Meet Patsy Thompson
Director General, Directorate of Environmental and Radiation Protection and Assessment
The Directorate of Environmental and Radiation Protection and Assessment ensures that licensees protect the environment, and the health and safety of workers and the public. We're also responsible for developing requirements like regulatory documents, standards and procedures.
I come from a family where I was the first to obtain a post-secondary degree. At first I wanted to be a doctor. But, when I was exposed to biology in a pre-med program, I realized that work in biology was what I truly wanted to do. My grandmother was Métis and would take us to the forest to explore medicinal herbs, and I think that these traditions, coupled with my schooling, were influential. After occupying a few technical positions, I completed a Ph.D in Aquatic Sciences (Ecotoxicology) at the Université du Québec – the rest, they say, is history!
Role and Responsibilities
Currently, I work with the directorate to ensure that nuclear is regulated in a way that continuously protects human health and the environment. I also verify that all the work we do is scientifically and technically sound. I work with 65 technical specialists, and it truly is the biggest pleasure to see so many different people from different disciplines coming together. I also participate in public outreach and adore learning; luckily, this position lets me do so every day.
From 1994 to 1996, I helped the CNSC become the first nuclear regulator in the world to create an approach to evaluating impacts to the environment from radiation. A few years later, I assisted the CNSC again in becoming the first nuclear regulator in the world to conduct technical assessments for metals not traditionally looked at in uranium mines and mills in northern Saskatchewan, like selenium and molybdenum.