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Sowing the Seeds to Our Low-Carbon Future

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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The Empire Club of Canada Presents:
Sowing the Seeds to Our Low-Carbon Future

Fuel For Thought Virtual Event Series

Partnerships and ‘system-wide’ solutions are key to reducing emissions from Canada’s transportation sector. More than ever, our country’s world-class agriculture sector, refining expertise, and infrastructure are collaborating to unlock the potential of low-carbon fuels and help position Canada as a world leader in clean transportation energy.

Fighting climate change and growing the economy go hand-in-hand. Already well established in terms of technology, infrastructure, and availability, Canada’s transportation fuels sector continues to innovate and leverage new feedstocks, improving biofuel quality while their overall emissions intensity declines. By leveraging our collective value chains and innovative solutions like waste-to-fuel technology, we can help put Canada ahead of the curve as we continue Driving to 2050 and decarbonizing transportation to help reach our climate goals.

Join us for an engaging discussion on Tuesday, April 11th, to learn more about ongoing collaboration and opportunities for Canada’s agriculture and transportation fuels sectors to continue working together to unlock the potential of Made in Canada low-carbon fuels.

The content presented is free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.

Views and Opinions Expressed Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the speakers or panelists are those of the speakers or panelists and do not necessarily reflect or represent the official views and opinions, policy or position held by The Empire Club of Canada.

headshot of Michelle  Belisle

Michelle Belisle

Regulatory Affairs and Planning Advisor, Imperial Oil

Michelle Belisle supports policy and regulatory development as a Regulatory Affairs and Planning Advisor at Imperial Oil where she has worked for 18 years. She focuses on Provincial and Federal fuels policies including the Clean Fuel Regulations. Michelle’s previous roles with Imperial have included environmental compliance positions in headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States.

She holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary.

headshot of Francis  Drouin

Francis Drouin

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Government of Canada

Francis Drouin was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell in 2015.

In this role, Mr. Drouin served as a member of various parliamentary committees, associations, and interparliamentary groups, including the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, where he advocated for local farmers and economic growth in rural areas. He is the Chair of the Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie and a former Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Prior to being an elected official, Mr. Drouin served as a special assistant in the Office of the Premier of Ontario and worked in the private sector as a government relations consultant. He was previously Manager of Government Relations at Startup Canada, an organization that connects Canadian entrepreneurs and startups with the support, community partners, and resources they need to launch and grow their business.

Mr. Drouin is an active member of his community. He is the founder of the annual Francis Drouin Charity Golf Tournament in support of United Way East Ontario, an event dedicated to providing support to vulnerable youth in the region. As Chair of the Parliamentarians’ Caucus for the Fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), he helps raise awareness of the challenges faced by Canadians living with ALS.

Mr. Drouin holds a degree in business administration from Collège La Cité and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ottawa. He and his wife, Kate, are the proud parents of Leo-Xavier.

headshot of Jasmine  Igneski

Jasmine Igneski

Vice-President, Policy, Sustainability and Government Relations, Parkland Corporation

Ms. Igneski oversees the development, implementation and management of Parkland Corporation’s government, external and Indigenous relations strategies. In her role, she oversees Parkland’s advocacy activities, policy development, and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) functions across Canada, the United States, and 23 countries throughout the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Ms. Igneski has over 25 years of experience within governments, public affairs, strategic planning, and environmental consulting. She spent a considerable amount of time in senior advisory roles for several federal and provincial cabinet members and ministers, including for the Prime Minister of Canada where she served as Senior Policy Advisor for Economic Affairs, Environment and Energy Security, Director of Issues Management, and Director of Priorities and Planning. Ms. Igneski has also provided integrated communications and public affairs support through private practice in a range of sectors including government relations, mergers and acquisitions, brand and reputation management, crisis and issues management, media relations, and community and stakeholder relations.

In her volunteer time, Ms. Igneski sits on the Board of the Canadian Climate Institute, is a long-term member of the Board of the Sarcoma Foundation of Canada and a patron of Parkinson Canada’s SuperWalk, a cause that is very important to her.

headshot of Andrea  Kent

Andrea Kent

Vice-President, Industry and Government Affairs, Greenfield Global

Andrea Kent is Vice President of Industry and Government Affairs at Greenfield Global, where she works with governments at all levels on policies that empower the low-carbon economy. In her role, she often speaks across Canada and worldwide on the importance of renewable fuels and environmental technologies. Andrea’s writing has appeared in numerous industry and national publications. From 2014 to 2017, she served as President of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, now Renewable Industries Canada, and currently sits on its Board of Directors.

With over 20 years in executive and government roles, Andrea’s experience spans various government departments, agencies, and senior roles serving Cabinet Ministers on Parliament Hill. Andrea joined Greenfield Global, the largest ethanol producer in Canada, in 2017 as its Vice President of Communications and Public Relations. Here, she found a passion for bridging the gap between bold environmental ambitions and sustainable business solutions.

Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Windsor.

headshot of Chris  Vervaet

Chris Vervaet

Executive Director, Canadian Oilseed Processors Association

Chris Vervaet is the Executive Director of the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association (COPA), representing its members on matters pertaining to the oilseed processing industry. Chris also serves as a senior executive with the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). He has worked at various levels of the agriculture industry for over 20 years, in both a domestic and international capacity. Prior to joining COPA and the CCC in 2015, Chris spent seven years working for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a market access and trade specialist, including four years as Agriculture Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. Earlier in his career, he served as Director of Trade Policy for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Trade Analyst for Bunge Global. Chris holds a M.Sc. in Agriculture Economics from the University of Guelph and a B.Sc. in Agribusiness from the University of Manitoba.

He was raised on a grain farm in Manitoba and currently resides in Winnipeg with his wife and daughter.