Jeff Chatterton got his start in risk and crisis communications as a journalist, winning several awards for his coverage of a number of “crisis-oriented” events. He hung up his microphone in 1996 to work for the Ontario government, handling a wide array of communications challenges in the resources arena — spending time at the Ministries of Natural Resources, Health, Agriculture, and Environment.

Leaving public service in 2000 to consult in environmental risk communications, Mr. Chatterton’s first client was the Town of Walkerton, Ontario, during the “Walkerton Water Crisis”, when more than 2,000 people fell ill and seven died after drinking contaminated tap water. Other clients included the Canadian Vinyl Council, when it had to fight a regressive environmental policy sponsored by activist groups in the Toronto 2008 Olympic bid; the City of Barrie, Ontario, when it discovered trichloroethylene in its municipal water supply; the U.S. Army; and Environment Canada.

Recognizing that the fear and misunderstanding behind “junk science” was costing Canadians millions of dollars annually, Mr. Chatterton began Canada’s first communications firm dedicated to “Defending Good Science”, Checkmate Public Affairs, in January 2002. Current clients include the Council for Biotechnology Information and the Packaging Association of Canada.

Mr. Chatterton is also the author of the online newsletter Defending Good Science, and his work on communicating trust and credibility has appeared in a number of trade publications.

He is married and spends most of his time in Kitchener, Ontario.

Farming the Fish Farms