Position profile: Air Management Planner

Learn more about the position in the job posting.

  • Job Title: Air Management Planner
  • Work Unit: Policy and Planning Division / Planning Branch / Regional Planning Section
  • Ministry: Alberta Environment and Parks
  • Competition Number: 1054302
  • Closing Date: April 11, 2019

Purpose

This is a professional position reporting to the Planning Lead North. Under the direction of the Planning Lead, the Air Management Planner supports the overall implementation of the Land-use Framework. A key responsibility is to ensure that Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) input is successfully delivered and integrated into the regional plans. The incumbent provides environmental input to the development, implementation and renewal of regional plans related to air quality management, including working to establish integrated outcomes, objectives and management actions aligned and integrated across environmental media and with socio-economic pillars. The Air Management Planner leads the development of air management frameworks, working to, in time, establish frameworks that are integrated across media and directly applicable on the land base. The incumbent ensures that the management frameworks reflect existing and emergent policies, are developed using scientifically-credible approaches, incorporate economic and social considerations, adhere to engineering principles, and are practical to implement given current air management technology at industrial and commercial facilities. The air management community is small and this position must provide overall air quality management leadership in relation to regional plans and development & implementation of air management frameworks. Significant collaboration is needed with colleagues in both AEP, and with the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Also included in the Air Management Planner role is the provision of strategic advice in relation to policy alignment, including emergent environmental policies and the policy initiatives of the Framework. The incumbent will provide advice to department and government on alignment of provincial policies and work to address significant environment-related policy gaps or conflicts identified in the development or implementation of regional plans. As necessary, this also includes working with the Land Use Secretariat to provide any department input regarding "provincial policy gaps and areas of provincial interest" as listed in the Land-use Framework.

The Air Management Planner is expected to maintain strategic and effective relationships across the department and Government of Alberta to ensure the Ministry's input to plan development, implementation and renewal is most effective and strategic and that policy alignment occurs. Air management frameworks are a new tool, and non-point source emissions management is an emerging and complex area in relation to new air management frameworks and how to address these emissions which can come from a variety of sources, and accordingly require strong collaborative approaches across multiple agencies of government (provincial, municipal) and stakeholder groups - industry, communities, agriculture sector, and Indigenous peoples. There is extensive engagement with stakeholder groups (e.g. airshed organizations, etc.), energy industry representatives, academia, federal government and partner agencies to ensure the most contemporary and effectives strategies and actions are developed. The planner will work with other specialists in the branch and support the Planning Lead to ensure an integrated approach to development of strategies. The incumbent will also develop effective relationships with others in AEP, the Alberta Energy Regulator, other departments and other regulatory agencies. This includes working closely with the teams within the branch and colleagues from the Policy and Planning, Operations, Environmental Monitoring and Science, Strategy and Corporate Divisions to effectively transition from development to implementation of the regional plans.

Responsibilities and Activities

The position aims to provide air management expertise to ensure the department's participation in and input to the development, implementation and renewal of regional plans, ensuring strategic opportunities are realized, socio-economic and environmental considerations are integrated, and policies and outcomes are aligned.


1. Environmental input to regional plan development, implementation and renewal includes regional and/or sub-regional air quality management outcomes.
Major activities include:
  • Coordinate air-related input to regional plan development and renewal. Integrate air management objectives with other media and with socio-economic considerations to ensure regional plans take a cumulative effects approach to assessing and managing the impacts of development on air, land, water and biodiversity.
  • Coordinate and provide the department's input to regional plan products, including terms of reference, profile of the region and plan regulations. Ensure provincial and federal environmental policies and standards (existing or new) are communicated clearly, and, as necessary, applied in the development and renewal of regional plans.
  • Coordinate implementation of air management aspects of regional plans. Identify departmental priorities, and coordinate tracking and reporting of departmental implementation progress regarding air management across Divisions and ministries.
  • Represent Alberta Environment and Parks on cross-ministry Regional Planning Task Teams and provide support to Regional Advisory Councils for each plan, as necessary. Represent Alberta Environment and Parks on cross-ministry committees regarding plan implementation.
  • Apply and adapt assessment, planning and management processes and tools from one region to the next to best manage cumulative effects (e.g., comparable methodologies used to establish regional air quality limits).
2. Working in partnership with stakeholders and other regulatory agencies, regional and sub-regional air quality management frameworks are developed and implemented in support of regional plans, setting future-focused, place-based air quality outcomes, objectives, management actions and performance measures.
Major activities include:
  • Lead the development of regional air management frameworks and provide input to other frameworks (soil acidification, water, biodiversity), collaborating to ensure perspectives from across Policy and Planning, Operations, Strategy, Environmental Monitoring and Science and Corporate divisions are included. The Air Management Planner works with the Cumulative Effects Assessment section team and with the Air Policy Branch to ensure the scientific contributions to development of the framework are provided.
  • Ensure stakeholders (other ministries, other governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous and multi-stakeholder groups) are engaged in the development of air and ecosystem management frameworks and their relation to regional plan drafting, as well as involved in management framework implementation. In particular this position must take a leadership role in integrating the Alberta Energy Regulator's interests into air quality frameworks.
  • Work closely with industry, municipal engineers, and industrial approvals specialists in AEP and AER to ensure thresholds and management responses are practical given current best available technology and air quality management principles and techniques.
  • Support the implementation of air and other environmental management frameworks, including coordinating tracking, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of progress as well as supporting design and application of regulatory and non-regulatory delivery tools.
  • Ensure consistent and defensible approaches are taken in the development of air quality and ecosystem outcomes. This includes identifying the need to develop new approaches and expanding, as necessary, regional cumulative effects management tools (e.g., beyond management frameworks).
3. Lead Management Response Action Plan in relation to Air Quality Management Frameworks in Regional Plans.
Major activities include:
  • Based on annual air quality monitoring reports, provided by the Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD), develop action plan for responding to exceedances of trigger levels or limits in accordance with regional plan regulations. This position will work closely with the Cumulative Effects Assessment section and Operations division to assess the severity of the trends being presented in terms of appropriate management responses.
  • Initiate meetings and development of key actions with appropriate parties - most likely AEP Operations, AER approvals staff, municipal staff, and pertinent industry facility operators.
  • Meets with industry officials to influence strategies for industries to improve their environmental performance.
  • Communicate action plan and steps to key decision-makers - Regional Operations Executive Director, Planning Branch Executive Director, Assistant Deputy Minister, Deputy Minister, and Minister's office. Work with Operations division on public reporting.
  • Development of protocol with EAP Operations approvals staff, and AER approvals staff for consideration of air framework information in approvals.
4. Land-use Framework strategies and policy initiatives are developed and implemented in alignment with emergent air management policies and approaches, and vice versa.
Major activities include:
  • Provide air expertise and support to the department and government to align provincial policies and address environment-related policy gaps or conflicts identified in the development of regional plans. Provide advice to department and government on alignment and development of policies, approaches and tools for cumulative effects management.
  • Work to ensure congruence between the Land-use Framework policies and emergent provincial and federal air management strategies and policies.
  • Work, as necessary, with the Land Use Secretariat and cross-ministry partners to provide department input regarding "provincial policy gaps and areas of provincial interest" as listed in the Land-use Framework. This may include representing the department on cross-ministry policy committees, and working with policy specialists to ensure air-related policy gaps or conflicts are addressed in a timely manner.
5. Support the department's strategic priorities, transition to cumulative effects management, and air quality management.
Major activities include:
  • Support air management strategy, policy and program priorities of the department.
  • Work with Regional Planning Task Teams and department colleagues to develop regular communication updates regarding cumulative effects management.
  • Participate on regional strategic assessment and other initiatives led by the Cumulative Effects Assessment Section, to ensure air quality management considerations in regional cumulative effects assessments are practical and assess key issues.
  • Prepare strategic options, briefing papers, recommendations, and perspectives relating to air management and environmental issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with implementation of the Land-use Framework for Executive, colleagues and senior cross-ministry representatives.
  • Liaise with the Communications units to ensure progress regarding cumulative effects management associated with development of regional plans is communicated and learnings are applied.

Scope

The regional plans are Cabinet-approved, outcomes-based, future-focused plans that will affect the quality of life of Albertans in all areas of the province. Activities will typically be of a high-profile nature, and must form and model the new cumulative effects management system. Alignment across environmental, social and economic pillars in developing and implementing regiaonl plans is critical to demonstrating transition to a cumulative effects management system and to ensuring the department fulfills its obligations under the framework. Furthermore, the plans are regulatory in nature and set a regulatory context within which all project-levels decisions (incluing authorizations) must be made. Some of the key areas of scope for this position include:

  • The air management framework will directly impact industry operations/activities by establishing thresholds to be met (trigger levels and limits), which will affect approvals for AER and AEP regarding terms and conditions for the release of industrial substances into the environment, that address human health and environmental impacts.
  • Impact of the work can have considerable financial consequences to the industry. Provides cost effective emission control alternatives for industry to consider.
  • The work also impacts stakeholders including other departments, environmental/community groups and the general public.

The position is further challenged as the planning envisioned by the Land-use Framework, developing policies that integrate environmental, social and economic objectives at a regional scale, is new to Alberta and new to many jurisdictions. The scope and breadth of work, infancy of cumulative effects management approaches, and the aggressive timeframes dictated by the Land Use Secretariat for development of the plans will make the ministry's input a significant challenge. The nature of the project is vast and complex. Situations are unstructured, variable and affect many sectors, media and communities. For example, this position is responsible to consider the scientific air quality management input on thresholds, and consider economic and social factors from various sources (including public consultations, industry input) and determine appropriate management thresholds - primary trigger levels - to ensure that air quality frameworks are considerate of all factors, and that frameworks are feasible to implement with current available technology.

The Air Management Planner must demonstrate original thinking, systematic approaches and significant collaboration to ensure the department is prepared to deliver and integrate quality input to the plans to ensure cumulative effects are manages and the impacts of development on air, water, land and biodiversity at a regional level are managed. An example of original thinking required is for air quality frameworks involving non-point source emissions, where the source of emissions cannot be attributed to a single source (e.g. an industrial facility). This is the situation in many regions in Alberta including South Saskatchewan and North Saskatchewan. Emissions come from facilities, urban centres (home heating, vehicles), agricultural development, and rural traffic (dust). Accordingly this position must work closely with a broad array of stakeholders producing such emissions to develop effective non-regulatory and regulatory tools to reduce emissions where they are a concern - portions of Edmonton and Calgary are live examples.

Dealing with competing and changing priorities, building the trust of staff and government partners, responding effectively and in a timely manner, and managing a range of diverse opinions are typical challenges faced. The issues managed are numerous, inter-related, and potentially cumulative. The incumbent must draw on collaboration with network of government and public partners to develop and implement regional air management objectives that address local to international concerns. It requires integrating departmental policies and direction into government-wide plans. Client and stakeholder groups, as well as their opinions, are diverse including: department Executive and senior managers and staff from all divisions; other ministries and boards (in particular the Alberta Energy Regulator); multi-stakheolder partners (air and watershed groups); municipal and federal governments; industry; non-government organizations; researchers; Indigenous peoples; and members of the public. Given the variety and diversity of actions and client groups, the incumbent requires a high degree of creativity, innovation and judgement. A mix of technical expertise to speak authoritatively on management responses, and strong facilitation is necessary to bring diverse parties together to develop innovative solutions to air quality management issues.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities


Technical Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • A university degree in related science or engineering (BSc).
  • 4 years of related experience in air management or equivalent.
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of air management and issues, air management systems, policy direction, and the regulatory environment.
  • Knowledge of air pollution science, emission control, monitoring (source and ambient) and performance measurement, and/or the impacts on human health and the environment caused by air pollution.
  • Knowledge of air pollution control technology and principles, industrial process operations and equipment, and air modelling including plume dispersion modeling.
  • Knowledge about a variety of issues related to overall environmental quality, i.e. human health, air and water quality, Indigenous peoples priorities and energy and natural resource development.
  • Skill in interpreting/applying science and engineering knowledge, and ability to integrate new information as it arises, and ability to work with others to develop creative approaches and provide recommendations for action to manage a wide variety of air issues.
  • Familiarity with the Land-use Framework and cumulative effects management systems, approaches and tools.
  • Knowledge or regional planning, airshed planning and integrated resource management.
  • General knowledge of risk assessment and environmental management processes.
  • Knowledge of development of environmental objectives, policies and regulatory alternatives to manage air, including understanding practices in other jurisdictions.
  • Understanding of policy integration (environment, economy, society).
  • Knowledge of environmental management and provincial legislation, strategies and policies (e.g., Alberta Land Stewardship Act, Clean Air Strategy, etc.), and understanding of regional issues in order to implement them within the different regions.
  • Understanding of the roles, responsibilities and programs across the Government of Alberta, other governments, and external partners and stakeholders for setting environmental policy and outcomes.
  • Knowledge of the operations of Alberta Environment and the Strategy Division, coupled with knowledge of the government's organization and direction in general, including sustainable resource and environmental management.
  • Knowledge of systems approaches, including the development of outcomes, environmental monitoring and performance measurement, as applied to air quality management.
Leadership and Project Management:
  • Strategic and lateral thinking skills to develop and encourage commitment to new approaches, work within a broadly defined conceptual framework, and manage multiple complex issues while delivering results.
  • Ability to think strategically, identify emerging issues, and develop options for resolution.
  • Ability to develop innovative approaches and adapt them to management of air in regional plans.
  • Leadership skills to motivate multi-disciplinary groups of professional (within and outside the Government) and build confidence and credibility across government, industries and communities.
  • Strong project, time and organizational management skills to effectively balance multiple demands.
  • Ability to respond to changing priorities and timelines as well as handle multiple tasks.
  • Experience in contract administration of professional service agreements, including developing project terms of reference, identifying project scope and issues, evaluating proposals, negotiation skills, and contract management.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Windows software.
Communication and Partnerships:
  • Ability to communicate technical information/concepts including standards and requirements to both technical and non-technical people.
  • Ability to establish contacts and build relations in the research and professional community to resolve scientific issues.
  • Relationship-building skills to develop and maintain collaborative working relationships within the ministry and across government to identify and understand the issues faced by partners, their decision-making processes, and preferred means of interaction.
  • Ability to integrate diverse and multi-disciplinary environmental initiatives with a wide range of stakeholders (staff and departments) who have competing interests.
  • Experience in consultation and collaboration with partners and the ability to influence, convince and motivate various stakeholders. Leadership and influencing skills to promote innovation, build consensus, and motivate others to accept and adopt innovative concepts and approaches, and strive for continual improvement.
  • Effective communication skills to effectively compile and report the regional planning progress. Ability to effectively communicate verbally and in writing with individuals at different levels of the government on various aspects of implementation progress (including financial updates, presentations to key decision-makers, etc.).
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and capable of working independently or in a multi-disciplinary team environment, as the situation requires.

Contacts


Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Other professionals in the Regional Planning Team and Planning Branch. Very close collaboration with the Cumulative Effects Assessment team members. Daily Work collaboratively to effectively deliver departmental input to implementation of the Land-use Framework. Drive linkages between regional strategic assessment and regional planning as well as linkages across environmental media (air, surface water, groundwater, land and biodiversity). This position and staff in the Cumulative Effects Assessment section work very closely in developing frameworks, and in understanding trends in data to inform appropriate management responses should thresholds be exceeded.
     
Alberta Environment & Parks managers and staff from EMSD, Strategy, Policy and Planning, Operations, Corporate Division and Communications and Environmental Law Teams. This includes staff from the Alberta Energy Regulator. Regular and ongoing Collaborate to establish department input to regional plan development, implementation and renewal, and realize strategic opportunities for the Ministry. Provide advice and direction regarding Land-use Framework implementation. Communicate progress, and coordinate works across regional plans. Foster policy alignment, filling of policy gaps, and development of various approaches and tools to assess and manage cumulative effects.
This includes working closely with air policy and governance specialists across the department to establish and work to achieve regional air management objectives and fulfill other air management priorities.
Work with AER is regarding development of management responses with exceedance to thresholds, and criteria/ guidelines for consideration of frameworks in AER decisions. Work with EMSD is focussed on understanding monitoring data.
     
Director and Executive Director As required Provide direction on specific options or guidance required.
     
Senior Ministry and Government officials, including Minister, Deputy Minister, Executive Occasional Provide advice to strategic planning and decision-making relating to Land-use Framework, regional plans, policy, and Ministry business plan goals, operations and governance processes.
     
Land-use Secretariat and representatives from other ministries (Energy, AER, Health, Culture and Tourism, Municipal Affairs, Agriculture and Forestry, Treasury Board and Finance, etc.) Regular and ongoing Develop strategies and provide advice and input regarding Land-use Framework implementation as related to air quality and cumulative effects management. Identify policy gaps and conflicts and mechanisms for alignment - in regional plans and other GoA strategies and policies.
     
Senior officials and representatives of:
  • Various cross-ministry committees
  • Federal government departments and municipal, provincial and territorial governments
  • Industry and industry association
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Indigenous groups
  • Multi-stakeholder organizations and partnerships
As required Identify and resolve complex issues regarding cumulative effects management and regional planning. Share information, communicate ministry's priorities and positions, develop partnerships and working relationships, identify opportunities for collaboration, propose strategies, encourage innovation, exchange best practices and opportunities relating to development of plans.
     

Supervision Exercised

  • n/a

The Government of Alberta is committed to a diverse and inclusive public service that reflects the population we serve to best meet the needs of Albertans. Consider joining a team where diversity, inclusion and innovation are valued and supported. For more information on diversity and inclusion, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion Policy.