Innovation Policy encompasses all policies governing the innovation ecosystem, including social innovation. It focuses on putting the outputs of research (knowledge, technology) into use for broad socio-economic benefits. Innovation policies generally support and promote technology transfer, product, process development, validation, commercialization and scale up, national and regional innovation systems with the objective of improving productivity and competitiveness and driving economic growth and job creation. Social innovation is considered as an integral part of innovation policy. CSPC encourages nominations from all disciplines of science (natural sciences and engineering, social and human sciences, and health sciences) and from all sectors (governments at all levels, academia, private and non-profit sectors, media, and others).
The Science for Policy Award
The Science for Policy Award recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves via the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations. Science for Policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, criminal justice and others.
The Policy for Science Award
The Policy for Science Award recognizes an individual who has pioneered policies and practices to improve the development of new technologies, capacity building and research infrastructure. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, the production of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly quality personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of Policy for Science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies.
Science Policy Definition
Science Policy is inclusive of both policy for science and science for policy. Policy for Science focuses on management of science enterprises, i.e., the generation of new knowledge, the development of new technology, capacity building, training highly qualified personnel and research infrastructure. In general, the key targets of policy for science are post-secondary institutions, research funding organizations and government science-based departments and agencies. Science for policy is the application and use of scientific research and knowledge to inform evidence-based decisions for public policy and regulations in all policy areas, not limited to but including public-interest policy priorities such as health, environment, national security, education, and criminal justice and others.
If the current pandemic has taught us anything, we need to find a way to avoid, or, at minimum, mitigate the effects of disease and environmental emergencies, including future pandemics propagated in human and animal populations. A One Health approach, which focuses on the perfect storm of health challenges at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health, must be at the centre of preparedness; these events have the potential to cause massive suffering, disrupt food systems, derail our economies, and lead to huge inequities and political unrest. Although this call to action may seem daunting, there are many examples of successful One Health initiatives and policy approaches around the globe. This panel will consider One Health’s success stories and how they chart a course for putting a strategy in place to prepare us best for future national and global health threats. Our panellists will present their stories of how they initiated positive change utilizing a One Health approach and the important lessons they have learned.
Malcolm Campbell, Professor and Vice President Research, University of Guelph
Arinjay Bannerjee, Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Zoonotic Viruses and Comparative Immunology, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), University of Saskatchewan
Jagvinder Dhanda, Executive Director, Animal Health Science Directorate, Science Branch
Canadian Food Inspection Agency / Government of Canada
Jane Parmley, Associate Professor, Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
Hélène Carabin, Co-Director, Global One Health Network, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology and One Health, Université de Montréal
Michele Anholt, Senior Specialist, One Health at UCalgary, VP Research, University of Calgary
If the COVID 19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to find a way to avoid, or, at minimum, mitigate the effects of disease and environmental emergencies, including future pandemics propagated in human and animal populations. A One Health approach, which focuses at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health, must be at the centre of preparedness. Or else we risk mass suffering, disruption of food systems, derailment of our economies, and exacerbated inequities and political unrest.
State of Affairs
Using the One Health approach we need to rethink the relationship between the economy, society, and the environment.
The One Health approach aims to balance and optimize the health of people, non-human animals and the environment.
It’s an important approach to prevent, predict, detect, and respond to global health threats such as the zoonotic disease, like COVID-19, the approach of one health mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels.
Strong sustainability approach is an economic system embedded in social and ecological systems.
Alberta One Health Framework for action is an example of One Health and consists of three pillars – Stewardship, surveillance, Infection control and prevention.
Education/Awareness and Research/Innovation is a cross cutting theme across all pillars.
Microbial resistance, climate change, biodiversity, loss growing inequities. Each of these have their own significant impacts on animals, including humans, ecosystem senses and society. But when they occur together our collective ability to cope is compromised.
Poverty, hunger, climate, change, and equities are shared root causes that connect and drive many of the challenges.
One health is really about health not disease. It’s about recognizing the interdependencies between the health of humans, animals, plants, and ecosystems. The idea of doing better so that all species, places, and generations can achieve their full health potential.
Develop a Pan Canadian strategy to maximize the health for all lands and animals including humans.
We need a shared understanding to come together, but often need to come together first to recognize and develop that shared understanding, trust, and respect.
Biggest challenges of One Health are how we operationalize it. Availability of resources and infrastructure and coordination/trust between stakeholders and sectors is essential.
Community Participation and empowerment is essential for the success of One Health.
Creation of shared infrastructure, research and resources is essential.
Current legal frameworks make collaboration difficult. Information and data sharing capabilities between levels of the government is essential.
Provincial and Federal governments should enhance educational and training opportunities in a multidisciplinary One Health approach.
Health Symposium | Panel 675
Social Pharmaceutical Innovation: Made-in-Canada solutions to address unmet medical needs for advanced therapeutics
Canadians with rare diseases need access to drugs that can help manage and treat their conditions. For those conditions where drugs do exist, costs can be prohibitively high. Well-known national challenges include inconsistent drug access across the country, limitations in drug development and evidence generation linked to small patient populations, and how to achieve the goal of equitable and sustainable access. The panel will discuss the role of social pharmaceutical innovation in Canada’s rare disease strategy and in advancing sustainable access needs both in Canada and internationally, and its potential impact on the academic, public and private sector.
Durhane Wong-Rieger, President & CEO, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes, PhD
Risini Weeratna, Senior Research Officer at the Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) Research Center of the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and leads the Cancer, PhD Immunology Team and the cell therapy thrust of the Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge Program
John Bell, Senior Scientist, The Ottawa Hospital, Professor, Depts. Of Medicine and Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa,
Scientific Director, BioCanRx, Director, Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, PhD
Conor Douglas, Associate Professor, Department of Science, Technology and Society, York University, PhD
There are countless rare diseases globally, and despite significant investments and efforts to create rare disease therapies, these innovations have targeted about 5-6% of rare diseases. Even in high income countries only about 10% of patients get access to rare disease therapies that have been developed. The situation in low and medium income countries is much worse.
Panelists approached the conversation from a systems perspective, in the context of rare disease therapeutics development and access. Barriers identified are often embedded in national and global systems and relate to R&D, regulatory approvals and access.
The goal is to make sure that every patient who needs therapeutics has access to them.
The current model is not likely to meet this need, certainly not affordably.
Social pharmaceutical innovation (SPIN) is a call to action to bring a diverse set of stakeholders together to advance alternative forms of R&D to put patient interests ahead of profits.
Transformations in science and technology have been revolutionary, but now the question remains of how to move breakthroughs into clinics. A multidisciplinary approach to overcome institutional barriers will be critical.
Whole scale changes need to be made to infrastructure and innovation systems. Currently in Canada, contributions in terms of innovation have been stymied since we don’t have systems that are aligned to promote and support innovation for affordability.
Governments should consider clinical trials for rare diseases as part of patient care and share related costs in exchange for a cap on the final market price to maximize access.
Radical changes across the pharma life cycle are needed to offer alternative pathways to alternative treatments and lessons can be drawn from on scholarship and activism in social innovation.
Explore creating a sustainable model by institutionalizing non-commercial therapeutic product submissions to help them navigate the life cycle.
We need to conduct the necessary economic modeling work to demonstrate the value of adopting rare disease therapeutics to provinces and other payers.
Investment from the federal government should not be confined to product procurement, but also be invested in the system, infrastructure, centersINAL of excellence, diagnosis, and research.
Eric Lefebvre, MSc, Director, Business Development, Aerospace, National Research Council of Canada and Co-Founder of Canadian Advanced Air Mobility
Teara Fraser, Founder and Lead Executive, Iskwew Air
Simon Azar, MSc, VP of Strategy, Marketing, Digital Products and Adjacencies – Civil aviation, CAE
Ameet Sareen, MBA, General Manager, Global Drone Strategy Cargo, Air Canada Cargo
Linda Schucroft, BCom, CPA, CA, Director of Innovation, Vancouver Airport Authority
The urgent need for greener and sustainable transportation has catalyzed a transformation in aviation resulting in the development of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), which aims to move cargo and people efficiently and with greater frequency using revolutionary zero-emission aircrafts. Canada’s unified vision has facilitated multilateral collaborations and is accelerating innovation and advancing sustainable technologies. The panel discussed challenges the ecosystem is actively addressing and the benefits of AAM in Canada. Through viable operational use cases, the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility (CAAM) ecosystem addresses critical gaps to enable the implementation of AAM and to export capabilities positioning Canada as a world leader.
State of Affairs and Challenges
AAM is viewed as a key technology for the future of transportation and can support Canada’s sustainability and environmental goals.
The effect of the pandemic on the shipping industry was significant and showed the value of AAM-like applications. The drone cargo for instance was able to deliver much needed PPE and other medical goods to isolated communities during the pandemic.
Canada is a key aerospace hub with lots of talent, leading universities, companies and research facilities to train strong engineers, technicians and experts.
Transition in the aviation industry is slow, however, creativity and adaptability drastically increased during the pandemic.
Despite significant promise, lack of public knowledge about AAM and difficulties in making connections with society at large are key factors in public acceptance of this technology.
Pilot shortage and lack of diversity (e.g. ~5% of pilots are female) is a headwind for further growth and development in the aviation industry.
The transport of people through the AAM industry, which requires infrastructure planning and developments, is a real opportunity but also challenging, considering safety and security implications.
Canada as the fifth aerospace exporter in the world can benefit from AAM and should take a leadership position in this space.
Drone delivery has shown to be a safe and secure means of transport from commercial goods to medical cargo and has the potential to reduce transportation costs, energy consumption, carbon emissions, as well as alleviating road congestion – with positive impacts on the economy and the society.
We need to create more equitable systems to ensure accessibility of different communities, especially the hard-to-reach areas including indigenous communities.
More inclusive opportunities should be created to engage those who have been historically, colonially and intentionally excluded from the industry, including women, young parents, gender spectrum, people of color, and indigenous populations.
Canada can move on a global scale in AAM by working together as a community ecosystem, improving partnership, supporting resources, having access to quality information, sharing knowledge, keeping innovation and creativity, and reconciliation.
Climate Change Symposium | Panel 669
Climate in all innovation – the role of genomics and agri-food in addressing climate change.
Placing climate in all innovation (and policies and practices) is the only way to address the complex challenge of climate change. The agricultural sector contributes to climate change but also plays an important part in reducing its severity. Genomic innovation for climate-smart agriculture and food systems can support the new technologies, products and approaches required to mitigate and adapt to climate change while supporting growth and jobs. This panel brings together representatives from across a coalition of scientists, innovators, manufacturers, policymakers and implementers to discuss ways the agri-food ecosystem can be mobilized through genomics to realize climate impacts.
Karen Dewar, Associate Vice President Genomics, GenomeCanada
Stuart Smyth, Associate Professor, Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of Saskatchewan
Kelly Tanaka, Chief Scientific Officer, NutriAg
Rachel Verwey, John Deere, Portage La Prairie
Canada is the global leader in information, communication, and technology (ICT). However, it is performing poorly in facilitating the market, incentivizing innovation and R & D investment and Economic transformation readiness. The panel, inclusive of representatives from academia and the industry, focused on important policy and research issues around innovation in the agriculture and food sector. Opportunities and challenges highlighted included less regulation, increased funding for research, and bridging the gap of adoption between public and private sector research.
Canada is not sufficiently focusing on the technologies that are close to commercialization.
There is a gap in adopting public sector research by the private sector.
Collaboration challenges between the public and private sectors remain around innovative technologies.
There are multiple genome sequencing projects completed on flax, wheat and lentil.
Crop innovation has focused on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions from tillage, and carbon sequestration. These areas require more investment and less regulation.
Regulatory frameworks should consider that there will always be risks in technology commercialization.
The time required to register a new product in Canada at the Federal level is a major concern compared to the United States.
Farmers need tools to mitigate the impact of adverse environmental impacts.
There is a need to reduce the processing time to register new products in Canada.
The regulations should be less in order to survive companies in the market.
Products should be designed in such a way that it can cater the demand and expectations of the producers/farmers.
Join members of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee as they
discuss their organizations’ collective efforts to help sustain Canada’s research enterprise through the ongoing pandemic while keeping an eye to the future – by working together on key federal priorities to build a more equitable, connected and innovative research community for Canada.
Share your views on national issues. The discussion aims to inform the Committee’s reflections and agenda in the year ahead.
To learn more about the collective efforts of Canada’s research funding organizations in addressing national priorities, please visit the CRCC web site: www.canada.ca/crcc
Moderator: Valérie La Traverse, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister, Health Canada
Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation
Tammy Clifford, Vice-President, Research, Learning Health Systems, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),
Alejandro Adem, Chair, Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC), President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Ted Hewitt, Vice-Chair, Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC), President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Iain Stewart, President, National Research Council (NRC)
Francis Bilodeau, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Heather Jeffrey, Associate Deputy Minister, Health Canada
The Canada Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) works to actively coordinate and strengthen the policies and programs of Canada’s three federal research funding agencies and the Canada Foundation for Innovation in order to advance federal research priorities. This interactive panel brought together CRCC members to discuss the work done and progress made by their organizations to help foster Canada’s research enterprise.
Moderator: Jennifer Spence, Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow – Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Raylene Mitchell, Research Assistant, Yukon University’s Northern Energy Innovation
Janet King, Chair of the NSERC PermafrostNet Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the Canadian Light Source Board, Member of the CSPC Board
John P. Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Research Professor of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Elyn Humphreys, Professor, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Carleton University
Sarah Kalhok Bourque, Director, Northern Science and Contaminants Research with CIRNAC
Context: The thawing of permafrost plays a poorly understood role in the current climate crisis. With about 40% of its land overlying permafrost, Canada must be a leader in enhancing our knowledge of this immediate and pressing issue. This panel introduced Permafrost Pathways, a $41.5 million, six-year project, dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the local, regional and global impacts of pan-Arctic permafrost thaw, while working with Arctic residents to co-create adaptation strategies, and leveraging this knowledge to influence climate policies at all levels. This panel presented an opportunity for leaders of Permafrost Pathways and Canadian researchers, policymakers, and Arctic residents to exchange insights and examine opportunities for collaboration.
A large quantity of land in the Canadian Arctic contains permafrost. As temperatures rise, the permafrost thaws, and organic carbon is released as CO2 and CH4. This contributes to global warming.
Thaw increases vulnerability to erosion and can even lead to land subsidence, where the Earth’s surface sinks. This not only damages homes and infrastructure, but also complicates movement and transportation systems.
Thaw deprives local communities of their traditional ways of storing cold food and sometimes releases previously frozen substances that further pollute the environment.
The extent of monitoring of permafrost thaw and its emissions is still insufficient in 2022. More comprehensive support is required to improve current and future projections.
Canada is Permafrost Pathways’ most important international partner, with its strong Arctic and climate change research communities as well as the second largest permafrost area in the world (after Russia).
Governments must work with Arctic communities to implement policies that plan more extensively to mitigate and adapt to permafrost thaw.
When setting emissions targets and planning collective responses, it is necessary to engage with national and international climate assessment and climate policy processes to include up-to-date knowledge surrounding permafrost thaw.
Permafrost Pathways aims to engage with Canada’s permafrost and climate change community to build effective partnerships and optimize collaboration. Achieving project goals will require clear communication and extensive interaction with other researchers, policy activists, as well as Indigenous, regional, and national leaders across the Arctic.
Permafrost Pathways supports flux tower developments and upgrades in collaboration with Canadian scientists. Measuring evapotranspiration and collecting data on CO2 and CH4 exchange rates between the Arctic land and atmosphere will help us better understand how the water cycle responds to changing climate and permafrost dynamics.
Permafrost Pathways also supports the development of more accurate models and the synthesis of these measurements to provide improved circumpolar estimates of carbon exchanges with the atmosphere.
Co-Creating Climate Action on the Front Lines: Case studies in Community-Centred Climate Innovation
Moderator: Elicia Mane, Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Associate Vice President, Knowledge Mobilization & Innovation, Simon Fraser University
James Lota, General Manager Lands and Facilities, City of Burnaby
Enda Murphy, MSc, Peng Senior Research Engineer, NRC
Sami Khan, Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University
Alison Shaw, Executive Director, Action on Climate Team, Simon Fraser University
Context: Communities in Canada and globally are key sources of emissions and are also needing support as they confront the impacts and costs of climate change. Reducing climate risk (adaptation) and rapidly decarbonizing (mitigation) are crucial for all decisions and policies to advance community resilience and sustainability goals. Evidence-based approaches are vital for transformative action, and will require interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and inclusive collaboration. Panelists discussed advances in low carbon resilience planning and implementation, clean energy innovation, and sustainability transition pathways.
State of Affairs
Communities in Canada and across the world are experiencing profound changes and challenges brought on by Climate Change.
Unprecedented drought and Heat in October 2022 had a profound impact on ecosystems and livelihoods.
Forest fires caused by heat waves also increased air pollution.
We urgently need new strategies and technologies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
According to the International Energy Agency, half of the technologies needed to achieve net-zero by 2050 are not yet developed.
Climate related interventions and innovations will be most effective if they respond to the needs of the community and region.
Working closely with local partners along with global, industry and non-profit organizations enhances community buy-in and effective interventions.
SFU has established the Community Centered Climate Innovation (CCCI) initiative to facilitate collaboration and partnering with interdisciplinary researchers and key stakeholders including industry and regional and indigenous communities.
Develop multiple pathways to combat climate change and achieve net-zero.
Three integrated research streams to achieve low carbon reliant communities through Community Centered Climate Innovation.
Adaptation – Protects people, places and infrastructure from community specific hazards.
Place based community science hazard identification
Open access knowledge sharing and exchange.
Design and adoption of resilient communities.
Mitigation – Decarbonizing Energy sources and economies
Identifying and Co-Developing Net-Zero solutions suitable for each community.
Mobilizing Low carbon solutions through interdisciplinary education, demonstrations and pilot projects with communities and key stakeholders.
Sustainability – Accelerate resilient community transitions.
Inclusive development path to optimize low carbon communities
Integrates research of adaptation and mitigation while delivering sustainable communities.
All streams involve foundational approaches: community partnerships, innovation and indigenous knowledge.
Technologies for Canadian food security: Selecting the tools to translate food policy into sustainable food production – A regional food economy is a more resilient one
Lakshmi Krishnan, Vice-president Of Life Sciences, National Research Council (NRC)
Nadia Sabeh, President and Founder of Dr. Greenhouse, Inc., Host of “The Dr. is In” Podcast
Mark Lefsrud, Associate Professor, McGill University
Krin Mann, Director of R&D, Growcer
Sustainably increasing the self-sufficiency of food production requires innovative approaches that can respond to both evolving global drivers and uniquely Canadian needs. The panel discussed promising emerging technologies positioned to respond to these challenges, and explored potential new opportunities for Canadian-led innovation and investment. Central to this discussion, it was highlighted, is the capacity for technology to address the socioeconomic factors that contribute to food insecurity and the practicalities of infrastructure in remote and Northern communities.
Indoor farming technologies typically involve hydroponics that rely on water and overrides the need for soil, electric lighting that mimics the properties of natural sunlight, and HVAC systems that control the temperature and humidity of air in enclosed spaces.
One obvious benefit of this technology is having year-round access to nutritious food, which is particularly important in northern regions with long winters and scarce sunlight. Indoor farming improves food security by protecting plants from extreme weather conditions and increasing the availability of produce.
From an economic point of view, indoor farming not only supports local farmers, but also saves money by lowering costs associated with food transportation (i.e. storage, distribution, delivery) and thus allowing for more affordable food prices.
While indoor farming is known to be economically and environmentally sustainable, communities still need to be equipped with adequate resources to maintain these technologies and to promptly address possible limitations (e.g. power outages).
Improving food security in northern communities should be a top priority for Canada, given the reality of international instability and the possibility of border closures.
The government should continue to fund programs supporting the research and development of new farming technologies, as well as the training of local workers to help their communities achieve year-round harvests. Loan guarantees and other financial support could also contribute to the building of necessary infrastructure.
With increased research and training, we can accelerate the adoption of indoor farming technologies and implement them through a culturally sensitive approach.
When introducing indoor gardens to new groups and growers, it is recommended to start with easy-to-grow plants (e.g. kale, lettuce, other leafy greens) and preferred by most (e.g. strawberries) to reduce risks and optimize results.
Policies and programs should emphasize building communities and partnerships across organizations dedicated to different pursuits, from education to advocacy. Policies can also be applied using a bottom-up approach that enables local communities to build capacity.
Decision-makers need to consider the unique social and behavioral aspects of people in northern communities and implement strategies that promote healthy food choices and enhance food literacy.
Climate Change Decision Points: Exploring Tensions, Barriers and Opportunities in Reaching Net-Zero GHG Emissions by 2050
Canada’s climate change (“CC”) policy is advancing in mitigation (achieving net zero emissions) and adaptation (risk reduction and hazard/disaster planning). Addressing all aspects of CC will require transformative, intersectional (addressing inequality and the most vulnerable peoples), interdisciplinary, and intersectoral policy. Globally, and in Canadian policy, a gap exists between fragmented CC policy and achieving net zero and CC resilience goals. This panel will consider policy that is required to address CC through engagement with CC modeling (including Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs) – climate change scenarios based on narratives of social inequality, regional rivalry, or sustainability) and possible future pathways for achieving CC targets. The SSPs are part of a new scenario framework, established by the climate change research community in order to facilitate integrated analysis of future climate impacts, vulnerabilities, adaptation, and mitigation. The SSPs are based on narratives describing alternative socio-economic developments, including sustainable development, fossil-fuel development, natural resources and energy development, and technological advancement for hard to decarbonize sectors including steel and cement (with small modular reactors (SMRs) and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS)). Key tensions and barriers in future decision points necessary to reach net zero GHG emissions by 2050 and adapt to climate change will be outlined. Interactive methods will involve the audience in virtual voting and determination of these future decision points resulting in the creation of a policy pathway for Canada’s future decarbonized world.
Anne Ballantyne, Manager, Program Development & Coordination, Prairies Economic Development Canada
Margot Hurlbert, Professor, Canada Research Chair, Tier I, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Chief Cadmus Delorme, Chief, Cowessess First Nation
Wes Jickling, Vice President, Technology Development Pathways Alliance
Larkin Mosscrop, Project Manager, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Zinta Zommers, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), International Affairs
Larissa Shasko, PhD Candidate, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Context: In the Paris agreement, nations agreed to limit warming to well below 2°C. Despite this, current projections suggest that we are well on our way to 2.7°C warming, and upwards of 4°C. We are observing tipping points already at 1.4°C warming: coral reefs diminishing, slowing down of northern polar oceanic circulation, loss of arctic sea ice, collapse of the glaciers, and thawing of permafrost to name a few. A multidisciplinary perspective called the socioeconomic pathways was identified and discussed as a way to approach challenges by creating narratives that are supported by modelling. The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) are useful when trying to understand socioeconomic factors and decision points for the future, as well as for navigating uncertainty. They outline evolutions of future society and the various tradeoffs that exist as we attempt to address climate change. For instance, as part of SSP1, IPCC adopted 1.5°C and there is a focus on sustainability, lowering GHGs, lowering GDP, and addressing inequality.
Polling results suggest that there is a high level of trust in scientists but a low level of trust in elected representatives. At the same time we know that low levels of scientific literacy can reduce trust in science.
The timelines are aggressive so unprecedented collaboration, even among competitors is needed. As one example, oil sands corporations have been collaborating meaningfully, sharing IP and tech, co-funding research, and co-developing clean technologies.
Indigenous worldviews can help to address climate change. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action call on us to welcome Indigenous views.
Indigenous people should be viewed as rights holders, not shareholders or stakeholders as has been confirmed through over 270 rendered decisions at the supreme court of Canada.
Even in the most aggressive climate action scenarios, fossil fuels will still play a large part in the energy mix for the foreseeable future. Need to find ways to cut the emissions as drastically as possible because we cannot wait for technology to be ready in time. Canadian oil sands (via Pathways Alliance) will reduce GHG emissions 22 million tons by 2030 (and to Net Zero by 2050), a big component of which is construction of the world’s largest CO2 capture, transportation and storage network.
The private sector will drive technological advancement in renewable energy. But related efforts must accelerate as emissions reductions happen gradually over decades.
The International Energy Agency and IPCC have independently identified that nuclear energy will play a key role in net zero targets. France and Norway are leading examples.
An effective way to engage young people in climate action is to make sure that they have a positive experience, use art as a medium, and in ways that do not create negative emotions and climate anxiety.
Effective climate change policy will have delayed gratification; tangible results being perceived by our children and future generations.
The SSPs will be updated in the next cycle of IPCC reports. We should consider what other tradeoffs, policies, and types of actions need to be considered when we think about choices we are making for the future.
How do we transition out the western worldview which is tied to economic value systems? Indigenous investment refers to gift giving in times of prosperity which is an investment in relationships. We should recognize how rich we already are, in our kinship, relationships, governance, and sustainability.
Loss and damage finance was discussed for the first time this year at COP27. Many of the most vulnerable countries say they need additional finance to minimize and address loss and damage. Broad agreement but the details are not settled.
Advanced technology for decarbonization is an area that will need research and strategic investment so that it is ready for the 2030s.
We need to consider how to design an integrated hybrid energy system where nuclear provides base load clean power.
New policies and investments to transition to a low-carbon economy need to be equity-enhancing and designed to reduce geographic and sectoral disparities.
We should optimize the mix of technologies in a way that reduces carbon emissions. For instance, low carbon hydrogen could be a viable energy storage solution but only if it is produced with clean sources (e.g. excess heat from nuclear reactors).
Record profits in oil and gas, and resulting steep increases in royalties and taxes to governments ($48B in 2022) should they be reinvested in decarbonization?
Critical technologies, essential policies: better support for Canada’s low-carbon economy
Panel Abstract: Limiting global warming to 1.5oC requires new technologies to capture and utilize carbon from the atmosphere. This panel addresses a series of questions: (1) how can we best reduce sectoral emissions related to Canada’s existing energy sector? (2) what are the most effective technologies to capture carbon, from emissions and from the atmosphere? (3) how can we most effectively reutilize carbon that has been captured? (4) what tools are going to be most important in driving behavioural change to make this happen? The discussion will highlight the role of new technologies in supporting Canada’s energy transition.
Nancy Ross, Professor and Vice-Principal Research, Queen’s University
Warren Mabee, Professor and Executive Director, The School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
Anna Harrison, Geoscience Environment Toulouse, The French National Centre for Scientific Research
Joule Bergerson, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Energy Technology Assessment, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
Janet Annesley, Chief Sustainability Officer, Kiwetinohk Energy
Pat Carlson, Chief Executive Officer, Kiwetinohk Energy
Context: The goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C is difficult with present trends and current policies, which in fact put us on a trajectory for an approximately 3.2°C temperature rise according to IPCC 6th Assessment Report, 2022. The panel focused at the intersection of technology development, policy, and social change with discussions related to reducing and capturing emissions, what to do with the captured emissions and what kind of behaviours will lead to a low carbon future. The panellists answered questions like: 1. What are the most effective technologies to capture carbon from emissions and from the atmosphere? 2. How can we best measure these systems to ensure we are achieving success? 3. What does this mean for Canadian industry moving forward?
State of Affairs
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels have not come down since 1990 despite plans instituted to reduce emissions, such as Canada’s Green Plan (1990), National Action Program on Climate Change (1995), Kyoto Protocol (1997), Action Plan (2000), Climate Change Plan for Canada (2003), Project Green (2005), and others.
Policies have been big on ambition and setting targets with threat of consequences for not meeting them, but were short on actual solutions that individuals and companies needed to reduce emissions and make transitions in day-to-day activities.
Current trend for emissions puts Canada at 800 MtCO2 by 2050, based on projected population data and some implemented policies.
In Canada in 2020, oil and gas production emissions were ~25% of total emissions, ~23% were related to transport, while buildings, agriculture and electricity production roughly accounted for ~10% emissions each (total: 672 Mt CO2).
Total cost of decarbonization is estimated at over $3 trillion over 27 years with unknown economic impacts.
Rapid social change at a pace we are not used to will be required as well as shortened time between technological advancement, policy change, and adoption.
We need both emission reduction and negative emission technologies to reach net zero, since residual emissions will remain in 2050 and must still be offset.
Solutions required to get to net zero by 2050 include: eliminating coal, light and heavy transit decarbonization, electrification, net zero buildings, oil and gas production emissions mitigation, land use changes in agriculture and forestry, and energy conservation.
Technology will have to play a major role since the Canadian economy is too closely bound to the energy sector for conservation to be sufficient.
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies are considered highly likely to be necessary alongside drastic reduction in emissions to achieve the 2°C limit, and almost certainly required for the 1.5°C limit.
CDRs can help lower CO2 emissions in the near term, achieve net negative CO2 emissions in the long term, and capture ‘hard-to-abate’ emissions from agriculture, aviation, and industrial processes.
CDRs can be natural (afforestation, soil carbon, coastal blue carbon), technologically enhanced natural (biochar, accelerated chemical weathering of rocks), or technological (direct air capture, biomass energy with carbon capture and underground storage) at different technology readiness levels (TRLs).
The federal and provincial governments need to determine the most cost effective way to net-zero and build a credible, transparent process to quantify the process and communicate the changes to the Canadian public.
Transparency and data quality for emissions is still an issue in many Canadian jurisdictions, and the government needs to introduce regulations to build public credibility in the reported numbers and track mitigation efforts across sectors.
To get capital moving to clean energy investments, governments at all levels should increase incentives for widespread deployment of “safe bets” (Low risk proven technologies) and policy architecture should be put in place with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth & Climate Change.
Incentives need to favour innovative “wild card” technologies by creating incentives for private sector research.
Provincial policies for emissions tracking and regulation need to be aligned together to create a uniform playing ground across the country.
The federal government needs to ensure that energy transition is fair and inclusive by recognizing and addressing regional differences, making energy affordability a priority, and addressing unique needs of Indigenous and remote communities.
Canada should align policies with the US to improve incentives for clean fuel / energy premiums, carbon reduction efforts, clean products, offer grants or tradeable tax credits.
There is a need to set carbon prices at the national levels to create certainty for companies and incentivise movement towards decarbonization.
Ultimately, we need a uniform carbon tax regime that is implemented across the world in a way that is fair and equitable.
Permafrost change is profoundly impacting Canada: Why is this an urgent priority, and what action is needed to adapt and build resilience?
Dipika Deol, Senior Vice President, Swiss Re, M.Sc. in International Economics and Business from Stockholm School of Economics
Emilie Stewart-Jones, BSc (Hons) in Physical Geography and Earth Sciences, Earth Sciences at Carleton University
Gregory M. Flato, PhD, Acting Director, Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Robert G. Way, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University
Context: Canada is experiencing climate change, a key component of which is permafrost thawing. Permafrost thaw is not only releasing large amounts of greenhouse gasses, but also destabilizing the frozen ground that literally supports northern communities, infrastructure, and sustains traditional lifestyles and interlinked ecosystems. Yet capacity, research, data, services, and informed risk assessment remain limited and fragmented, as negative impacts accelerate. This panel session stimulated discussion on the competing priorities and considerations of Canada learning to live with and prepare for permafrost thaw, within the broader policy landscape of climate change, Arctic issues, energy and food sustainability, self-governance, reconciliation, and data sovereignty.
Weather and transportation in northern communities are often disrupted due to permafrost thaw, leading to increased frequency of thunderstorms, landslides, and other forms of environmental destruction.
Permafrost thaw impacts the abundance of plants like cloudberries and animals like caribou, which in turn impacts many Indigenous peoples’ harvesting practices. As the thawing permafrost involves stakeholders from various disciplines, addressing the widespread problem calls for expertise from professionals in climate change, geography, engineering, public health, etc.
Permafrost research is a top priority that requires interdisciplinary collaboration and ranges widely from creating computational models to conducting field observation studies of the affected environments.
We must focus on relevant questions (i.e. what are the effects of permafrost thaw on humans, their communities, and the neighboring biodiversity?) to deepen our knowledge, improve contingency planning, and optimize decision-making.
To expand the availability of and accessibility to permafrost data, a centralized database with frequently updated data on changes in permafrost needs to be created. This will enhance the representation of permafrost processes in climate models to ensure that feedbacks, particularly relevant to Canada, are included.
There must be specific and sufficient support in place for people in northern communities. For instance, flood insurance provides financial protection to people residing in regions that are becoming increasingly prone to flooding.
Building increased capacity also includes more local involvement and participation, which would further create new employment opportunities that could contribute to the economic growth of these northern communities.
One immediate goal should be to increase funding to scale up research and collaboration related to permafrost thawing and behavior.
There is a need to build an organized network of all involved parties and assign a unified voice to communicate the urgent need to slow down the thawing permafrost and decide on strategies for climate change adaptation and risk mitigation.