Job Specification

Position Title:
Senior Environmental Officer
Job Code:
61507 - Environmental Officer 4
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

1. Purpose of Position
To assess compliance with environmental legislation, regulations, and policies by inspecting, monitoring, and conducting field /technical investigations of sources of air, water, and land pollution. To provide technical expertise and advice and compliance and pollution control. To negotiate and enforce compliance through abatement programs in a District/Area Office.

Duties / Responsibilities :

In the district or area office under the direct supervision of the Area Supervisor, the position is responsible for providing front line program delivery of ministry programs and services to the public, businesses and industries located within their district, as well as ensuring compliance with environmental legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines, by:
1. Responding to alleged incidences of pollution by carrying out inspections and field/technical inspections and field/technical investigations; assessing compliance and implementing a course of action to bring about compliance.
2. Planning and conducting pro-active compliance inspections of all sources of air, water, and land pollution.
3. Assessing contaminated sites and spills (including after office hour responses to spills), determining the source(s) and responsible parties, and ensuring that appropriate remedial steps are taken.
4. Preparing reports and documenting findings/actions to support compliance proceedings; preparing executing legal documents, testifying before courts or judicial boards; reviewing and making recommendations on ministry approvals; preparing, issuing, serving, and defending orders.
5. Providing technical expertise and advice on regulatory compliance and approvals, environmental problems and solutions related to air/land/water pollution with clients (such as ministry staff, elected and company officials, public, consultants, and media) providing technical expertise and advice to less senior staff.
6. Managing cleanup projects by preparing applications for funding, writing requests for proposals, selecting consultants, and overseeing consulting services.
7. Ensuring the application of quality service standards, principles, guidelines, directives and procedures in order to improve services and communications with customers.

Staffing and Licensing :

Job requires a valid Class G Ontario driver's licence.

Knowledge :

Job requires knowledge of environmental legislation (e.g. Environmental Protection Act, Ontario Water Resources Act), regulations, policies, procedures, and guidelines, and other statutes (e.g. Municipal Act, Fisheries Act, Gasoline Handling Act, and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act) in order to assess regulatory compliance and to develop enforcement options (e.g. Provincial Officer, Director, or Court orders, Provincial Offenses Act Notices) by interpreting the intent of the legislation, applying legal precedents, and other applicable information (e.g. Memoranda of Understanding) to develop a course of action (e.g. - there is no clear definition of " waste" for many materials therefore an interpretation must be made to determine if some material are going to be regulated or not) and to relay compliance-related knowledge to others.
Job requires knowledge of the application of theories, principles and practices of environmental sciences, industrial/manufacturing processes, and associated pollution controls in order to assess technical capabilities/limitations and potential risks/liabilities to the environment, by carrying out environmental audits of plant operations, processes, and pollution control equipment and by analyzing environmental data.
Job requires knowledge of contaminated site assessment and clean-up guidelines and practices in order to review and approve remedial plans by assessing consultants' findings and proposed solutions against Ministry guidelines, scientific principles (interactions of soil/water/air contaminants in the natural environment) and recognized site assessment and remedial practices (e.g -has the contaminated soil/groundwater been properly assessed; are the proposed cleanup levels appropriate; is the proposed timing for cleanup acceptable, what approvals are required).
Job requires knowledge of spill assessment and cleanup in order to ensure the natural environment is restored by assessing quality, reactivity and potential of spilled material to have an impact on human health or the environment through visual observation, sampling, and monitoring of air/water/soil contaminants (e.g does the size, location, and nature of the spilled contaminant warrant air monitoring or air/water modeling to determine potential exposure to local residents)
Job requires knowledge of sample collection and field measurement techniques in order to collect air, soil, water and waste samples to monitor compliance.
Job requires knowledge of issue management techniques in order to develop communication strategies by determining impacted stakeholders and developing a plan of action for communicating environmental problems and solutions.
Job requires knowledge of rules of evidence and court procedures in order to conduct inspection, field/technical assessments, investigations and support legal proceedings by preparing legal documents and providing testimony in court.
Job requires knowledge of project management theories and techniques in order to oversee clean-up projects by giving direction, setting objectives/milestones, and ensuring overall timetable is kept on schedule.
Job requires knowledge of contract management and purchasing/tendering procedures in order to obtain and oversee consulting services for cleanup projects by preparing Request For Proposals, developing evaluation and scoring criteria, selecting and monitoring successful contractors.
Job requires knowledge of computer software applications (such as Word Processing, Spreadsheet, database and Network applications) to prepare letters, table, reports, overheads, use electronic mail, and access Ministry database to enter corporate data or access environmental information.
Job requires knowledge of OPS Quality Service Standards as well as ministry requirements for dealing with and providing appropriate responses to a variety of requests from a varied client group.

Skills :

Job requires analytical and problem solving skills to systematically organize and compare various aspects of an issue to identify cause and source of pollution problems and develop a course of action by analyzing legal, technical, environmental, economic, and social factors to resolve the problem in a sound and decisive manner. Recognizes the potential risks and impacts of the problem on a wider scale and the broader impact of actions.
Job requires analysis and evaluation of problems where causes are not immediately obvious, requiring search and analysis of indirect/multiple factors to determine best approaches for compliance and enforcement.
Job requires analytical skills and judgement to interpret scientific and technical data, legislation, regulations, guidelines, and policies where data is inconclusive, regulatory requirements and policies are not always clear, and precedents may not exist in order to develop compliance strategies.
Job requires evaluative skills in reviewing content of submissions to Ministry to decide if submissions are satisfactory in terms of accuracy, completeness, and adherence to Ministry policy/regulations/objectives.
Job requires necessary, appropriate and timely decisions to be made on whether voluntary or mandatory compliance approaches and/or enforcement will be used. Job considers current knowledge about the nature, extent, and seriousness of non-compliance, as well as analytical and conceptual thinking to identify, assess, understand and communicate the level of risk when determining corrective action (e.g. writing a letter, issuing an order, issuing ticket, and/or referring matter for prosecution). Does not overreact or underestimate the situation, taking appropriate actions to immediately assess the situation.
Job requires analytical and evaluative skills to develop consultant selection and scoring criteria, evaluate and select successful consultants, and to monitor and make decisions with respect to changes to planned work (do more or less soil/water/air sampling as a result of initial consultant findings).
Job requires oral communication skills to: make presentations to elected officials, health officials, emergency response personnel and the public on environmental issues where policy, regulatory, and technical information and terminology has to be communicated to non-technical personnel; explain interpretation of scientific and technical information and necessary corrective action to industry officials and the public; and devise methods to communicate, influence and persuade people to take such corrective action.
Job requires open and direct communication and active listening skills to respond appropriately and professionally to verbal and non-verbal behavior when interacting with others, and considers cross-cultural sensitivity.
Job requires oral communication skills to conduct interviews to gather evidence and to provide testimony in court proceedings on evidence collected and observation made during course of field/technical assessments and investigations.
Job requires written communication skills to prepare letters, Orders, and technical reports (such as Provincial Officer Reports) on inspections, findings (such as Occurrence Reports), conclusions, and recommendations; prepare briefing notes and letters for management.
Job requires interpersonal, relationship building, and conflict management skills to facilitate open and constructive discussion, negotiate solutions where possible, and to identify, help diffuse and resolve conflict between multi-stakeholders (such as complainants, municipalities, and company officials); develops and maintains harmonious relationships, determines the state of the relationship, and knows when to engage and disengage from a conflict.
As the only Ministry representative, negotiate verbal or written agreements (in the form of letters) with individual companies concerning implementation of remedial measures or installation of pollution control equipment (e.g. reaching an agreement to have a company hire a consultant to carry out a technical investigation of groundwater contamination and negotiate a timetable for drilling, sampling and preparation of reports, all of which can be incorporated into a legal and binding document); and explain findings/solutions to the general public and ministry management

Freedom of Action :

Job requires working within, and monitoring own work quality, against environmental legislation, regulations, policies, guidelines, procedures, and District work plan in order to ensure principles and standards of compliance and enforcement are maintained. Job requires taking actions that are consistent with OPS values and in accordance with the Regulators' Code of Practice.
Job requires making issue/crisis management decisions. For example; determines whether sources of air pollution continue to operate, curtail operation or shut down in situations of non-compliance; determines whether voluntary or mandatory abatement is appropriate; during off hours at spill scenes decides on the issuance of field orders, approval of expenditures up to pre-approved limits, and an assessment of the need for additional physical/human resources support must be made.
Job requires issuing Provincial Offense Act Notices and Provincial Officer Orders without consultation with supervisor.
Work is accepted as technically complete and accurate. Employee refers to supervisor/manager when: issues involve setting a legal or policy
precedent; making recommendations for further field/technical assessment and investigations/prosecutions; where issues involve additional district workload, ongoing media or political attention, or when issues have known or likely impact on public health. Supervisor also reviews progress on abatement programs and provides advice or direction on use of voluntary or mandatory compliance tools (e.g. provincial officer or court orders) where either public health is at risk or where contentious issues draw public or senior management attention.
When compliance/non-compliance is not clear due to regulatory uncertainty, or where Ministry policy is not clear, the supervisor may be consulted for direction (e.g. is the processing of the material regulated or not; can/should a field order be issued to required locks on company shipping doors or gates effectively shutting down a business; can/should a court order be obtained under the circumstances to break and enter for the purpose of carrying out an inspection.

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