Dr. Geneviève Béchard

Hydrographer General of Canada and Director General for the Canadian Hydrographic Service

Genevieve Bechard headshot

Dr. Geneviève Béchard was appointed Hydrographer General of Canada and Director General for the Canadian Hydrographic Service with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in February 2018.

For the past 15 years, she has held progressively more senior executive positions with the Canadian federal government at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, at the Geological Survey of Canada and at the Meteorological Service of Canada.

Dr. Béchard co-chairs the United States-Canada Hydrographic Commission and is a member of the Arctic Regional Hydrographic  Commission and of the International Hydrographic Organisation Council. She also serves as Canadian Co-Chair of the Lake Ontario St Lawrence River Board of the International Joint Commission. 

Dr Béchard has a long-standing interest in how science can inform policy and decision-making and extensive experience in S&T associated with water issues.  She will be speaking on how emerging technologies and a rapidly evolving social and environmental context are driving transformation of the Canadian Hydrographic Service.




Captain Hesling joined the Royal Navy in 1986 as a Survey Recorder serving on hydrographic ships before gaining his commission and entering Britannia Royal Naval College in 1992.

Fleet training was conducted in the Minehunter HMS NURTON and the Frigate HMS BOXER.  After specialising as a Hydrographic Surveyor, his first complement appointment was as the Navigating Officer in the Coastal Survey Ship HMS BULLDOG.  Continuing in the navigation field, he was appointed to the Landing Platform Dock HMS FEARLESS in 1997.

He completed the Hydrographic Long Course in 2000, gaining a Postgraduate Diploma from Plymouth University.  Soon after, his first shore appointment was to the Fleet Headquarters in 2002 as the Route Survey and Precise Navigation Officer.  It was in recognition of his achievements in this post that he was awarded a Commander-in-Chief Fleet’s Commendation.

A career highlight was as the Executive Officer in HMS ENDURANCE where he spent two diverse years operating within Antarctica.  It was during this appointment that HMS ENDURANCE had the privilege of hosting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the 2005 International Fleet Review.

After two years of operating in the “freezer” Captain Hesling joined the Maritime Battlestaff for an operational tour in the Northern Arabian Gulf where he assisted in the training and development of Iraq’s newly formed maritime forces.  This was followed by a year of studies on the Advanced Command and Staff Course, during which he gained a Master’s degree and promotion to Commander in 2008.

Throughout his career Captain Hesling has had the privilege of commanding two ships; his first was Her Majesty’s Survey Motor Launch GLEANER, the Royal Navy’s smallest commissioned vessel in 2001.  He later Commanded the Ocean Survey Vessel HMS SCOTT in 2009, and a highlight was deploying to Antarctica for a third time in his career.

Following sea command Captain Hesling spent four busy years in two posts within Navy Command overseeing Defence Transformation and as the Hydrographic and Meteorology Capability Manager from which he was promoted to Captain in 2015.

On promotion Captain Hesling joined the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office as the Deputy National Hydrographer and it is from this post he was selected to be Hydrographer of the Navy and Captain HM in 2017.