Job Specification

Position Title:
Amended - Sport Fish and Biomonitoring Scientist
Job Code:
15548 - Scientist 4
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To provide scientific expertise and leadership in the studies of trace contaminant data from the ministry's sport and juvenile fish contaminant monitoring programs and the preparation of technical reports, scientific papers and other documents on contaminants in fish. To lead and/or coordinate the preparation and distribution of the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish. In collaboration with the Biomonitoring Regional Support Scientist, to investigate and assess surface water compliance issues related to ambient water, sediment, aquatic biota and special studies specific to sport fish, defining the sources and causes of impairment and developing recommendations for remedial actions or control programs to meet Provincial standards and objectives. To provide expert scientific knowledge, guidance and advice to Regional staff/other clients in the assessment of surface water contamination/non-compliance issues and impacts of industrial, municipal and agricultural discharges and runoff.

Duties / Responsibilities :

Job requires:

1. Providing leadership for the studies of trace contaminant data from the ministry's sport fish and juvenile fish monitoring programs, including human health risk assessment and the preparation of scientific/technical reports on trace contaminants in fish.

2. Providing scientific expertise and leadership for the preparation of the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish which provides advice to the public on the safe levels of consumption of sport fish. Overseeing the bi-annual publication of the Guide to Eating Sport Fish, ensuring appropriate distribution of the Guide as well as other program documents to clients and client groups.

3. Leading the survey and assessment of public's attitudes and perceptions to provincial sport fish consumption advisories through the preparation of questionnaires, conduct of interviews and/or meetings with stakeholders (e.g. anglers). Guiding the compilation and assessment of results, advising of the findings and recommending changes to the program to address issues raised by the public

4. In collaboration and coordination with the Biomonitoring Regional Support Scientist, shares the heavy workload demand for site-specific investigations and assessments of surface water compliance issues related to ambient water, sediment and aquatic biota, defining the sources and causes of impairment; takes the lead for studies specific to sport fish.

5. 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, supplies, materials and analytical test load); and coordinating resources from various parts of the ministry and outside agencies to undertake the investigations/studies. Carrying out projects within assigned budget and analytical resources.

6. Providing project leadership and guidance to staff undertaking the field investigations, including 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.

7. 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).

8. Developing recommendations for remedial actions or control programs to meet Provincial standards and objectives based
on the findings of investigations.

9. Providing 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. 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. Providing expert scientific evidence, factual and opinion, in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings relating to contaminants in the environment.

10. 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.

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

Staffing and Licencing :

Ontario Driver's License (G-Class) as work assignments involve province-wide travel to field sites.

Knowledge :

Job requires:
Thorough knowledge in the application of principles, theory and techniques of aquatic biology, aquatic chemistry, and human health risk assessment normally acquired through a degree in environmental or related sciences or equivalent work experience to interpret/assess the impacts of trace contaminant data collected in sport/juvenile fish monitoring programs. Advanced knowledge of theory, principles 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 to investigate and assess surface water compliance issues, defining sources and causes of impairment and developing recommendations for remedial actions or control programs.
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, in order to address specific pollutants of concern. Knowledge of relevant legislation (e.g. Ontario Water Resources Act, Environmental Protection Act, Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Bill of Rights, Fisheries Act), regulations, standards, policies, directives and guidelines as they relate to surface water management and fish contamination, including human health guidelines (Health Canada guidelines) to apply these to the investigations, identify any issues (e.g. non-compliance, significance and impacts of contaminants in fish) and develop recommended solutions for meeting compliance and/or issuance of sport fish advisories. 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, 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/or contaminants in fish 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 and the significance/impacts of the levels of various contaminants that are found in different species of juvenile and sport fish from different bodies of water in Ontario. Reasoning and problem-solving skills to develop recommendations on sources and causes of impairment, 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 skills 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 and briefing notes for management. Oral communication skills to present detailed technical/scientific information and reports, conduct interviews/meetings with users of the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish, make presentations 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 formal recommendations to both management and to Regional abatement staff for action on contaminant pollution and water quality problems. Interpersonal skills to deal with and facilitate cooperation/support with other ministry specialists, partner agencies and stakeholders as well as to provide advice, address and explain inter-related variables, such as ministry regulations, industrial operating concerns and interfaces with federal government.
Planning and organizing skills to lead and coordinate a number of concurrent activities involved in the preparation, distribution of the Guide and other related documents.
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 the 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. 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 also makes decisions by evaluating/interpreting monitoring data on sport and juvenile fish using current practices in applied science and reaching conclusions concerning the significance of the contaminant levels found in the fish; and leading the preparation/distribution of publications that meet the needs of the clients within program time lines, targets and client agreements. Job requires providing project leadership and guidance to staff undertaking the field investigations and 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 and situations involving possible impacts on public health. Job's 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 and fish contamination with respect to potential harm to the aquatic and, at times, to the human health from the consumption of fish.

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