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Agenda and Speakers

Thinking About Infrastructure 2018: Querying the Infrastructure GapApr 25–26, 2018 Ottawa

Confirmed Speakers

Speaker selection for this conference is in-progress. If you are interested in suggesting potential speakers for this conference, please contact the program developer, Julia Markovich, at

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

7:30 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair

Part I: The Kind of Thing That Infrastructure Is

Before we can talk about an infrastructure gap, we need to be clear about how infrastructure is defined. In the morning portion of our programme, we explore what we mean when we talk about infrastructure, and by extension, what gets left out of the mix. We also consider the different, and sometimes competing, motivations for infrastructure provision.

Markovich <br />  
Senior Research Associate, Transportation Policy
The Conference Board of Canada
8:15 AM Plenary Session 1
Infrastructure: Setting the Foundations

What is infrastructure and why do we provide it? How do our definitions affect our ability to resolve issues associated with infrastructure? This foundational panel session explores these fundamental questions, by drawing on insights from practitioners and researchers across four main professions relevant to infrastructure: economics, engineering, architecture, and urban planning.

Iacobacci <br />  
Partner, Economics and Asset Advisory
Deloitte LLP
Rathwell <br />  
Transit & Urban Mobility Specialist
Dillon Consulting Limited
Gomez-Palacio <br />  
9:30 AM Plenary Session 2
Focus on Green Infrastructure

Most definitions of infrastructure refer to elements of the built environment. But what about our unbuilt environments and the relationship between these and built forms? This panel session broadens our thinking by focusing on green infrastructure (GI), which refers to: "the natural spaces and ecosystems within cities that maintain biodiversity and support a range of ecosystem services, including regulating summer heat extremes, natural storm water management, reduced flood risk, improved air quality and pollution capture"[1]. In this session, the environmental and other benefits of green infrastructure will be emphasized. You will learn about the design and establishment of a green infrastructure network in Montreal and recent initiatives around stormwater management in America and Canada.

van Haren <br />  
Department Head, Municipal/Urban Drainage
KGS Group
Gonzalez <br />  
Professor, Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology, Director of Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science
McGill University
10:30 AM Networking Break
11:00 AM Plenary Session 3
Beyond "Roads and Bridges": Active Transportation Infrastructure is Infrastructure

The provision of active transportation infrastructure—on road and off— is increasingly recognized as essential for sustainable cities and our physical and mental wellbeing. Yet it is often overlooked in definitions of infrastructure in part due to its being smaller in scale, and in part because it is buried within the "roads and bridges" category in most municipal reporting exercises. This panel session examines the many facets and roles of active transportation infrastructure in our communities. It explores the idea of active transportation being its own category in future reporting exercises, so that it can "count" as infrastructure.

Neudorf <br />  
Transportation Planner
12:00 PM Networking Luncheon

Part II: Querying the Infrastructure Gap

Following an examination of how infrastructure is defined, the afternoon portion of this programme considers what the gap means in different geographical contexts in Canada, and for different levels of government. We also consider alternative approaches to evaluating infrastructure.

1:15 PM Plenary Session 4
Experiencing the Municipal Infrastructure Gap

This session examines the infrastructure gap as experienced in different municipal contexts across Canada. Panellists representing urban, rural, and Northern municipalities will discuss shared and divergent experiences with the gap and opportunities for closing it. Underpinning this discussion will be the relationship between existing and new infrastructure, public and private infrastructure, the role of city and community size, and the challenges of asset management in periods of growth and decline.

Dwyer <br />  
Chief Administrative Officer
Township of Rideau Lakes
Chartier <br />  
Chief Asset & Project Management Officer, Infrastructure Planning Office
City of Winnipeg
2:30 PM Refreshment Break
2:45 PM Plenary Session 5
Focus on the Provinces

Reporting on Canada's infrastructure gap has largely focused on municipally-owned infrastructure. While much of our public infrastructure is held by urban and rural municipalities, there remain large portfolios held by the provinces. This panel session highlights the extent and type of infrastructure owned by provincial governments, and explores how the provinces are working—individually and with other levels of government—to address issues associated with infrastructure.

Osborn <br />  
Assistant Deputy Minister, Infrastructure Research and Financing Divison
Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure
3:45 PM Plenary Session 6
Community Wellbeing: A New Framework for Evaluating Infrastructure

Approaches to measuring the infrastructure gap have centred on the age and physical condition of assets. While understanding the physical state of infrastructure is important, there are other approaches to evaluation that are worthy of consideration. This session explores how broadening our approach to evaluation affects our understanding of the gap. Through the lens of community wellbeing, a new framework for evaluating infrastructure is reviewed, and key findings from recent applications to selected Canadian design projects are highlighted.

Gomez-Palacio <br />  
4:45 PM Closing Remarks from the Chair
Markovich <br />  
Senior Research Associate, Transportation Policy
The Conference Board of Canada
5:00 PM Day 1 Adjourns

Thursday, April 26, 2018

7:30 AM Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair

Part III: A Diversity of Responses

This closing portion of the programme considers a diversity of responses to the issues associated with infrastructure; some of these involve funding and heavy-builds; others do not.

8:15 AM Plenary Session 7
Canada’s Plan to Build Strong, Sustainable and Inclusive Communities Through Historic Investments in Infrastructure

Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is making historic new investments in infrastructure—more than doubling existing funding—to build the cities of the 21st century and provide communities across the country with the tools they need to prosper and innovate.

Investments in five key areas—public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation, and rural and northern communities infrastructure—aim to achieve three overarching goals: create long-term economic growth, build inclusive, sustainable communities and support a low carbon, green economy. In order for this plan to be successful, partnerships with other governments and stakeholders will be crucial, as well as our capacity to innovate and implement new financing tools like the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Sohi <br />  
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Infrastructure Canada
9:00 AM Plenary Session 8
Collecting Data on Infrastructure in Canada

Infrastructure Canada has been working with Statistics Canada on a project pertaining to core public infrastructure. This effort includes a benchmarking exercise to determine the state of core assets today and inform how to move forward in addressing our infrastructure issues. Notably, this effort takes a broader view of what constitutes infrastructure, in ways that include a greater range of asset categories than found in a typical municipal infrastructure report card. It also includes provincially-held infrastructure. This presentation will discuss the status of this research effort, with a focus on where we are now and how we can move forward to address our infrastructure needs.

FitzGerald <br />  
Director, Data and Research
Infrastructure Canada
Brown <br />  
Manager, Research Agenda
Infrastructure Canada
9:45 AM Networking Break
10:15 AM Plenary Session 9
The Canada Infrastructure Bank

This closing session reflects on a recent addition to the infrastructure landscape, The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). A Crown Corporation operating at arm's length from government, The CIB has been capitalized with $35 Billion to strategically support revenue-generating infrastructure projects over the next ten years. In addition to providing low-cost financing for infrastructure projects and bringing in private and institutional sector investments, The CIB aims to have an advisory role for governments and serve as a centre of expertise. This session explores the opportunities and challenges associated with The CIB, and reflects on what it means for urban, rural and Northern communities across Canada.

Siemiatycki <br />  
Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Planning
University of Toronto
11:30 AM Closing Remarks from the Chair

Markovich <br />  
Senior Research Associate, Transportation Policy
The Conference Board of Canada
11:45 AM Conference Adjourns

[1] Gonzalez, Green Infrastructure: Planning for Urban Resilience


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The details of this event are subject to change. Please revisit this page periodically for updated information.