2019 Conference + Gala Report

To commemorate our milestone 50th Anniversary, Pollution Probe’s 2019 Gala featured, for the first time, a pre-Gala conference dedicated to developing a strategic plan for the continued advancement of Pollution Probe’s environmental protection mandate in the coming decades. In keeping with our guiding philosophy of synergies over silos, the conference involved experts from multiple sectors working together to create a detailed, nuanced environmental vision for Canada 2050 as well as pathways to realizing that vision.

The conference focused on four key themes, inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Energy & TransportationClimate & EcologyCircular Economy, and Society & Politics.

Following a keynote address by Professor Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University, introductory remarks were made from four speakers who set the scope for the four themes. Breakout groups then engaged in facilitated discussions in an attempt to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of the more than 130 assembled experts. Learn more about our speakers:

Mark Jaccard

Mark is a professor since 1986 in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, interrupted in 1992-97 when he served as Chair of the BC Utilities Commission. His PhD in energy economics is from the University of Grenoble, and his research focus is the design and application of energy-economy models for assessing climate policies.​

Internationally, Mark has served on the IPCC, the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, and the Global Energy Assessment, and domestically on the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the BC Climate Action Team. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the CD Howe Institute, and in 2009 was named BC Academic of the Year by the Confederation of University Faculty Associations. In 2006, his Sustainable Fossil Fuels won the Donner Prize. He is one of only eight professors at Simon Fraser University awarded the title, Distinguished Professor. His next book, The Citizen’s Guide for Climate Success, will appear in January 2020 with Cambridge University Press.

Energy & Transport – Andrea Brecka

Andrea’s 25-year career in Shell has spanned many of Shell’s business areas, including refining, trading & supply, oil sands and retail.

She currently leads Shell Canada’s retail business, where she inspires her organization to fulfil its purpose: making life’s journeys better for Canadians by enriching today and creating a more sustainable tomorrow. Andrea also serves as a director and vice president for Shell Canada Limited. Andrea is passionate about leadership and actively advocates for closing the gender divide. Not only has Andrea served as the president for Shell Canada’s Women’s Network and participated as a global mentor in the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, she has also represented Shell at the 2015 Governor General Canadian Leadership conference. She is a member of the Diversity Council of Canada, guest lecturer at the University of Calgary Haskayne school of business, sponsors various Shell diversity networks and is leading Shell’s 2019 United Way campaign. Andrea enjoys spending time with her two daughters, participating in an active lifestyle, reading and traveling.

Climate & Ecology – Dr. Blair Feltmate

Blair is Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo. The Intact Centre is an incubator for research and knowledge mobilization, with an aim to limit the negative impacts associated with climate change and extreme weather events in Canada. The Intact Centre was made possible through the generosity of Intact Financial Corporation.

Blair is Chair, Federal Government of Canada Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation and Resilience Results, and he is Chair, Adaptation, Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. He is also Chair, Electricity Transmission and Distribution Adaptation Standard, Canadian Standards Association (CSA); he serves on other flood mitigation Standards committees for CSA. He was Chair of the Sustainable Electricity Program, Canadian Electricity Association. Blair is also on the Advisory Board of the Global Risk Institute, which is a primary advisor to Canada’s major pension funds. He was formerly Chair, Pollution Probe.

He has written textbooks on Sustainable Banking (University of Toronto Press), and Aquatic Ecology (CAB International). He is generally interviewed by TV/radio/newspapers 100-150 times per year, primarily on the subject of how to address climate change. He speaks regularly to governments (nationally/internationally) and industry sectors on the need and means to adjust to a changing climate.

Circular Economy – Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall is the Director of Sustainability at NOVA Chemicals and is responsible for leading cross-functional efforts to achieve the company’s long-term vision for Sustainability. She is a strong advocate for a plastics circular economy, working with supply chain partners, customers, government officials, industry associations and others to help create innovative solutions for plastics recycling and recovery.

Marshall joined NOVA Chemicals in 1997 as Technical Service Specialist, and since then has served the company in a variety of leadership roles within the technology organization. She brings more than 20 years of research and development experience within the petrochemicals industry, previously leading teams of scientists, engineers and technologists at NOVA Chemicals’ Centre for Applied Research and Centre for Performance Applications. 

Marshall earned her Bachelor of Engineering degree at McGill University, Montreal, in 1997. She is a member of the Board of Directors, and former Chair, of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association. She actively participates in community life with her family in Calgary, Alberta.​

Society & Politics – Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier is a 15-year-old Anishinaabekwe and citizen of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, a member First Nation of the Anishinabek Nation, and located on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. She is a water protector, also referred to as a Water Warrior, who has been advocating for the protection of Nibi (water) and Mother Earth since the age of eight. She was inspired and mentored by her Great Auntie Josephine Mandamin, former Chief Water Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation. She is rooted and guided by the Seven Grandfather Teachings in all of her endeavors.

Autumn has gained national and international recognition and uses that platform to emphasize the connection of the Anishinabek to the land and water and their role to protect the lifeline of Mother Earth, and brings to the forefront the need for clean water for First Nations in Canada. Autumn understands that the work to protect Nibi and Mother Earth must happen immediately in order to secure a future for the next generations to come. Autumn was appointed as the Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner in June 2019 where she will be representing the Anishinabek Nation on all matters as they relate to water. Autumn is a three-time nominee for the International Children’s Peace Price; a nominee for the 2019 Muhammed Ali Humanitarian Award; recipient of 2017 Canadian Living Me to We Award Youth in Action under 12; recipient of the Sovereign Medal of Exceptional Volunteerism in 2017; recipient of 2017 Ontario Junior Citizens Award; 2018 Ottawa Riverkeeper Award; recipient of the 2019 Water Warrior Award from Ecologos; recognized as one of 30 under 30 by North America for Environmental Education; and was named in the 100 Most Influential People in the World for Climate Change Policy in 2019.​

Gala Conference Report

Here, we present outcomes and learnings from the conference discussions, compiled into a summary report setting out a high-level agenda for environmental action across Canada in the coming decades.

Click the report cover to read the full report, or find the highlights in the deck below!