Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

June 11, 2010 16:05 ET

Honouring Public Service Excellence: The Professional Institute Presents 2010 Gold Medal

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 11, 2010) - Gary Corbett, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), today presented the Institute's Gold Medal to Dr. Richard C. Bennett in recognition of his leadership in influencing public policy and his global vision on the importance of air quality to human health. 

Through his 30 years of work in the field of air quality management, Dr. Richard Bennett made an exceptional and lasting contribution by building one of Canada's leading air quality programs and spearheading the development of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), a tool used to communicate the risk posed by air pollution to human health.

In his remarks, Gary Corbett said, "Dr. Bennett's accomplishments serve as excellent examples of the importance of the science/policy interface the Institute promoted through its second International Science Policy Symposium in May 2010. I am especially pleased that this year's Gold Medal Award is being presented to someone whose career serves as a paradigm of how science and public policy can serve each other For the Public Good. The contribution to the public good of dedicated professionals like Dr. Bennett confirms that the public service has a unique role to play in safeguarding the well-being of Canadians." 

Dr. Bennett recognized the importance of using science to develop public health and environmental policy. He brought together air quality experts and health science professionals to develop the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). The first pilot project for the AQHI was held in British Columbia, but it was soon endorsed by the Canadian government for use across the country. This index has gained international recognition for its value in converting complex scientific data into a tool simple enough to help individuals make decisions to protect their health by limiting short-term exposure to air pollution, adjusting their activity levels during increased levels of air pollution, as well as reducing their personal contribution to air pollution. This index is of particular use to people who are sensitive to air quality because it conveys specific health messages for this group. 

Recognized internationally as an expert in air quality management, Dr. Bennett retired as head of Air Quality Analysis and Forecasting at the British Columbia Ministry of Environment in 2007. His work provided the basis for environmental standards in British Columbia, and the rest of Canada. His vision led to the development of public health and environmental policies based on science that improved the lives of people affected by them. His considerable achievements have had a significant impact in improving the quality of life of Canadians.

The Institute extends its sincere appreciation to the independent panel of judges who generously volunteered their time and expertise to make this year's Gold Medal Award program a success. "Every year, the Gold Medal Award panel of judges tell us of the challenges they face to select only one laureate, given the outstanding accomplishments of the candidates. Canada indeed has a high calibre public service worthy of public recognition," said Gary Corbett. 

The Selection Panel was composed of Dr. Vianne Timmons, President of the University of Regina, Dr. William Barker, President of the University of King's College in Halifax, and Dr. Roseann O'Reilly Runte, President of Carleton University in Ottawa.

The Professional Institute established the Gold Medal Award program in 1937 to recognize professional public service employees whose outstanding work has led to the improvement and enhancement of public well-being. The program's other objective is to promote greater awareness of the role and value of professional public services in Canada and globally. The award is presented on a yearly basis. In odd-numbered years, the award is presented for achievement in the field of pure or applied science, and in even-numbered years, it is presented for achievement in a field other than pure or applied science.

The award is a 14-carat gold medal engraved with the Institute's logo, along with a certificate acknowledging the achievement.

To be eligible for this prestigious award, nominees must be, or have been, employees of federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, regional, or aboriginal government services. To qualify for the award, candidates' work must have been performed during their tenure in the public service.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national union representing 57,000 professionals and scientists across Canada.

Contact Information

  • Laureen Allan
    Communications Officer
    613-228-6310 extension 2230 or 613-864-6700 (cell)