Join the Public Affairs Association of Canada (Ontario Chapter) on Thursday, May 13 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm for our upcoming event: ‘Great expectations: How will sustainability define the post COVID-19 world?’ Debrief with your peers after the event from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm for post-event virtual networking!

As the world transitions to a post-COVID-19 world, climate change is a topic that government and public affairs professionals cannot afford to ignore. Whether "it's" customers, clients or voters – people care about sustainability.

With growing public pressure, the policy response to climate change is becoming increasingly accelerated and new developments can have significant business and social impacts across various sectors.

This panel will discuss what businesses can expect from policymakers in the coming years. It will also explore the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, the uneven impact that the energy transition will have on employment and communities and how organizations can balance the changing expectations of shareholders and stakeholders.



  • Alison Loat, Managing Director, Sustainable Investing and Innovation, OPTrust


  • Velma McColl, Principal, Earnscliffe
  • Naheed Nenshi, Mayor, City of Calgary
  • Flavio Volpe, President, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association


Alison Loat, Managing Director, Sustainable Investing and Innovation, OPTrust

Alison Loat is the Managing Director, Sustainable Investing and Innovation at OPTrust, a Canadian public pension plan.  She leads OPTrust's responsible investment program, its total fund climate change strategy, and a new portfolio investing at the intersection of sustainability and innovation with a focus on climate change.

Previously, Alison was the Senior Managing Director of FCLT Global where she worked with asset owners, managers and companies to advance long-term investing. She’s also worked at McKinsey & Company, a healthcare technology company and was on the founding team of the MaRS Discovery District.

She has a deep commitment to public service. She co-founded the Samara Centre for Democracy and was a Senior Fellow and instructor at the University of Toronto and the president of the Canadian Club of Toronto.

Alison is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, an Advisory Board member at the Max Bell School at McGill University and a governor of Ridley College. She is also a board director of Ai-Media, an ASX-listed technology company that makes educational, workplace, conference and media content accessible, and privately held media company.

She received the Queen’s Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals and was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She has degrees from Queen’s University and the Harvard Kennedy School.


Velma McColl, Principal, Earnscliffe

Velma McColl blends her deep understanding of business, government and policy to create opportunities for her clients. As a Managing Principal in Ottawa, Velma works on a range of economic and social issues including M&A, innovation, energy, environment and emerging technologies. She has been a driving force in the growth and diversification of Earnscliffe’s business.

Prior to joining Earnscliffe in 2004, Velma advised Federal Cabinet Ministers on political strategy, policy and communications. She has also worked provincially in British Columbia and Alberta. She has worked to find creative solutions across federal/provincial/territorial, North American and international boundaries. Her career includes success as an entrepreneur and experience working collaboratively with business, academia, think tanks, not-for-profit organizations and the public sector.

A proud mother and Westerner with twenty years’ experience in Ottawa, Velma studied at the University of British Columbia and the Banff School of Management. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Clean Technology Coalition and Women in GR. She has taken leadership roles with several organizations including Smart Prosperity, the Ryan’s Well Foundation and Ecotrust Canada.

Naheed Nenshi, Mayor, City of Calgary

Naheed Nenshi, A’paistootsiipsii, was sworn in as Calgary's 36th mayor on October 25, 2010 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017.

Prior to being elected, Mayor Nenshi was with McKinsey and Company, later forming his own business to help public, private and non-profit organizations grow. He designed policy for the Government of Alberta, helped create a Canadian strategy for The Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, and worked with the United Nations to determine how business can help the poorest people on the planet. He then entered academia, where he was Canada's first tenured professor in the field of nonprofit management, at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business.

For his work, Mayor Nenshi was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, was awarded the President’s Award from the Canadian Institute of Planners, and received the Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Psychological Association for his contributions to community mental health. In 2013, after his stewardship of the community during devastating flooding, Maclean’s magazine called him the second-most influential person in Canada, after the Prime Minister. He was also awarded the 2014 World Mayor Prize by the UK-based City Mayor’s Foundation as the best mayor in the world.

In 2014, he was also honoured by Elder Pete Standing Alone with the Blackfoot name A’paistootsiipsii, which means "Clan Leader" or "He who moves camp and the others follow". In 2016, Elder Bruce Starlight of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation honoured him with the name Iitiya: "Always Ready".

Mayor Nenshi holds a Bachelor of Commerce (with distinction) from the University of Calgary, where he was President of the Students' Union, and a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he studied as a Kennedy Fellow.

Flavio Volpe, President, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association

Flavio Volpe is an internationally recognized champion of Canada's automotive industry. He proudly leads the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) - Canada's national association representing original equipment suppliers to the worldwide automotive industry Working closely with officials in Ottawa, Washington and Mexico City during the 2017-19 NAFTA renegotiations, he led the effort to secure an unexpected and unprecedented increase in
Regional Value Content for Canadian automotive suppliers in the new USMCA.

When the global COVID19 pandemic created a dangerous medical equipment shortage in Canada in early 2020, he launched one of the biggest peace-time mobilizations of the country’s industrial capacity ever. Dubbed a manufacturing hero’ by the Toronto Star for his leadership, this effort resulted in the largest build-orders of ventilators, face shields, surgical masks and gowns in Canada’s history.

A passionate technology leader, his response to the Prime Minister’s call to action for a net-zero emission economy by 2050 was to launch an all-Canadian, zero-emissions, lightweight, concept vehicle to debut in 2022. Described by the Globe and Mail as ‘an audacious play to build an allCanadian electric car’, APMA’s Project Arrow was revealed at CES2020 in Las Vegas to international coverage and will serve as a premier showcase of Canada’s automotive technology cluster.

Flavio speaks regularly on behalf of industry interests and is a sought-after voice by leading global publications including The Economist, New York Times, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, CNBC, Globe and Mail and Washington Post. He was recognized as a top Industry Leader in the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions of Automotive News Canada’s All-Stars. Flavio holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto.

WHAT? Great expectations: How will sustainability define the post COVID-19 world?

WHEN? Thursday, May 13 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM and post-event networking from 12:00PM to 12:30PM

WHERE? Join us at home! Zoom link to be provided in advance of the event

Free virtual event for PAAC members and non-members.


With net assets of over $23 billion, OPTrust invests and manages one of Canada's largest pension funds and administers the OPSEU Pension Plan (including OPTrust Select), a defined benefit plan with over 98,000 members. OPTrust is a global investor in a broad range of asset classes including Canadian and foreign equities, fixed income, real estate, infrastructure and private markets, and has a team of highly experienced investment professionals located in Toronto, London and Sydney.

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