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The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada > News & Events > Communications Magazine > Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn 2010 > Public Science - Science that Protects You
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Public Science - Science that Protects You

Public Science masthead

On the heels of its successful Science Policy Symposium in May, the Institute kicked off a public campaign on October 18, 2010 with the launch of a new website, Publicscience.ca.

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This new online information and action centre shines a spotlight on the work of professionals who conduct science for the public good, experts who understand the critical importance of this work, and Canadians whose lives have been touched by public science. The website features short interviews with 11 government researchers, from a specialist on nuclear safety, to a fish-stock biologist, to a forensic document examiner, and testimonials from Canadians. Also featured is broadcaster and environmentalist David Suzuki, extolling the importance of science done not to promote the bottom line but for the public good.

Publicscience.ca is part of a broader campaign to underline the importance of independent, non-partisan work performed by government professionals for the public good. The campaign aims to mobilize these professionals and the public to press politicians to make a clear commitment to policies that support public science and counteract the recent government trend away from evidence-based policy making.

PublicScience.ca

These professionals work hard to protect Canadians, preserve their environment and ensure Canada’s prosperity, but they face dwindling resources and confusing policy decisions. The recent decision to end the mandatory long form census is the latest step in a worrying trend away from evidence-based policy making. Restrictive rules are curtailing media and public access to scientists, while cutbacks to research and monitoring limit Canada’s ability to deal with serious threats and potential opportunities.

The new website gives the Institute’s 23,000 scientists, engineers, researchers and regulators another vehicle to communicate the importance of their work. These scientists and regulators monitor nuclear safety, issue weather forecasts and storm warnings our communities depend on, ensure the safety of different modes of transportation, and respond to critical emergencies that threaten lives and the environment. Their research contributes to solutions to global problems such as climate change, pandemics, sustainable development and feeding a hungry planet.

Institute members are proud of the work they do as independent and non-partisan professionals and the website will help tell their stories. Their work impacts the daily lives of Canadians. They inspect and approve the food we eat, the toys and products we use, and the vaccines and medications we depend on. This is science that is not being done, and cannot be done, by industry or by universities. Public scientists and researchers use their skills and expertise to benefit all Canadians. Their job is to work in the public interest as independent experts protecting the health and welfare of Canadians and their communities.

Publicscience.ca opens up the world of science for the public good. It will bring the public’s attention to research that may change their lives, save their lives, or at least impact public policy. The website advocates for support for the science that touches the daily lives of Canadians in so many important ways.

The broader public science campaign will include events and interventions on key science policy issues and a lobby of Members of Parliament to support a “Science for the Public Good” platform, including an online petition. The website will continue to add examples of public science work and testimony from the public and experts on the importance of science for the public good, as well as other features. Please direct questions, comments and suggestions to contact@publicscience.ca.