Oct 17, 2022

Connecting, Networking and Celebrating with the Canadian Chamber Network

Highlights from Our 2022 AGM & Convention

October 14 and 15 marked the first time in three years that our Canadian Chamber Network came together in person for our AGM & Convention.  

We were joined in Ottawa by over 400 local chamber of commerce colleagues and community business leaders to discuss the economic and political issues affecting Canadian business.     

This year’s theme was Leading the Future of Business Success, and the two days were chock full of insightful discussions, a keynote address by John Graham, President and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a fireside chat with the U.S. Ambassador to Canada His Excellency David Cohen, a panel discussion on priority growth sectors moderated by Ben Mulroney, Chief Impact Officer and Co-founder of Orchard Technologies, and an insightful discussion about our country’s path to net-zero and the important role businesses play.  

We also gave a sneak peek of some of our new offerings from our Chamber 2025 Strategic Plan.  

For a summary of the AGM’s biggest lessons and takeaways, read on! 

To view and download photos from the 2022 AGM & Convention, please use the following links:

Thursday, October 13

Friday, October 14

Saturday, October 15

Day One – October 14

Keynote Address by John Graham, President & CEO, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

Friday morning kicked off with a keynote presentation by John Graham, President and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), followed by a one-on-one conversation with our Chief Economist and head of our Business Data Lab, Stephen Tapp. The discussion focused on globalization, the viability of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and investment strategies.

After decades of globalization, we are now seeing a shift in the opposite direction. One of the major trends we will see moving forward is the coupling of the economy and national defence.

John Graham, President & CEO, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Key Takeaways
  • Despite the challenges facing our economy, the CPP is estimated to be manageable for at least the next 75 years.
  • The CPPIB is navigating the current economic landscape through active asset management and investment diversification.
Canadian Chamber Chief Economist Stephen Tapp (left) and CPPIB President & CEO John Graham

Annual Meeting of Members

A key component of our annual meeting of members is an update on our priorities and a summary of what we’ve been working on over the past year. At last year’s AGM, we were able to introduce the Canadian Chamber Network to Chamber 2025, our strategic plan that is guiding our transformation from being the voice of Canadian business to also becoming the undisputed champion and catalyst for the future of business success. This year, we were able to share exciting updates on the rollout of some of Chamber 2025’s main initiatives, including our Business Data Lab, SME Institute, Canadian Chamber Future of Business Centre and our Chamber Community.

Delegates also heard from Candace Laing, who was sworn in as our Board Chair for the 2022-2023 term. Candace spoke about her goals and priorities and how her personal roots in Canadian agriculture has shaped her passion for business.

2022-2023 Board Chair Candace Laing recognizes Outgoing Chair Karl Tabbakh

I have an internal drive to bring the value of Canadian farms and agriculture to the world. What makes the Chamber so special is that when you put us together, we are unparalleled in reach and impact.

Candace Laing, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Nutrien & Chair, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Key Takeaways
  • Candace Laing was elected as Chair through unanimous consent of voting delegates.
  • Our outgoing Chair, Karl Tabbakh, discussed the need to restructure the governance of the Canadian Chamber, noting that “the modernization of our governance structure will allow for better engagement between board directors and stakeholders.”

Panel Discussion – Critical Infrastructure

In our first panel discussion of the day, we heard about the critical trade infrastructure challenges facing our country. Reliable infrastructure is crucial to ensuring Canada’s resilience through periods of economic uncertainty.


  • Aylin Lusi, Vice President, Public Affairs, UPS 


  • Craig Landry, EVP & COO, Air Canada 
  • Divya Shah, Managing Director, Canada Infrastructure Bank 
  • Arthur Nicolet, CEO, TransDev 
  • Peter Xotta, VP, Operations & Supply Chain, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

There is a need for transformational infrastructure investment [in Canada].

Divya Shah, Managing Director at Canada Infrastructure Bank
Key Takeaways

Top insights from our speakers about the biggest contributors to our infrastructure deficit included:

  • People and labour – we need a talent pool that is ready to achieve our needs.
  • The funding model for critical infrastructure projects needs to be addressed.
  • As a country, we are facing challenges to our critical trade infrastructure. Reliable infrastructure is critical to ensuring Canada’s resilience through periods of economic uncertainty.
  • Issues that need immediate attention: climate change, congestion issues, resilience and supply chain issues – Canada needs to be set up to compete on the global stage.

LIVE The Curse of Politics Podcast

We were lucky to host a live recording of the Curse of Politics podcast with David Herle, Scott Reid and Jenni Byrne – their final episode hosting as a trio and a special send-off for Byrne. 

The Curse of Politics is well known for providing candid insights on the latest in Canadian politics. In this episode, they discussed the new Conservative federal leader and what it means for the Liberals’ and Tories’ campaign and policy strategies moving forward. 

Listen to the full episode here.

A Conversation with the United States Ambassador to Canada His Excellency David Cohen and the Hon. Perrin Beatty

The United States Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency David Cohen, addressed the Canadian Chamber Network on a wide range of issues, including Russia’s weaponization of oil and Canada’s role in alleviating the global energy crisis. The Ambassador also responded to recent comments made by Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, on the shared Canada-U.S. NEXUS travel program.

Would the current environment have changed the decision President Bident made regarding Keystone XL? No, I don’t believe it would have.

H.E. David Cohen
Key Takeaways
  • The U.S. imports 68% of its oil from Canada, and the Ambassador noted that our energy trading relationship will be important well into the future.
  • The U.S. Ambassador responded directly to recent comments made by Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., stating “since 2015, we (the U.S.) have made clear our issues with the shared NEXUS travel program, most importantly that employees in NEXUS offices deserve prosecutorial immunity, not unlike that of diplomats.”
Hon. Perrin Beatty and His Excellency David Cohen

Day Two – October 15

Kick-off with Mia St-Aubin, CEO & Founder, Move Collective

On day two, we started the morning with Mia St-Aubin, Founder and CEO of MoveCollective, who spoke about corporate burnout and the importance of movement for mental health. 

Mia St-Aubin getting the delegates moving on Saturday morning

Panel Discussion – Net-zero

Our net-zero panel was an important conversation around the need for government intervention and funding to ensure Canada maintains both its competitiveness and progress on the path to net-zero. 


  • Shelley Gilberg, National ESG Markets Leader and Canadian Platforms Leader, PwC Canada 


  • Rhona DelFrari, Chief Sustainability Officer & Senior Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus Energy 
  • Martin Imbleau, President & CEO, Montreal Port Authority 
  • Laura Miller, Head of Public Policy & Communications, Uber Canada 

As business leaders, don’t wait for government – take the lead.

Rhona DelFari, Chief Sustainability Officer & Senior Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus Energy
Key Takeaways
  • The pursuit of our 2050 net-zero ambitions should not be at the cost of chasing investors to other jurisdictions. 
  • Government intervention and funding are crucial to ensuring Canada maintains its competitiveness. 
  • The government needs to de-politicize the topic of achieving net-zero targets. 
  • Achieving net-zero targets depends on collaboration between both government and industry – neither can do it alone. 

A vision without a plan for execution, remains a hallucination…

Martin Imbleau, President & CEO, Montreal Port Authority

Panel Discussion on Domestic Issues & Priorities for the Canadian Chamber Network

In our panel discussion on domestic issues and priorities for the Canadian Chamber Network, the different challenges facing the Toronto and Atlantic regions were discussed, along with the multi-faceted approaches needed to address each issue. 


  • Hon. Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce 


  • Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade 
  • Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce 

These challenges manifest themselves in very different ways…

Hon. Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Key Takeaways
  • The Toronto and Atlantic regions face very different challenges.
  • In the Toronto region, challenges like housing and transit for the number of people moving into the area are sparse, whereas in the Atlantic region, there are lots of jobs to fill, but not enough people to fill them.
  • Jan De Silva highlighted that Toronto is lacking a proper housing plan, while Sheri Somerville promotes the need for creating a welcoming community with access to healthcare and other needs in order to retain people in Atlantic Canada.
  • There are multi-faceted solutions to these issues – immigration, adopting digital technologies and more.

Panel Discussion – Priority Growth Sectors

In this panel, Canada’s green energy, technology and natural resources, specifically agriculture, were identified as high-priority growth sectors. A common theme among all these industries is the need for greater collaboration among stakeholders. 


  • Ben Mulroney, Chief Impact Officer & Co-founder, Orchard Technologies 


  • Sueling Ching, President & CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade 
  • Corey Ellis, CEO & Co-founder, The Growcer 
  • Karen Hamberg, Partner, Financial Advisory & Clean Technology, Deloitte 
  • Ryan Hardy, Co-founder & President, Getit Technologies 

We need a muti-faceted and multi-partner approach that resolves these issues. It needs to be all industries and stakeholders working together.

Sueling Ching, President & CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
Key Takeaways
  • While Canada has set net-zero goals, we need to be much more ambitious in achieving them – this is an opportunity to take a global lead and become an industry leader. 
  • Talent, or a lack of talent, is holding back our priority growth sectors. There needs to be a muti-faceted and multi-partner approach that resolves this issue. It needs to be all industries and stakeholders working together.

Panel Discussion – Future-proofing Chambers

This panel discussion focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion, the benefits of chamber collaboration and our network’s role in the international community.


  • Ian Faris, Senior Vice President, Chamber Network Relations & Advocacy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce 


  • Bridgitte Anderson, President & CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade 
  • Jennifer Garries, CEO, Leduc, Nisku and Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  • Todd Letts, CEO, Brampton Board of Trade 

The expectations of people who invest in chambers are changing – so how can we adapt? We need to deliver positive, meaningful and relevant experiences.

Todd Letts, CEO, Brampton Board of Trade
Key Takeaways
  • The biggest benefit of chamber collaboration is a decrease in expenses and an increase in service. So many chambers are operated by only one staff member – sharing services is one way you can ensure your chamber is future-proof. 
  • One area where local chambers can work together is in digital transformation – when we are building these new systems, e.g. CRM, we need to be thinking about how we can work together to reduce costs and eliminate unnecessary duplication. 
  • There is a huge desire among Canadian businesses to be more inclusive and improve diversity in the workplace. 

Other Key Highlights

Special Canadian Business Spotlight with Lisa Baiton, President & CEO, CAPP

Lisa Baiton spoke on the energy crisis in Europe and how Canada can still be a global leader in fighting the climate crisis. 

“Some people are calling today’s energy reality an opportunity for Canada, I see it as an obligation . . .”

Special Canadian Business Spotlight with Ben Almond, CEO, Engineering Services, SNC Lavalin

Ben Almond joined our President & CEO, Perrin Beatty, to discuss Canada’s net-zero goals and why equity, diversity and inclusion is so important for him, not only on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. 

“The difference and the challenges we face and the things we have experienced and had to overcome in our own life journey can be (really) valuable when you have to address big challenges not only as a team, but as an industry.”  

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