RSI Expert-Anne Wiles

Anne Wiles

Senior Analyst


Joined RSI in 2008

Personal introduction

I came to RSI through my interests in public and institutional attitudes to risk and complex technologies. With a couple of degrees in English literature, I had an interest in language, and spent some time as a writer and editor in several federal government departments. However I became interested in the different ways in which people interpret events, and scientific explanations for them, and turned to studying these issues through the discipline of human geography. My academic work focussed on risk perception and communication, and on regulation, through research on the different public and government approaches to nuclear power and genetically modified foods; I was able to combine this research with work with the Nuclear Fuel Waste Management and Disposal Concept Review, focussing on perceptual and ethical considerations. With my dual background in language and risk matters, I became more involved in risk communication, working with Health Canada's Radiation Protection Bureau drafting risk communication material for its Federal Nuclear Emergency Preparedness section. My interest in the way risk concepts and attitudes are negotiated, applied and communicated in society and government led me to work with RSI on risk management practice.

Current Focus

For her work at RSI, Anne has built on her previous experience and academic research through work on communication on nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal; developing communication strategies and messaging on health risk issues; and delivering training on risk communication. She has also applied her familiarity with risk regulation in many projects on government approaches to evaluating and managing risks, taking account of their mandates and the context in which they manage risks. She brings this experience to bear in her teaching of two university courses, an overview course on risk as it is conceived and managed in today's society, and a graduate course on risk management in government.

Works and Accomplishments

"Publications: Wiles, Anne, Judie Leach-Bennett and Dana Devine, 2018. Assessing the Threat: Public Concern. 2018. In Blood Safety: A Guide to Monitoring and Responding to Potential New Threats, Hua Shan and Roger Dodd (Eds). Springer.

Papers in refereed Journals: Calvin Willhite, Nataliya A. Karyakina, Anne Wiles, Nagarajkuma Yenegadhati, Franco Momoli, Thomas Wisniewski and Daniel Krwski, 2019. Overview of Potential Aluminum Health Risks. Encyclopedia of Environmental Health March 28."

Case studies associated with Anne Wiles

Alysena pill pack

Alysena Recall

The review involved an analysis of the events and processes that led to public criticism of Health Canada’s handling of the drug company’s recall of a contraceptive drug due to packaging errors.  The evaluation consisted of several components. First, a review and analysis were conducted of the regulatory and procedural basis of the department’s roles…

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RSI studies health risks of smoke

Communicating health risks of smoke

Environment and Climate Change Canada, with Health Canada, wanted to understand perceptions of the health risks from smoke from wildfires and from residential burning (winter heating using wood stoves, and fireplaces), and public health communication approaches and messages used in these contexts. This information would support revisions of the health messages used in the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). The AQHI expresses the health risk associated with three common urban air pollutants, and is calculated at monitoring stations in communities across Canada to inform the public of the risk level of current local air quality conditions.

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RSI has worked extensively with nuclear authorities

Nuclear Power Reactor Licensing

RSI was tasked with providing scientific advice and content for a nuclear power reactor licensing process in an OECD country. The nuclear safety commission in question regulates and licenses all nuclear reactors in the country, and requires a full scope of technical information for licensing processes. This commission also expects that these documents are written…

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Anne Wiles: Extra-curricular

I am a lover of outdoor activities, which I pursue in the Gatineau hills where I live. I cross-country ski on the Gatineau Park trails all winter; in the other seasons I hike, run, walk and mountain bike on those same trails, and explore the Gatineau River in a kayak or on a paddle-board. In the spring and summer an additional joy is to recognize the many wildflowers and birds that live in the area. Closer to home, I try to adapt my previous gardening experience to growing flowers and vegetables on a rocky hillside. When I have to be inside I try to keep up with too many online publications, and relax with books and book-talk with book club friends.