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Conference Agenda

NOMA is pleased to present our exciting agenda for the 2021 Conference & AGM!

You will discover the presentations aim to align with our theme "Governing Through a Pandemic & the Road to Recovery". The presentations will provide you with useful knowledge to address some of the issues you have or will face through this pandemic and recovering from COVID-19. 

Please click on the link below to access the agenda:

2021 NOMA Conference & AGM Draft Agenda

All presentations have been confirmed and more details are available below. Please note that times are subject to change. The link to the agenda will be amended as changes are made. If you are registered, you will receive an email with an updated agenda. 

Our agenda includes presentations from the following organizations:

The following ministers have confirmed their participation in the Ministers Forum on April 30th from 12:30 - 1:30pm:

Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing

Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development & Mines & Indigenous Affairs

Hon. Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade

Hon. Jeff Yurek, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Hon. Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General

Hon. Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure

Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation

Hon. John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry

Hon. Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Hon. Michael Tibollo, Ministry of Mental Health

Hon. Bill Walker, Ministry of Energy

Once registered for the conference, you will be provided a link to submit questions to the ministers.


To register for the conference please click on the link below:


Below you will find a description to some of the presentations included in the agenda!


Hydro One

Fireside Chat: Supporting Northwestern Ontario’s Growth Potential

Presenter: Jason Fitzsimmons - Chief Corporate Affairs and Customer Care Officer

Presenter Biography: Jason Fitzsimmons is the Chief Corporate Affairs and Customer Care Officer of Hydro One. In this role, held since August 2018, Mr. Fitzsimmons has oversight of the company’s customer service, external relations, communications and marketing, sustainability and Indigenous relations functions. Prior to his current role, he served as the company’s Vice President of Labour Relations. With more than 25 years of experience in the electricity sector, Mr. Fitzsimmons is a highly regarded leader with a proven track record for executing large-scale transformations and building strong relationships with key stakeholders. Before joining the company in 2016, Mr. Fitzsimmons was the Chief Negotiations Officer at the Ontario Hospital Association and held a number of executive roles at Ontario Power Generation, including Vice President of Human Resources for its Nuclear division. He is a Certified Human Resource Executive known for his broad experience in labour management, as well as his passion for health and safety in the workplace. He is a former member of the Advisory Board for Ryerson University’s Centre for Labour Management Relations and has served on the Board of Directors for the Electrical Power Sector Construction Association.


Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)

Implementing Reconciliation

Presenter: Bob Watts, Vice-President of Indigenous Relations & Strategic Programs

Description: This presentation details the importance of building respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and why Reconciliation is important not only to Indigenous peoples but all Canadians. In order to achieve a better tomorrow, we must co-create a better today.

Presenter Biography: Bob Watts A graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and fellow at the Harvard Law School, Bob Watts has been involved in Indigenous issues for more than 30 years. He is the Vice-President of Indigenous Relations & Strategic Programs at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He is an Adjunct Professor and Distinguished Fellow at Queens University in the School of Policy Studies. Previously, Bob was Chief of Staff and Chief Executive Officer for the Assembly of First Nations and Interim Executive Director of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was also an Assistant Deputy Minister with the federal government. Bob is well known for his commitment to reconciliation and Indigenous knowledge. Bob is of Mohawk and Ojibway ancestry.



Working for Communities in a Post Pandemic World

Presenters: Jeff Barten, Energy & Asset Services Manager & Eleonore Schneider, Program Manager

Description: Municipalities have been working hard to overcome pandemic challenges and LAS has been supporting you in every way we can.  As we look towards emerging from lockdowns, travel restrictions and quarantines, we invite you to hear about the exciting things we’ve been working on while we were apart.  Join LAS to explore opportunities to make your life easier and help your communities work better in a post-pandemic world.

Presenter Biography: Jeff has extensive experience in project and energy management from both the private and public sectors in Ontario. He understands the unique challenges faced by Ontario’s municipalities having worked in this sector for over 17 years. At LAS, he and his team create energy conservation and asset related services used by hundreds of municipalities. His track record includes the popular LAS LED Streetlight Program and more recently, the launch of LAS’ Municipal Group Buying Program.


Lakehead University

Employing New Immigrants:  Community and Organizational Inclusion Challenges in Northwestern Ontario

Presenters:  Dr. Kathy Sanderson, Ryan Hron, Julia Whitney - Faculty of Business Administration

Description: As the population growth in Northwestern Ontario is stagnant, new employee pools are being explored to ensure a qualified workforce exists.  While recruitment of new immigrants presents a challenge in itself, the way organizations and communities welcome new members plays a vital role in their retention.  The complexities of inclusion and transition include micro and macro-organizational and societal barriers and opportunities. Using a multi-methods approach, research team has been working with the communities of Atikokan, Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay to explore organizational and community welcoming.  Over 35 interviews have been completed with new immigrants, business, and community leaders to determine the challenges associated with newcomer relocation to remote and rural communities.  In addition, a survey was conducted that captured a wider view of community and organizational welcoming.  The results of the interviews and survey will be presented, as well as preliminary recommendations for increasing new immigrant inclusion.

Presenter Biography: Dr. Kathy Sanderson is an Assistant Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behaviour in the Faculty of Business Administration at Lakehead University. For the past three years, Sanderson has been conducting research focused on reducing pain at work. Her areas of focus are emotional abuse and coercive control at work, workplace ostracism, and job rejection. She has an ongoing research projects that explore gender and non-traditional occupations, welcoming and onboarding of new immigrants, and recruitment strategies for women and Indigenous people. She is a Registered Psychotherapist (Ontario), and has provided mental health and addictions counselling, and workplace crisis interventions for over 20 years while holding managerial positions. For eight years, she was the Coordinator of the Cultural Care Program for the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Hospital, conducting cultural assessments and training. With a focus on human resources and change, Dr. Sanderson works with employers to address sensitive and trauma-informed organizational responses for both groups and individuals.


CMHC Outreach

Affordable Housing and the Local Economy

Presenter: Arlene Etchen

Description: Many communities across Canada are challenged with finding affordable housing for their residents. The rising cost of housing and the lack of affordable housing options, strongly impacts economic growth as employers try to find workers for their jobs and communities try to find homes for their residents. Add COVID to the mix and things get even more challenging, While we don’t know how COVID will play out, we do know that Investments in affordable housing are good ones – that can go beyond providing a home. They can produce benefits in the form of jobs, wages, government revenue, local purchasing power and neighbourhood vitality. This session will share the benefits of creating affordable housing in your community, provide examples of projects funded under Canada's National Housing Strategy (NHS) and discuss how communities can access NHS funding to create affordable housing.

Presenter Biography: Arlene Etchen is an Outreach Specialist in Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Partnerships and Promotions Team. She has been working in the urban planning and real estate sectors for more than 20 years. In her role, Arlene is focused on engaging with professionals in the housing industry, non-profit housing providers and provincial and municipal governments to ensure access to the latest and most relevant housing information from CMHC.


Colliers Project Leaders

Dealer's Choice: Project Methodology Selection

Presenter: Gord Wickham

Description: Most municipalities are familiar with the conventional Design-Build-Build approach. However, alternative delivery methods such as Design-Build, Construction Management and Integrated Project Delivery may offer benefits depending on the scope, funding source, and required timelines. This session will introduce attendees to alternative delivery methods and describe the benefits of each capital project delivery method. You will learn how to apply considerations including project objectives, cost, scope, quality, schedule and risk to determine which method may be best for your capital project.

Presenter Biography: Gord Wickham is the Vice-President of Northern Ontario and Senior Project Manager in the Thunder Bay office. He has 32 years of experience in the professional consulting industry with a special focus on work with municipalities and Indigenous clients. Throughout his career, Gord has developed a reputation for offering a strategic value-added approach to various large infrastructure projects with Indigenous communities. Gord has been involved in a variety of project roles throughout his career, including feasibility analysis, business plan development, design, project management, cost control, and contract administration. Gord has a broad background in large commercial and institutional projects, including water treatment plants, schools, community centres, health centres, and a full range of environmental remediation and community infrastructure projects. In his previous work, Gord owned his own consulting engineering and project management firm where he built on his previous work for various consulting engineering firms where he served in senior leadership roles. Gord’s focus is on building and leading the required team to successfully deliver value-added solutions to project challenges. As Vice President, Northern Ontario for Colliers Project Leaders, Gord is responsible for ensuring that our resources are efficiently applied to all projects undertaken in the region and that all projects are effectively delivered. Gord also believes in community involvement and has served on numerous Boards and Committees in the Region. Currently, he is a Board Member of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre.


Frank Cowan Company

Risk Mitigation and COVID-19

Presenter: Jessica Jaremchuk, Director Risk Management Services

Description: Municipalities across Ontario are reopening facilities and programs while faced with complex and unique challenges. This session will look at the dynamics created by COVID-19, broad themes of reopening, and risk and liability considerations in the ‘new normal’. It will explore some of the key issues that municipalities will likely be faced with over the coming months and discuss risk mitigation strategies for public facilities and playgrounds.

Presenter Biography: Jessica Jaremchuk is the Director, Risk Management Services with expertise in risk consultations, and contract and legal reviews. Jessica has been with Frank Cowan Company since 2011, holding previous roles that included Regional Account Manager, Marketing and Manager, Risk Management Consulting Services. Jessica has delivered many educational seminars on various risk issues in both Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces and has been a keynote speaker at various association conferences. She has been involved in the development and implementation of the Company’s Risk Management Centre of Excellence.


Ombudsman Ontario

Electronic Meetings: How to keep virtual municipal meetings open and accessible.

Presenter: Lauren Chee-Hing, Legal Council 

Description: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province of Ontario has been in various stages of lockdown since March 2020, requiring municipalities to adapt to ensure the public is able to participate in their open meetings. Many municipalities have turned to electronic meetings, including via teleconference, Zoom, or other webcasting tools. The Ombudsman has investigated complaints about these virtual meetings and has developed some best practices for municipal meetings to remain accessible and open to the public. Join Legal Counsel Lauren Chee-Hing as she walks through some of these cases and offers tips for municipalities to ensure the public is able to participate, no matter the platform.

Presenter Biography: Lauren Chee-Hing is counsel with the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office, where she deals primarily with municipal law matters. Prior to joining the Office of the Ombudsman, Lauren worked as a lawyer at Aird & Berlis LLP where she practiced municipal and land use planning law. Lauren has appeared before tribunals such as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, as well as before the Ontario Court of Appeal. While at the Ombudsman’s Office, Lauren works on individual complaints, municipal closed meeting investigations, and systemic investigations. 


Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry, as well as a focus specifically on Resourced-based tourism.

Presenters: Beth Potter, President & CEO of Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Rick Layzell – Executive Director – Boating Ontario, Kevin Eshkawkogan – President & CEO – Indigenous Tourism Ontario & Isabelle deBruyn – Tourism Manager – SEO

Description: Join Beth Potter as she provides an overview on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry for the province. Beth will address issues faced inclusive of Resource-based tourism, TIAO’s advocacy initiatives on behalf of the industry, and how working directly with Municipalities can aid in this effort. Beth is joined by a panel of experts to share how through knowledge gathering, collaboration and communication, the industry is positioning itself to rebuild beyond the pandemic.


Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF)

Building a Resilient Non-Profit sector in Ontario

Presenter: Katharine Bambrick, CEO

Description: OTF’s presentation will cover the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the non-profit sector across the province, the ways that OTF and the Government of Ontario have worked to support organizations and thoughts on what the long-lasting impacts may be.

Presenter Biography: Katharine Bambrick is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Based on the more than 30 years of experience in leadership and organization development for nonprofits and charities locally, provincially and nationally, she was appointed in September 2017 to lead one of Canada’s largest granting organizations. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario and its mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Before joining OTF, Katharine was the Executive Director of Food Banks Canada, a national charity that supports a network of over 500 provincial and local food bank organizations. During her ten years there, she led the organization through transformational change, and significant growth enabling the organization to better achieve its mandate of relieving hunger in Canada. Prior to that, Katharine was the Executive Director of the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, and held positions at Food and Consumer Products of Canada and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Katharine is an experienced Board Director with extensive volunteer involvement, including serving on The Global FoodBanking Network Board of Directors and on the Advisory Committee for the Center for Effective Philanthropy. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph.


Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM)

NOSM Update: Rural Physicians

Presenter: Dr. Sarita Verma, Dean, President and CEO

Presenter Biography: Dr. Sarita Verma was the Vice President, Education at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and is a Professor Emerita in the U of T Department of Family and Community Medicine. Formerly the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Associate Vice-Provost, Health Professions Education she is a family physician who originally trained as a lawyer at the University of Ottawa (1981) and later completed her medical degree at McMaster University (1991). She has been a Diplomat in Canada’s Foreign Service and worked with UNHCR in Sudan and Ethiopia for several years. In 2021 she was named one of the most powerful physicians in Canada. ( Dr. Verma is the 2006 recipient of the Donald Richards Wilson Award in medical education from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; the 2009 co-recipient of the May Cohen Gender Equity Award from the Association of Faculties of Medicine in Canada and the 2016 recipient of the Charles Mickle Fellowship from the University of Toronto for excellence in medical education. For six years she held the position of Governor at the University of Toronto. She has been a board member of several teaching hospitals, namely the Women’s College Hospital, North York General Hospital, Trillium Health Partners the Michener Institute, Associated Medical Services and a member of and Chair of the Board of the National Canadian Residency Matching Service. She currently sits on the Board of the AFMC, the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, ICES, Health Services Organization (HSO) and Board of the Health Sciences Network Research Institute in Sudbury.


Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)

Strengthening Municipalities Through Energy Choices

Presenter: Terry Young, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, IESO

Description: Ontario’s electricity system is changing in a way that is creating new opportunities for communities to contribute to meeting their own energy needs. The historically top-down nature of the electricity system is shifting to a more decentralized system, with more decisions being influenced by community priorities. Looking ahead, this shift will be accelerated as emerging technologies and a need for new electricity supply converge, creating more opportunities for communities and businesses to leverage these changes to achieve economic development and sustainability goals. Join this discussion to hear more about how communities are getting more involved in Ontario’s electricity system, and the outlook for the future. 

Presenter Biography: Terry Young is Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. Under Mr. Young’s leadership, the IESO oversees the safe and reliable operation of Ontario's bulk electricity system, ensuring affordable electricity is available when and where people need it. The IESO also operates the wholesale electricity markets, plans and prepares for Ontario’s future electricity needs, delivers energy efficiency and demand management programs, provides data, information and advice to facilitate informed decision-making, and works with partners to foster innovation in support of system cost effectiveness and reliability. In his previous role as Vice President of Policy, Engagement and Innovation, Mr. Young was responsible for stakeholder and community engagement, communications, regulatory affairs, Indigenous relations, conservation, and other programs necessary for the implementation of effective energy policy. A well-known spokesperson with 30 years of experience in the electricity industry, Mr. Young started his career as a journalist with Canadian Press-Broadcast News. He also served as President, Ontario Branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Mr. Young has been with the IESO since 2002.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Diamond Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

  • Municipal World

Event Supporter

  • Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
  • TC Energy
  • Grant Thorton

Graciously supported by

Ontario Sencia Canada Ltd

Partnered with

Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce Northwestern Ontario Development Network