Transport Canada: Conquering Communication in the Public Sector

Transport Canada: Conquering Communication in the Public Sector

By: Lynn Shinto
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Working for the public sector had always been one of my interests, as I had wanted to contribute to establishing new policies that would benefit the society as a whole. Yet when I was offered a position as the Communications Assistant at Transport Canada’s Regional Headquarters in Vancouver, I was quite intimidated as the topic of transportation was something completely foreign to me. Due to my lack of understanding of the transportation industry, it honestly made me worry that I would come off as an incompetent student at the workplace. Prior to starting my first day at Transport Canada (TC), I had read everything I could find on the pipeline proposals, oil spills, and any recent news articles on transportation. However, I was to discover that working in the Communications department at Transport Canada was more than what was already out on the news.

My first week at Transport Canada consisted of a lot of reading and a lot of researching, but soon enough, my supervisors had arranged for me to do two interviews with two separate departments outside of the Regional Headquarters office in Vancouver. For my first interview, I visited the Air Cargo Security branch in Richmond and the next day I was flown out to Kelowna to accompany a site inspection for Transportation of Dangerous Goods.

Near the end of my first term, I was given the opportunity to design posters to market a new program initiated by the Government of Canada called Blueprint 2020, to improve the work environment of the public sector for public servants. The Communications department, was given the responsibility of engaging TC members to participate in Blueprint 2020 through online and print marketing, which led to my posters being shared all across the Pacific Region Transport Canada Centres (TCCs) throughout British Columbia. I was also given the opportunity to write several articles for our internal newsletter to share my experiences of my site visits and interviews. Moreover, I had the opportunity to attend a media event at YVR Airport with Christy Clark and the Chinese Consular General for the announcement of China Eastern’s Daily Double Flights (YVR to Shanghai), interview our Regional Director General, Mike Henderson on pipeline strategies used in Norway, as well as develop a Communications Plan for the annual United Way Charity Campaign that Transport Canada ran every year.

In just three short months, I had quickly learnt that Communications was vital to all the departments at Transport Canada. With the emergence of new technology, new policies and regulations constantly changing, internal communications within all our branches and external communications to the public was key to keeping all modes of transportation safe for the public. I had also learned that even if we weren’t experts on one specific topic, the main role of the Communications department was to provide clarity and transparency regarding public concerns for all departments at Transport, as well as assist with media coverage regarding transportation issues, internal communications within the departments, and promote transportation safety for all Canadians.

Though these past few months flew by extremely fast, I have been offered an extension for another co-op term here at Transport Canada and I couldn’t be more ecstatic for what’s to come. Word of advice for those seeking for co-op: choose an industry you’ve always wanted to be in for your last co-op to really make it count. Mine was the public sector and I absolutely love it. 

Posted on April 04, 2014