As Pollution Probe celebrated its 50th anniversary, we focused on the future and creating a renewed environmental vision for Canada. In this milestone year, our annual Gala for the first time feature a Conference, dedicated to planning for the next few decades of advancing real environmental change.

Pollution Probe’s annual Gala is a space for diverse groups to come together in a free and mutually supportive exchange of ideas and perspectives. The 2019 Pollution Probe Gala Conference featured a range of experts working collaboratively towards a shared goal of breaking down silos and fostering synergies across sectors and disciplines to create a multi-faceted vision of the environment for 2050. The Conference findings were compiled into an Action Plan setting out a high-level agenda for environmental action across Canada in the coming decades.

Agenda at a Glance

12:30 p.m. Conference Registration

1:00 p.m. Conference

Part 1 – Perspectives on the Future
Keynote – Mark Jaccard
Panel – Andrea Brecka, Blair Feltmate, Sarah Marshall, Autumn Peltier

Part 2 – Collaborating on a Future Environmental Vision for Canada
Working Group 1 – Where do we want to go?
Working Group 2 – What do we need to do now to get there?

5:30 p.m. Networking Reception, Silent Auction and Interactive Displays

7:00 p.m. Gala Dinner and Award Presentation

Welcome: Andria Case, Emcee

Land acknowledgement: Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare

Sponsor remarks: Andrea Brecka, Shell

Opening remarks & Pollution Probe retrospective: Christopher Hilkene, CEO, Pollution Probe

Presentation of Environmental Leadership Award: Marc Mageau, Suncor

Remarks from award recipient: The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, P.C., C.C., G.O.Q.

Presentation of Peter Middleton Legacy Award: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Remarks from MPP: Andrea Khanjin, M.P.P. Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Presentation of Rising Star Award: Sean Morley, Board of Directors, Chair

Remarks from award recipient: Autumn Peltier, Chief Water Commissioner, Anishinabek Nation

9:30 p.m. Closing

2019 Gala Conference

In accordance with our guiding philosophy of “synergies over silos,” the Conference featured 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 was run across 4 key themes, each introduced by a featured panel speaker:

Keynote Speaker

Mark Jaccard

Mark is 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.

Energy & Transportation

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.

Chris Hilkene

Christopher Hilkene

Chris has been an environment and sustainable development professional for over 20 years and joined the Pollution Probe team in August 2018. Chris has worked in government, consulting, academic and not-for-profit settings and has had an association with Pollution Probe for much of his career. Known more generally for his public policy and communications experience, he is recognized as a leader in freshwater policy and Great Lakes issues. A Canadian appointee to Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC), Chris has served as the Canadian Lead on emerging issues for the last 4 years. In 2007, Chris was appointed to the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, where he served as Chair of the Water Programme. He is an active volunteer and has served on boards and advisory bodies for numerous organizations including Ryerson University, Pollution Probe, WaterAid Canada, Carleton University’s Global Water Institute, the City of Toronto’s Task Force to Bring Back the Don, Green Living Enterprises, the Vimy Foundation and the George and Helen Vari Foundation.


Steve McCauley

Steve is leading a number of transportation initiatives at Pollution Probe which are directed at the decarbonization of the automotive, heavy duty trucking and marine sectors. This work has included the development and implementation of the Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Advancement Partnership (EHVAP) on behalf of the Government of Ontario. He represented Pollution Probe as a member of the Federal ZEV Advisory Group which has supported the development of Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy, and led the organization’s participation in the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Other recent projects include working with the City of Toronto to contribute to the development of its municipal electrification strategy, which will address opportunities in a number of key areas including personal vehicles, freight and public transit. Steve is similarly now working with Natural Resources Canada to support municipalities across Canada in their efforts to develop electric vehicle strategies, and helping to address the many barriers these jurisdictions face in their electrification efforts. Prior to joining Pollution Probe, Steve led the Government of Canada’s federal and international regulatory actions on greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and chemicals management in transportation, energy and other industrial sectors.

Message From Pollution Probe's CEO

Welcome to Pollution Probe’s 50th anniversary gala.

There is much to celebrate! For Probe, it is an opportunity to reflect upon the past, present and future of our organization and the environment. A lot has changed since 1969, when the first Pollution Probers had to explain words like “pollution” and “environment”.

In our early days, we helped remove phosphates from detergents. We coined the widely recognized phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and helped create Blue Box recycling. We tackled Great Lakes pollution and acid rain. Later on, we helped to reduce sulphur content in gasoline, close Ontario’s coal plants, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. More recently, Pollution Probe has been accelerating the uptake of electric and hydrogen vehicles, contributing to Ontario’s Drive Clean Program redesign to target heavy duty truck emissions, and pushing for extended producer responsibility to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a circular economy. Quite simply, Canadians are healthier because Pollution Probe has been here.

And yet, many challenges remain. Climate Change is the most pressing and challenging environmental issue the world has ever faced. We need to do more in an increasingly constrained time window to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time adapt to an inevitably changing climate. Our water is challenged by things like harmful bacteria, nutrients, plastics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Air pollution from transportation, electricity generation, buildings and industry continues to have an impact on the health and well-being of Canadians and the environment.

Pollution Probe’s 50th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate our legacy, environmental leadership, and to recommit ourselves to developing solutions to the environmental challenges before us. Our history demonstrates that when dedicated people pull together, solutions present themselves. Pollution Probe will be here, working with all of you, to craft the solutions for better human health and the environment.

Please enjoy the evening. We thank you for your support and friendship.

Yours truly,

Christopher Hilkene

The Pollution Probe Award

The Pollution Probe Award presentation is a gala dinner highlight, celebrating extraordinary achievement by individuals and organizations working toward positive, tangible environmental change and exemplifying in their work the values espoused by Pollution Probe.

This year, in keeping with our tripartite theme of “Past, Present and Future,” we awarded not one but three awards: the Peter Middleton Legacy Award, the Environmental Leadership Award, and the Rising Star Award.

mulroney award

Environmental Leadership Award

The Right Honourable M. Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada

autumn peltier award

Rising Star Award

Autumn Peltier, Anishinabek Nation Chief Water Commissioner


Peter Middleton Legacy Award

Pollution Probe Founding Members

2019 Sponsors 2-01