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Wednesday, November 7 • 10:30am - 12:00pm
(90 min) Should regulators define their risk tolerances?: A debate

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Organized by: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Alyssa Daku

Setting risk tolerance is considered essential for governmental departments, agencies and private sector entities facing resource constraints. Without an ability to eliminate every risk, organizations must, so the argument runs, distinguish levels of risk that cannot be tolerated from those that can be. Yet, regulators with mandates to protect public health and safety have often struggled to concretely define levels of risk they would be willing to tolerate, as several reports from the Auditor General of Canada have highlighted. Establishing a specific risk tolerance sets a benchmark against which an organization’s own performance can be judged, increasing transparency and helping to make risk management more targeted and deliberate. At the same time, declaring a risk tolerance level may create legal liabilities or implicate trade obligations. Moreover, many public health risks are inherently dynamic and complex, and keeping risks to tolerable levels may become difficult as the internal and external risk environments evolve. Finally, admitting a level of risk is tolerable may clash with a public expectation that no risks to human health are tolerable.

In light of these difficulties, risk tolerances are often left vague or undefined. But should they be? Should regulators declare their tolerable levels of risk? Or are the concerns with defining risk tolerance simply too great to make defining risk tolerance worthwhile? Speaking directly to this question, the proposed debate centers on the following motion: “Be it resolved that regulators can and must set concrete, measurable risk tolerances.” Moderated by Alyssa Daku, Chief Data and Risk Executive at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the panel will bring together a diverse array of panelists from Canadian federal agencies, departments, academia and risk management consulting – who will vigorously argue for both sides of the issue.

avatar for Alyssa Daku

Alyssa Daku

Chief Data and Risk Executive, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Alyssa is a strategy and risk leader with significant experience in the health sector and other areas of government as it relates to corporate strategy, risk management, compliance and analytics. Alyssa joined the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in October 2016 to lead its... Read More →

avatar for Pierre Bilodeau

Pierre Bilodeau

Executive Director, Plant Health Science Directorate, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
In his current position, Dr. Bilodeau is responsible for plant health science leadership in protecting Canada's plant resource base. His Directorate provides a valued source of scientific knowledge, analysis, risk assessment, and advice for stakeholders to support policy making, program... Read More →
avatar for Greg Paoli

Greg Paoli

Principal Risk Scientist, COO, Risk Sciences International
Greg Paoli serves as Principal Risk Scientist and Chief Operating Officer at RiskSciences International. He has been providing advice to regulatory agencies andregulated industry in Canada, the United States and at the international level for 25years. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s... Read More →
avatar for Liane Sauer

Liane Sauer

Director General, Strategic Planning,, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Liane Sauer is the Director General (DG), Strategic Planning with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and is responsible for strategic policy, Indigenous Consultations, international, research, evaluation, and planning and performance.  Prior to this, Ms. Sauer was the DG, Corporate... Read More →
avatar for Robert Wiersma

Robert Wiersma

Manager, Public Safety Risk Management, Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Ontario
Robert Wiersma is the Manager of the Public Safety Risk Management at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in Ontario, Canada. He and his team seek to lead or conform to best practices in safety risk management and risk-informed decision making. Robert has experience understanding... Read More →

Wednesday November 7, 2018 10:30am - 12:00pm EST
Delta Hotel - Richelieu