At the TSB from the beginning:
Interview with Ginette Lavigne
3 July 2015
Posted by: Ginette Lavigne
When did you start your career at the TSB?
I began my career at the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) in March 1988, and my group was subsequently transferred to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), twenty-five years ago.
What brought you to work at the TSB?
When I applied to work for the public service, I didn't know for which department I would be working.
Destiny brought me to the TSB'S Rail/Pipeline Branch.
I grew up on a farm not far from a railway track, and I knew the schedule of the train that passed near my house. So when it passed, I would rush into the field to wave to the locomotive engineer and, sometimes, he would wave back. I always hoped he'd toss me a rose! I was only 15 and I was a dreamer then.
Then, one sad day in 1958, my grandparents and my uncle died in a collision at a level crossing.
When I found myself at the TSB, I told myself that it might be the organization best suited to me, given its mission: advancing transportation safety.
What does your work involve?
When I started at the TSB, I was an Investigation Operations Assistant. Over time, my title was changed to Administrative Assistant. I am in charge of invoices and administrative duties for the Rail/Pipeline Branch.
Although my title has changed, I continue to work on accident reports to ensure they are properly presented for the Chair and the other Board members.
I also monitor all reports, safety letters, recommendations, assessments and re-assessments, and other documents on an ongoing basis, to ensure the Branch's proper functioning.
Another of my many responsibilities is to follow up on the Branch's outreach activities, such as presentations and meetings that are held outside the Head Office.
How has your work evolved over the years?
There is less paperwork. Today, things are mostly done electronically, and new programs have been created.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I like the people around me, my colleagues and the atmosphere of my working environment. The fact that I now have an office with a window might seem trivial, but it's given me renewed energy and joie de vivre. I enjoy the changes in my work; it is diversified and done smoothly. I will have a good memory of the TSB, because I've always felt valued and appreciated by everyone.
What are the highlights of your career at the TSB – the events that made an impression on you and that you will remember for a long time?
I've really enjoyed the Rail/Pipeline Branch meetings outside my office's region, including those held in Halifax, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Québec City and Montréal, with regional investigators. Having worked all together in workshops helped me gain a better understanding of how investigations unfold and get to know the regional investigators better.
The tragedy in Lac-Mégantic affected me deeply. The fact that so many people died made me think about how life is fleeting and we have to enjoy all the good moments. The scar will remain for a long time, in the landscape and especially in people's hearts.
Despite the system of standards in place, and despite caution and good intentions, accidents can still happen. I hope that all the recommendations made by the TSB will serve to improve safety and the transportation system's smooth operation in the future.
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