Job Specification

Position Title:
Biomonitoring Regional Support Scientist
Job Code:
15548 - Scientist 4
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To provide scientific expertise and leadership in the investigation and assessment of surface water compliance issues related to ambient water, sediment and aquatic biota, defining the sources and causes of impairment. Develops recommendations for remedial actions or control programs to meet Provincial standards and objectives based on the findings of investigation. To provide expert scientific knowledge, guidance and advice to Regional staff and other clients in the assessment of surface water contamination issues, and issues related to the non-compliance and impacts of industrial, municipal and agricultural discharges and runoff.

Duties / Responsibilities :

Job requires:

1. Providing scientific expertise to plan, co-ordinate and implement site-specific water and sediment quality investigations, monitoring and assessment projects/ studies in response to requests from Operations Division and other clients.

2. Designing and developing appropriate field and laboratory investigations/ studies, including choosing suitable monitoring techniques to assess the specific pollution issue of concern; identifying and assembling the necessary resources (staff, lab and material); and coordinating resources from various parts of the ministry and outside agencies to undertake the investigations/ studies.

3. Providing project leadership and guidance to staff undertaking the field investigation. This involves allocating work, following up on progress, reviewing the staffs results/ reports for scientific and technical quality, providing training and guidance on improving their work and understanding. Instructing and coaching assigned staff on applicable Health and Safety procedures, particularly when working in the field or on laboratory procedures.

4. Providing scientific and technical leadership/ expertise in the analysis of data collected, guiding the assessment and interpretation of the findings, integrating the findings of various lines of evidence and preparing investigative reports. Presenting and defending the findings of the investigations to the clients; representing the Ministry in presenting the findings to the public, outside agencies/clients (Federal Government, industry, Conservation Authorities, etc).

5. Undertaking developmental work and special projects to enhance the conduct and reporting of surface water investigations; and preparing scientific reports and papers. Carrying out projects within assigned budget and analytical resources; recommending acquisition/purchase of equipment and supplies and other resources required based on original estimates provided by and approved by Manager.

6. Liaising with other Ministry specialists (e.g. Operations Division) and partner agencies (e.g. Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada, Conservation Authorities, etc) to develop enhanced monitoring programs, review scientific / consultant reports and findings of studies and provide advice on water quality and, measures to improve water quality

7. Representing the Branch/ Division/ Ministry on committees in areas pertaining to water quality investigations and in reporting of findings to the scientific community and the public; serving as a technical expert on various external inter-jurisdictional committees and working groups. Providing expert scientific evidence, factual and opinion, in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings relating to contaminants in the environment

8. Writing, editing and reviewing scientific/ technical reports, papers and guidelines and presenting the findings and recommendations to Senior Management and/or relevant staff. Scientific papers are either for internal use or for external technical publication or presentation at scientific conferences. Providing technical information in the preparation of briefing notes, house notes and other documents.

9. Other duties: the Supervisor has the right to assign additional duties.

Staffing and Licencing :

Degree in environmental or related sciences
Ontario Drivers License (G-Class) as work assignments involve province-wide travel to field sites.

Knowledge :

Job requires:
Advanced knowledge in the application of principles, theory and application of environmental or related sciences and practical experience in water and sediment contamination from many sources, including metals, chemicals, pesticides, sewage, animal and farm waste, and industrial waste compounds. Broad knowledge of the analytical principles and techniques to conduct state-of-the-art studies of contamination on rivers and lakes in Ontario, including watersheds and wetlands, to develop techniques for monitoring programs (surveys) in order to address specific pollutants of concern. Knowledge of relevant legislation (e.g. Ontario Water Resources Act, Environmental Protection Act, Environmental Assessment Act), regulations, standards, policies, directives and guidelines as they relate to surface water management to apply these to investigate problem areas, identify any issues of non-compliance and develop recommended solutions for meeting compliance. Knowledge of the scientific / technical principles and complex processes which cause aquatic contamination to assess and interpret monitoring data and advise on remediation techniques; data acquisition and analysis to conduct investigative studies/ projects that are cost-effective, scientifically valid and statistically defensible, and to make, based on findings, recommendations for remedial actions or control programs to meet Provincial standards and objectives. Knowledge of scientific and mathematical analyses approaches at an advanced statistical level and software programs for database management to: edit and manipulate large amounts of data and conduct data analyses of large data sets which assist in studying and interpreting information and in developing conclusions about the significance and severity of the environmental problems and to provide detailed reports to management and the Regions. Practical knowledge of field and laboratory methods to ensure that investigations in the field are conducted correctly. Knowledge of project management techniques to ensure accountability of actions taken and resources used and to ensure correct identification and security of samples.
Knowledge of operation of microcomputers and associated software applications (e.g. word processing, spreadsheet, graphical, statistical ) to summarize and describe data in order to prepare reports on the findings.

Skills :

Job requires:
Project management and leadership skills, as well as strong analytical and organizational skills to plan studies/investigations of problem areas, including identifying objectives, protocols and procedures, resources and study requirements, arranging and organizing work of study participants. Reasoning and problem-solving skills to consolidate and lead/ conduct analyses of data, using data modelling techniques, summarize and interpret findings, extrapolate from this and draw conclusions about the nature/sources of pollution. Reasoning and problem-solving skills to develop recommendations on source control, remedial and preventive action and on follow-up required to measure effectiveness of controls or remedial action (e.g. type and level of controls on contaminants).
Written communication skill to prepare a variety of technical documents and reports for a range of audiences, including reports on scientific findings with related statistical information, interpretation of findings and recommendations for controls or remedial actions that are conveyed to both scientists and laypersons; and to prepare letters to clients, presentations, briefing notes for management and regional offices. Oral communication skills to present detailed technical/scientific information and reports, and articulate Ministry position on issues at scientific conferences, public meetings and other forums where audience members have varying degrees of understanding of scientific theories and principles. Written/ oral communications skills to develop and present formal recommendations to both management and to Regional abatement staff for action on contaminant pollution and water quality problems.
Interpersonal skills to address and explain to contacts the inter-related variables, such as Ministry regulations, industrial operating concerns and interfaces with federal government.
Office computer skills to access databases, prepare charts and tables, prepare reports and recommendations, and to communicate using e-mail and the Internet.

Freedom of Action :

Reporting to the Supervisor, Sport Fish and Biomonitoring Unit, the Job requires judgement in assessing results of scientific investigations and working with environmental legislation, regulations, standards, policies and program directions related to water quality management and protection, applicable scientific theories, principles and practices for resources/environmental management, to make decisions and recommendations for action on the significance of the impairment. Job requires making decisions on: the scope/nature of studies, assignment of functions and resources during course of study, determining sources/cause of pollution; recommending pollution controls, remedial strategies; and recommending nature and type of follow-up required to assess effectiveness of pollution control initiatives. Job requires discussing recommendations resulting from studies with the Supervisor to review potential, policy implications. Job requires referring issues such as studies and recommendations involving inter-jurisdictional matters and conflicts to the Supervisor. Jobs work is accepted as scientifically and technically accurate and is reviewed only for organization, completeness and potential contentious issues. Work is peer-reviewed and may be published in international scientific journals. Job requires defensible and sound decision making on significance of the environmental problems with respect to potential harm to the aquatic, and, at times, to the human health environment.

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