William Yan, PhD, Scientist Emeritus, Health Canada and Part Time Professor, University of Ottawa

School of Nutrition Sciences
University of Ottawa

A Career Path in Research, Risk Assessment, Policy and Regulations at Health Canada

As a panel member in the "Carving Out Your Career Path" session, I will briefly describe my 27 years career at Health Canada as Research Scientist, scientific evaluator, manager and finally Senior Executive leading the development of food safety and nutrition regulations.  I will also highlight a Food Policy and Regulatory Affairs post-graduate certificate program at the University of Ottawa that is designed to help students and trainees interested in exploring a public health policy and regulatory career path.  

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Dr. William Yan obtained his Bachelor and Master degrees in Microbiology and Ph.D. degree in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the University of Alberta.  He completed his post-doctoral training at Tufts University Medical School in Boston, MA before beginning his career in Health Canada’s Food Directorate as a Research Scientist in 1995.  Between 1999 and 2009, he was Head of the Office of Biotechnology, Chief of the Evaluation Division in the Bureau of Microbial Hazards, and Director of the Health Effects Division at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. In 2010, Dr. Yan was appointed Director of the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences in the Food Directorate where he led several high profile ministerial priorities under the Healthy Eating Strategy including: the amendment of the nutrition labelling regulations; the prohibition of partially hydrogenated oils; sodium reduction, and the development of the front-of-package nutrition labelling regulations. He also led the work in developing a regulatory framework for products in the Food/Natural Health Products interface resulting in the publication of the new Supplemented Foods Regulation in July 2022.  Dr. Yan has also been adjunct and part-time professor at the University of Ottawa for over 25 years. After retiring from Health Canada in 2022, Dr. Yan has continued his teaching of undergraduate and post-graduate programs at the University of Ottawa. In 2023, Dr. Yan’s career achievement was recognized by his appointment as Health Products and Food Branch Scientist Emeritus at Health Canada.