Compliance Promotion Specialist


As a compliance promotion specialist, you provide technical, scientific, regulatory, and management advice to public and private industry in relation to compliance with federal acts and regulations. You are involved in a variety of activities aimed at awareness and education, including writing and publishing information, conducting and participating in public outreach activities, and researching and promoting best practices. You are an expert on the acts and regulations that govern the protection of environmental and human health and address issues ranging from hazardous waste to species at risk.

At a glance

Imagine you have a dozen artificial birds lying on a table beside you as props for the presentation you're delivering to an audience of more than 150 hunters. You are a compliance promotion specialist and today you are speaking to this group about a new federal law designed to protect migratory birds in Canada. You are using the artificial birds to show these hunters which species are protected under the new law and are now illegal to hunt. It is your job to explain the new law, how it works, and how it will affect the upcoming hunting season. As a compliance promotion specialist, you have been working on the new hunting compliance program for several years. When experts were drafting the migratory bird law, you provided input and assisted with stakeholder consultations. You also participated in a national working group to develop a national compliance promotion plan. As a group, you decided on a number of activities to raise awareness and ensure that stakeholders and the public are properly informed about the law and how it will affect them. For example, part of the public education program includes advertising the new regulations on the radio and in newspapers, distributing information brochures, adding a bulletin to the government's website, and submitting articles and ads to hunting magazines. You also mailed information letters to registered hunters and arranged to have a summary of the law attached to every hunting permit issued. Your role doesn't end at public education. Now that the law has come into force, you are involved in applying Environment Canada's Compliance and Enforcement Policy, including providing scientific and technical support to enforcement officers checking for violations. A large part of your job is answering questions on new laws and ensuring they are being adhered to.

Job duties

Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a compliance promotion specialist:
  • Participate in and provide input into the development of national compliance strategies.
  • Develop and deliver regulatory compliance promotion programs in accordance with national strategies.
  • Provide technical and scientific input and a regional perspective into the development of new environmental regulations or amendments to existing regulations.
  • Promote the use of technical, analytical, and management techniques to clients to encourage the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices.
  • Participate in national working groups, including coordinating activities and preparing annual summaries of activities and results.
  • Maintain up-to-date regional lists of contacts and events, including workshops and conferences.
  • Provide support to regional enforcement officers and assist enforcement staff in intelligence gathering on potential violators, including attending inspections and investigations.
  • Respond to requests for information from the regulated community.

Work environment

Compliance promotion specialists work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to: In the office:
  • Developing materials for compliance promotion activities
  • Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, colleagues, government officials, and stakeholders
  • Maintaining a database of the regulated community
  • Responding to questions and requests for information from the public
In the field:
  • Presenting information about compliance at public meetings
  • Delivering information and conducting training sessions on new or amended regulations
  • Assisting environmental enforcement officers in inspections and investigations

Where to work

Most compliance promotion specialists are employed by Environment Canada or other federal agencies responsible for legislation and enforcement. Some compliance promotion specialists can find employment with large private sector companies or consulting firms.

Education & requirements

If you are a high school student considering a career as a compliance promotion specialist, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Legal Studies
In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as a compliance promotion specialist is a university undergraduate degree. If you are a post-secondary student considering a career as a compliance promotion specialist, the following programs are most applicable:
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pure and Applied Science
  • Environmental Policy
It is not necessary to be certified in order to work as a compliance promotion specialist.

Role Model

Celia Wong

"I was looking for a change,” says Celia Wong of her decision to apply for a job as a compliance promotion scientist with the federal government. At the time, the chemistry graduate was working with the federal government as a chemist at the Pacific Environmental Science Centre. The leap from working in a lab to interacting with the public wasn’t so far-fetched: "I was curious to learn what it was like from the other side.” Now, instead of testing environmental samples, she educates Canadians about new environmental regulations. Two years later, Celia continues to enjoy her work as a compliance promotion scientist. "Everybody is passionate about the environment, so it’s a good place to work.” Much of Celia’s day is spent at her desk reviewing proposed environmental regulations or controls, researching ways to promote existing regulations to the public, or answering citizens’ concerns over the phone. She enjoys this interaction with the public. "We are the face of the government that people see, so we get a chance to portray government in a nice light.” And when people associate her job with that of an enforcement officer, as often happens, Celia is quick to correct them. "We’re the good guys. Come and talk to us. If you have any questions, we’re who you should come to.” Dealing with the public on a daily basis can be challenging, but Celia points out: "Sometimes you get the odd person who’s angry at the government in general. Just getting through that to answer their question can be very difficult.” Despite this, Celia enjoys her responsibilities of environmental compliance promotion. "I work with a lot of people who are always trying to make a difference and that’s always inspiring.”