State of Canada’s Cities Summit: Intervention Points in the System – Policy-making and Leadership

Session Topic

Canada has many institutions and organizations, community organizations and businesses, committed to working with each other and governments to develop and implement the best solutions. What are the most effective ways to create transformational change, at a policy making policy level and then in translating policy to practical action on the ground?

Full Panel

Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software.  Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to with “transcription” in the subject line.

Lisa Helps Good afternoon, everyone. Before we begin our panel up here, I just want to also acknowledge the land of the Algonquin people here in Ottawa and to acknowledge the lands where I come from. So I’m the former mayor of the city of Victoria, formerly also … very recently, formerly a special adviser to the Premier on Housing in British Columbia. And as of Monday, a new role at B.C. Housing. And the lands that I work on are the homelands of the Songhees and the Esquimalt Nations. And even though there was a territorial acknowledgment at the beginning, I wanted to pay my own respects to the Algonquin people as we start off our panel today. So part of Mary’s secret sauce for event organizing is that no one gets to talk to each other in advance. So you saw us shake hands as we all came up to the stage because we haven’t had any conversation. We don’t know each other and we’re just going to launch right into a conversation and we’re very excited to do that. I am going to ask a panel question. It’s the same question to all of you to kick us off and then we will literally just go from there. We’ll see what happens. Elizabeth and I ran into each other in the washroom and she said, “Mary said it’s supposed to be like a talk show”, and she said, “Is it more like The View or more like Letterman?” So it’ll probably be more like The View. So with that … Oh, and also, panelists, if you could each introduce yourselves, say who you are and where you’re from as part of the first question. So this panel is about transformational policymaking and turning policy into action. We have a very diverse panel here, people working in very different landscapes. So I’m going to steal a technique from another moderator – in 2 minutes or less, tell us from your particular landscape about the most effective way to make transformational policy and then how to get that policy implemented in cities. And we’ll just go down to start, Ehren, starting with you.


Ehren Cory Hi, everyone. Ehren Cory, I am the CEO of the Canadian Infrastructure Bank. I start all of my talks by having Meric and Ana talk right before me and then say good things about me. They were just … that’s a great strategy. And as you say, Mary, thank you for inviting me. This is an incredible group to get to speak to and we just trust that you’re going to put a great party together. And you did, because it’s been fascinating so far. I think Meric started to talk about this … I just want to build … The CIB was created with this idea that blended finance and the idea of using public dollars, which, by the way, if you’re in the nonprofit sector, you’ve had some version of this, you could have called it a social impact bond once upon a time, you could have called it social finance. This is not a brand new idea, but this concept that for big transformational problems we face in infrastructure, in transit, in water and wastewater, and certainly as we make an energy transition, there is a role and an opportunity to use taxpayer money differently than we have in the past to use it partnered with, let’s call it more traditional forms of public funding, on the one hand, grants general tax obligation funding on the one hand, and on the other hand with the private sector who want and are trying to do things often in innovative ways as well. You can find a middle lane and use public dollars, but stretch them further and differently by sharing in risk. Being a lender with multiple bottom lines in mind, you can get a lot more done. And Meric talked about the U of T project and Ana talked about the building retrofits with Dream, which are two of the projects that we’re doing across the country. They are both examples of projects that probably over the length of them will pay for themselves, but they come with great … with three things … Long, long paybacks, deep amounts of uncertainty and risk. Uncertainty could be around future carbon prices, it could be around customer demand, a lot of a lot of things. But this idea that you can use government money in a risk sharing way, but not in a traditional grant way, I think, is how cities and and communities, Indigenous communities, provinces can meet their infrastructure needs with a new funding tool.


Lisa Helps Thank you. Okay, Phil, over to you. Transformational policymaking. How do you do it? What’s the most effective way?


Phil Teijeira All right, Phil Teijeira. I am Chief Customer Officer for Enbridge. And bear with me, most of my examples are … I just got back to Canada, being out of the country for 23 years. So I just got back this summer. So I’ll use mostly Ontario examples. So the way to do it and everything I’m going to talk about is energy related. So bear with me.


Lisa Helps Cities need energy.


Phil Teijeira So the number one thing we can do and most people might not know this, but in Ontario you have one large gas company, which is Enbridge, and you have 60 local distribution companies that provide electricity. And the number one thing we can do and it costs nothing is increase the collaboration between the two to get the transition going. I have nice things to say about the SEB too, because we have a partnership with them and a $300 million announcement for some of those you have seen to decarbonize, a number of the the hospitals and universities, etc. are some of the examples that were provided earlier. So the collaboration between electricity providers and a gas provider and I don’t know if this controversial or not, but I don’t think there’s an energy transition without gas in the mix.


Lisa Helps Thank you very much. Fanny, over to you.


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot Thank you. I will speak French. You can wear your headphones – Fanny Tremblay-Racicot – so I am a professor in public governance. So my work is about municipal management in Quebec and the rest of Canada. So for the question regarding the way that we achieve policies that are transformational, there is Diane Davis from the London School of Design that has done a study on the way that leadership, political leadership can make it so that we adopt some transformational policies. And she discovered that there were many strategies, many tactics that could be used that came from cooperation in conflict, from good structures, good governance structures or poor ones. And there are many ways by which we can achieve success. So there are also tactical partnerships. There’s a whole literature that exists regarding these issues. Now, with regards to the work that I’ve carried out over the last years and for example, with the city of Laval in Quebec, which is the third biggest one in Quebec, and it has adopted a program for equal fiscal that year, 2024 to 2028. That is a plan that is based on new powers that towns in Quebec have and to tax. And and with my team, we looked at what cities could do with these new powers. So we did some fundamental research, applied research, and then we created a program to assist the city of Laval so that it could identify policies that were or measures equal fiscal measures. And for example, for big generator generators or transportation, they needed to adopt a plan to manage transportation for, for example, they would have to pay for public transit to their employees so that they helped manage a crisis and help pay for public transportation infrastructure. So the key here is to have the capacity, the financial capacity and the administrative capacity and also the legislative and regulatory and ability to make it change.


Lisa Helps Great. Thank you and thanks for the practical application of policymaking and then translation into real examples and cities. President, over to you.


Graham Carr Thanks very much. Good afternoon. I’m Graham Carr, the President and Vice Chancellor at Concordia University in Montreal. I think already we have a bit of a thematic going here, which is the success. Success and transformation is, first of all, recognizing that it’s a group sport that’s a team sport, and you have to be able to work across different sectors with partners that you perhaps have never previously encountered. To go back to something that America said in the earlier panel, I think one of the advantages that universities bring is the power of convening. We are a space and place that can bring multiple, multiple partners together. And I think there’s an interesting model happening right now in Montreal, and there’s something called the the potentially actually my model, the Montreal Climate Partnership, which was originally organized by two foundations, the Trustee Foundation and the Foundation of Montreal, in collaboration with the City of Montreal, which was an effort to bring partners across the city together, large organizations, small organizations, the Change de Commerce, Public Health, etc., to to exchange information and develop common ideas about how we can how we can move forward. And I think at the core of the success for real transformation and its implementation and public policy is a commitment to co-creation of solutions.


Lisa Helps Thank you very much. Elizabeth, over to you.


Elizabeth McIsaac Thank you. So I work with a private foundation called Maytree, and we’re focused on poverty and using a human rights based approach. And as a result, we focus on a number of social policies, housing, which I think partly got me into this room. And also income security. And by using a human rights based approach, it means that when we look at these issues, we quite unapologetically focus on those in greatest need, those who are most affected, and whose actual right to adequate housing, for example, is is violated. And so when we look at policy solutions to this, the human rights based approach says you you bring those affected you into the conversation. Their participation is essential in identifying what the transformative solutions will be or transformative policies. And so as we’ve worked on this and we’ve worked closely with the city of Toronto on a couple of elements of this, and with when Annabella was wearing a different hat, she brought us in to work on what can be a very thorny issue, which was rooming houses. And we worked on thinking through from a human rights based approach. How do you get to a solution on rooming houses that doesn’t become subject to NIMBYism, that is able to create the human rights guardrails in how you think about this? And and I think that and unfortunately, it was during COVID. And so we didn’t actually have participants who who were affected. But that is how you get to the nub of the answers. That’s how you get to the design questions and implementation strategies that will actually stick and work. And that’s where that’s where we’re focused. Excellent. So you all talked a little bit about co-creation, collaboration, the need for bringing people together. Sometimes when we get up on these panels, we want to talk about all of our success stories, which is great. That’s that’s what people want to hear. And also, I know in all of the roles that I’ve worked in over the years, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your roles as well, the challenges of collaboration, especially when there is a big difference of opinion, especially when there are people coming to the table who you might not have ever thought you’d be sitting with. And so I wonder if you could if we could push into that a little bit, if you could share, if you feel comfortable, it’s a safe space. Share a collaboration challenge that you’ve had in policymaking. How did that resolve? What did you do? And what are some of the lessons that you’d like to share with folks here when we’re making this transformational policy and collaborating, co-creating? It’s challenging, looking for the brave soul that’s going to. All right.


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot I can speak in theory. In theory, you need to pick your partners. Right. So you need to take time to pick the right partners who your values align with also and other as well. Why am I talking?


Lisa Helps I have no idea – in French please


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot Pick your partners right. And also, when you do like public consultations ahead of it on … Conditions for acceptability, when you determine what the conditions are for acceptability, the minimum conditions for acceptability are … It reduces negative impacts and there is more social expectation of these projects so you can determine these minimal conditions. Those are the keys to success for a project.


Lisa Helps Okay, perfect. So what do you get to choose your partners? Choose? Well, basically. All right. Other examples. Yeah, go ahead. And maybe when you don’t get to choose your partners.


Phil Teijeira Well, I think the big is one of the biggest areas that there’s been a little bit of a failure is how confusing things are. And everybody’s pulling a little bit in their direction. I’m talking about energy and energy transition. And as I said earlier, the role that electricity players play in the mix versus gas and how do we collaborate to get to a good solution and in the future in that as an app and.


Lisa Helps And. Yeah, go.


Graham Carr Ahead. Yeah, maybe I’ll just jump in and add one other point. I think it’s probably about picking your partners. It’s partly about understanding what your partners are also going through at the moment. So, you know, like any large organization, you’re going through waves of change and you have multiple, multiple challenges on your on your on your priority agenda. And I think part of successful partnership is also realizing that the that the partners in other sectors that you want to work with also have multiple concerns and multiple agendas. And they may be going through particular phases of their own organizational, organizational history and challenge. And that’s a complication. So so it’s it’s about picking good partners, but it’s also about taking the time to understand the partner and understand the partner needs as best you can. And ideally, the core of the relationship is a value based relationship because if you don’t have shared values, you won’t go very, very far together.


Lisa Helps Thanks. I think that’s Elizabeth. I’ll come to you in just a moment. I think that’s a really important point. When you’re forming a partnership, the partners that you’re working with are bringing everything that they’re going through, everything that they’ve experienced, their own institutional landscapes, their own approaches to policymaking that may in some cases be very different from the ones that you’re you’re working in. So that’s a key insight. Thank you, Elizabeth. Go ahead. I think it’s just building on that. It’s about finding shared purpose. So you have to understand what’s a win for the others, but finding shared purpose, because very often you don’t get to pick your partners. Very often that’s just who’s out there and that that’s who you’re going to have to work with. And if you can find shared purpose and be prepared to compromise or find your way there, then you begin to find a plan that can that can be actualized. You can identify other leaders and champions that can come to that and bring it forward. But but there has to be an agreed upon destination where you’re headed. The values also have to be there. But I think the destination is really important. And we’ve seen that in a number of collaborations that we’ve done within the city of Toronto and shared. Oh, go ahead.


Ehren Cory Oh, I was just going to add, there is a very Canadian part of your question, like we have both. No, no. I mean, we have great strengths, but we also have to recognize the challenge we face are among the many wonderful things about our. Country and our democracy and our levels of government is that we do require more collaboration than many places do to get stuff done. I think if you’re if you’re a municipality, like the multiple levels of government and the level of overlapping jurisdiction, regulatory and environmentally like it creates more need for collaboration than in other places. And I would say that what that and culturally I think we’ve adopted that. I think that’s why rooms like this exist, because we’re pretty good at it. What it means, I think, is that oftentimes things go slower at the start because there’s more time, as Fannie says, around building consensus, around consultation, and around trying to get alignment among many different people. But if you get that, it’s more durable and we get more stuff done. But I do think this I talk from a major projects lens, at least in trying to when I think of transformational stuff, it’s building things. We definitely have a Canadian challenge and a real strength in building those kind of collaborations across private and public sector, nonprofit sector and multiple layers of government. We’re really good at it, but it can take a lot of upfront work, I would say.


Lisa Helps Is there any way again, a question to all of you, based on what Ehren just said, is there any way to because part of I’ll take housing or climate or transportation or any of the current issues facing us, and there’s a need for acceleration and a need for scale. So from a policymaking perspective and knowing the importance of relationships, does anyone have any insights or ideas about without compromising the need for developing a shared purpose or finding the right partners? Is there a way to to accelerate some of the early work that needs to happen in policymaking through collaborative partnership building? Or do we just need to go slow to go fast? I actually don’t know, which is why I’m asking all the fine folks up here. Elizabeth, you’re leaning forward just that this comes up all the time. And how do you accelerate and in some cases, you know, to to borrow the phrase, you can only go at the speed of trust. Some of these are very much about relationships. It’s not going to be transactional in many cases. And so the relationship piece needs to be there. It may not be the most efficient, but it might be the most effective in the longer haul. That doesn’t answer the question of urgency. And I think with the housing crisis that we’re in to speak to that there are some pieces that are absolutely and unquestionably urgent. There are 10,000 people a night in Toronto that are unhoused. That has to get fixed. We have refugees arriving, sleeping on the sidewalk. That has to get fixed now. That’s just going to be transactional. That just is a humanitarian response. The longer haul of the affordability of getting the right, the right mix of housing into the into the landscape, that’s going to have to it’s going to have to go fast, but it’s going to have to build on on relationships that can be formed quickly. Perfect. Thanks. Any other insights on this?


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot Yes. Two examples that come to mind in Quebec and the two examples … You know, there’s a provincial government that decided to act and overthrow municipalities because they were not going quickly enough. So the provincial government authorized cities to do their construction projects, even though they do not meet the zoning codes in their cities. So they don’t have to respect the approval or the referendum approval process if there isn’t the density. So this was just passed to accelerate the construction for better or for worse. So that is one case. And we also saw this in Newton, Nova Scotia. The government decided to accelerate real estate development. So when it comes to partnership and we were talking about the strategy of economic development this morning, the government of Quebec usually funded some clusters, industrial clusters, but also they developed like innovation zones and innovation zones, or a provincial program that offers funding for cities and institutions, post-secondary institutions. So cities have to submit a project with the business community for the innovation zone, with the post-secondary institution. There’s also one an energy transition on batteries, cybersecurity and quantum physics. So there is going to that’s a new economic development strategy that is territorial. These innovation zones, this force local actors to establish partnerships so that they can access funding.


Lisa Helps Perfect. Go ahead.


Ehren Cory Just building directly on Fannie’s examples, I think there’s something there. We we do ourselves a great service when we get ahead. Of specific project examples like if someone wants to get the property next door to me zoned to be a four plex, I might be upset about it if the before it’s the property next door to me. The city passes and as of right rule around density, it’s easier at that principle level and you see that across multiple sectors. You’ve seen it for sure on transit projects where in Ontario, for instance, the the provincial government created rules around timelines for utilities to move lines and for access to sites that would allow transit branches to go faster. If you do that in the middle of a transit project, you’re ending up in a local fight. If you do it beforehand and set clear rules of the game. And I think that’s true on housing, it’s true in transit, it’s true on energy. So I think there’s something there. If you want to go faster, it’s better to deal with sort of the root cause or the first principle problem rather than once you’re into a project, it’s inevitably there are stakeholders who are and aren’t happy.


Lisa Helps Really key point. Did you want to add something in, Phil? No. Okay. So I guess two kind of takeaways from that round and then we’ll move to the next round. Elizabeth, your insight about choosing the situations where it is appropriate to be transactional, like getting 10,000 people housed versus the situations where trust and relationship building is necessary. So I think making that differentiation, knowing which situation requires which kind of approach I think is is really important. And then Fannie and Erin, I think in B.C., I don’t know if people have followed, but we’ve pretty much risen the whole province recently to allow for transit oriented development everywhere close to transit and three, four and six units. So setting that the framework in place I think is it is a it’s a really, really way to go quickly. So I hadn’t actually thought about it in that context. So thanks for that. As people who work in the policy space and who are putting forward new ideas and working on transformational policy making and I hear this in my own work, I hear things like we’ve never done that before. Typically, we don’t do that. This will be very difficult. It’s going to be very complicated. How do you respond to those kinds of those kinds of sentiments in your work? Phil, I’m going to start with you because you skipped out of the last question.


Phil Teijeira Oh, no, I don’t know. I I’ll use this as again, hopefully I don’t get punched on my way out. But I spent many years in Houston and Houston doesn’t have any zoning. And when I got there, I was like, okay, there’s going to be chaos. This thing is crazy. And and that’s kind of the Canadian bias is like, okay, we need to set a rule because people are not going to do the right thing. And I got to give them a, you know, all these things that they have to follow. And in reality, it actually works. I’m not saying that’s what we should do, but when you look at with some other countries in other areas, what they do, you realize, okay, so maybe we have so many rules and so many things that are in place that prevent us from moving at the speed that we need to move. I have an example in Ontario when we need to connect customers. For us, anything that is above $2 million, it requires, you know, a project that would take, let’s say, six months or eight months of planning. Anything above $2 million all sudden will add another year probably to connect customers. And in B.C., it’s 25 million, you know, and there’s 2 million. So there is a little bit of that. And I’m not saying that each province needs to be uniform, but there’s a little bit of that doing less and being a little bit more open minded and not always wanting to tack on another thing on top of what’s already there.


Lisa Helps Okay. Thank you, Mary. We want questions from the audience for this panel, too. So hold up your index cards. Not not yet. Okay. Come on. Fanny wants to answer this question, and we’ll get you to the podium and then we’ll feed it. No. Come, come, come. It’s your turn now, Mary. And then we’ll. We’ll hear some questions from the audience. But then I want to be able to ask more questions, too. We’ve got lots of time still. So, Fanny, what do you do when people say we’ve never done that before? We don’t do that. It’s going to be complicated, etc., etc..


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot Generally, when people are asking the question, that means they’re all really interested. Of course you need political courage. And sometimes this is where these scientists have a role or an agent who is independent. They can come and into the situation and convince, you know, they can be we can be we can use a third party to convince the public that this is relevant and ask them questions. So there are several municipalities in Quebec who are currently hiring a chief scientist so that they can respond to the questions of the public. So this could be a way for elected officials to have a scientific council on topics that are important to them.


Lisa Helps That’s amazing. Ehren, I’m going to turn to you because I think when the Canadian Infrastructure Bank was announced, there was that sentiment, this is never going to work. It’s going to be too challenging, it’s too complicated. It’s obviously working. We’ve heard testimony from others. So tell us a little bit about your thoughts on responding to those kinds of It’s too difficult or we’ve never done that before. Challenges?


Ehren Cory Yeah, it’s funny because I was thinking as I was listening to your question, I was thinking, well, one of the solutions is create Crown Corporations. But I was then I was like, that was kind of a self-serving answer. But honestly, the idea that that what you can do is give a policy frame and then but but actually create a little bit of distance to allow force for science or rigor or for for a non politicized approach. I think that is the beauty of this. And so I work closely with our my shareholder, that’s the Government of Canada. They set the frame. They say these are the types of infrastructure we want to invest in. But then you’ve created a crown that has more of like we act like an investor. We just happen to have as a return a social return, not a financial return, but we try and bring the discipline. And so I do think there’s something to it. But I think to answer your question, there’s there’s we have a few lessons learned on that. I think one is that. Behind every complaint, there’s a request. Right. So every time that my mother in law taught me that same by the way, behind every complaint, there’s a request when someone says, we’ve never done that or it can’t be done that way. They’re really saying something different. They’re saying like, help me understand how that could work. Or they’re saying that’s going to get in the way of something else I’m doing. So our job, I think early on as the CIO, certainly when we talk to municipalities or when we talk to people like Enbridge or when we talk to building owners or or indigenous leaders, if they had concerns, it was to try and understand what was the question underneath it. That’s number one. And I think that has served us incredibly well because then you realize like they’re not saying no, they’re saying, but if I take money from you, does that exclude me from also being able to get a grant from someone else? If I take money from you, am I beholden to government like there’s some thought bubble over their head? You’ve got to figure it out. That’s the number one thing. Number two is we’re not inventing much new the world. The world ideas between analogs and direct copy paste. Like we weren’t the first infrastructure bank in the world. I think we’re one of the best, but we were certainly weren’t the first. And I think all of us can learn from others. There’s like so much we get too insular too often. There are tons of models as as Bill said, do I do I want to live in Houston? No. Could I learn something from Houston? Probably. And I think we could do better, all of us, just from trying to learn from other models. Certainly that’s been our experience. There are others that we know are part of a network and talking to other infrastructure or green banks around the world, we learn from them and they learn from us. I think that’s second part of the equation.


Graham Carr Lisa, if I could just just jump in. I think, you know, one of the realities is a lot of us are working in in organizations which have been established for a long time. They have a particular culture, and that culture tends to get more and more conservative and risk resistant over time. And I’m speaking as a university president where we value discovery, innovation, creativity. But while resistance to change has been perfected in many sectors of the academic environment, so how do you try to break that? So I think one of the ways that you try to break that is by is by is by valuing risk and by incentivizing intelligent risk. And and risk is something that many people are uncomfortable with. But if you can find champions within your organization and champions within other organizations who are who are prepared to embrace that, then you also have the opportunity to do something wonderful, which becomes a model. And people who are more skeptical will embrace the model. But you have to find the champions and you have to empower them to take the risk.


Lisa Helps Thank you. Elizabeth, over to you. And then, Mary, we’re going to come to you for audience questions. Just a quick reflection at Mary. We we run something called the Monetary Policy School, which brings in about 20 people each year from the not for profit sector and in six months tries to build their competence and capacity around engaging in the public policy process. And one of the things, one of the core learnings that we hope they take away and it’s it’s it was a comment made by a former minister of finance from Alberta, bring me something I can say yes to. And so it’s a real message back to those who are actively trying to change policy and to be advocates and advocates and activists on this. Do the math, work it out, bring the data, bring the evidence so all of those things and figure out what’s in it for them, What problem does it solve for them and how can we make it happen? Help work through the implementation for them. And that’s that’s when you become a valued public policy partner. Excellent. Thank you so much, Mary. What do people want to know from these findings up here?


Mary W Rowe Well, interesting that … Riffing a bit on where Graham just was and following on Liz as well. And following on Liz as well, the notion of risk. And the question is, “how can we imbue risk taking into our public innovation system? Like how do we get that acceptable?” But I think the issue, too, is about scaling … back to you, Ehren …


Mary W Rowe You can’t write a small check. And one of the dilemmas is that one of the ways to manage risk, I think, is to make it smaller. So how do we do it? How do we find ways to create a culture that allows rore risk taking at a scale where you’re maximizing something And minimizing something else. Who wants to answer first?


Lisa Helps Let’s put that to Ehren since you kind of insinuated him in the question and then …


Ehren Cory I was hoping you were going to answer, Lisa … So it’s really interesting. I liked hearing your comments would risk that the concept of the the idea that you’re going to invest taxpayers money in bad deals, like they’re all bad. If they were good a bank with a different RBC would do it or. CIBC You just add one letter and you’re good. We are doing deals that are fundamentally risky. And I think to answer your question, Mary. Two things. One. It’s easy to talk about embracing risk until it manifests. So. So the rubber hits the road when the thing happens. So number one is how you respond when how the deputy of infrastructure is sitting or how Kelly responds when our first loan goes really badly, which we’ve been lucky enough that hasn’t happened yet. And how the system responds to that, not Kelly, but how the system responds that will really matter. So you can talk about building a risk taking culture. The main way it proves itself is when the risk happens. Do people recoil? Do they retrench? Do they punish? Or do they embrace the taking of the risk and encourage it? So that’s I think that’s the number one thing, is how does the system respond in when the risk actually manifests?


Mary W Rowe Everybody here, I’m sure, is working in the risk space. You’re managing risk all the time, right?


Ehren Cory Exactly right.


Mary W Rowe Yes. So I’m interested – the other panelist, how have you … How do you make … how do you try.


Mary W Rowe Some new stuff? How do you make a risk acceptable? Fanny?


Fanny Tremblay-Racicot When it comes to municipalities, the risk is … Challenges, legal challenges with the new regulations and taxation. And there was a municipality who had imposed a taxation for the tourists in the territories. So this decision, there was a decision and it it was disputed in court and there was an appeal of this regulation. So the question is who is going to support this? The first municipality that does it? Who is going to assume the costs? Well, the municipal municipal unions have funds when it comes to this kind of legal suit. So the provincial government publishes a series of best practices or guides for these new authorities so the municipalities can use them without risking being sued. So we need to have allies and minimize this with another type of violence that is going to empower municipalities to do this.


Lisa Helps Having a structure in place that allows risk to be taken. So in your case, you are the structure. In Quebec, the municipal governments have that support to be able to take those risks. Mary, what else we got.


Mary W Rowe And just to find on, for Phil, in terms of Enbridge, you described and I know this well, there are many small distributors of energy systems. So that’s a way that in the energy system that we mitigate risk is we have many distribution channels, right?


Phil Teijeira Yeah and I just energy example in our case a lot of the it’s small pilot programs in different areas so that you you look at hydrogen or carbon capture but it’s not only in Canada. Across the energy players there’s a bunch of things happening in various areas and we can learn from that. And there’s a there’s a decent amount of collaboration there. But one example that is in Canada is one of the largest carbon capture hub that we have in that we’re building in Edmonton with one of the largest cement players and we’re helping them resolve part of the issue. So a lot of small bits in various parts of things that might or might not work with partners that are mostly also working without necessarily subsidies or anything just out of their own pockets.


Ehren Cory Mary Something we’ve been doing and I think there’s a lot this is not just for infrastructure, but we have this idea of aggregation, so pooling things. So you talk about we don’t make small loans, it’s true. But our project with Phil, our project with Enbridge is an aggregation where they’re going out and working with many of their clients to help decarbonize. I couldn’t make a loan to each of them, but aggregating does two things. It gets you the scale, but it also does help manage risk.


Mary W Rowe There are other examples that … other government departments here are doing the same thing. Aggregating to make this … so that you can get a smaller transaction. Okay. Another question and then I’ll come back to Lisa for you to wrap up.


Mary W Rowe This is a question about a political alignment. So someone is saying: status quo? For example, shifting to a human rights based approach to housing, how do you navigate that? Or in Graham’s case, when he’s leading a post-secondary institution with a particular ambition. How do you do that if you don’t have a values alignment at the different political orders? Graham, You want to take that first?


Graham Carr Thanks. Well, I think actually, if I if I look at one of the big mobilizing initiatives that we’re leading at the university right now, and I think you heard about it this morning, it’s a project to physically decarbonize the buildings on our two campuses. So that’s a huge project. That’s a big pilot project. I don’t think there’s a project of that scale anywhere else and in Canada. It involves setting up a myriad of partners, ships with the city, with public utilities, etc.. I think the driver in that particular case around creating consensus is just the immediacy of the climate change reality. And no public official is very sorry. I have to backtrack. Very few public officials are going to stand up in opposition to that. So so the chance to mobilize is is much, much, much, much stronger. But then the question becomes, how do you how do you accelerate the process working with a series of partners who you may not previously have worked with? And this brings me back to the risk issue. You know, ten or 15 years ago, when most universities thought about collaborating on projects, they thought about collaborating with other researchers, they thought about collaborating with other universities. Things have changed now, as Marika indicated over the last 10 to 15 years, and there’s much more partnership across sectors that involves an embracing of risk because that involves a willingness to step outside your traditional comfort zone, both for the other partner and for the university, and to begin to learn a little bit about the other’s culture and what mutual values and expertise you can bring together. And and I think, you know, to bring up the to the last two questions together, there’s the challenge of mitigating risk on the one hand. And there’s the challenge also of trying to find those common core values and big challenge moments in society where you can create meaningful partnerships for the long term.


Mary W Rowe Thank you so much. So, yeah, there’s the financial risk, but there’s also the risk of new partnerships which are absolutely necessary to do the kind of work that you spoke about, but also are risky in and of themselves. The last question I have, I don’t know that there’s actually a good answer to it. It’s it’s a difficult question. And I think maybe Mary was dropping the offer to go station in Mississauga. And I said, Mary, how do we make policy for the future? How do we make policy for this? Because right now, all the all the policy making that we’re doing is responding to the challenges of now they’re responding to we’ve heard the word crisis so many times. That’s going to give me a stroke. Zita was talking about the ruler and Devi giving her a stroke, all these crises. So but if we think about in your in your own work, in your own landscapes, is there is there a way to make to make policy or to think about policymaking for the future, for the problems that that haven’t quite become crisis yet? How do we do that? How do we think about that in 2 minutes and 32 seconds, less collectively? Anyone want to take a stab at that?


Mary W Rowe … (French answer) … We are talking about what we can be inspiring municipalities. So that would be my answer.


Mary W Rowe Thank you. Anyone else? How do we make policy for the future? Fanny’s the only one who’s going to … Elizabeth, you’re leaning forward.


Elizabeth McIsaac Well, I just have to say something before we wrap up. (Sure, go ahead. Last word). Well, the work that we’re doing is about building, I think, guardrails of what future policy can look like. And I think that’s what a human rights based approach does. I think it’s about laying down what can be … What can be negotiated out and what can’t. So I think about, we passed the National Housing Strategy Act, which recognizes housing is as a human right, and therefore we now have legislative tools and legal tools to hold the federal government to account to meet that bar. And so I think the more that we build policy that has guardrails that are values based, you then create the conditions for which the kinds of policies we may need as we go further can be created.


Mary W Rowe Brilliant. That’s that’s a great answer. Anyone else want to weigh in before we we wrap up here? All right. We’re going to leave the last word to Elizabeth. Thank you. Please thank all these wonderful people for sharing their wisdom and experience.