Position Profile

Job Title:  Whirling Disease Decontamination Technician

Work Unit:  Fish and Wildlife/Whirling Disease Management

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1042530

Date:  May 2017



This is an advanced level, professional Decontamination Technician position that reports to the provincial Whirling Disease Manager. Responsibilities include the development and delivery of the full range of fish health and Aquatic Invasive Species program activities designed to predict risk, prevent the spread and mitigate impacts. This includes planning for and implementing single and multi-year projects, participating in research activities, providing data analysis, interpretation and reporting, managing environmental risk, and supervising staff.

The Decontamination Technician operates with a high degree of independence and has responsibility and influence in developing and implementing fish health and aquatic invasive species management practices. This includes working with the Canadian Inspection Agency (CFIA), regional biologist, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Staff as well as other partners to develop and implement decontamination protocols in Alberta. The position may recommend policy, legislative, and program changes to senior management within the Division, Department, other levels of government and regulators. The incumbent will participate on regional and provincial level teams on various fish health and aquatic invasive species management related initiatives and will function as a key member of an integrated team of GOA professionals. Periodically, the incumbent will represent the Department on internal and external initiatives. The decontamination specialist makes public presentations on matters pertaining to whirling disease and mitigating the risks of introducing aquatic invasive species and fish diseases into the province.

Responsibilities and Activities


Whirling Disease Decontamination Protocol Development and Implementation

The incumbent must lead the GOA Whirling Disease Task Team in developing and implementing protocol/policy of best management practices with specific instructions for each type of field work conducted by GOA staff in or near water in Alberta. This will include monitoring where whirling disease is confirmed and build a risk map, conduct jurisdictional scans, determine and acquire required equipment and facilities across Alberta.

Work Activities result in the incumbent working directly with other Alberta government agencies, municipal and federal levels of government as well as industrial proponents, in order to develop solutions and implement decontamination protocols for various types of work in and/or around water licensed/regulated by the GOA.

Close collaboration with the Whirling Disease Senior Fish Biologist and Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist is required to monitor new geographic regions of infection and investigate vectors for transmission of fish disease and aquatic invasive species in Alberta.


Public Education and Outreach

Designs and delivers education and information programs to ensure that the public, First Nations and Metis, education community, industry, local governments and other stakeholders understand the whirling disease program and Aquatic Invasive Species Program specific to vector control and management in the province. Directly inputs to the design and delivery of a Divisional Public Education and Outreach program. Evaluates and integrates public/stakeholder input for the resolution of whirling disease management issues and the development of whirling disease management objectives. Prepares responses to Ministerial inquiries and Ministerial briefing notes. Represents the Division on various resource stewardship committees.


Finance and Administration

Identifies annual and long term budget and staffing requirements, prepares budget submissions, allocates budget, approves purchases and monitors expenditures to ensure achievement of business plan objectives in accordance with the Financial Administration Act and departmental guidelines. Ensures expenditures are managed within the assigned budget and financial policies. Supervises and manages assigned staff and ensures OH&S Act, regulations and procedures are adhered to for all assigned staff and worksites.



Provides direct supervision to whirling disease decontamination technicians, seasonal staff and contractors. This includes responsibility for performance management, performance assessment, employee relations, staff development and training. Leads project teams in the design, development, delivery, and evaluation of whirling disease decontamination protocols. Mentor’s entry level and working level technical staff in developing their knowledge, experience and skills.

Provides administrative, supervisory, and technical guidance and advice to GOA staff, industry, NGOs, and volunteers.


  • Identify staffing needs and hire staff.
  • Provide day-to-day supervision of staff, including identification of work priorities and performance management standards.
  • Provide staff orientation and commencement.
  • Identify staff training needs, provide staff training and ensure staff are trained to appropriate standards.
  • Ensure staff meet performance expectations - carry out/recommend staff recognition and/or appropriate disciplinary actions.
  • Recommends staff training and disciplinary actions.
  • Provide leadership to project teams and provide development/support to team members.
  • Provides administrative, supervisory, and technical guidance and advice to GOA staff, industry, NGOs, and volunteers.
  • Responsible for adherence to OH&S standards within Area per Act, regulations, established standards and protocols.
  • Responsible for administering contracts as per Departmental policies and guidelines.



Whirling disease can spread via myxospores of Myxobolus cerebralis transferred onto aquatic equipment or gear (e.g., waders or boats), by infected fish that die and are moved elsewhere, by infected water, or by infected fish moved through stocking by commercial fish farms and provincial hatcheries.

  • Position is responsible for creating a broad suite of management tools and techniques in Alberta to predict risk and prevent the spread of whirling disease.
  • Demands outstrip capacity so the incumbent is expected to be proficient in effectively prioritizing to ensure most effective use of limited financial and manpower resources. The incumbent must be creative in seeking and forming partnerships with outside funding sources to assist in achieving the whirling disease management and Aquatic Invasive Species Program objectives for the province.
  • Position is responsible and accountable for seasonal and permanent staff, volunteers and contractors under their supervision.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • In-depth working knowledge of the Alberta Fisheries Management Program, its standards, guidelines, policies and practices.
  • In-depth working knowledge of the Alberta Aquatic Invasive Species Program, its standards, guidelines, policies and practices, including the watercraft inspection program and decontamination protocols.
  • Demonstrated ability in applying negotiation skills to resolve complex resource management issues.
  • Proven ability in working with other resource managers and regulators to address resource conflict through planning and mitigation.
  • Extensive background in public writing and speaking on subjects dealing with resource management.
  • Extensive experience and success in participation or leadership of groups with similar interests or multi-disciplinary backgrounds in achieving desired outcomes.
  • Position requires a minimum of a 4 year Bachelor of Science in Biology and which has provided for scientific expertise in disease identification and control.
  • Proven ability to design and implement large scale projects. Components include; field operations planning, budget management, program supervision, statistical data analysis, writing and reporting.
  • Incumbent should hold and be able to operate or be eligible to operate an off-highway vehicle, motorized boats, certification for electrofishing, as well as first aid and CPR certificates
  • Extensive knowledge of relevant provincial and federal acts, regulations, policies, and procedures - in particular, the Fisheries Act (Alberta) and associated regulations and the Federal Fisheries Act and associated regulations.
  • Firsthand knowledge of watercraft and equipment decontamination practices.
  • Experience organizing training events, teaching and leading groups, and providing leadership to decontamination staff and associated staff and partners.
  • Proficient in use of a computer including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software programs. Working familiarity with data analysis, modelling and data base management programs.
  • Substantial supervisory experience, involving development and assessment of work plans, assessment of staff performance and identification of training and development needs.


  • Regular contact with regional fisheries biologist to plan and review complex fisheries management issues as it pertains to whirling disease.
  • Regular contact with the Whirling Disease Decontamination Task Team and the Aquatic Invasive Species Standing Committee; regular contact with the Aquatic Invasive Specialist to provide support for fish health and Aquatic Invasive Species Program needs associated with decontamination and response as it pertains to curbing the risk of introductions of harmful disease and non-native species into the Province.
  • Maintains extensive contacts with other Branch, Divisional and Departmental staff, management and executive to advance Divisional and Departmental programs, to establish standards, and to resolve problem issues.
  • Regular contact with various levels of academia in role as scientific advisor to local, provincial and federal government entities, on matters relating to whirling disease.
  • Spokesperson on fisheries management matters pertaining to whirling disease. Represents professional fisheries and aquatic invasive species prevention and management interests to print and electronic media.

Supervision Exercised

  • This position is responsible for the supervision of permanent, seasonal and long-term wage staff at various levels of biologists, contractors and technicians.


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