Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate (ERHSD)

The Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate (ERHSD) is a science-oriented directorate of the Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch of Health Canada which brings together environmental health and radiation regulation, health research and surveillance, chemical surveillance and monitoring, and science policy.

What We Do

ERHSD conducts a wide range of activities that anticipate, mitigate and assist in the reduction of risks to human health from environmental factors, chemicals, and exposure to radiation sources.  Our work spans the continuum of:

  • surveillance;
  • hazard and risk identification;
  • assessment and management;
  • research;
  • epidemiological investigations and emergency planning;
  • policy co-ordination; and
  • administration of the Radiation Emitting Devices Act and regulations.

How We Do It

Director General's Office (DGO)

The Director General's Office provides oversight and management for the work of the directorate. The DGO works closely with the directors of each bureau and the Science Secretariat, chairs the Directorate Management Committee and leads the Directorates strategic plan.

Office of Management Services (OMS)

The OMS works in collaboration with the DGO, the bureaux and the Science Secretariat to maintain directorate level oversight of finance, HR and other administrative issues. Also, OMS leads on directorate level performance measurement, planning, reporting and evaluations.

Science Secretariat

The Science Secretariat provides science policy advice and support to ERHSD, and represents the directorate on various branch committees and projects. The Secretariat works with ERHSD and other directorates in HECS to support a strengthened science-policy culture through knowledge translation,
knowledge transfer and communications. In addition, the Science Secretariat manages horizontal science policy issues across the branch and integrates and coordinates HECS input, perspectives and priorities into departmental science committees and corporate science initiatives.

Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau (EHSRB)

The Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau works to reduce the negative impacts of environmental exposures on the health of Canadians, including those who constitute vulnerable populations, through research, surveillance, monitoring, epidemiological investigations, and emergency planning.

EHSRB generates knowledge in support of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) and Clean Air Agenda along the environmental health research continuum, from exposure to human disease, by conducting exposure and hazard identification and assessments, mechanistic studies, and human population studies. EHSRB provides biostatistics support and training to ensure the quality and accurate analysis of research data for ERHSD and the other HECS Directorates. EHSRB also houses the Chemical Emergency Preparedness Response Unit, whose responsibilities include co-ordinating Health Canada's response to chemical emergencies and co-ordinating scientific expertise during emergency response.

Chemicals Surveillance Bureau (CSB)

The Chemicals Surveillance Bureau is responsible for delivering the biomonitoring component of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) and providing overall co-ordination of the CMP monitoring and surveillance program. This work involves leading and co-ordinating the development, collection, interpretation and reporting of bio-monitoring and other environmental monitoring data in order to obtain better exposure information regarding Canadians, protect health and inform policies. 

The CSB is responsible for the delivery of national biomonitoring initiatives, such as the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS), as well as management of Chemicals Management Plan Monitoring and Surveillance initiatives.

The CSB is also responsible for the HECS contribution to the human health components of initiatives such as the Northern Contaminants Program (NCP), the circumpolar Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

Radiation Protection Bureau (RPB)

The Radiation Protection Bureau is responsible for promoting and protecting Canadians' health with respect to the risks posed by exposure to natural and man-made sources of ionizing radiation in living, working and recreational environments. RPB is also Canada's national centre of excellence for environmental radiation protection and occupational radiation dosimetry, and conducts research on exposure trends and health outcomes of occupational exposures to radiation. RPB coordinates Canada's preparedness for nuclear emergencies and leads the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan in the event of a nuclear threat, terrorist threat, or a related disaster that could affect Canada.

The RPB provides leadership, responsive services and medical and technical advice to Canadians, based on its research, assessment and management of the health effects of radionuclides. It leads public health initiatives such as Canada's Radon Strategy, provides surveillance networks that monitor radiation levels around critical infrastructure, and operates the National Dosimetry Service and National Dose Registry - the single largest, most comprehensive national database of occupational exposure data available globally.

Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau (CCRPB)

The Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau is responsible for the administration of the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, which addresses radiation safety issues for X-ray and non-ionizing radiation devices. The Act covers devices used in consumer and industrial applications, as well as medical devices.

CCRPB assesses, monitors and assists in the reduction of the health and safety risks associated with radiation exposure from devices, undertakes research into the biological effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, develops guidelines, standards and safety codes, provides radiation safety inspections of federally-regulated facilities containing radiation-emitting devices, and provides advice on potential health impacts of sources of environmental noise. The Bureau also provides radiation protection and safety advice to other federal departments, such as Industry Canada, Transport Canada, Solicitor General, the Labour Programme of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, etc., in support of their mandated activities.

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