Water professionals have counted on the Window on Ottawa for over 20 years to hear the latest updates from the federal government. Not to hear what each department did last year, but rather to learn what they are working on right now and what is coming next year. For over 10 years, Water Canada and the Canadian Water Summit have hosted in-depth panel discussions on the most critical issues affecting the industry.
Together, the organizers of Window on Ottawa and the Canadian Water Summit hopes to reach an even wider audience through new online opportunities. Each conversation provided a keynote presentation from senior staff at a federal government ministry on work was being done at the time that impacted the Canadian water sector. We then convened a utility leaders panel during each webinar to generate thoughtful dialogue that built on the initial conversation.
July 29, 2020 1:00 p.m. EDT
Window on Security and Emergency Management
Insider risk relates to people working within an organization to subvert the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information contained within the walls of that entity.
During the Window on Security and Emergency Management webinar, Public Safety Canada provided case studies of related events and insights on what organizations can do today to protect their systems from the “threat from within.”
Following the keynote presentation, the utility leaders panel provided highlights of the response (up to the time of the webinar) to COVID-19 in the water sector and how incident management systems can assist with crisis leadership when having to deal with a “disaster within a disaster.”
The session was moderated by Ian Mcilwham, the compliance manager at the Regional Municipality of Durham and Chair of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s (CWWA) Security and Emergency Committee. He was joined by two speakers, which included:
- Robert Pitcher who is the manager of critical infrastructure partnerships at Public Safety Canada.
- Gregory Solecki who is the director of crisis leadership—pandemic response at Sandhurst Consulting.
Join Water Canada and the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) for the Window on Drinking Water webinar that will discuss federal activities that relate to drinking water. We will also discuss the challenges utilities are currently facing in balancing public health with customer responsibility.
The webinar will include:
- An update from Health Canada on the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality including current guidelines, the state of guidelines yet to be finalized, and upcoming consultations.
- A presentation from Health Canada on the Monitoring the Biological Stability on Drinking Water in Distribution Systems guidance that is currently out for public consultation.
- A discussion hosted by the CWWA Drinking Water Quality Committee on water quality in buildings. It will focus on questions such as: Where does municipal responsibility end? Where does the property owner become responsible? What does the law say versus a moral or practical obligation? The panel will consider these questions as they relate to Lead.
The webinar will be moderated by Steve Craik who is the director of quality assurance and environment at EPCOR. He is also the chair of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s (CWWA) Drinking Water Committee. Steve will be joined by the following four speakers:
- Renée Grosselle—Renée is the manager of environmental standards for the City of Winnipeg’s Water and Waste Department. She is responsible for significant functions of the department including but not limited to: regulatory compliance monitoring and reporting; provision of accredited analytical services; industrial wastewater licensing, control, and revenues; and by-law enforcement.
- Judy Macdonald—Judy is the water quality engineer in the Microbiological Assessment Section of the Water and Air Quality Bureau of Health Canada. She has worked on several Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, including bromate, enteric protozoa and viruses, natural organic matter, and aluminum.
- Diane Medeiros—Diane is the senior evaluator in the Microbiological Assessment Section of the Water and Air Quality Bureau of Health Canada. Diane’s primary role is to assess the human health risks from microbiological contaminants in drinking water in support of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
- Hélène Ralay—Hélène graduated from Polytechnique Montréal with a degree in Civil Engineering. She has been working as a Junior Civil Engineer with the Water Department of the City of Montreal since January 2020, with a focus on the construction phase of the project cycle.
- Anne Vezina—Anne is the coordinator of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water in the Water and Air Quality Bureau of Health Canada. She is responsible for coordinating the activities of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water. Anne also contributes to human health risk assessments for chemical parameters in drinking water and supports the development of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
September 16, 2020 1:00 p.m. EDT
Window on Infrastructure
The Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and Water Canada hosted the Window on Infrastructure webinar on September 16.
This time, we welcomed an incredible lineup of speakers to talk about infrastructure. Attendees had a chance to learn about different federal funding opportunities available for municipalities. We also hosted panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing municipalities.
During the two-hour webinar:
- Carl Bodimeade of Hatch Infrastructure will moderated the session and offered a private sector perspective.
- John Cuddihy, Natasha Faruqui, and Katie Hogan from Infrastructure Canada discussed federal infrastructure programs.
- Patrick Kehoe from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) provided an update on the Green Municipal Funds program.
- Sashen Guneratna from the Canada Infrastructure Bank presented some information about the Bank, including its programs and the opportunities it has available for municipalities.
We’ll then had a panel discussion featuring:
- Hiran Sandanayake from the City of Ottawa who addressed stimulus funding.
- Indra Maharjan from the Ontario Clean Water Agency. He addressed financial needs for medium and small municipalities.
- Matt Gemmell from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) who spoke about FCM’s ongoing advocacy and recommendations for economic recovery.
Carl Bodimeade—Carl is the senior vice president of infrastructure at Hatch. He is also the chair of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s (CWWA) Utility Leadership Committee. Bodimeade will be joined by:
Matt Gemmel—Matt is the acting senior manager of policy and research at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the national voice of Canadian municipal governments. With direct responsibility for FCM’s infrastructure, environmental and transportation policy, Matt has contributed to FCM’s national advocacy campaigns over the past six years, including FCM’s policy platform.
Sashen Guneratna—Sashen is a managing director within the investments group at the Canada Infrastructure Bank. He will be assisting the Executive Team with implementing Canada Infrastructure Bank’s investment strategy. Sashen has more than 20 years of banking and advisory experience encompassing several sectors and jurisdictions.
Patrick Kehoe—Patrick is an advisor in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Programs Outreach team. Patrick supports Canadian municipalities in the evaluation and implementation of innovative, sustainable development initiatives. He equips communities and their partners with the tools and resources needed to pursue ambitious environmental projects.
Indra Maharjan—Indra is a senior engineer that has an extensive history in energy conservation, climate change, and resource recovery in the water and wastewater sectors. He currently leads OCWA’s Innovation, Efficiency, and Technology group. In his role, Indra delivers innovative infrastructure solutions to 200 plus municipal clients across Ontario.
Hiran Sandanayake—Hiran is a water resources in the asset management branch at the City of Ottawa. His role includes undertaking technical assessments, flood risk assessments, and climate change adaptation. It also includes the integration of asset management into business practices including Planning and Growth, Asset Management Plans, Flood Control, and Infrastructure Renewal.
October 21, 2020 1:00 p.m. EDT
Window on Wastewater
The final installment of the Window on Water webinar series took place on October 21, 2020. During this webinar, we focused on wastewater management and regulations.
In particular, we received updates related to the Wastewater System Effluents Regulations (WSER). Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) proposed to amend the approval for transitional authorizations to allow some communities more time to meet the regulatory requirements. We also learned about regulatory solutions for the far north where both the climate and the remote nature of the communities continues to pose a challenge.
In addition to providing updates related to WSER, ECCC provided an update on federal research on emerging contaminants in wastewater streams. During this update, ECCC discussed the ecological impacts and the role of wastewater utilities in protecting the environment.
Finally, we also got an update on work being done to identify affordable and attainable wastewater solutions for small communities, CWWA’s advocacy work to encourage changes to the Ontario Building Code, and CWWA’s Wastewater Committee activities.
The session was be moderated by Beth Weir who a background in water and wastewater operations. She has been with York Region in Ontario for 26 years. She is also the chair of Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s (CWWA) Wastewater Committee.
During the webinar, Beth was joined by:
- Sarah Radovan—Sarah is the manager of the Wastewater Program at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). In her career with the federal government career, she has worked for ECCC and Natural Resources Canada in the areas of water pollution, climate change, renewable energy technology development, and development of international standards for greenhouse gas quantification and verification.
- Shirley Anne Smyth—Shirley has a dual background in applied Chemistry and Environmental Engineering. She has been with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) since 1999 and is based at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington, Ontario. She has been doing research and monitoring of trace contaminants in Canadian municipal wastewater for 18 years. In 2009 she was asked to create and manage a national wastewater monitoring program under Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan.
- Klas Ohman—Klas is Associated Engineering’s discipline lead for Environmental Engineering and Monitoring. In his 35+ year career, he has worked on addressing environmental concerns from a risk perspective for drinking water quality, lead contaminated sites, abandoned/inactive mining (gold) facilities, and landfill sites. Klas has been involved at a committee level with the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association for about 20 years. He is also currently a Board member with the Canadian Association for Water Quality (CAWQ) and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation.