Tuesday, June 25 – Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Quay, 3rd Floor, Queens Quay East, Toronto, Ontario

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is excited to host our next annual conference in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which we’re rebranding as the Great Lakes Sustainable Growth Forum, in Toronto from June 25-27, 2024!

Registration for the event is now open! Please note a single ticket will grant access to the full schedule of events on both June 26 and 27, as well as the opening reception on June 25.



Toronto Region Board of Trade / Council of the Great Lakes Region Members:

(Enter code to purchase tickets with the member rate.)


Event Overview

Our annual conference, launched in 2015, has quickly become a leading forum for the region’s business, government, academic, and nonprofit leaders to come together and discuss the most pressing socioeconomic and environmental challenges facing the region and how we can work across borders and sectors to strengthen the Great Lakes region’s long-term success and sustainable development.

At the event, which we are rebranding as the Great Lakes Sustainable Growth Forum, we’re developing the context for creating the first sustainable region in North America and the world to emerge. The event is an ideal venue for leaders from the region to share insights about how we can simultaneously grow the region’s economy, improve the well-being and prosperity of individuals living in the region, and protect the environment for generations to come.

Distinct advantages of participating in the event and sponsoring this premier gathering of diverse regional leaders includes:

  • Learning about the region’s most pressing sustainability issues and trends as well as cutting-edge sustainability research and solutions from leading experts.
  • Connecting and building relationships with influential leaders from government, business, academia, and the non-profit sector in the Great Lakes region.
  • Promoting your interests to an audience of decision-makers and thought-leaders, and making your voice heard on key sustainability topics.
  • Engaging in a regional agenda that will drive collaboration and systemic change in order to ensure the region’s long-term competitiveness and accelerate progress on sustainable development across the region.
  • Having influence over public policy debates and business decisions on both sides of the border by developing a unified regional voice on key sustainability issues.

Master of Ceremonies

Catherine Clark, President, Catherine Clark Communications Inc.

Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, emcee, and co-founder of The Honest Talk, an online media platform for women which includes a leading podcast featuring conversations with some of Canada’s most remarkable female leaders.

Catherine is also the President of Catherine Clark Communications and Special Advisor to Syntax Strategic, providing communications counsel to individuals and corporations.

Keynote Speakers

Douglas Porter, CFA Chief Economist and Managing Director, BMO Financial Group

Douglas Porter has over 30 years of experience analyzing global economies and financial markets. As Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group and author of the popular Talking Points, he oversees the macroeconomic and financial market forecasts and co-writes the firm’s weekly flagship publication, Focus. Mr. Porter manages the team that has won numerous forecasting awards. Most recently, Douglas led the team to a #1 ranking for Top U.S. Forecaster among 60 global firms in the 2023 Focus Economics Survey, and #1 for Top Canadian Inflation Forecaster among 28 firms. Also, his team took the #1 spot in the StarMine Awards for Most Accurate Forecasters for Canada in 2022.

His Excellency the Honourable Bob Rae, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations

Bob Rae is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York. Mr. Rae served as Premier of Ontario from 1990-1995, and interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011-2013. He was elected to federal and provincial parliaments 11 times between 1978 and 2013.

Mr. Rae received his Honours B.A. in Modern History from the University of Toronto, an M.Phil in Politics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1977. He was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1984.

Martin Imbleau, President and CEO, VIA High Frequency Rail 

Martin Imbleau brings a wealth of experience in developing and implementing major infrastructure projects. Prior to joining VIA HFR – VIA TGF Inc., Martin was President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority.

Previously, he was Vice-President of Corporate Strategies and Business Development at Hydro-Québec. He has also held senior vice-president positions at Énergir, where he was responsible for business development, renewable energy, community relations, corporate strategy and operations.

Joseph Barr, Director of Network Development East, Amtrak

Joseph Barr is the Director of Network Development-East for Amtrak, where he is responsible for coordinating and advancing network and service expansion projects throughout the eastern United States from Quebec to Florida. He is also leading Amtrak’s efforts to improve the immigration and customs inspection process for passenger trains crossing the USA-Canada border, as part of Amtrak’s overall program to improve and expand cross-border passenger rail services.

Panel Speakers

Eric Dixon, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Solutions, WM

As the largest environmental solutions company in North America, WM helps businesses waste less and operate more sustainably. Eric Dixon, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Solutions at WM, leads a team that strategizes with businesses and organizations across industries to identify, measure, address, manage and minimize the short- and long-term environmental impacts of their operations.

Breakout Session Speakers

Alan Martinez, Senior Manager, Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, Cornell University

Alan Martinez leads sustainable finance partnerships at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, where he brings his 20 years of global experience working in partnerships with financial institutions, investors, and philanthropy. His previous work includes leadership roles in fintech, financial services, impact investing, and consulting. Across more than forty countries, Alan has been at the forefront of pioneering financial products and programs that foster sustainability and bolster economic development.

Natalie Kinloch, Chief Executive Officer, Federal Bridge Corporation Limited

Ms. Natalie Kinloch is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FBCL, a Canadian federal parent Crown corporation managing and overseeing four international bridge locations in Ontario (Sault Ste. Marie, Point Edward, Lansdowne and Cornwall). Combined this international bridge portfolio enables in excess of 9 million transits and $200B in trade annually. Ms. Kinloch was first appointed in 2019 to the role by Governor in Council on recommendation of the Minister of Transport and has in 2024 been renewed for a further five-year term.

Claude Griffin, Executive Director, United States Business Council for Sustainable Development

Claude Griffin is the Executive Director of the US Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), a globally recognized leader in sustainable development solutions, collaboration, and innovation. Current platforms focus on decarbonization, equity, water/ecosystem synergies, and material reuse in support of a circular economy. Among his goals as executive director, Claude is expanding upon the US BCSD’s strong social equity foundation.


Roy Brouwer, Professor of Economics and Executive Director of the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute

Roy Brouwer joined the University of Waterloo in 2016. His research focuses on sustainable water management and circular economy of water. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Water Resources and Economics and member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and the Socio-Economic Analysis Committee of the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki.

Stay tuned for additional speakers, sponsorship opportunities, and more!