InfraIntelligence Discussion Series

ReNew Canada’s InfraIntelligence discussion series focuses on topics in the national infrastructure landscape that are not being talked about enough, or perhaps need a fresh perspective considered. Topics are determined by our editorial team based on the information we collect in our day-to-day coverage of the Canadian public sector infrastructure industry.

Discussions are held on the fourth Thursday of each month. There are also special editions that are held when the timing of the conversation is appropriate.

All discussions are free and fully interactive. Anyone who registers will also be able to access a free recording of the event.

Check out our upcoming discussions:

Funding Indigenous Megaprojects – April 22nd


Many of Canada’s Indigenous communities are in need of new infrastructure, from water assets and better roads to stronger schools and clean energy. New partnerships between First Nations communities and asset developers are leading to some of Canada’s most incredible developments, which can be maintained by the communities they serve. This ability for the community to work on infrastructure assets, both in the short-term and long-term, is a key for economic development and resilient recovery.

How do we use these recent successes to encourage more asset development in these remote communities? And how do we ensure that capital is available for these projects to move forward in a timely fashion? We’ll be discussing these issues with our panel of experts:

Sharleen Gale is the Chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation. She is an active member of the Fort Nelson First Nation and envisions a future where all members are working together to become a strong, proud, healthy, and self-reliant Nation. She is the grand-daughter of Fred Burke and Madeline Needlay. Gale started her career at West Coast Energy Inc. in 2000. She has held various roles in administration, planning, finance, and leadership. As chair of the First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC), she actively advocates for First Nations to have the opportunity for equity partnership in major infrastructure projects and access to meaningful financial investments and environmental stewardship for these projects.

Benoît Dion holds a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Sherbrooke. After graduating, he quickly joined the ranks of the family business, working on the environmental remediation of abandoned military bases in Canada’s Arctic. In 2010, the company was acquired by Sanexen. Dion continues to work for Sanexen, where he has held a number of positions. He currently acts as the senior director of business development, where he oversees the management of large‑scale projects and the strategic positioning of the company. Dion has contributed on numerous significant projects, such as environmental remediation and management of soils generated by the REM and Turcot Interchange projects, as well as several major real estate projects in Montréal and all across Canada. Dion is a member of the Board of Directors for Sanexen’s two Indigenous companies, Avataani Environmental Services and Qikiqtaaluk Environmental.

Hillary Thatcher is senior director of project development for Indigenous infrastructure for the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). She leads the CIB’s Indigenous relationships and opportunities to engage with Indigenous communities. She is part of the team offering advice and making investments consistent in CIB’s priority initiatives. Previously director general of innovation and services at Indigenous Services Canada, Thatcher spent 15 years with the Ontario government in senior roles across Indigenous Affairs, Energy and Infrastructure, and Natural Resources. She has a proven track record of building linkages among government, industry, and Indigenous interests. She is Métis and has been an active member of the urban Indigenous community of Toronto through her volunteer roles at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, Red Sky Performance and the Downie Wenjak Fund. Thatcher graduated from Concordia University in Montreal and the University of Victoria.

Stephen Lidington is managing director of infrastructure advisory and financing for Colliers Project Leaders. Lidington brings significant experience as a project finance advisor for dozens of infrastructure projects across Canada. He is a seasoned transaction advisor with experience in both the public and private sectors on a wide range of major projects, including First Nations projects. Lidington leads the project finance infrastructure advisory practice at Colliers Project Leaders, where he and his colleagues are committed to advancing the economic interests of First Nations in major infrastructure projects. He holds masters of business administration, a bachelor of economics, and a CSC.

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Canada’s Nuclear Future – May 27th

Nuclear energy is here to stay in Canada, providing a key part of the low-emissions energy portfolio in two provinces.

Are there opportunities for other provinces to develop larger nuclear assets, or has the time for that opportunity already passed? Three provinces are already working on small nuclear technologies. Could others follow suit as they see the potential implementation opportunities for the technology? What about waste diversion, especially with the cancellation of the Deep Geologic Repository in Ontario?

We’ll explore these questions and more as we look to appreciate Canada’s nuclear future.

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Barriers to Mass Timber Infrastructure – June 24th

It has been two years since ReNew Canada sat down with mass timber industry leaders from across the country to discuss opportunities and challenges for future asset development. Since then one of the industry’s cornerstone projects in Canada has been cancelled (Toronto’s Quayside development) but several other projects have begun development.

With changes to the building code now allowing for taller wood development, we’ll discuss the challenges and opportunities now available. From supply chain development and public education to fire resistance and long-term durability, we’ll discuss what needs to happen for mass timber projects to become a part of the everyday development landscape.

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Missed one of our previous InfraIntelligence discussions? Watch them for free on YouTube. Click the links below for access to the conversations:

Infrastructure’s Vital Role in Ontario’s Economic Recovery

The Shape of Canada’s Infrastructure Stimulus

Construction’s New Health and Safety Regime

Municipal Infrastructure Investment During COVID-19

Addressing Market Capacity in Canadian Infrastructure

Designing Infrastructure for Disruptive Events

Putting a Price on Transportation

Interested in sponsoring one of our discussions?
Email Nick Krukowski at to learn about all of the benefits your company can receive as a sponsor.

Have an idea for a future session?
Email Todd Latham at to pitch your idea.