Net-Zero Advisory Body

In February 2021, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced the Net-Zero Advisory Body.

This independent group of experts has a mandate to engage with Canadians and provide advice to the Minister on pathways to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Backgrounder

The Government of Canada is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. To hold the government to its commitment, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act was tabled in the House of Commons in fall 2020. The Act establishes an independent net-zero advisory body of up to 15 experts, who will provide advice to the government and consult with Canadians on the most efficient and effective ways to reach this goal.  

Some of the Advisory Body’s work will include:

  • focusing to identify actions that Canada can take to set a strong foundation to achieve net-zero while also supporting economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • continuing to identify next steps in the years ahead to fight climate change and reach net-zero emissions that would grow our economy, while also making life more affordable;
  • engaging broadly across Canada, including with stakeholders, Indigenous peoples, youth, other experts, and the public in a transparent and inclusive process; and,
  • encouraging and empowering Canadians to help the country achieve its net-zero emissions goal.

The Advisory Body’s reports and advice would inform the targets and emissions reduction plans required by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

The Advisory Body is a permanent resource. It will provide ongoing expert advice from now until 2050 to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (the Minister), as Canada develops and implements its plans to achieve net-zero emissions.

Over 120 countries have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Many, including the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, and France, have already legislated those commitments and introduced their own net-zero advisory bodies.

Mandate of the Net-Zero Advisory Body 

The primary mandate of the Net-Zero Advisory Body is to identify pathways to help Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, the Minister must provide the Advisory Body with the opportunity to share its advice when setting or amending a national greenhouse gas emissions target or establishing or amending an emissions reduction plan.  

An ongoing role for the Advisory Body will be to help ensure its advice remains aligned with – and adapts to – the best available analysis, research, technological changes, scientific developments, and public perspectives.

In the months ahead, the Advisory Body will establish a transparent and inclusive engagement process. The Advisory Body’s work will be independent; however, regular consultation with the Minister will inform its priorities.

Terms of reference

Context

The Government of Canada has enacted the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (CNZEAA) to provide transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050,  supported by public participation and expert advice.  

The CNZEAA established an advisory body, called the Net-Zero Advisory Body (NZAB).

The CNZEAA provides that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Minister) determines and amends the NZAB's Terms of Reference. The Minister must make the Terms of Reference or any subsequent amendments public. The following are the Terms of Reference for the NZAB, as determined by the Minister in April 2022.

See the Annex for the sections in CNZEAA that implicate the NZAB, including its statutory duties.

Mandate

The NZAB is mandated to provide the Minister with independent advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including advice respecting:

  1. greenhouse gas emissions targets for milestone years (i.e., 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045);
  2. greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans by the Government of Canada, including measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target; and
  3. any matter referred to it by the Minister.

Under c), the Minister had referred that the NZAB provide independent advice to inform Canada's emissions reduction plan for 2030, specifically key guiding principles on the development of quantitative five-year targets to cap and cut emissions from the oil and gas sector. Additionally, the NZAB should take into account the interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026, as set in Canada's emissions reduction plan for 2030, when providing advice.

Independent advice should take into account the best scientific information available, Canada's international commitments with respect to climate change, and Indigenous knowledge.

The NZAB's mandate also includes conducting engagement activities related to achieving net-zero emissions.

Annual report

The NZAB must submit an annual report to the Minister with respect to its independent advice and activities, including setting out the results of its engagement activities.

The Minister requests that an annual report be submitted on or before the first Monday of October every year, starting in 2023 and by December 31 for 2022.

The Minister will communicate in writing any other adjustments to the October deadline at least 12 months in advance.

When providing its advice and preparing its report, the NZAB must take into account a range of factors, to the extent they are relevant to the purpose of the CNZEAA including environmental, economic, social and technological and the best available scientific information and knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, respecting climate change.

At minimum, the annual report will include:

  • The mandate of the NZAB;
  • Its lines of inquiry, including any referred by the Minister; 
  • Brief biographies and summaries of affiliations and interests of members;
  • A summary of the engagement that the NZAB undertook and the results;
  • A summary of the scientific information and knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, respecting climate change that the NZAB took into account;
  • A summary of the environmental, economic, social and technological considerations that the NZAB took into account;
  • Advice to the Minister, including a summary of any early advice provided to the Minister since the last annual report;
  • Any advice for other audiences, such as individuals, communities, businesses, and other orders of governments;
  • A summary of any differences of opinion when not all members agreed with the advice; and,
  • Any confirmed future lines of inquiry.

The Minister must make the annual report available to the public within 30 days after receiving it and then, within 120 days after receiving the report, the Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the NZAB includes in it with respect to the matters referred to in paragraphs 20(1) (a) to (c) of the CNZEAA, including any national greenhouse gas emissions target that is recommended by the NZAB if the Minister has set a target that is different from it.

Other annual deliverables

To support good governance, accountability, and transparency, the NZAB is required to develop and publish a forward-looking corporate plan for the next 2 years. This plan will provide certainty for stakeholders and others who plan to engage the NZAB. It will include four components: its strategic objectives, lines of inquiry, engagement priorities, and general work plan with deliverables. The NZAB must make its corporate plan public on or before March 31, every two years, starting in 2023.

The NZAB is required to develop and publish a retrospective "what we heard report" annually. This report will communicate the key findings and messages from engagement since the last annual report, and list engagement activities and the groups that were engaged.  It will serve as an intermediate step and opportunity for re-engagement and validation before an annual report. The NZAB must make this report public on or before the first Monday of June every year, starting in 2023 and by September 30 for 2022.

Lines of Inquiry

The NZAB's independent advice will be structured along specific lines of inquiry, which will be set at regular intervals in consultation with the Minister, including any matter referred by the Minister.

In line with the NZAB's mandate to provide advice on measures and sectoral strategies to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target, its lines of inquiry may include specific sectors (e.g., oil and gas, transportation, buildings, electricity, heavy industry, agriculture, and forestry) or thematic opportunities (e.g., circular economy, social and behavioural shifts to accelerate climate action, nature-based solutions, clean and net-negative technologies).

Engagement, analysis, and research activities

The NZAB will draw from all existing relevant domestic and international research and analysis, and will establish a transparent and inclusive process for input.

Where original research is necessary, the NZAB will conduct or commission new studies.

The NZAB will act as a platform to analyze and integrate recommendations stemming from multiple net-zero policy initiatives to a single focal point within the Government of Canada.

The Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change will provide at least one opportunity annually for the NZAB to meet with the federal department heads responsible for measures to achieve net-zero.

The NZAB will work closely with other relevant federal bodies tasked with providing advice to the Government of Canada, as well as with relevant advisory groups established by provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments. It is expected to collaborate with advisory bodies established in other countries as well.

The NZAB will also undertake robust engagement based on its own priorities for engagement, which may include engaging with the Canadian public; provinces and territories; municipalities; Indigenous governments or organizations; youth; civil society, industry or other stakeholders; experts, including scientists and Indigenous Knowledge Holders; and, international bodies.

The Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change will provide the NZAB with opportunities to advise on the design and themes of dedicated departmental net-zero funding programs for research and engagement.

Membership

The Governor in Council appoints the members of the NZAB on the recommendation of the Minister and fixes their remuneration. The NZAB is composed of no more than fifteen members, who are appointed on a part-time basis for a renewable term of up to three years. The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, designates two co-chairs from among the members appointed.

When making a recommendation, the Minister must consider the need for the NZAB as a whole to have expertise in, or knowledge of,

  1. climate change science, including the environmental, ecological, social, economic and distributional effects of climate change;
  2. Indigenous knowledge;
  3. other relevant physical and social sciences, including economic analysis and forecasting;
  4. climate change and climate policy at the national, subnational and international levels, including the likely effects and efficacy of potential responses to climate change;
  5. energy supply and demand; and
  6. relevant technologies.

Members of the NZAB are deemed to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.

Members serve as individuals. They do not represent any organization that they are affiliated with. 

All members will abide by applicable legislation and terms of reference. Legislative requirements supersede the terms of reference in the event of any inconsistency.
It is the responsibility of each NZAB member to:

  • Demonstrate high standards of corporate governance and ethics at all times, consistent with the Conflict of Interest section of these Terms of Reference;
  • Act in good faith and in the best interests of the NZAB as a whole;
  • Contribute to the development of advice, attend meetings, lead or serve on subcommittees as their time allows, and participate in engagement activities to the best of their ability;
  • Review and endorse all public-facing reports, or provide a written statement of differing opinions if unable to achieve consensus on a specific element of advice in an annual report; and,
  • Notify the Secretariat and the co-chairs of any requests for meetings with external parties where they are—or are perceived to be—representing the NZAB, and provide a formal debrief of any resulting meeting or exchange of information.

In addition to their responsibilities as members, the co-chairs have responsibilities to:

  • Chair meetings of the NZAB in a manner that ensures that objectives are met, all members are heard and respected, discussions are within the mandate, consensus is built, and decisions or next steps are clear and communicated;
  • Provide leadership on deliverables, lines of inquiry, engagement, research, analysis, and advice;
  • Review and provide final approval of all public-facing reports, ensuring all timelines are met; and
  • Meet with other bodies, groups, and organizations to officially represent the NZAB, as appropriate and generally represent the views of the NZAB to the public and media.

Members are prohibited from disclosing any confidential or non-public information received as part of their involvement in the NZAB. This applies to information received in writing or orally, including through email correspondence, telephone calls, and print materials, as well as during presentations and discussions.

For all meetings, the co-chairs will determine if there is adequate attendance to achieve the meeting objectives and inform decisions. Absent members will be invited to send their views on issues for discussion or decision in writing to the co-chairs and the Secretariat in advance of the meeting.

Conflict of interest

Members of the NZAB are subject to all the requirements, terms, and conditions of part-time Governor in Council appointees (i.e., public office holder), including but not limited the terms and conditions applying to Governor in Council appointees, the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders, the Conflict of Interest Act, the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service and the Lobbying Act.

Members will be required to disclose activities and interests that could place them in a conflict of interest with respect to the work of the NZAB. To ensure the integrity of the NZAB's independent advice, members will embrace full transparency of declaring interests related to any items under discussion by the NZAB and will recuse themselves from actively participating in discussions or providing advice where there is a real or perceived conflict. Members will notify the Secretariat and the co-chairs of any changes in their affiliations and interests related to the NZAB's mandate during their tenure.

Guiding principles on conflict of interest will be provided to the NZAB, and may be periodically reviewed and adjusted to ensure the most objective advice is given.

Secretariat and other supports

Through a dedicated Secretariat, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will provide logistical, administrative, and policy support to the NZAB. It is important to note that the Secretariat will not be a part of the NZAB, but rather provide support to it.

The primary role of the Secretariat is to coordinate and support the NZAB in its work including:

  • Advising on the discharge of the NZAB mandate as set out in the CNZEAA and these terms of reference, as well as any referred matters from the Minister;
  • Supporting high standards of corporate governance and ethics at all times;
  • Planning and delivering activities, including administration, analysis, research, and engagement;
  • Developing, translating, producing, and delivering products, such as agendas, briefing notes, strategies, annual reports, corporate plans, what was heard reports, and communications materials;
  • Managing budgets, remuneration and expenses, including any contracting or funding to third parties, including of any roles within secretariat purview;
  • Liaising with the Government of Canada and strategic partners;
  • Properly disclosing information, consistent with applicable laws and policies;
  • Establishing and managing the NZAB's digital presence, including any external website, social media, and internal platform for information sharing and discussion; and,
  • Supporting best practices for consensus building.

Members of the Secretariat will attend all meetings and engagement activities of the NZAB in order to fulfil these responsibilities. The co-chairs may direct that a meeting or a portion thereof be held in-camera in order to discuss potentially contentious issues so that the best interests of the NZAB are served.

The NZAB may request that ECCC and other government departments provide economic analysis and emissions modelling expertise.

Relevant Government of Canada departments may be asked to assist the NZAB by providing briefings, data, and analysis on federal policies and programs.

Reporting, accountability, and transparency

While the NZAB will operate independently in developing its advice, it will report to the Minister.

The NZAB will meet at least three times annually with the Minister to provide updates on its independent advice and engagement activities, including its lines of inquiry and annual report.

The NZAB may present its advice to the Prime Minister, members of Cabinet, or senior federal officials.

Through its website, the NZAB will publicly communicate non-confidential information, including:

  • Short meeting summaries of official NZAB meetings;
  • Corporate plan(s);
  • What we heard reports;
  • Its annual report once released by the Minister; and,
  • Other documents as appropriate.

Official languages

In keeping with the federal Official Languages Act, NZAB members have the right to receive documents and participate in discussions in the official language of their choice.

Public disclosure

In keeping with its policies on openness and transparency, ECCC may make public, information about the NZAB, its mandate, advice, or reports, as permitted or required by law and policy, including the Access to Information Act.

ECCC will disclose any information required to comply with an audit ordered by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada or with Parliamentary review of the CNZEAA.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property rights arising out of the work of the NZAB will rest in Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada, as Represented by The Minister of the Environment, further represented as Environment Climate Change Canada.

Travel and expenses

The members are entitled to be reimbursed, in accordance with Treasury Board directives, for the travel, living and other expenses incurred in connection with their work for the NZAB while absent from their ordinary place of residence.

Operating procedures

The NZAB may adopt operating procedures to govern its operations, including quorum, consensus building, and other administrative matters. 

Annex – Relevant sections of the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

Setting emissions target

8 When setting a greenhouse gas emissions target, the Minister must take into account

  1. the best scientific information available;
  2. Canada's international commitments with respect to climate change;
  3. Indigenous knowledge; and
  4. submissions provided by the advisory body under section 13 and advice it provided in its report under subsection 22(1).

Emissions reduction plan - considerations

9 (5) When establishing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, the Minister must take into account the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the submissions provided by the advisory body under section 13 and advice it provided in its report under subsection 22(1), and any other considerations that are relevant to the purpose of this Act.

Public participation

13 When setting or amending a national greenhouse gas emissions target or establishing or amending an emissions reduction plan, the Minister must, in the manner the Minister considers it appropriate, provide the governments of the provinces, Indigenous peoples of Canada, the advisory body established under section20and interested persons, including any expert the Minister considers appropriate to consult, with the opportunity to make submissions.

Establishment and mandate

20 (1) There is established an advisory body, called the Net-Zero Advisory Body, whose mandate is to provide the Minister withindependentadvice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including advice respecting

  1. greenhouse gas emissions targets under section 7;
  2. greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans under section 9, includingmeasures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target; and
  3. any matter referred to it by the Minister.

Engagement activities

(1.1) The advisory body's mandate also includes conducting engagement activities related to achieving net-zero emissions.

Terms of reference

(2) The Minister may determine and amend the terms of reference of the advisory bodyand must make any terms of reference or amendments to those terms available to the public.

Appointment and remuneration of members

21 (1) The Governor in Council appoints the members of the advisory body on the recommendation of the Minister and fixes their remuneration.

Minister's recommendation

(1.1) When making a recommendation, the Minister must consider the need for the advisory body as a whole to have expertise in, or knowledge of,

  1. climate change science, including the environmental, ecological, social, economic and distributional effects of climate change;
  2. Indigenous knowledge;
  3. other relevant physical and social sciences, including economic analysis and forecasting;
  4. climate change and climate policy at the national, subnational and international levels, including the likely effects and efficacy of potential responses to climate change;
  5. energy supply and demand; and
  6. relevant technologies.

Composition of body

(2) The advisory body is composed of no more than fifteen members, who are appointed on a part-time basis for a renewable term of up to three years.

Co-chairs

(3) The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the minister, designates two co-chairs from among the members appointed under subsection (1).

Reimbursement of expenses

(4) The members are entitled to be reimbursed, in accordance with Treasury Board directives, for the travel, living and other expenses incurred in connection with their work for the advisory body while absent from their ordinary place of residence.

Deemed employment

(5) Members of the advisory body are deemed to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.

Report

22 (1) The advisory body must submit an annual report to the Minister with respect to its advice and activities,including setting out the result of its engagement activities.

Factors

(1.1) When providing its advice and preparing its report, the advisory body must take into account a range of factors, to the extent they are relevant to the purpose of this Act including environmental, economic, social and technological and the best available scientific information and knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, respecting climate change.

Minister's response

(2) The Minister must make the annual report available to the public within 30 days after receiving it and then, within 120 days after receiving the report, the Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the advisory body includes in it with respect to the matters referred to in paragraphs 20(1)(a) to (c), including any national greenhouse gas emissions target that is recommended by the advisory body if the Minister has set a target that is different from it.

Members

Current Net-Zero Advisory Body

The Minister announced the initial members on February 25, 2021. Members will serve on a part-time basis for a renewable term of up to three years.  The initial members bring together a diverse range of expertise in science, business, labour, policy-making, rural economic development, and Indigenous governance. Members bring different experiences, including from the transportation, clean technology, forestry, electricity, finance, and not-for-profit sectors.

Marie-Pierre Ippersiel (Co-chair)

President and CEO, PRIMA Quebec

Marie-Pierre Ippersiel is President and Chief Executive Officer at PRIMA Québec. Prior to this, she spent over six years working as Vice-President for the cleantech industry cluster Écotech Québec. Among other responsibilities, she managed the cluster’s operations, coordinated steering committees and developed a variety of content (dissertations, studies, etc.). As Research Advisor for the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) between 2004 and 2010, she helped implement the primary tools used in the Greater Montréal Economic Development Plan, including the cluster strategy. In 2003, she produced a notice on innovation in Quebec municipalities for the Conseil de la science et de la technologie. Ms. Ippersiel holds a PhD in Urban Studies from the INRS – Centre Urbanisation Culture Société, where she focused on science/industry relations and technological support for SMEs in college technology transfer centres. She also sits on the boards of directors for NanoCanada, Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Network, ADRIQ and Montreal Space for Life Foundation, among other organizations. She took part in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference in 2017.

Dan Wicklum (Co-chair)

President and CEO, The Transition Accelerator

Dr. Wicklum has 25 years of experience managing research, driving innovation, and fostering collaboration in and among industry, government, academia and civil society. Dan is currently the CEO of The Transition Accelerator, a new organization that directs disruptions to solve business and social challenges while building emissions reduction into solutions. He launched and was the CEO of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance for seven years, was Executive Director of the Canadian Forest Innovation Council, and has been a senior manager at Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada. His initial career was football, as a linebacker for the Calgary Stampeders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Catherine Abreu (Member)

Founder and Executive Director, Destination Zero

Catherine Abreu is an internationally recognized, award-winning campaigner whose work centers on building powerful coalitions to advance action on climate change. One of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy as named by Apolitical in 2019, she has over 15 years of experience campaigning on environmental issues including 7 years in the heart of the climate movement. Catherine is the Founder & Executive Director of Destination Zero, a new organization focused on climate action and the global energy transition. Catherine served as the Executive Director of Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada from 2016 to mid-2021. Canada’s primary network of organizations working on climate change and energy issues, CAN-Rac is a coalition of more than 120 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Catherine joined CAN-Rac Canada after five years spearheading the energy and climate programs at the Ecology Action Centre, one of Atlantic Canada’s largest and longest-running environmental advocacy organizations. She is also the former Coordinator of the Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition. An accomplished public speaker, Catherine is honoured to have shared the stage with some of the world’s leading environmental thinkers, including David Suzuki, Christiana Figueres, and Bill McKibbon. Her political commentary has featured in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and the Financial Post. She appears regularly as an expert guest on CBC, CTV, Global and other current affairs television and radio programs. Catherine is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Jack Layton Progress Prize for her international leader-ship on climate policy and action, and her transformative work at CAN-Rac Canada. She is a proud honouree of Canada’s Clean50. 

Kluane Adamek (Member)

Yukon Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations

Kluane Adamek, she/her/hers (traditional name is "Aagé”), has served as the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Regional Chief since January 2018. She is proud northerner and citizen of Kluane First Nation. Regional Chief Adamek belongs to the Dakl’aweidi (Killerwhale) Clan and comes from a diverse background with Tlingit, Southern Tutchone, German and Irish origins. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in 2009, she returned home to work with Yukon First Nations and local communities in the areas of education, economic development and governance. In 2019, she completed her Master of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University. Throughout her career she has served on a number of boards and committees including the Yukon College Board of Governors, Kluane Dana Trust, Actua, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and the Aboriginal Sport Circle. She has proven experience in both the private and public sectors, and in Government. While pursuing her Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship with the Walter and Duncan Gordon Charitable Foundation, she led and founded "Our Voices," a collective of northern Indigenous emerging leaders and is incredibly passionate about supporting youth and emerging leaders in the North and beyond. Regional Chief Adamek currently holds the AFN National Portfolios for Climate Change and the Environment, Youth and Modern Treaties. She continues to press for changes in the ways young people and the next generation are included in decision making forums, and she is committed to advancing solutions and approaching leadership from a place of values.

Linda Coady (Member)

Executive Director, Pembina Institute

Linda Coady is executive director of the Pembina Institute, one of Canada’s leading non-profit think tanks on energy, climate, and environmental issues. Prior to joining the Pembina Institute, Linda was chief sustainability officer for Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (2013-2019), vice-president of sustainability for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, vice-president of the pacific region for World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), and vice-president of environmental affairs for the BC coastal operations of forest companies Weyerhaeuser and MacMillan Bloedel. Like Pembina, Linda has a strong background in building working relationships across diverse groups and perspectives on sustainable development challenges. She has served on several special advisory groups to different levels of government on climate and energy issues including: the Climate Leadership Advisory Panel to the Government of Alberta (2015); the Generation Energy Council (2018), and the Advisory Committee on Indigenous Economic Participation in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (2019). Linda has taught Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, and has worked on new frameworks for sustainable finance and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in business decision making and disclosure.

Simon Donner (Member)

Professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia

Simon Donner is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches and conducts research at the intersection of climate change science and policy. He is also the director of the UBC Ocean Leaders program, and holds appointments in UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and UBC's Atmospheric Sciences Program. He has contributed over 70 publications on subjects including the ecological impacts of climate change, ocean warming, sea-level rise, climate extremes, adaptation, and international climate finance. His work is featured in international science assessments and he is currently a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report. In addition to his research and teaching, Prof. Donner has participated in hundreds of public events and media interviews, for which he was awarded a Leopold Leadership Fellowship, a Google Science Communication Fellowship and the UBC President's Award for Public Education through the Media. Originally from Toronto, Prof. Donner received a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining UBC, he was a research associate at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Sarah Houde (Member)

CEO, Propulsion Québec

Sarah Houde spent her early career as a communications and public relations director in the private and non‑profit sectors before becoming executive director of Youth Fusion, a pan‑Canadian charity focused on youth training and employment that doubled in size in its three years under her leadership. She then joined private equity firm XPND Capital as vice president of public and government affairs, steering a number of transport electrification projects. In the fall of 2017 she was named executive director of Quebec’s new industrial cluster for electric and smart vehicles and was tasked with positioning the province as one of the sector’s global leaders. Ms. Houde holds a bachelor’s and a master’s in political science and a graduate management diploma.

Gaëtan Thomas (Membre)

CEO, Conseil Économique du Nouveau-Brunswick

An experienced leader, motivator and team builder, Gaëtan Thomas is CEO of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick (CENB). His extensive experience is coupled with a desire to make a difference for his province in these critical times. With the objective of forming a powerful coalition with members throughout the province, he employs an inclusive approach that promotes collaboration. Through a strong, unified voice, members can come together to boost the province’s economy to new levels with concrete solutions and action.

Gaëtan enjoyed a long career at NB Power, which he joined in 1982 after obtaining a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of New Brunswick. Over the years, he became Vice President of the Nuclear Division and the Distribution and Customer Service Division and subsequently served as CEO from 2010 to 2020. On five occasions, Gaëtan was named as one of the “Top 50 CEOs” by Atlantic Business Magazine. Former Chairman of the Board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (Atlanta Centre), he is currently Vice President of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute Board of Directors. He is married and has four daughters.

Kim Thomassin (Member)

Executive Vice-President and Head of Investments in Québec, and Stewardship Investing, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)

Kim Thomassin has been Executive Vice-President and Head of Investments in Québec and Stewardship Investing since April 2020. She leads the teams responsible for investments in Québec, post-investment management and Espace CDPQ. She also oversees the Stewardship Investing team, whose mandate is to deploy CDPQ’s investment strategy to address climate change. She is a member of the Executive Committee and the Investment-Risk Committee, and sits on the Board of Ivanhoé Cambridge, CDPQ’s global real estate subsidiary. Prior to her current position, Ms. Thomassin held the role of Executive Vice-President, Legal Affairs and Secretariat, Compliance and Stewardship Investing. Before joining CDPQ in 2017, Ms. Thomassin was National Client Leader and Managing Partner for the Québec Region at McCarthy Tétrault. As a member of the Leadership Team, she contributed to the firm’s regional and national management while strengthening its national presence. In her 17 years at the firm, she held various important positions and specialized in project finance and acquisition transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors. In 2018-2019, Ms. Thomassin was a member of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance.

John Wright (Member)

Former President Saskpower

John Wright has more than 30 years of public-sector experience, including as deputy minister of Health and deputy minister of Finance for the Government of Saskatchewan. He also served as president and CEO of several crown agencies in that province, including SaskPower, Crown Investments Corporation and Saskatchewan Government Insurance. John has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Electricity Association as well as the boards of governors for the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. In 2018, he served on two federal advisory bodies: the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, and the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.

Yung Wu (Member)

CEO, MaRS Discovery District

Yung is CEO of the MaRS Discovery District, one of the world's largest innovation hubs, and a leading institution in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. MaRS’s innovation community has raised over $8.2B in capital and generated over $5.6B in net revenues, currently employing over 20,400 people in the Health, CleanTech, FinTech and Platform Technologies sectors. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, Yung has built breakthrough scale-stage companies in enterprise software, mobile analytics and big data, media and entertainment, technology services and pharma drug development.  He is a co-founder of two not-for-profit organizations, the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR) and DifferentIsCool (DiSC). Yung currently serves on the boards of OMERS, the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Antibe Therapeutics Inc. (TSE:ATE) and is a member of Green Shield Canada. Yung has been recognized as one of Canada’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ leaders and for leading one of the “50 Best Managed Private Companies” in the nation. Yung has a B.Sc. Computer Science, Economics and Mathematics from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a member of MENSA, the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D).

Previous members

  • Teresia Baikie (2021)
  • Peter Tertzakian (2021)
  • Hassan Yussuff (2021)
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