From April 24th to 26th RadonAware will join with dozens of radon professionals in Montreal, Quebec to “Connect and Educate” at the Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST) 5th Annual Radon Conference. The BC Lung Association’s RadonAware Manager Britt Swoveland recently sat down with Pam Warkentin, Executive Director of C-NRPP and Executive Assistant to CARST to discuss this year’s conference and the CARST’s long-term vision.
Britt: This year’s theme for the CARST Conference is “Connect and Educate.” How does the conference support this theme?
Pam: People will be coming to the conference from all across Canada, so we have a very full schedule planned! The first day is focused on continuing education. With sessions on Emerging Technologies and Advanced Diagnostics, we aim to provide opportunities for learning that is relevant to today’s radon professional and an opportunity to hear about new products that are being developed for the radon industry. Of course, we have a host of amazing presenters from across Canada that will share their latest research findings and projects, such as the City of Guelph’s Radon Mitigation Program – the first of its kind in Canada. We’ve also planned some fun social events to get people talking, and collaborating!
Britt: I see on the agenda that one of the morning sessions is focused on developing radon policy. Is this a new topic to the conference, and what do you hope to achieve in this session?
Pam: Each year, we have tried to provide a workshop that participants can take away some initiatives and contacts within their region to advance the work of radon awareness in the coming year. Recently the Canadian Environmental Law Association sent a Radon Policy Challenge to all provincial health ministries. During the presentations we’ll get an update from Kathleen Cooper on this initiative and the responses she received from the provincial ministers and then break into groups to provide representatives from each province with an opportunity to talk about the various radon policies they would like to see developed. Kathleen Cooper will provide a policy framework and worksheet for the groups to work with during their discussions. We see that provinces across Canada are in a great position for policy changes in the coming year and so it’s a very timely topic and I think this will be a great opportunity for participants to provide input into those changes.
Britt: As a national organization where do you see the radon profession in Canada heading, and how will CARST continue to raise awareness of this serious health risk?
Pam: CARST’s partnership with Health Canada in developing C-NRPP (Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program) is part of our vision to develop a highly trained sector of national radon professionals that can support the various building sectors towards the goal of ensuring every home and building in Canada is safe from high levels of radon. We need to continue to provide tools for professionals and high level training opportunities, but we also see that there is a great need for more awareness of radon across Canada and so CARST is determined to work on this through events where people can learn and share ideas, through cross-sector partnerships, and where Canadians have an opportunity to hear about radon and understand why it’s important to test and reduce their exposure levels.
Britt: Thanks so much, Pam for taking the time to sit down with RadonAware! We look forward to attending the CARST Conference April 24th – 26th in Montreal and the opportunity to “Connect and Educate” with radon professionals across Canada.
Britt Swoveland is the BC Lung Association’s RadonAware Program Manager. She regularly blogs about the program’s partnerships, community projects, and research studies. Visit radonaware.ca to stay-up-to-date on the program’s activities and to learn more about radon testing and mitigation.