Position Profile


Job Title:  Environmental Protection Officer

Work Unit:  Operations, LAR/Compliance Unit

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1040904

Date:  March 2017
 

Purpose

 

In May of 2016 the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) including the City of Fort McMurray was devastated by the Horse Lake wildfire that swept through the region.

Reporting to the Compliance Assurance Lead (CAL), this position is a Temporary Salary position whose regular duties will be to act as a resource for colleagues, associates, the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo and outside agencies in support of the compliance assurance program related to the recovery efforts resulting from the fire.

This position is complex and requires some specialized technical background and skills. They will assist with the delivery of an assortment of services to industry, the RMWB, varying levels of government, and to the Alberta public. The position serves to balance the technical components of environmental compliance with the desired outcomes of the compliance assurance program. These services are largely associated with the administration of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Public Lands Act and the Water Act but are not limited only to these pieces of legislation.

This position requires strong skills in communication, facilitation and time-management. The incumbent requires a working technical knowledge of water/waste water management and solid waste management practices. A working understanding of land management and various land use activities is also required.

Responsibilities and Activities

  1.

Complaint/Incident Response

Under the direction of the CAL this position will receive and respond to public inquiries and complaints, and industry contravention notifications to determine whether issues of 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:

  • Prioritize public complaints and notifications to determine appropriate response.
  • Determine the validity of complaints though site visits, phone conversations and other investigation. Maintain accurate field notes, photographs, and electronic records (EMS) to document findings.
  • Liaise with other provincial and RMWB regulators on matters that related to environmental issues where regulatory overlap or referral is indicated.
  • Exercise judgment and seek guidance on the assessment of alleged contraventions, and determines whether to abate or forward for potential enforcement action.
  • Follow-up on identified non-compliance activities to ensure that appropriate preventative, intervention and/or remedial measures have been undertaken.
  • Closure of files once a resolution has been obtained.
     
  2. Inspections and Monitoring Program

This position will conduct independent compliance inspections of EPEA and Water Act regulated facilities to meet the objectives of the Compliance Assurance Program. The inspections are focused at higher risk, more complex facilities that may have or have been impacted by the wildfire.

Under the Public Lands Act, this position will liaise with Lands Approval staff who conduct inspections (Embedded Inspection Program), provide advice on compliance issues and assist with inspections where requested.

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 EPEA, Public Lands Act or the Water Act.
  • Inspection would include interviewing, note taking, assessing and determining compliance with legislation, approvals and standards including communicating areas of non-compliance with industry officials.
  • 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.
  • Has the authority to issue Notices of Non-compliance.
  • 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 AER, NRCB 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 investigations within the region as requested.
     
  3.

Educational/training programs and initiatives.

This position will seek compliance partnerships with industry, the RMWB, 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 in the RMWB.

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 presentations, workshop presentations, internal staff training and RMWB community events such as fairs, trade shows etc. to advance department messaging on environmental and land use objectives.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations and information to stakeholders on department messaging related to environmental and land stewardship.
  • Assist with the “Recreation on Public Lands” initiatives with posting of message signs in high and key use areas in the RMWB.
  • Engage with the Public Land Enforcement Committee partners in the RMWB, (FWEB, Parks COs, RCMP and community peace officers) and assist with educational opportunities that arise.
     
  4.

Compliance Sweeps

As directed, this position may be required to organize and conduct 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 land stewardship, and address potential or specific problem areas that have been identified.

Activities:

  • Work with the regional supervisors and/or compliance manager to identify outcome focused sweeps.
  • Assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of the sweep.
  • Provide coordination for the personnel to be involved in the sweep.
  • Liaise with other government agencies, the RMWB and their bylaw enforcement individuals that may/will be involved in the sweep.
  • Prepare information packages, educational material and/or fact sheets and compile relevant legislative material, required for the sweep.
  • Participate in the sweep by carrying out inspections, interviews of individuals and/or industry representatives.
  • Participate in post sweep follow-up to ensure compliance or refer to the Compliance Manager or an EPO as required.
  • Facilitate debriefing of activities during/after the sweep, generate post sweep reports and present results, including KPI data.
     
  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 in collaboration with regional EPOs and under the direction of the Regional Compliance Manager will ensure the timely and properly supported use of the various Orders provided for by the legislation.

Activities:

  • Identify and compile the facts at issue required to create an order.
  • Organize the facts at issue for presentation to management and Environmental Law.
  • Manage compliance with the Order by the recipient.
  • In the event of non-compliance with an Order, ensure the issuing statutory decision maker is aware to enable the process for further Departmental response to encourage/enforce compliance.
     
  6. Investigation

This position may be required to assist in the investigation of public complaints, regulatory referrals and industrial/municipal non-compliance. Uses legislative authorities, departmental policies, understanding of approval conditions and environmental effects to assist with the thorough investigation and the gathering of evidence of an alleged contravention.

Under the Public Lands Act and Climate Change and Emissions Management Act ( CCEMA ) issues of non-compliance triaged for investigation through the Integrated Compliance Process may require this position to assist in an investigation.

Typical investigation files will include offenses at unregulated facilities or complex regulated facilities, repeat offenses and those requiring orders.

Activities:

  • Conduct examinations of corporate documentation, manifests, approvals, invoices, ledgers, equipment and operating records, while assisting in the gathering of evidence that corroborates or refutes alleged non-compliance that will pass the scrutiny of the courts. In the case of the administrative process, provide the statutory decision maker a fair and frank unbiased collection of the facts.
  • Assist to locate and interview witnesses, complainants, industry representatives and suspects.
  • Under various statutory authorities, enter public or private land, and buildings, to secure evidence to corroborate or refute alleged contraventions. Ensure that evidence is properly preserved, secured and handled to maintain integrity and chain of custody.
  • Sample or assist in sampling 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 for analysis 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).
  • Has authority to issue Emergency Environmental Protection Orders, Violation Tickets, Enforcement Orders, Stop Orders and other legal instruments, and will apply or recommend appropriate enforcement action to the Compliance Manager.
  • Prepare and assist with enforcement actions and prosecutions of violators and assist in the preparation of comprehensive issues documents, administrative penalty packages and court briefs. May be required to liaise with crown counsel and appear in court as a crown witness.

Scope

 

This Position functions within a consultative environment for the Department, the public industry, RMWB, elected officials and other enforcement agencies regarding the application and enforcement of legislation.

This position is 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 strong working knowledge of the legislation, departmental policy and 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/she must collect and analyze information from varied and numerous sources to determine compliance, resolve problems, and make recommendations. This may involve interpreting anecdotal and technical information provided by the stakeholder. Stakeholders attitudes range from professional, open-minded and unbiased to unreceptive, confrontational, emotionally charged, or biased. The EPO 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 provides a conduit between management and stakeholders. Must have good people skills and the ability to be part of a strong team within the work unit. 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 knowledge of the practices and technologies involved in soil conservation, reclamation, vegetation management, waste-management methods.
  • Requires a broad range of knowledge in applied sciences and related environmental legislation and regulations.
  • Typically requires a related technical diploma at a minimum.
  • 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.
  • Knowledge of inspection techniques, including note taking, photography, legislated powers, interviewing etc.
  • Judgement is required to interpret legislation and regulations during investigation and enforcement activities. While guidelines are well documented, circumstances can vary significantly.
  • Position is focused on activities that enforce environmental legislation and regulations and collects evidence to prove or exonerate allegations of non-compliance in 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

  The expectation is for the person in this position to have the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to contribute to those working in his/her unit, and to work in a team environment.

 

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