Karen Dodds retired in 2016 after a 32-year career in the public service. She built on her basic background in science research, developing expertise in regulation, legislation, operations, and policy. Karen retired as Assistant Deputy Minister, Science & Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada. That branch was responsible for research and monitoring in the areas of water quality, ecosystem health, air quality, wildlife, biodiversity, climate, as well as risk assessments and regulatory activities on chemicals. The Branch had over 1400 employees, and an annual budget of about $200M. Before that, at Health Canada, she was ADM, Strategic Policy Branch, Executive Director of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Products and Food Branch, and Director General Food Directorate. She started her career as a scientist, first at the National Research Council, then at Health Canada.
Karen is experienced in working with many sectors, including health, public health, industry, agriculture, consumers and environmental interest groups at the national, provincial, and international levels and with Canadian Indigenous people. Karen played key roles in developing long-term environmental monitoring of oil sands development, international coordination during the 2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic, bringing into force a new act for pesticides, as well as a number of related regulatory packages, Canada’s response to its first domestic case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease), and comprehensive regulations for Nutrition Labelling of foods.
Karen served on a number of national and international bodies and boards, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, Boards for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Canada Health Infoway, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Advanced Food Materials Network and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s Institute for Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.
Karen currently chairs the Board of Directors of MEOPAR, a tri-council-funded Network of Centres of Excellence hosted at Dalhousie University. She also serves on the Council of NSERC and on the board of the Ottawa Heart Research Institute. She has worked with, and supported, the IOG in a number of science and science-policy initiatives.