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 proposed 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 proposed 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 committed to achieving a resilient, prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050 and to setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones leading up to 2050.

This net-zero emissions future will be made possible by having a clear strategy, doing the hard work to determine credible pathways to net-zero across key sectors of the economy, and accelerating the existing ingenuity and innovation of the private sector over the next three decades.

To realize this objective, the Government of Canada is establishing an independent net-zero advisory body (advisory body). The advisory body will draw on existing and emerging research, analysis, and technical expertise. Since all Canadians have a part in shaping an inclusive low-carbon transformation, the advisory body will lead meaningful national conversations with experts and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The advisory body will report regularly to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the public. It will provide ongoing, evergreen advice that is forward-looking but grounded in the current realities of socio-economic circumstances, available technologies, and global trends. As part of its initial mandate, the advisory body will provide advice on actions Canada can take now to ensure a strong economic recovery while laying the foundation for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mandate

The advisory body will provide advice on the most likely pathways for Canada to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The advisory body will also provide advice on emissions reductions milestones leading up to 2050, and identify near-term actions and key building blocks that support this long-term target.

To this end, the advisory body will provide advice on measures to catalyze long-term, low-carbon economic growth across the Canadian economy, including advice on policy measures to incentivize economically and environmentally beneficial investments that would support a step-change for infrastructure and clean technology.

The advisory body’s advice will include actions that are within federal jurisdiction, but may also include actions that could be implemented by others, such as individuals, communities, businesses, and other orders of government.

Deliverables

Within the first three months of its establishment, the advisory body will provide a summary of net-zero pathways work completed domestically and internationally and an outline of proposed priorities for analysis and engagement. The advisory body will share these documents publicly.

The advisory body will meet at least three times annually with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to provide updates on its work and interim advice.

At least once annually, the advisory body will produce a publicly available report that synthesizes its analysis across lines of inquiry, summarizes what it heard from engagement, and provides advice to the Minister on promising net-zero pathways.

Lines of Inquiry

The advisory body’s work will be structured along specific lines of inquiry, which will be set at regular intervals in consultation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. These 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). The advisory body will publicly communicate its priorities for lines of inquiry and the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry. The Minister may refer lines of inquiry to the advisory body. The advisory body may examine specific sectors or themes on a regular cycle to ensure its advice remains aligned with the best available analysis and research.

Considerations

In developing advice regarding the optimal pathways through which to achieve net-zero by 2050, the advisory body should consider a range of factors, including:

  • Economic costs and opportunities: e.g., impacts on job creation and competitiveness; trade and export opportunities; regional economic impacts; opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises; domestic and international supply chain considerations.
  • Environmental benefits: e.g., greenhouse gas reduction potential; improved resilience and adaptation to climate change; decreases to other pollutants; nature conservation and other co-benefits.
  • Contributions to inclusivity and well-being: e.g., opportunities to further reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; analysis of the impacts on marginalized or vulnerable people; degree of public engagement, awareness, and support for the proposed actions; improvements to Canada’s education and skills development agenda.
  • Technological readiness and requirements: e.g., available and emerging clean technologies; role of net-negative technologies; technology needs and investments required.

Engagement, Analysis, and Research Activities

The advisory body will draw from all existing relevant domestic and international research and analysis, and will establish a transparent and inclusive process for stakeholders and partners to provide input. The advisory body will act as a platform to integrate recommendations stemming from multiple net-zero policy initiatives, both internal to and external to the federal government, to a single focal point within the Government of Canada. Where original research is necessary, the advisory body will conduct or commission new studies.

The advisory body will work closely with other relevant bodies tasked with providing advice to the Government of Canada, including on topics such as sustainable finance, economic sector strategies, future skills development, and supporting workers and communities in a low-carbon transition.

The advisory body will also undertake robust engagement, including:

  • Pursuing opportunities to discuss sectoral and regional dimensions of the pathways to net-zero with provinces and territories, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
  • Soliciting input from Indigenous governments, organizations, groups, communities, and individuals.
  • Organizing targeted engagement activities such as meetings and roundtable discussions with civil society groups, industry associations and member companies, youth, and academic, scientific, and technical experts.
  • Leveraging innovative techniques for broad public engagement and informed, meaningful dialogue, such as citizen assemblies, based on the advice of experts.

Membership

Members and chairs will be appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body will consist of up to two co-chairs and thirteen part-time members (15 total). They will hold office during pleasure for terms from one to three years, with potential for renewal. It is expected that no more than half of the members will change from one year to the next.

Secretariat

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will provide logistical, administrative, and policy support to the advisory body. The advisory body 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 advisory body by providing briefings and analysis on federal policies and programs.

Reporting, Accountability, and Transparency

The advisory body will report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body may present its recommendations to the Prime Minister, members of Cabinet, or other senior federal officials if requested.

The Minister will regularly provide direction to the advisory body, including on lines of inquiry. The Minister may amend the Terms of Reference if required, and will communicate any material changes to members of the advisory body. Minor amendments to the Terms of Reference can be made by the Secretariat, in consultation with the co-chairs and subject to informing the members at the next meeting.

Through its website, the advisory body will publicly communicate its lines of inquiry, the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry, its annual report, and other documents as appropriate.

Travel and Expenses

Members of the advisory body will be eligible for travel-related expenses while on travel status away from their normal place of residence in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive and the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities, and for any other reasonably necessary incidental expenses.

Operating Procedures

For discussion within the advisory body and with its secretariat, the advisory body may adopt operating procedures to govern its operation, including quorum, consensus building, and other administrative matters.  

Conflict of Interest

Advisory body 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 advisory body. To ensure the integrity of the advisory body’s advice, members will embrace full transparency of declaring interests related to any items under discussion by the advisory body and will recuse themselves from providing advice where there is a real or perceived conflict. Guiding principles on conflict of interest will be provided to the advisory body, and may be periodically reviewed and adjusted to ensure the most objective advice is given.

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)

Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada

Catherine Abreu is an internationally recognized, award-winning campaigner whose work centres 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 currently the Executive Director of Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada. 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 in 2016, after five years spearheading the energy and climate programs at the Ecology Action Centre, Atlantic Canada’s longest-running environmental advocacy organization. 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 Clean 50.

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.

Theresa Baikie (Member)

Impact and Benefit Agreement Coordinator - Nunatsiavut Government

Theresa Baikie has been implementing the Impact and Benefit Agreement between the Nunatsiavut Government and Vale since March 31, 2003. In her position, she is responsible for ensuring all aspects of the Impact and Benefit Agreement are being implemented and respected. These include education, training, hiring, workplace conditions, and environment, to name a few. Theresa started out as the Impact and Benefit Agreement Training and Employment Coordinator for the Labrador Inuit Association in March of 2003. She then applied for the IBA Coordinator position when it became vacant in 2005 and has filled that role since. She is also responsible for two Parks Impact and Benefit Agreements between Parks Canada and Nunatsiavut Government for the Torngat Mountains National Park and the Mealy Mountain National Park Reserve. She was born and raised in Labrador and has lived primarily in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Nain.  Theresa loves fishing, berry picking, cooking and crafts when she is not at work.  She raised three children, mostly as a single mom and has had a variety of jobs, such as hotel manager, employment counsellor, program office, and small business owner.

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.

Peter Tertzakian (Member)

Deputy Director, ARC Energy Research Institute

Peter Tertzakian is Deputy Director of the ARC Energy Research Institute. A respected public speaker, podcaster, blogger and author, Peter has devoted his career to energy. His knowledge of physics, business strategy, finance and economics allows him to give thought-provoking counsel on trends affecting the supply and use of energy. Passionate about studying how society evolves its energy needs, Peter has written two bestsellers on energy transitions — A Thousand Barrels a Second and The End of Energy Obesity. And in 2020, he launched Energyphile with associated book, The Investor Visit and Other Stories, as a learning platform for investors, corporate leaders, policy makers and energy stakeholders at large. In addition to his principal role as an energy economist, Peter is an Executive-in-Residence at the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre at the Ivey Business School, Western University. Peter has an undergraduate degree in Geophysics from the University of Alberta, a graduate degree in Econometrics from the University of Southampton UK, and a Master of Science in Management of Technology from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

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).

Hassan Yussuff (Member)

President, Canadian Labour Congress

Hassan Yussuff is serving his second term as President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). He has led successful campaigns on a number of issues including worker safety and retirement security, which helped secure a comprehensive ban on asbestos and the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan. As well as his work in Canada, Hassan is a prominent international activist. In 2016, he was elected for a second term as president of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, an organization uniting 56 national organizations representing more than 60 million workers in 23 countries. Determined to build a better world for future generations, Hassan is committed to the fight against climate change and to ensuring a just and fair transition for the workers and communities affected by the evolution to a green economy. In 2018 he served as a co-chair of Canada’s Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities.

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