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Public Health Inspector

Public health inspectors are vital members of New Brunswick’s health system. Public health inspectors work to promote and protect environmental public health through education, inspection, monitoring, and enforcement in order to prevent injury, illness, disease, and premature death. They do this by evaluating and monitoring health hazards and developing strategies to control risks posed to the health of the public. They make sure provincial regulations regarding health hazards, food safety, safe recreational water, safe drinking water, on-site sewage disposal systems, indoor air quality, built environments, and smoke-free places are being followed. They also educate the public on topics of environmental health such as radon, asbestos, and lead.

A main component of this career is to routinely inspect food preparation operations of restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities – that’s why health inspectors must have strong interpersonal, communication, and observational skills in order to evaluate safety hazards and risks. Many health inspectors find their career through a passionate concern for the health and well-being of their community. They must also read, interpret, and apply government legislation.

Personal characteristics and skills

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong observational skills with the ability to give attention to detail
  • Capacity for independent critical thinking and decision-making
  • Concern for the health and well-being of the community
  • Ability to read, interpret, and apply government legislation
  • Evaluate safety hazards and mitigate risks

Public health Inspectors in New Brunswick have a variety of important roles, including but not limited to:

  • Routinely inspecting food preparation operations of public facilities or institutions
  • Advising on drinking water and recreational water quality
  • Inspecting on-site sewage disposal systems
  • Inspecting personal services establishments, such as tattoo parlors, indoor tanning facilities, hair and aesthetic salons, etc.
  • Investigating health hazard complaints and outbreaks of food or waterborne diseases
  • Investigating incidences of animal bites
  • Collecting samples of water or food for analysis
  • Inspecting and monitoring small drinking water systems
  • Participating in emergency management and response such as boil water advisories, flood recovery, shelters, pandemic response
  • Developing, implementing, and evaluating health programs and strategies
  • Responding to complaints and investigating establishments
  • Providing consultation and training to the general public and various stakeholders on issues or programs of environmental public health
  • Advising infection control practices in facilities to prevent disease transmission

Public health inspectors generally work standard business hours, depending on their place of employment. They typically split their work between the office and field work, the latter of which generally consists of site inspection and investigation.

Public health inspectors work in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Government departments and agencies
  • Sewage and water treatment plants
  • Environmental and pollution control departments
  • Agencies interested in industrial health and hygiene or food sanitation
  • Solid waste management agencies
  • Private sector

Health Inspectors must have a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences (Public Health), Environmental Health. Students with a science degree may be eligible to enter fast track programs. They are also required to be certified with the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI). To be eligible to sit the examination to obtain the Certificate in Public Health Inspection (Canada), every candidate must satisfy the educational requirements set by the Board of Certification and complete a twelve-week minimum practicum in the basic inspection programs. Candidates must also pass the BOC certification exam.

While a bachelor’s degree in Public Health is not available in New Brunswick, a two-year Environmental Technology program preparing students to pursue further studies in Health Science is offered: