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.