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Joanne Thompson

Vice President - North America, Canada


Joanne Thompson is a senior hydrogeologist and professional geoscientist with more than 25 years of environmental consulting experience.  She holds a BSc in Geology from McMaster University, Canada and an MSc in Petroleum Hydrogeology from the University of Alberta, Canada where she studied with József Tóth.  Joanne is currently Senior Group Leader of Development Hydrogeology with RJ Burnside & Associates Limited in Newmarket, Ontario, an established engineering and science-based consulting firm with eleven offices located in Canada, Barbados and Mozambique.

Joanne’s technical experience includes all aspects of hydrogeological assessments, aquifer characterization, groundwater supply development, groundwater and surface water characterization and monitoring, water quality assessments and contaminant transport studies.  Her current work focusses on sustainable development and urban development impact analysis, working with multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental teams to minimize the environmental ‘footprint’ of urban development in southern Ontario.  She also has unique experience with aerobic landfill technology to control greenhouse gas emissions in landfills and has published papers on these and other subjects.

Joanne is very active in the hydrogeological community and served as Director and Communications Officer for the IAH Canadian National Chapter for 19 years, producing the national newsletter and setting up and maintaining a website for the chapter.  She supported successive executives over these years to formalize the workings of the Chapter through establishing a charter, preparing and documenting functional procedures, roles and responsibilities and policies, and eventually incorporating the chapter in Canada.  Joanne was involved in organizing the 2012 Niagara Falls Congress, has attended other congresses and is a member of the Regional Groundwater Flow Commission.  Joanne is a Fellow of the International Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) programme and also serves on the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council, with a mandate to advise the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change on standards, legislation, regulations and issues to protect drinking water supplies.

Personal statement

During more than 20 years in the Canadian National Chapter of IAH and active involvement on the national executive for most of those years, I have seen tremendous growth and progress in the organization.  It has been challenging, but I feel very proud of the strong chapter we have built.  I would like to bring this experience and my passion for the association to the role of Vice President for North America.

In recent years, we have seen good synergy between the US and Canadian chapters and it is my hope that we can continue to expand the development and growth of both, with increased collaboration for regional initiatives in North America.  To represent the Region, I will try to attend meetings and maintain regular communications between the national chapters I represent, promote IAH through the newsletter, website and conference involvement, be accessible and responsive to members and bring forward members concerns and issues to Council.  It is important to encourage the participation of members of IAH in North America with other IAH chapters as well as the central organization, and I am particularly interested in sharing our experience with other chapters as they grow and formalize their organizations.  I am excited to help foster the growth of the Early Career Hydrogeologists Network in North America, and will support and encourage more regional and joint meetings between US and Canadian chapters.