Nimonik Inc. (Quebec)

Speeding up data collection to aid in regulatory compliance

Shizrah standing in front of large windows.

Science Horizons intern Shizrah Hasnain. Photo credit: Shizrah Hasnain.

As an intern, Shizrah Hasnain discovered a way to speed up data collection at Montreal-based Nimonik Inc. The software company, launched in 2005, helps companies comply with standards, laws and regulations in many different jurisdictions. Up-to-date data collection is key to its mission.

“The need for efficiency is really driven in the private sector because everything is about the bottom line,” says Hasnain. “Wherever you can save time is a benefit to yourself and the company.”

The regulatory compliance company’s clients are from different sectors, including automotive, mining, banking, consulting and government. It also has an office in Shanghai, China.

Hasnain interned at Nimonik as an Environment, Health and Safety Analyst responsible for checking provincial regulatory changes that could affect the company’s clients. When she found new, revised or repealed regulations, she prepared short advisories and updated the company’s database. Clients were notified of relevant changes.

Now working as a policy analyst for the federal government, her salary was subsidized through an ECO Canada Science Horizons Youth Internship financed by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Sara Lipson, Nimonik’s Vice President of Content, says that Hasnain’s data collection methods remain in place. “Shizrah took her knowledge and empowered other people on her team make similar adaptations so she magnified the effect of what she did,” Lipson says.

Shizrah is in a helicopter flying over a forest.

Science Horizons intern Shizrah Hasnain. Photo credit: Shizrah Hasnain.

Hasnain learned to write more succinctly when she worked at Nimonik and finds this useful now. She writes briefing notes for the Strategic Policy Division of the Canadian Border Services Agency’s regulatory affairs unit.

Born in Pakistan, Hasnain moved to Canada when she was five. She was raised in Thornhill, Ontario, has a B.Sc. in Biology from York University and a Master of Environmental Management from the University of New Brunswick. Science was a big part of her home life because her mother has a bachelor in psychology and her father a doctorate in engineering. Her family is goal and career oriented, she says.

Not only did her father help her understand math and sciences at school, he inspired her by his motivation. “Seeing his struggle to make it in a new country was very encouraging to me,“ she says. “The fact that he was always so motivated propelled me to be motivated too.”

Hasnain decided to pursue environmental management rather than pure sciences because she wanted to see real-life applications of science. “One of the limitations of science is that researchers get can stuck in their own worlds doing research,” she says. “I wanted to be in a career that applied those findings to the real world.”

Lipson says Nimonik seeks people who are detail-oriented, with good technical and research skills. Backgrounds in environmental studies and engineering are valuable. When employees understand the intent of legislative changes they are better equipped to advise clients, she says.

Over the past five years, Nimonik has hired 10 interns with the support of federal internship programs. “The funding is excellent, the support is good and the application process is much simpler than other subsidies we apply for,” says Lipson, adding that the wage subsidies have helped the company grow.

She says the program helps organizations hire and train young people and allows them to learn and grow with the company until they are knowledgeable, productive and contributing.

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