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RECAP: BCT Climate and Energy Transition Council holds first meeting

BCT Climate Council branding

Drawing on best practices, Toronto Region Board of Trade has established the Business Council of Toronto (BCT), composed of an executive table of C-suite executives and three for-purpose partnership councils, each focused on a specific area of challenge and opportunity. This is a collaborative and pragmatic approach to tackling our region’s productivity challenge.

The BCT’s Climate and Energy Transition Council recently held its first meeting, kicking off discussions about how to drive opportunities in the climate economy and accelerate the adoption of clean technologies to enhance competitiveness.

Attendees discussed why Canada’s sluggish GDP per capita growth over the last decade has placed us at the back of the pack in terms of growth among advanced countries and how the climate-economy presents opportunities to reignite our economy.

Council vice-chair Cindy Clarke, Regional Managing Partner at BLG

This sector of the economy includes many high-productivity activities, making it an ideal sector to focus on. This sector is also one of the fastest growing areas in the global economy – with Export Development Canada projecting it already exceeds $3.3 trillion.

Council members agreed that Ontario is well-positioned to capture a share of this growth, with its strong manufacturing base, clean tech ecosystem, and a highly skilled workforce.

The Toronto region is home to leading companies in solar, hydrogen, biofuels, electric vehicles, small modular reactors, smart energy technologies and more. As of 2023, Canada ranked second, after the U.S., on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index, and is the second largest cleantech market for the United States after China.

But capturing this opportunity requires overcoming some of the obstacles holding the sector back.  The Board’s research has identified five priority areas for unlocking growth in the climate economy, which will serve as some of the focus areas for pilot projects and advocacy driven by the council:

Council chair Derek Goring, CEO of Northcrest Developments, and vice-chair Cindy Clarke, Regional Managing Partner, BLG, led the conversation about the importance of driving investment and taking action in this space, with members offering their own organization’s perspective. The outcome was clear: driving investment in this sector would benefit businesses regardless of their industry or sector, and everyone has a role to play.

Derek Goring, council chair and CEO of Northcrest Developments

Over the coming months, the council will narrow down demonstration projects and advocacy streams to facilitate greater support and investment in this sector.

Members of the Climate and Energy Transition Council include:

  • Chair: Derek Goring, CEO, Northcrest Developments
  • Vice-chair: Cindy Clarke, Regional Managing Partner, Toronto, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Heidi Bredenholler-Prasad, VP & Chief Customer Officer, Enbridge Gas
  • Spencer Gill, Vice-President & Executive Lead Asset Management & Grid Modernization, Hydro One
  • Hon. Lisa Raitt, Vice-Chair of Global Investment Banking, CIBC Capital Markets
  • Jon Ramscar, President & CEO, CBRE Canada
  • Gary Rose, Executive Vice-President, Canada, Nuclear, AtkinsRéalis and President & CEO, Candu Energy Inc.