Environment Canada Awards to MSC - 2009

(photos - best possible quality)

Citation of Excellence to the ECollab Team, Chief Information Officer Branch

l to r:  Andrew Treusch (Associate Deputy Minister), George Georgopoulos, Olena Koursa, John Whalen, Carol Fetterly, Ian Shugart (Deputy Minister), Farshad Monem.

Missing: Jacques Lacroix.


The ECollab team has given the department a true gift - a collaborative tool that will help employees across the country as they work together on a variety of projects. The team built and implemented an electronic document management and collaboration solution based on the new version of Microsoft SharePoint technology.

The team went to great lengths to ensure that quality was built into the solution at the outset rather than applied after the fact. The ECollab team exceeded their defined goals by developing a solution that is more comprehensive than originally envisioned and of such high quality that the ECollab solution is now a foundation piece for the future of Information Management at EC.

Throughout this multi-year initiative, the small project team also had to support the day-to-day operations of existing infrastructure which was quite beyond the scope of the ECollab initiative. This represented additional unplanned workload which they fulfilled with integrity, equity and respect in their daily actions and decisions. While in effect performing two jobs, the team members were often called upon to make personal time sacrifices on short notice and did so without hesitation.

The team has consistently produced high quality work at the enterprise level and has done so while serving public interest and demonstrating integrity, equity and respect in their daily actions and decisions. As a testament to the quality of this work, the ECollab framework is being considered for use in other government departments. It is highly appropriate that this team be awarded a Citation of Excellence Award for providing a solution that will serve multiple groups and employees throughout Environment Canada.

The Canadian Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice Forecast System Team

Geoff Howell Citation of Excellence.

l to r:  Hal Ritchie, François Roy, Pierre Pellerin, Serge Desjardins, Michel Desgagné, Manon Faucher, Denis Lefaivre, Ian Shugart (Deputy Minister), Andrew Treusch (Associate Deputy Minister). 

Missing:  Djamel Bouhemhem and Sophie Valcke.


Marine safety and enhanced ship routes on the Gulf of St. Lawrence have greatly benefited from a recent innovation of the Canadian Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice Forecast System Team. They have created a fully coupled numerical atmospheric, ocean and sea ice model to significantly improve sea ice forecast capacity; a major step forward for Environment Canada.

The greatest benefit of this coupled system is related to predicting the formation and location of snow-streamers and snow squalls during the winter months in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and neighbouring landmasses. It is also of benefit in the summer due to better representation of sea surface temperatures and moisture flux. This system is unique in Canada and is world leading.

The benefits of this forecast system are already quite impressive. The Coast Guard uses the atmosphere and ice forecasts to plan ship routes well in advance. The system is already having a strong impact on the quality of warnings and the planning of search and rescue missions in coastal regions.

This team has made valuable, innovative and significant contributions to the excellence of Environment Canada's environmental predictive capabilities.

Program Activity Architecture & Performance Measurement Corporate Team

Citation of Excellence

In the photo:  Gordon Clifford, Mark Cuddy, David Henley, John Kenney, Christian Langlois, Craig Larlee, Marie Schingh, Pierre Tourigny, Ian Shugart (Deputy Minister).


The Program Activity Architecture and Performance Measurement Corporate Team are responsible for the mandatory reporting tools that the Treasury Board requires of all departments and agencies. Overhauling these management tools has been a major undertaking and an extraordinary amount of work has taken place in a very short time. Noteworthy progress has been made over the past several months as a direct result of this team's hard work.

The team was instrumental in creating simplified and measurable performance indicators that will considerably improve Environment Canada's ability to manage and govern its programs, make sound decisions, and allocate its resources more effectively.

Creating tools that meet the needs of program managers, the Executive Management Committee and the Treasury Board Secretariat has not been an easy task. The team has consistently collaborated with stakeholders and consulted widely to ensure broad support for proposals and that the best possible products were put in front of departmental and central agency decision-makers.

The high-quality work of this team will positively impact the Department's ability to effectively govern, manage, plan, report, allocate resources and communicate with central agencies, Parliamentarians and Canadians.

Nancy B. Cutler Citation of Excellence:  Women in Science and Technology

Andrew Treusch (Associate Deputy Minister), Marie Falla, Ian Shugart (Deputy Minister).


Many improvements and innovations in severe weather warning and forecasts to protect the health and safety of citizens are thanks to Marie Falla. With over 20 years experience in the development of scientific software systems, Ms. Falla is considered by her peers as a long-standing leader in this domain.

Since early on in her career, Ms. Falla's innovations have continually contributed to the goals and mandate of Environment Canada. Her unique combination of expertise in information technology and scientific domains, along with strong interpersonal skills has led to the success of so many projects she has touched, including her significant contribution of single handedly designing and implementing the operational multi-radar Doppler software.

Most recently, as Canadian lead of the Ninjo forecaster workstation project, Ms. Falla has excelled in managing virtual teams across 10 time zones. Her guidance and leadership in fostering innovation enabled her team to be early adopters of emerging technologies in the development of the next-generation radar visualization and analysis tools for severe weather operational forecasting. In leading the Canadian team, Ms. Falla recognized and fostered the talents of new developers and sought innovative ways to accommodate personal and family related needs. Her approach was highly successful and enabled the virtual team to work effectively from wherever they live.
Ms. Falla is highly respected by her team, clients, users and peers at the national and international level for her leadership and expertise in the radar science and IT domains. Constantly under tight deadlines, she still dedicates much of her time to mentoring and training new developers in how to relate complex science with information technology.

Through her exemplary work, leadership and client services, the Canadian operational weather forecasting program has significantly benefited from her innovations in quality software systems. Based on Ms. Falla's outstanding achievement in the area of the application of science to information technology resulting in improved service to Canadians, she is honoured with the Nancy Cutler Citation of Excellence: Women in Science and Technology.

Citation of Excellence for Leadership in Providing Information Technology Solutions to MSC

Andrew Treusch (Associate Deputy Minister), Paul van Rijn, Ian Shugart (Deputy Minister).


Mr. Paul Van Rijn has over 25 years experience in providing innovative IT solutions to the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC). Paul demonstrates outstanding leadership by motivating, encouraging and fostering innovation in peers and employees in the delivery of modern and cost-effective information technology solutions.

He is well regarded for posing unique concepts through engaging and guiding his team to work together in developing optimal and innovative solutions. Mr. Van Rijn gives his team the latitude to think-out of the box, explore new ideas and ways of working toward their goals. He has also demonstrated positive mentoring as witnessed by the crop of new leaders developing in his organization.

As one example of his numerous innovations, the team under Mr. Van Rijn's guidance has made the weather office web site the most popular site in Canada. The web site has grown to receive 43% of all Government of Canada web traffic. Thanks to Mr. Van Rijn's leadership, the team is now self-directing and continues to provide improvements to the web site services of real-time forecasts and weather warning information.

He is a true leader in innovation through the ideas he cultivates on all of the projects he takes on, while always striving to improve team dynamics. For his leadership and contribution to inspiring a motivated workforce and future generation of leaders, Paul Van Rijn is a leader worthy of a Citation of Excellence.

Other Citations of Excellence (no photos)

to: Walter Strapp, Science and Technology Branch, Ontario Region (Atmospheric Science  & Technology Division, S&T Branch)
for leading the development of the Environmental Research Aircraft Facility (ERAF) for the past 20 years.

to: Michel Valin, Chief Information Officer Branch, Quebec Region
for leading the department in supercomputing and supercomputers, along with many other outstanding contributions to science and technology.

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