Our process helps Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation.


We rigorously research and conduct high quality analysis on issues of sustainable development. Our thinking is original and thought provoking.


We convene opinion leaders and experts from across Canada around our table to share their knowledge and diverse perspectives. We stimulate debate and integrate polarities. We create a context for possibilities to emerge.


We generate ideas and provide realistic solutions to advise governments, Parliament and Canadians. We proceed with resolve and optimism to bring Canada’s economy and environment closer together.

Oil Sands: From Debate to Dialogue – Convene

In 2010, a ground-breaking meeting was held in Fernie, British Columbia, organized by the NRT and the Public Policy Forum, where a small group of Canadian leaders from all sides of the oil sands debate met to exchange views and perspectives on creating the conditions for a posi­tive dialogue on the sustainable development of the industry.

From August 30 to September 1, 2010, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) and the Public Policy Forum (PPF), convened a meeting of leaders from the oil sands, petroleum, and mining industries, environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), government, and civil society to discuss how a constructive dialogue on the sustainable development of the oil sands might be initiated.

Over the course of two days, the group discussed the need for such a dialogue, the core issues that should be included, the barriers and challenges that will need to be overcome to allow a dialogue to flourish, and some initial ideas on how to get such a process underway. Participants were encouraged to ‘leave their hats at the door’ and come to the meeting with an open mind about listening to others’ perspectives and considering collaborative approaches.

By establishing a neutral and safe discussion environment, participants were able to improve their understanding of each others’ perspectives, start building trust, and talk about the potential for a conversation that could result in constructive actions. The group concluded that a serious and transparent dialogue on the sustainable development of the oil sands is needed, and that now is the time to begin.

The group further concluded that, rather than a single conversation, there is actually a pressing need for three specific dialogues on different but linked aspects of oil sands development – one specific to the regional issue of oil sands environmental performance, a second on the issue of Canada’s clean energy future and the oil sands’ place in it, and a third on the issue of climate change policy and the oil sands’ contribution to this. Together, these should form the basis of a comprehensive dialogue process allowing for a more strategic approach to addressing the sustainable development of the oil sands.


Dave Collyer
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Mark Corey
Assistant Deputy Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Energy Sector

Jim Ellis
Deputy Minister
Government of Alberta
Department of Environment

Phil Fontaine
Special Advisor
Royal Bank of Canada

Arlin Hackman
Vice President & Chief Conservation Officer
WWF Canada

Chris Henderson
Delphi Group;
Lumos Energy

Larry Innes
Executive Director
Canadian Boreal Initiative

Brenda Kenny
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

Gordon Lambert
Vice President
Sustainable Development

Elaine McCoy
Senate of Canada

Ken Ogilvie
Executive Director Emeritus
Pollution Probe;
Board Member Pembina Institute

Robert Page, Ph.D.
TransAlta Professor of Environmental
Management and Sustainability
University of Calgary;
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

Gordon Peeling
President and CEO
Mining Association of Canada

Marlo Raynolds
Executive Director
Pembina Institute

Colin Robertson
Distinguished Senior Fellow
Norman Paterson School of International Affairs

Wishart Robson
Senior Advisor on Safety and Climate Change to the CEO
Nexen Inc.

David Runnalls
Distinguished Fellow
International Institute for Sustainable Development

Merran Smith
Energy Initiative
Tides Foundation

Rick Smith
Executive Director
Environmental Defence

Stephanie Sterling
Vice President
Business and JV Management
Heavy Oil
Shell Canada

Arlene Strom
Vice President
Communications and Stakeholder Relations

Peter Watson
Deputy Minister
Government of Alberta
Department of Energy

David McLaughlin
President and CEO
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

David Mitchell
President and CEO
Public Policy Forum


Bruce Anderson
Senior Associate
Senior Vice President
National Public Relations

Thomas Homer-Dixon
Centre for International Governance
Innovation Chair for Global Systems
University of Waterloo