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 – Research

Canadians need a serious national dialogue now on how to sustainably develop and manage future growth in Canada’s oil sands. What is currently taking place is a debate, rather than a dialogue, with strongly opposing positions firmly entrenched on all sides. Recognizing that the current debate is not likely to lead to constructive outcomes, a different approach is necessary – one that engages representative interests directly in developing agreed upon solutions.  We researched how that could be done.

Research - icon

Canada’s oil sands are at a critical point in their development. Economic opportunity and environmental necessity are combining to generate real concern that “business as usual” is not a viable path forward. How do we move forward then on sustainable development of the oil sands?

In the late summer of 2010, the NRT and the Public Policy Forum brought together a small group of thoughtful Canadians in Fernie, B.C. from industry, civil society, governments, and the environmental community to consider this question and talk about the prospects for a new approach to oil sands development. One based on dialogue not debate; one that brings interests together to consider viable, sustainable paths forward. Is this needed? Is this possible? How would it work?

The conclusions were clear and meaningful. Such a dialogue is needed and it is needed now. Indeed, there are risks in not proceeding. The dialogue needs to be comprehensive but also focused so it can lead to tangible results. In fact, three dialogue areas were identified: (1) regional oil sands performance, (2) Canada’s clean energy strategy, and (3) Canada’s climate change policy. All implicate the sustainable development of the oil sands, directly and indirectly.