About Banff Forum XIII


About Banff Forum XIII

As noted in a previous post, Banff Forum XIII, ‘Canadian Prosperity and the Economy of the Future,’ will be held from September 11-13 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In this post, we share some highlights from the event program.

Pre-conference hands-on learning day

The past few years, we have provided Banff Forum participants with the opportunity to participate in an optional hands-on learning day in advance of the formal Banff Forum retreat. We’ve had great feedback in the past so we are continuing this tradition.  This year we are very excited to be offering a limited number of Banff Forum participants the opportunity to visit Cameco’s McArthur River uranium operation and to meet with local Aboriginal leaders.  Located in northern Saskatchewan near the 58th parallel, Cameco’s McArthur River uranium operation is the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine, maintaining an average ore grade that is 100 times the global average. This facility was the source of about one-eighth of all uranium mined in the world last year. Roughly half of the workforce is comprised of residents of Saskatchewan’s North – the vast majority being of First Nations and Métis heritage, helping to make Cameco Canada’s largest industrial employer of Aboriginal people. While at the facility, participants will hear from representatives of the Northern Village of Pinehouse (which is primarily a Métis community) and the English River First Nation.


Formal programme

In terms of the formal Banff Forum programme, it is shaping up to be one of our best ever! We have an exciting line-up of speakers including:

  • Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in conversation with CBC News Senior Business Correspondent Amanda Lang;
  • Melody Barnes, Former President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Chair of the Aspen Institute for Community Solutions.  She will be speaking about how communities can help provide solutions to the complex problems we face;
  • Jim Balsillie, Chair, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Former Co-CEO, Research in Motion/Blackberry, will be talking about sustainable prosperity, and 
  • Jennifer Welsh, Professor at the European University Institute, Senior Research Fellow at Somerville College, University of Oxford and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect will be speaking about where Canada is in the global system and where we could be. 

The conference will start with a ‘Welcome to the Territory’ led by Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.  Chief Bellegarde will also be speaking about the opportunities to increase the prosperity of all Canadians by more effectively partnering with our First Nations communities.

Dr. Eric Werker from Harvard Business School will set the stage for the conference in the opening session, “Where is Canada Headed?”.  Dr. Werker will provide an overview of the economic, demographic, environmental and social indicators shaping Canada’s current trajectory towards 2050.  This session will be followed by a table brainstorming session where our participants will consider whether where Canada is headed and where Canada should be. 

This discussion will be followed by a presentation by Nik Nanos of the Nanos Research Group of polling conducted specifically for the Banff Forum looking at where Canadians want Canada to be in 2050.

Other sessions will include a CEO panel looking at the “Future of Canada’s Economy” with Rupert Duchesne, AIMIA Groupe Chief Executive and Ilse Treunicht, CEO of the MaRS Discovery District; a discussion of “Canada’s Future Prosperity” with Eric Noel of the Canada Towards 2030 Project and David Hetherington of Australia’s Per Capita Think Tank; and a session on “The Role of Human Capital in Creating Prosperity” with Chief Perry Bellegarde, Karen Radford, Executive Vice President, People and Partners at Enbridge and Matthew Bishop, US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief for The Economist.

 We have also included an optional personal development session where Jason Hatcher, Managing Principal of Navigator Ltd., will lead a media training session.

Once again, we will have our always-popular late night fireside chats and will be highlighting some of the big ideas that our participants have through our engaging BanffTalks.

Banff Forum XIII will come to a close with an interactive workshop entitled “A Vision for Canada’s Future,” in which groups will be present their ideas for Canada’s future and identify pathways for moving us forward towards that vision. The event in many ways encapsulates the vision of the Banff Forum – bringing young leaders with experts together to discuss the challenges Canadians face and the steps we can take as a nation towards addressing them. It is a fitting end to what is sure to be another incredible year for the growing Banff Forum community.



The Banff Forum Announces its New Executive Director

We are proud to announce that Salima Ebrahim will become the new Executive Director of the Banff Forum. Salima will begin transitioning into the role over the summer and will be ready to take over officially after this fall’s conference.

Passionate about public policy, Salima has worked in leadership roles in both the private and public sector. Most recently, she served as Manager, Strategy & Operations for Deloitte with a particular focus on helping public sector organization tackle complex problems. She was an integral member of Deloitte’s pro bono consulting arm nationally, providing volunteer services to non-profits. Previously, Salima worked in policy and research roles for the City of Calgary, the federal government and the United Nations.  She is involved with a number of charitable organizations in her community and across Canada, including the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the Aga Khan Education Board. Salima has attended the Banff Forum since 2012. 

As Executive Director, Salima will work with the Board of Directors to organize the annual conference and take the organization to the next level of its development.

Salima will continue to work from Edmonton where she lives with her family.



Congratulations to François-Philippe Champagne

The Banff Forum congratulates François-Philippe Champagne on being confirmed as the candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of Saint-Maurice-Champlain for the 2015 federal election.

In order to preserve the non-partisan nature of the Banff Forum, François-Philippe has made the personal decision to resign as co-president of the Banff Forum and will be stepping down from the Board effective immediately.

The Board wishes to thank François-Philippe for his transformational leadership of the Forum. François-Philippe has a long history with the Banff Forum.  He first attended the Banff Forum in 2003. François-Philippe joined the Board in Fall 2011 and served as president/co-president for the past two and a half years. 

Under his watch, and inspired by the work of the founders, the Forum broke records for fundraising and attendance. Leveraging his global network, he attracted a roster of international speakers/panelists, as well as a host of dynamic, new participants. He also helped to lead the strategic planning process in 2013 in order to position the Forum for future success.

The Board is pleased to confirm that Andrew Graham, previously co-president of the Banff Forum, will now serve as president.



Congratulations to Catherine McKenna

The Banff Forum congratulates Catherine McKenna on being confirmed as the candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of Ottawa-Centre for the 2015 federal election.

Catherine has informed the Board that she will be stepping down as Executive Director shortly after Banff Forum XIII in early September. 

We wish to thank Catherine for her immense contribution to the Banff Forum. Catherine has a long history with the Banff Forum having first attended the yearly retreat in 2003.  Catherine joined the board in 2010, became co-president in 2011, and then took over as Executive Director at the beginning of 2013.  Catherine has helped to organize the largest and among the most successful Forums to date and cemented the Banff Forum’s reputation as the pre-eminent public policy forum for young leaders in Canada. She has laid solid foundations for our continued growth by helping to lead our strategic planning process in 2013. 

An exciting announcement about the Forum's new Executive Director will follow in the coming days.



Banff Forum 2014 Updates

Planning is well underway for the next edition of the Banff Forum. It promises to be one of the best ever!  Now in its 13th year, the Banff Forum brings together Canada’s best and brightest minds actively involved in shaping the Canadian policy landscape for a weekend of discussion and debate. Past Banff Forums have featured an incredibly diverse range of speakers, attendees, and topics, ranging from Canada-U.S. relations to Canada’s innovation and productivity gap to leadership in a uniquely Canadian context (last year’s theme).

This year’s Banff Forum is taking place from September 11th-13th in Saskatoon and focuses on a critical and timely theme: Canadian Prosperity and the Economy of the Future. The challenges that we face are manifold: our population is ageing; our share of global trade is shrinking; our resource economy faces challenges both globally and in terms of its social licence to operate; and our society is increasingly polarized. Add to these global concerns such as widening income disparity, resource depletion, climate change and stubbornly high unemployment, and the future looks ever more insecure. The questions our participants will be considering include: How does Canada maintain its prosperity over the medium term? Can we just continue along the path that we have been upon for the past several decades? Or do we need a step change in our economy, in the social programmes that underlie it and in our attitudes to sustainability and the depletion of our natural capital?

Banff Forum XIII will draw on expertise from about how we can best position ourselves for future prosperity and how we can ensure that this prosperity is broadly shared. What are the biggest challenges we face, what are the policy priorities and how should we begin to reshape Canada for 21st Century resilience?

We are also excited to offer a limited number of Banff Forum participants a unique experiential learning day on Thursday, September 10 with a tour of Cameco’s McArthur River Uranium Mine, the world’s largest high-grade uranium mine.  The visit will include a meeting with local First Nation and Métis leaders.

Keep visiting this blog for updates about the upcoming Banff Forum and discussions around the theme.

PS - We are actively looking for new Banff Forum participants to join our amazing community. If you know of an emerging Canadian leader who is passionate about public policy, please encourage them to go here where they can find the online application form. The deadline for applying is May 31st.