The National Brownfield Summit – A Brief Recap

By David Nguyen – Staff Writer

This year’s conference is about charting the future of the CBN. (Image from CBN).

On June 13, 2018, The Canadian Brownfields Network (CBN) held their 8th annual conference, taking the form of a National Brownfield Summit. This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the 2003 National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy report, and the cornerstone of this year’s summit was to revisit the original report and reflect on the progress since then, as well as the challenges that still need to be addressed.

Keynote Speaker

After an introduction by president Grant Walsom, the conference began with the keynote speaker Marlene Coffey, Executive Director of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, who spoke about previous examples of the developments on Brownfields, including housing developed on a Goodyear Tires site, or the Vancouver Olympic village or Toronto Pan American housing facilities.

She spoke of Toronto’s current housing crisis and how costs have outpaced income for many renters due to the market response to the economic growth in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as Hamilton and Waterloo. She also spoke about how condominium development is preferred due to the pre-selling and reselling markets providing profit and equity for the developer before and during construction.  Contrast that to rental housing, where developers of must put up front all costs of development before any profits.

The city of Toronto’s plan to address these concerns include building 69 000 affordable rental units within 10 years, extending the life of 260 000 units, as well as income support for 311 000 households. In addition, the federal government launched the National Housing Strategy in 2017, with $40 billion over 10 years to support affordable housing initiatives across Canada. Coffey reports that municipality participation is key to obtaining funding for affordable housing, and a role that can be played is to donate available land for development.

Current Affairs

A series of professional presentations followed, discussing various emerging investigation and remediation techniques. These included Dr. Barbara A. Zeeb discussing the use of phytotechnologies to remediate brownfield sites. She compared the traditional method of soil excavation, transport, and disposal to phytoextraction – the use of plants to remove the contaminant while leaving the soil intact and reusable, such as using natural and native species to remove organics like DDT. Other benefits include its cost effectiveness and the uptake of greenhouse gasses, but technologies are site specific, and can take years to remediate fully – highlighting the role that phytoremediation can play alongside traditional remediation methods.

A legal update with lawyer John Georgakopoulos provided an overview of legal cases currently before the courts, with implications for the brownfield development. His presentation compared cases of regulatory liability to civil liability and about managing environmental liabilities through exercising due diligence. He noted, however, that due diligence plays a bigger role in regulatory liability and a smaller role in civil liability, and he encouraged environmental liability protections like environmental insurance and regulatory liability protection.

Cross-Country Check-Up Panelists Kerri Skelly (front left), Lisa Fairweather (centre) and Krista Barfoot (left) with President D. Grant Walsom (back). (Photo from the CBN).

A cross-country checkup with panelists from across Canada discussed the changing landscape for excess soils. Speakers include Krista Barfoot (of Jacobs Engineering Group) speaking about Ontario’s proposed guidelines on excess soils, such as the emphasis on the use of excess soil management plans and addressing issues such as situations where there is no beneficial reuse site. Lisa Fairweather spoke about the Alberta’s Remediation Certificate and its impacts on reducing barriers to brownfields development; and Kerri Skelly spoke about British Columbia’s new excess soil regulations and its goals of clarifying rules for businesses moving soil and increasing the opportunity for soil reuse.

Angus Ross (left) with Grant Walsom. (Photo from the CBN).

Before breaking up into working groups, the final presentations reviewed the current state of brownfield development in Canada. Angus Ross, who chaired the original task force, discussed how the National Strategy succeeded in addressing liability issues, financial funding, and building public awareness of brownfields. A major recommendation was the formation of a national brownfield network, which led to the CBN.

Ryerson PhD student Reanne Ridsdale presented findings on a survey of about 6,500 brownfield remediated sites across Canada, where 80 participants were polled, including environmental consultants, government officials, lawyers and financiers.

Reanne Ridsdale presenting the results of the CBN/Ryerson survey. (Photo from the Daily Commercial News).

Following was a presentation by a Ryerson student planning studio group compared brownfield policies of each province, based on criteria such as clear policies, an accessible brownfield site inventory, and incentives for development. Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia were considered to be very progressive in their policies towards brownfield development, but improvements could still be made across Canada in terms of standardizing rules and policies and producing developer friendly guidelines for site remediation. Then PhD student Reanne Ridsdale talked about the results of the CBN/Ryerson survey of the brownfield community’s view of progress in the last 15 years. Respondents indicated that the CBN is too eastern focused on central and eastern Canada, with little presence in the Prairies, as well as being too research-focussed and not conducting enough outreach.

Charting the Future

The day was capped off with breakout discussion groups to discuss “challenge questions” and allow attendees to contribute ideas to future CBN activities to advance brownfield developments. Challenge question topics included the roles of the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, the development of a brownfield inventory, innovations in brownfield developments, and the societal impacts of brownfield development on communities. One of the key discussion points was for the CBN to promote a “Put Brownfields First” mentality, particularly within governments. This includes developing a financing model/regime for governments to support brownfield developments, particularly in smaller municipalities, as well as to harmonize rules and guidelines for brownfield development. In addition, the CBN should facilitate the education of brownfields to local communities and involve land owners and developers in the process of implementing brownfield policies.

The National Brownfield Summit provided an amazing opportunity for members and attendees to provide input towards the goals of the CBN. More information about the Canadian Brownfields Network can be found at including the summit program and information about the presenters.

Canadian National Brownfield Summit – June 13th 2018

Learning from the Past; Charting the Future
Attend Canada’s First Brownfield Summit, hosted by CBN

CBN is pleased to host the first-ever Brownfield Summit as this year’s edition of our annual conference. Join us in
Toronto June 13. The summit will feature:

  • Our popular Cross-country Check-up: a session on recent regulatory changes and an opportunity to learn about new initiatives from our panel of regulators
  • Legal Update: case law shapes our practice as brownfielders. This session will feature presentations on the most recent court cases affecting brownfields
  • Emerging Technology: focused presentations on the technological trends that will affect your brownfield practice today and in the future
  • NRTEE +15: the cornerstone of the Summit. Revisit the 2003 National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) report as we find out what has worked, what still needs to be done, and what challenges are emerging. Then, join us in a discussion and determination of the brownfield agenda for the next few years

This will be a working event, so be prepared – bring the knowledge you’ve gained as a brownfield practitioner and your insights into brownfield redevelopment/reuse, roll up your sleeves and set the stage for the future of brownfields in Canada!

Register Today!

Ontario Environment Industry Day – December 12th 2017

Register now:

With a provincial election coming in June 2018, this year’s Environment Industry Day at Queen’s Park will feature a unique afternoon program and panel!

  • Join representatives from a range of environment and cleantech firms as we discuss what policies we need from Ontario’s major political parties in the coming election.  What does your firm need to grow?
  • What regulatory and legislative barriers are holding you back?
  • What do politicians of all stripes need to know about running and growing an Ontario environment and cleantech business?

We will hold a series of roundtable discussions, followed by our annual industry political panel that will feature:

  • Trish Nixon, Chief Impact Investing Officer, ‎CoPower Inc
  • Brandon Moffatt, cleantech entrepreneur and VP, Development & Operations, Stormfisher Environmental
  • Michele Grenier, Executive Director of the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA)

Moderated by Sandra Odendahl, President & CEO, CMC Research Institutes

AGENDA for Tuesday, December 12, 2017:

1:30 PM                Registration and networking
2:00 – 2:45 PM     Roundtable discussions of industry issues
2:45 – 4:00 PM     Tables report back and panel responds
4:00 – 4:30 PM      Political and policy response
4:30 PM                 Networking and walk to Queen’s Park reception

LOCATION: Charbonnel Lounge of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, 81 St Mary Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1J4

Please visit link

Register now to secure your seat as space is limited!

Consider becoming a sponsor of EID for as little as $750 – and all sponsorships include tickets to the event.  Please contact Sonia Zorzos at / 416-531-7884 and she can put you in touch with the sponsorship committee.


Ontario Disaster and Emergency Management Conference

The Ontario Disaster & Emergency Management Conference is planned and developed by the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers in partnership with federal and provincial government agencies, non-governmental disaster relief organizations, and emergency management professional and student associations.

The conference delivers two full days of community networking and learning featuring twenty-eight sessions, including speakers from across North America, panel discussions and interviews focusing on lessons learned, new initiatives, best practices, and on topics such as:

  • Disaster Response and Recovery
  • Community Resilience
  • Climate Change

Bettering Environmental Stewardship & Technology Conference (BEST 2019)

From May 8 – 10, 2019, the British Columbia Environment Industry Association is hosting the seventh annual BEST Conference at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Join other environment industry professionals for 2 days of technical sessions focusing on contaminated sites management, in-situ remediation, water treatment, First Nations perspectives, PFAS, and more. BEST sponsors will be showing their products and services at the trade show, and there will be numerous opportunities for delegates to network, including two outstanding receptions.

Conference Program Just Released!

This year’s program has just been announced! Please visit for the full details.

Early Bird Registration Ends March 15th

Register now! You don’t want to miss out on the “BEST” opportunity to network and learn about the current environment industry in BC.

Early Bird Registration Fees



Registration Now Open for the Pre-Conference Workshop

Pre-Conference Workshop (BEST Delegate) $75 
Pre-Conference Workshop Only   $100



EQ: Tackling the Powerful Possibilities Environmental Professionals Can Achieve by Growing and Mastering their Emotional Intelligence
The environmental industry is a multi-disciplinary sector comprising scientists, engineers, and other professionals from a wide range of technical backgrounds. Technical expertise has been essential to the success of this growing sector.

ECO Canada’s labour market research indicates soft skills as a frequent gap most employers identify in their staff. Technical competencies may be needed to gain employment, but soft skills are essential in keeping a job and career growth.

BCEIA and ECO Canada are partnering up to address this gap and are pleased to offer a half-day Soft Skills Pre-Conference Workshop on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8. The topic for this year’s workshop will be on Emotional Intelligence (also known as EQ) tackling the powerful possibilities environmental professionals can achieve by growing and mastering their Emotional Intelligence. Details at:

Partners in Prevention 2019 Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show

The landscape of Canadian workplaces continues to evolve with societal issues, such as the legalization of cannabis, mental health, inclusivity and diversity, and the rise of the millennial worker in the workplace being just some of the individual stories now taking the spotlight in the area of health and safety in the workplace.

Partners in Prevention 2019, Canada’s largest and longest-running health and safety conference and trade show, will focus this year on the ‘safety superheroes’ who advocate for health and safety practices in the workplace. The conference features two days of acclaimed keynote speakers, 60 cutting edge sessions, workshops and professional development courses, and over 400+ booths on the trade show floor, showcasing the latest innovations, market trends, products and services to improve workplace safety and productivity.

Session Highlights  

This year’s sessions will address the latest emerging topics for Ontario businesses, including: cannabis, mental health, inclusivity and diversity, and the rise of the millennial worker in the workplace. Session highlights include:

  • Canadian Cannabis 101
    Jay Rosenthal, Co-Founder & President of Business of Cannabis will provide context and insight into the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of the cannabis sector. He will explain the differentiators between how Canada and the U.S. are regulating cannabis, the promise of medicinal cannabis and what the future has in store for Canada as a world leader in the cannabis industry. He will also touch on the impact that cannabis may have on workplaces, and the burgeoning cannabis market as it pertains to entrepreneurs, technology, finance and trade.
  • Cannabis – Six Months In 
    This panel will review the progression leading up to legalization and the six months of experience to date, how Black & Macdonald harmonized its fit for duty standards across Canada and early information on the development of impairment standard by CSA. The session features a panel that includes: Dan Demers, Senior Manager Strategic Business Development, CannAmm Occupational Testing Services; Ray Pleasance, CHSC, CRM, Corporate Director of OH&S, Black & McDonald Limited; Andrea Holbeche, Project Manager, CSA Group, and Larry Masotti, Director Strategic Relationships, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS).
  • Millennial Management – Maximizing Millennial Tenure and Leveraging Their Potential
    Generation Workplace Expert, Jeff Butler, will expose the Millennial Mindset of one of the largest demographics in the workplace today and show how to turn a career-hopping Millennial into a devoted employee, by tapping into their potential and creating a strong management structure.
  • Up the Ante on Workplace Mental Health/Wellness 
    Adam Palmer, Safety & Prevention Supervisor, Niagara Casinos; and Amanda Silliker, Editor, Canadian Occupational Safety, will discuss how managing employees’ mental health (including stress, harassment and mental illness) as well as overall wellness (including sleep, nutrition and exercise) can reduce costs, improve safety and have happier employees all around. Niagara Casinos is the Gold winner of Canada’s Safest Employers special awards for Psychological Safety and Wellness.
  • Fatigue Management: Cheaper Than Therapy 
    Mike Harnett, President of Solaris Fatigue Management, delivers the most recent scientific research on the best way to optimize personal health, safety and performance while minimizing the consequences of fatigue.
  • Smartphones and the Pursuit of Workplace Wellness 
    This session, led by Jim Lees, M.S.W., RSW, Human Resources Consultant, examines the impact smartphone technology has had on the workforce and consider the challenges balancing the increasing demands for productivity and efficiency with the mental health and wellness of employees.
  • Harassment in the Workplace: How to Identify, Prevent and Take Action Against it in the #MeToo Era
    Lauren Bernardi, Bernardi Human Resources Law LLP, will lay out the legal definitions of harassment, the importance of bystander interventions and other preventative measures, as well as raise awareness of the unique nature of sexual harassment and how to address it.
  • Mental Health in the Workplace Forum
    This forum explores the subject through three different lenses: how to prevent mental health issues, best practices when an employee returns to work following a mental-health related leave and answers to some of the most common and complicated, situations employers face when it comes to dealing with mental health issues in the workplace. The forum is led by Bill Howatt, Chief of Research, Workplace Productivity Conference Board of Canada; Lorenzo Lisi, Practice Group Leader, Workplace Law Group, Aird & Berlis LLP and Jennifer Threndyle, Consultant, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS).Keynote speakers will address current topics:
  • Rick Mercer, Canadian comedian, TV personality, political satirist and author. He will entertain delegates as he chronicles, satirizes and ultimately celebrates all that is irreverent about this country. Mercer is the author of three books, recipient of 25 Gemini Awards and is best known for his work on CBC-TV’s comedy shows This Hour Has 22 Minutes and the Rick Mercer Report.
  • Scott Stratten, one of the “Top Five Social Media Influencers in the World” on His keynote is entitled “The Age of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing is Different.”  Stratten will discuss how today’s business climate is changing at an unprecedented rate.
  • Mark Henick, whose TEDx talk, with over 5 million views, “Why We Choose Suicide” is among the most watched in the world. Mark is an advocate and regular speaker about mental health, mental illness, suicide, advocacy, recovery and hope. His address – “A Moment on the Edge: How Small Encounters Change Lives” – will bring his diverse and unique perspective as a patient, a professional, and a public figure in the mental health system.

Conference registration is now open. Participants can choose from two-day, one-day and trade show only (free with registration until April 12) registrations, as well as individual pricing for professional development courses. For more information or to register, visit or contact the WSPS Customer Care Department: toll-free at 1-877-494-9777.

Partners in Prevention is organized by Workplace Safety & Prevention Services™, the largest health and safety association in Ontario, responsible for more than 167,000 member firms across the agricultural, industrial/manufacturing and service sectors.