision and guidance in either inspection and/or investigation to meet regional requirements that are in alignment with department’s priorities and the Division Operational Plan.

This position supports the day to day operations of the compliance program and requires some specialized technical background and skills. It is expected the incumbent will have progressive responsibility under direct supervision as he/she demonstrates proficiency in the program area. They will assist with the delivery of an assortment of services to industry, municipalities, varying levels of government, and to the Alberta public and requires balancing the technical component of environmental compliance with the desired outcomes of the compliance program. These services are largely associated with the administration of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), Public Lands Act and the Water Act but are not limited only to these pieces of legislation. This position requires communication, facilitation, time-management, and working level technical knowledge and skill.

Responsibilities and Activities

  1.

Complaint/Incident Response

Under the direction of a CAL, this position may assist with the response to public inquiries and complaints and industry contravention notifications within an established format to determine whether non-compliance exists, assess the environmental impact of the activity, ensure a high level of environmental protection, and minimize risk to the environment, human health and safety.

Activities:

  • Assist an EPO to determine the validity of complaints though site visits, phone conversations and other investigation. Maintain accurate field notes, photographs, and electronic records (i.e. Environmental Management System) to document findings.
  • Assist on alleged minor non-compliance issues, monitor abatement efforts and be able to determine and report to an EPO whether abatement is within the established perimeters or if it should be forwarded for potential enforcement action.
  • Follow-up on identified non-compliance activities to ensure that appropriate preventative, intervention and/or remedial measures have been undertaken.
  • Assist with data entry of inspection reports and diary notes on investigations into the Environmental Management System.
     
  2. Inspections and Monitoring Program

This position will assist with compliance inspections of EPEA and Water Act regulated facilities to meet the objectives of the Compliance Assurance Program.

Under the Public Lands Act, this position will liaise with Approval Program staff that conduct inspections (Embedded Inspection Program), and assist with inspections if directed to support meeting compliance outcomes across program areas in the region.

Inspections can be proactive or reactive and may involve both regulated and non-regulated activities.

Activities:

  • Inspections include preliminary review of files/applications, compliance history, auditing records, liaison with approvals staff, preparation of inspection plan and sampling equipment.
  • Carry out proactive, unannounced compliance inspections of facilities regulated by approvals, registrations or authorizations issued under the EPEA, Public Lands Act or the Water Act. This may include desktop inspections such as the verification of the terms and conditions of Water Act licences relative to Water Use Reporting System reports.
  • Inspection would include interviewing, note taking, assessing and determining compliance with legislation, approvals and standards including communicating areas of non-compliance with industry officials/approval holders.
  • Prepare letters and inspection reports and perform follow up action as required and forward non-compliance item for possible enforcement action to an investigator as required.
  • Collect and analyze information from varied and numerous sources to determine compliance, resolve problems and make recommendations to improve environmental practices. This may involve interpreting anecdotal and technical information provided by the stakeholder.
  • Liaise with other regulatory agencies such as the Alberta Energy Regulator, Natural Resources Conservation Board and others on matters related to environmental issues where there is regulatory overlap or referral is indicated.
  • Provide verbal and written communication to complainants and other stakeholders to explain the outcome of related inspections and interpret regulatory requirements.
  • Provide technical assistance on inspections within the region as requested.
     
  3.

Educational/training programs and initiatives.

Activities:

  • As directed, this position will seek compliance partnerships with industry, municipalities, stakeholders and the public to achieve the desired environmental and land use objectives and seek ways to achieve continuous improvement and innovation to enhance environmental outcomes for low risk land use activities.
  • Build capacity and the willingness in the regulated community to achieve compliance through an educational approach and improving stewardship practices.
  • Identifying and addressing potential problems before they cause an environmental impact.
  • Participate in school presentations, workshop presentations, internal staff training, community events such as fairs, trade shows, including but not limited to messaging on recreational access on public lands, etc.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations and information to stakeholders on department messaging related to environmental and land stewardship issues.
  • As directed, assist with the “Recreation on Public Lands” initiatives and related department programs.
  • May be required to assist Public Land Enforcement Committee partners, (Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch, Parks Conservation Officers, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and community peace officers) and assist with educational opportunities that arise.
     
  4.

Compliance Sweeps

This position may assist in proactive sweeps for the department under its compliance assurance program. The purposes of sweeps are to educate the public, ensure compliance under the EPEA, Public Lands Act and Water Act, raise environment awareness, promote environmental and land stewardship, and address potential or specific problem areas that have been identified.

Activities:

  • Work with the regional EPOs and compliance supervisors to identify outcome focused sweeps.
  • Assist in the planning, preparation, and execution of the sweep.
  • Liaise with other government agencies, municipalities and their bylaw enforcement individuals that may/will be involved in the sweep as directed.
  • Prepare information packages, educational material and/or fact sheets and compile relevant legislative material, required for the sweep.
  • Participate in post sweep follow-up to ensure compliance or refer to Compliance Manager or EPO as required.
  • Participate in debriefing of activities during/after the sweep, generate post sweep reports, present results and do data entry as required.
     
  5.

Administration of Orders

The Water Act, Public Lands Act and EPEA provide for the issuance of Orders to prevent and/or correct adverse effects on the environment, public lands, human health, property, and/or public safety. These Orders can be issued to regulated parties undertaking activities subject to authorizations or they can be issued in relation to non-authorized activities. This position will assist regional EPOs and under the direction of the Regional Compliance Manager or Compliance Manager, assist to ensure the timely and properly supported use of the various Orders provided for by the legislation.

Activities:

  • Ensure data entry of all relevant information and facts at issue required to create an Order are accurately recorded as part of the Director’s record.
  • Assist in the organization of the facts at issue for presentation to management and Environmental Law as requested.
  • May be required to do site visits to document progression on the requirements in an order.
  • In the event of non-compliance with an Order, ensure the proper process for further Departmental response is documented for follow up to encourage/enforce compliance.
     
  6. Investigation

Using various legislative authorities, under the direction of an EPO and departmental policies, this position may be required to assist with an investigation. Alleged offenses may be triggered by public complaints, regulatory referrals through the Integrated Compliance Process, self-reporting through the Coordination Information Center, and industrial/municipal non-compliance conduct discovered through inspections and gathering of evidence to either refute or prove allegations of an offence.

Typical investigation files will include offenses at unregulated facilities or complex regulated facilities, repeat offenses and those requiring orders. This entry level position may assist with as directed.

Activities:

  • The in-depth examinations of corporate documentation, manifests, approvals, invoices, ledgers, equipment and operating records, while seeking evidence that corroborates or refutes alleged non-compliance that will pass the scrutiny of the courts or in the case of administrative process, provide the statutory decision maker a fair and frank unbiased collection of the facts.
  • Identify, locate and interview witnesses, complainants, industry representatives and suspects.
  • Under various statutory authorities, enter public or private land, and buildings, to secure evidence of alleged contraventions. Ensure that evidence is properly preserved, secured and handled to maintain integrity and chain of custody.
  • Sample a wide array of substances, and submit them for analysis, to determine level of toxicity or hazard to environment and public health using proper protocols, to ensure the results will be accepted as evidence.
  • Gather and analyze information on known and suspected violators of environmental legislation from a variety of sources (i.e. regulatory agencies, police departments, corporate and land title searches, informants, vehicle registrations).
  • In the performance of their duties, an EPO may have to deal with and assist with uncooperative individuals in conflict situations.
  • Assist with enforcement actions and prosecutions of violators by providing comprehensive issues documents, administrative penalty packages and court briefs. May be required to appear in court to provide testimony as a crown witness.

Scope

 

This position is part of the front line departmental representative for terrestrial, atmospheric and water related environmental incidents and complaints, and assurance that the stakeholders meet their responsibilities, under environmental legislation. The position requires working knowledge of the legislation, departmental policy and requires some technical expertise to assess remedial measures and recommend further regulatory action. The incumbent must consider numerous factors associated with the management of waste and water, and the quality of the water, air and soil. Factors also extend beyond the legislation and departmental policies to technical time frames and compliance with other legislation. He or She must remain objective, non-judgemental and consistent when making observations, providing information and making recommendations to clearly show that the department is fair and considerate in attaining its goals.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

 
  • This position must have good people skills and the ability to participate in a strong team within a work unit and willingly take direction from others. Will be required to work within a team that requires knowledge of related legislation (EPEA, Public Lands Act and Water Act), investigative processes and techniques, department policies and procedures as well as other legislative acts.
  • Prepare observations, reports, and documents for the groundwork for enforcement action and may also assist in the preparation of documents for enforcement action.
  • Requires a working knowledge base of the practices and technologies involved in soil conservation, reclamation, vegetation management, and waste-management and pesticide application methods.
  • Requires a base of knowledge in applied sciences and related environmental legislation and regulations. Typically requires a related technical diploma plus two years related experience.
  • Knowledge and ability to collect environmental samples, from a variety of media and sources using standard protocols.
  • Ability to interpret, and apply analytical results to determine non-compliance and adverse effect would be an asset.
  • A basic knowledge of inspection techniques, including note taking, photography, legislated powers, interviewing etc.
  • While guidelines are well documented, circumstances can vary significantly. Judgement is required to interpret legislation and regulations during investigation and enforcement activities. This position requires an openness to react to diverse situations where little initial information is available.
  • Position assists with activities that enforce environmental legislation and regulations and collects evidence to prove or exonerate allegations of non-compliance in often complex situations.

Contacts

 
  • Contacts are internal and external to the department. Internal contacts are other staff, managers, and human resources.
  • External contacts can be from other enforcement agencies, other government’s (municipal, federal and other provincial jurisdictions), industry, operators, and members of the public or other interest groups.

Supervision Exercised

  Not applicable to this position.

 

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