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Retirement Announcement - Sylvanus Thompson



Sent on behalf of Dr. Howard Shapiro

Dear HE Colleagues:

After a long and successful career in public health, including a 24 year career in Jamaica, Sylvanus Thompson has decided to retire effective December 31st, 2020.

After completing his training at Ryerson University in 1996, Sylvanus completed his student Public Health Inspector placement in East York, prior to returning to Jamaica. In 2000, after completing his Masters of Science at the University of Guelph, Sylvanus commenced working with TPH as a PHI.

In 2001, as an HE Acting Manager, he developed and launched TPH's first Quality Assurance Program. Sylvanus was very instrumental in the development of Toronto's award winning food inspection and disclosure system Dine Safe as well as its supporting IT system THEIS. As a result of this exceptional work, Toronto Public Health was the recipient of the prestigious Samuel Crumbine Consumer Protection Award, USA (2011) for outstanding contribution to food safety and consumer protection.

In 2004 Sylvanus completed his PhD in Public Administration at Berkeley and has since been lovingly referred to as "Dr. T" by many of his colleagues. He was instrumental in the development of the TPH Performance and Standards Directorate based on his intervention project and successful completion of a two year Fellowship with the Canadian Health Service Research Foundation.

In 2012 Sylvanus became an Associate Director in Healthy Environments and most recently he has co-lead the HE Critical Services Team during the COVID-19 response. Sylvanus represented TPH on numerous provincial/national work groups and committees and participated in various foodborne outbreaks including the Maple Leaf Listeria outbreak and Salmonella outbreak linked to Sun Wah Sprouts.

With his expert knowledge, professionalism, commitment and dedication to public health Sylvanus has received a number of professional and community awards including the National Sanitation Foundation /CIPHI Award for outstanding contribution to food safety, "The Most Outstanding Public Health Inspector in Jamaica" (1998 & 1992), the Canadian African Unsung Heroes Awards for ground-breaking contribution to public health, the Public Sector Quality Fair Gold Award for consumer protection and was recognised among the "140 Faces of OEC", University of Guelph. He was recognized by Toronto Public Health and the Government of Ontario for Outstanding Community Contribution and was most recently awarded the National Environmental Health Association Past President Award for contribution to public health.

Sylvanus continues to provide leadership in food safety in Jamaica not only through his international work but also by sponsoring the annual national "Most Outstanding Food Safety PHI Award". Sylvanus is an active member of the Jamaican Canadian Association and a former Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Member for Canada. Sylvanus is a Past President and Lifetime Member of JAPHI.

Often mistaken for Wesley Snipes, Sylvanus was included on the list of acknowledgements at the end of the 2020 movie called "Guest of Honour" after providing advice to legendary director and producer Atom Egoyan on the role of PHIs. He really is a Superstar!

While his departure will be a loss to TPH, Sylvanus leaves behind a strong food safety legacy for us to build upon. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to Sylvanus for all of his great work at TPH. Please join me in wishing Sylvanus all the best in this new chapter of his life.

Sincerely,

Dr. Howard Shapiro

Associate Medical Officer of Health & Director of Healthy Environments

Toronto Public Health

phone 46 icon416-392-1356 fax 416-392-0713

277 Victoria St., 5th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W2