Manager, Policy, Environment and Programs
Ben Chursinoff is a Prairie boy who grew up with a healthy appreciation for the ‘3Rs:’ Riders, rugby, and rural realities.
Like many Saskatchewan natives, he bleeds the white and green of his beloved hometown Roughriders.
He spent many a night at Taylor Field, and is hoping to make a trip back to Mosaic Stadium, the team’s homefield since 2017, once post-COVID travel permits.
Ben found his on-field success on the rugby pitch.
He played for his high school, and then on the Regina Condors and University of Regina teams, but was sidelined by a series of concussions. He has since replaced contact sports with power lifting and regular trips to the gym to keep fit.
His deep understanding of rural realities comes in no small measure from his days at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM).
That’s where Ben’s career took off, and his interests in political science and public administration combined.
“My time at SARM exposed me to the fact that governments alone can only do so much. They need inputs from external actors, and expect feedback to make better decisions,” Ben recalls.
Ben’s desire to contribute to public policy discussions set his sights on Ottawa. But it was his wife’s career that sealed the deal and brought the couple eastward in the summer of 2018. Not only that, but Ben was able to complete his Master of Public Administration two months before the move. It was a long-term goal of his that he worked hard to accomplish prior to the move.
Ben’s wife, Dr. Andreea Tamaian, is a clinical psychologist who now works at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and in private practice.
As Saskatchewan is landlocked, it relies heavily on a ‘4th R,’ rail, for its prosperity. Thirteen shortlines traverse the province and connect with class one railways to get Saskatchewan’s goods to global markets.
And the Prairie boy found a fit advocating for policy and programs to federal railway policy- and decision-makers.
He studies industry trends and helps surface Railway Association of Canada members’ needs to elected and unelected officials in government departments across Ottawa.
“You can write up all sorts of policy submissions, documents, etc, but don’t always know if it makes a difference until dialogue happens…that’s when you know when and on what points they’re really engaged. This year, they’ve been very engaged.”
Ben expects to be very busy into 2021 with discussions on the incoming clean fuel standard, safety culture, and the Proximity Initiative in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
While COVID is interrupting the world travel that normally provide Ben and his wife much-needed balance, as foodies they will continue to sample world fare and try recipes from all over the world at home.
And, as fur parents to two dogs and a cat, they’ve got no shortage of demands on their time off from bringing much-needed Prairie sensibility to Canada’s capital city.
Find out more about other RAC Staff Members.