media release

SFU brings citizens to Winnipeg to present recommendations for Canada's energy future

October 10, 2017

Keane Gruending, SFU Centre for Dialogue, 778.782.8851,
Robin Prest, SFU Centre for Dialogue, 778.782.7885,

One hundred and fifty randomly-selected Canadian citizens took part in coast-to-coast regional dialogues. A representative group will help to inform future energy pathways for Canada

Throughout September, Simon Fraser University (SFU) convened the Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy Future in five locations across the country–Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Department of Natural Resources, and as part of the Generation Energy initiative, these dialogues brought randomly selected citizens together to help answer the question, “What is Canada’s energy future?”

Over the course of each two-day dialogue, diverse Canadians representing different regions developed recommendations for energy policy in Canada.

 “The participants entered the conversation holding a range of opinions on energy,” says Robin Prest, program director. “But through respectful dialogue, they managed to bridge many differences to find solutions that are in the best interest of Canada as a whole. These solutions include major shifts coming in how energy is produced and consumed.”

Interim results from the regional dialogue have just been published in a report that is available online. Key takeaways include:

  • Participants recommended steps to transition Canada’s energy economy in support of a cleaner and healthier natural environment and/or reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • More than 90 per cent of participants supported investments in clean-tech innovation, government spending on national infrastructure, as well as incentives to accelerate the adoption of existing green energy technologies.
  • A recurring theme was the need to manage and address impacts to Canadians while our energy economy changes, including such considerations as job retention and retraining, affordability, reducing impacts on vulnerable individuals, communities and sectors, and providing energy choices that can adapt to local realities.
  • Citizens called for new forms of energy governance and oversight including improved cross-Canada collaboration.

A group of thirty-five citizen representatives will now travel to the Generation Energy national forum in Winnipeg from October 11–12 with an SFU team to deliberate a final set of pan-Canadian recommendations for Canada’s energy policy. These results will be presented during the morning of Friday, October 13 to decision-makers and stakeholders. Media can request to observe the presentation by contacting Keane Gruending.

“Good public policy should reflect the values and aspirations of Canadians,” says SFU President Andrew Petter, who will deliver a keynote address at the Generation Energy forum. “As Canada’s engaged university, we believe that academic institutions can play an important role in supporting citizen participation in the policy process and facilitating evidence-based dialogue.”

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, says he looks forward to the outcome of the citizen dialogues. “The arc of a nation’s history is often measured in decades, but it is defined by key moments," says Carr. "Generation Energy is such a moment. Decision stemming from these discussions will set the course for Canada’s energy future for generations to come. The work SFU is doing is a key part of ensuring that Canadians’ values and priorities are reflected in the policies we develop going forward."


  • Energy is fundamentally important to the economy and the lives of Canadians and has a significant impact on the environment. Canadians have diverse needs and viewpoints on how to approach the future of energy in Canada with respect to climate change, jobs, international competitiveness, and other criteria.
  • The Citizen Dialogues on Canada’s Energy is the first-ever, cross-Canada deliberative dialogue where randomly selected citizens have advised the Government of Canada on energy policy.
  • More than 500 decision-makers and key stakeholders will travel to Winnipeg for the Department of Natural Resources Generation Energy initiative national forum in Winnipeg from October 11–12.


  • One hundred and fifty randomly-selected citizens were recruited to participate in the regional dialogues, representing Canada’s regional, demographic, and attitudinal diversity. Dialogue locations: British Columbia and Yukon – Vancouver; Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territories – Calgary; Québec – Montreal; and Ontario and Nunavut – Toronto.
  • Prior to joining the regional dialogues, Participants were provided with evidence-based discussion materials, which were reviewed by a multi-sector group of experts.
  • The Institut du Nouveau Monde, a Québec-based non-partisan organization whose mission is to increase citizen participation in democratic life, is a project partner and convened the French regional dialogue in Montreal.



As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university, to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada's leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities, Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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