Careers in Public Geoscience

Canada’s geological surveys offer earth scientists the opportunity to serve the people of Canada through employment in jobs that are varied, offer tremendous opportunities for field work and research, in a unique work environment. Geological surveys require a wide range of abilities and specializations within the Earth sciences. The fundamental task is geological mapping- whether that is of bedrock, surficial deposits or geochemistry, and geoscientists with mapping backgrounds are well qualified for survey work. Expertise in geological resources- mineral deposits, oil and gas, groundwater – is also needed, and there also are opportunities for scientists with backgrounds in GIS, environmental geology, and outreach. There are opportunities for geoscientists at various levels and experience – generally for scientists running their own projects an advanced degree is preferred, although experience in industry is valued also. There are also many opportunities for B.Sc graduates.

Public geoscience offers unique advantages. It is generally research oriented, allowing long-term projects and in-depth study of geological problems. Professional development through presentation at conferences and publication of journal articles is encouraged. Projects are often field based but offer a mix between field and office based work. Governments offer stable employment with flexible working conditions and excellent benefits. There are great opportunities for career advancement, with many surveys anticipating a major turnover of staff through retirements in the next decade. Most importantly, there is an opportunity to use geoscience to directly serve the public, develop policy and to solve societal problems.

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Success stories

The CPTG Committee have been compiling success stories. Canadian Governments at the National, Provincial and Territorial levels invest in their government-funded geological surveys. The public investment in the acquisition, explanation, distribution, and stewardship of geoscience data, information and knowledge reflects the perspective that geoscience assets provided by federal, provincial and territorial governments is a public good. The geoscience knowledge is widely acknowledged to be one of Canada’s competitive advantages in attracting mineral exploration and to have contributed to Canada’s position as a leading mineral producer. In addition to investment attraction, that same geoscience knowledge is essential to inform government and non-government decisions and policy formulation related to the environment, public health and safety, development, groundwater and source-water protection, and climate change. Summarized in this new section are some examples that illustrate the value of the government investment in geological survey activity. 

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