Michel Jean: retired Director General of the Canadian Meteorological and Environmental Prediction Centre

Man wearing sunglasses and red jacket standing in the snow smiles in front of mountains and a frozen lake.
Photo: Michel Jean

“Working with the Meteorological Service of Canada inspired my motivation to make our world safer and more sustainable for our children.”

Michel Jean worked with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) for 38 years, before recently retiring from his position as Director General of the Canadian Meteorological and Environmental Prediction Centre. Over the span of his career, Michel has made many meaningful contributions to the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC), advancing both its programs and policies and contributing to the MSC’s recognition as a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre and as a World Meteorological Centre. The MSC is honoured to recognize Michel as an ECCC Emeritus Associate.

Following his long-standing love for weather prediction, Michel began his career as an operational forecaster in multiple locations across Canada upon graduating with a Bachelor of Physics from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He then went on to earn his Masters in Meteorology at McGill, launching his career as a Senior Meteorologist.
By integrating expertise from various scientific fields, Michel has succeeded in expanding the capabilities of the MSC’s weather prediction models to a wide range of applications. One of his many great accomplishments was seeing the direct impact of these efforts when the MSC was able to provide uninterrupted weather services to Canadians when the country was hit by the 1998 ice storm. Michel was also a part of the establishment of a Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, one of nine centres worldwide, as well as the establishment of the Emergency Response Group and the Air Quality Modeling Applications Group at the Canadian Meteorological Centre, among countless other achievements.

Michel Jean has been the recipient of many awards and recognitions in celebration of his initiative and dedication to meteorology. More recently, Michel was awarded the 2018 Patterson Distinguished Service Medal. The Patterson Medal is the Meteorological Service of Canada’s most prestigious medal and has been presented annually since 1954. The following year, Michel went on to receive the 2019 Jim Bruce Award which recognizes individuals and team members who have made an outstanding contribution to the Environment and Climate Change Canada's meteorological programs.

Michel Jean has served as an ambassador for the Meteorological Service of Canada at an International level on multiple occasions, furthering Canada’s influence as a leader in operational meteorological services. Throughout his time with the MSC, Michel’s greatest source of motivation stemmed from collaboration with the passionate, dedicated and innovative people he has worked with. As an ECCC Emeritus Associate, Michel will continue to share experience, knowledge and with scientists in the federal government, contributing to the future of the MSC.

Learn more about Michel’s work with the Canadian Meteorological and Environmental Prediction Centre in this short video.

Here are a few random facts about Michel:

  • What was your first job? Construction worker.
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? New Zealand.
  • What is your favourite game or sport to watch and play? Cross country skiing.
  • If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Swiss rosti.
  • What are your hobbies? Outdoor activities (sea kayaking, snowshoe, hiking, camping), home maintenance and renovation.
  • What's your favourite zoo animal? Hippos (likely being influenced by the movie Fantasia).
  • If you could share a meal with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Marie Curie.
  • What's your favourite holiday? All holidays! They all provide an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends.
  • What's your favourite movie? 2001 A Space Odyssey.
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Playing and sharing my passion for science with my grandchildren!

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