In this month’s guide to all things PPF: A summit on a national ‘emergency’, a net zero plan and a sculptor

Mind the Gaps

It’s been one year since PPF released the Atlantic Canada Momentum Index. This influential and closely followed report revealed that in 16 of 20 key economic and social measures the region was outpacing the rest of Canada. It highlighted a remarkable turnaround for the region. But the report also raised an important question: What about the four indicators where the region wasn’t doing so well? To mark the one-year anniversary of Atlantic Momentum, we released an update, Mind the Gaps, examining those areas where Atlantic Canada is still falling behind.

Three of these are hardcore economic measures: employment income, non-residential investment by business and government, and NEET (the proportion of those between the ages of 15 and 29 who are neither employed nor in education or training). The fourth is access to a family physician. There are glimmers of hope, like recent gains in employment income, and a strong policy focus on attracting health-care professionals. For a closer look at the progress and what needs to be done to make sure Atlantic Momentum carries on, read the full report.

This is the fourth in a series of Atlantic Momentum papers, which include:

  • Open Atlantic: How breaking down trade barriers could supercharge Atlantic Canada’s economy;
  • The Belonging Advantage: How quality of life is translating into big economic gains for Atlantic Canada; and
  • Power Plays: How to build a renewable energy future in Atlantic Canada

Energy Future Forum Policy Memo

To reach its goal of hitting net zero by 2050, Canada is going to need an unprecedented infrastructure buildout. By some estimates it will require 500 offshore wind turbines, 30,000 onshore wind turbines, and 8,500 new PV solar farms. In our latest Energy Future Forum memo, PPF Policy Associate Arash Golshan explains why, in the face of geopolitical turmoil and the urgent demands of climate change, Canada must pivot from caution to a ‘hurry-up offense’ to get this done. That doesn’t mean throwing the Hail Mary pass. It is about a carefully planned and meticulously executed series of plays meant to get the ball moving.

It involves a timely permitting process, designated go-to areas with lower environmental risks, staffing in regulatory agencies and pragmatism in environmental considerations. Read the report for more details on how Canada can rise to the challenge of the energy transition.


The productivity emergency

The Bank of Canada recently declared productivity a national “emergency.” In a speech about Canada’s long record of weak productivity, senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers said, “You’ve seen those signs that say, ‘In emergency, break glass.’ Well, it’s time to break the glass.”

On April 11, PPF will be doing exactly that at our annual Growth Summit. This year’s focus: Fixing productivity once and for all. The summit begins with a breakfast to discuss the latest developments in Indigenous ownership and economic reconciliation. It’s followed by an all-day, solutions-based look at Canada’s failing productivity as seen through the lens of immigration, housing and the role of AI. It features a roster of leading thinkers, including: Carolyn Wilkins, Murad Al-Katib, Ramtin Attar, Edoardo De Martin, Chief Sharleen Gale, John Hannaford, Simon Kennedy, Laura Lee Langley, Shingai Manjengwa, Mikal Skuterud, Sean Speer, Kaylie Tiessen, Scott Stirrett, Shannon Salter, Ray Gilmour, Hon. Sean Fraser and Trevor Tombe.

The summit will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Keep tabs on the event at where we’ll have live updates throughout the day. And follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter/X.


The biggest policy party of the year

Stay tuned on the evening of April 11 for coverage of PPF’s Annual Testimonial Dinner Honour Roll 2024, which celebrates Canadian leaders, champions and policymakers.

This year, honourees will be presented with unique sculptures made for PPF by Kathryn Corbiere, an artist from Manitoulin Island whose celebrated works can be seen around Ontario. To learn about her remarkable work and career path check out PPF Media’s recent profile.

The honourees being recognized this year:

Book your spot


Your productivity primer: What is productivity anyway? And why is it so important? PPF Fellow Robin Shaban and Laura Adkins-Hackett, an economist with the Labour Market Information Council, break it down in our latest PPF Explains feature.

Dropping some knowledge: PPF’s podcast, WONK, continues to rack up some impressive (and seriously smart) guests. Recent episodes include conversations with:

  • Scott Balfour, the CEO of energy utility Emera. Balfour talks to host Edward Greenspon about managing the energy transition, the challenge of keeping power affordable and the number one thing that both Canada and the U.S. should focus on.
  • Mike Savage, the longtime (and soon-to-be retired) mayor of Halifax. Savage discusses Halifax’s evolution from a city in decline to one of Canada’s fastest growing big cities, the influence of his father, a former Nova Scotia premier, and his focus on fighting climate change.
  • David Shoemaker, the CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee. Shoemaker tells us why he’s excited about this summer’s Olympics, and why they’re important at a time global conflict.
  • Rupa Banerjee, the Canada Research Chair in Economic inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship of Canada’s Immigrants at Toronto Metropolitan University. Banerjee explains the evolving immigration system, what it gets wrong and why it’s unfair to blame foreign students for housing woes.

If you’re not already a follower, join our growing list of listeners and click ‘download’ on your favourite podcast platform. New episodes appear on Thursday, including our upcoming productivity-focused episode featuring the incoming new chief economist of the OECD, Álvaro Santos Pereira.

Read our newsletters: The Atlantic Momentum newsletter is now one of the most followed newsletters in Atlantic Canada. Join thousands of others in the region and beyond who subscribe to keep track of what’s making waves.

And PPF: Health Securityoffers a weekly dose of news about emergency preparedness in a post-pandemic world.

Sign up for all of PPF’s newsletters.

What are the possibilities for Canada in 2080? What kind of Canada do we want to live in? The Imagine 2080 podcast looks at the research, possibilities, and ambitions that could steer Canada forward. This podcast is made possible by the Future of Canada Project and is produced by The Walrus Lab. Listen and subscribe now.


Policy 101

In case you missed it, our Policy 101 Video Module is now live, offering a deep dive into the intricate world of policy-making! Curated by Action Canada Fellows, the series breaks down complex policy concepts into digestible, engaging modules, complete with real-world examples. Watch all our videos and share them with anyone who wants a better understanding of the policy-making process — and how to engage with it.

Action Canada alumni

On March 1 in Montreal, a pinning ceremony was held for the 2023 Action Canada Fellows (watch the video). As new alumni, the 2023 Fellows join a powerful network of Canadians applying their fellowship learnings to positively impact the country now. Congratulations to our Fellows!

Policy Perspectives Podcasts

Upon returning from the last study tour in Montreal, 2023 Fellows Tesicca Truong and Andre Moreau joined the Action Canada podcast to reflect on the insights they gained and how it reshaped their understanding of how citizens can influence public policy too. Listen to their discussion on “How have you tried to influence public policy?”


Some highlights of PPF Members that have been breaking ground and making news.

The Canada Infrastructure Banks (PPF Member) struck a deal with the First Nations Bank of Canada (FNBC) that will make it easier for Indigenous communities to secure loans for infrastructure projects. “We’ll be able to bring a lower cost of capital to communities. And that’s good for everybody involved,” said FNBC chief executive officer Bill Lomax.

The University of Calgary (PPF Member) announced a new Aerospace Innovation Hub, which will be led by Innovate Calgary. It’s one of four innovation hubs at the university. “This investment in our fourth innovation hub underlines the important role that the University of Calgary plays in the economic development of the city and the province,” said Dr. John Wilson, president and CEO, Innovate Calgary. “University-supported innovators and startup companies add depth and diversity to our local economy.”

The Royal Bank of Canada (PPF Member & EFF Supporting Partner) said it is increasing its lending for renewable energy projects and for its overall low-carbon energy lending. The new measures are outlined in the bank’s 2023 climate report. “I feel like what we’re doing in this report, especially coupled with the client engagement approach that we published in November, is really showing how we are working with our clients, and the expectations we are setting around how we will support this decarbonization that is so important for RBC and for Canada as a whole,” said Jennifer Livingstone, RBC’s vice-president of enterprise climate strategy.


  • The Toronto Star examined concerns that have surfaced around the government’s new Online Harms Act, and its possible overreach. It includes comments made by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin on PPF’s podcast WONK. McLachlin said elements of the new bill are likely to end up before the courts. Listen to her full conversation with Edward Greenspon.
  • Greenspon also spoke to the Hub for its latest on the future of journalism in Canada. The Hub asks if billionaire owners like the Washington Post’s Jeff Bezos could save journalism. The Amazon founder, and the world’s richest man, bought the Post in 2013 for $250 million, reimagined the paper and returned it to profitability. That might be a tough act to follow in Canada, explains Greenspon. “There are only so many billionaires in Canada. And, by definition, the group of those who are benevolent will be even smaller. You’re fishing in a pretty small pool here.” Canada also has a scale problem. Bezos applied his ‘get big fast’ motto at the Postby expanding to a national audience of 330 million people. “If you want to primarily appeal to a Canadian audience, that’s going to be a much smaller audience,” noted Greenspon.
  • In the Hill Times, PPF Fellow Dan Pujdak writes about the government’s handling of antisemitism in Canada.
  • PPF Fellow Brett House talks to CNBC about the latest U.S. Fed decision on interest rates and what it means for households. And on MSN, he explains the U.S. inflation numbers for February. House also appears on his weekly Dollars & Sense radio segment. Listen to recent episodes here and here.
  • PPF Fellow Ed Whittingham has two new episodes of his Energy vs Climate podcast. The first features University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach, discussing the future of the oilsands. And the second, Simon Evans, senior policy editor at Carbon Brief, on the shifting media perception toward electric vehicles.
  • PPF Fellow Vass Bednar hosts a new Globe and Mail podcast about “life in the new economy” called Lately. The first episode lands on April 12. Bednar also has a popular Substack, “regs to riches.”


We asked PPF team members and Fellows for recommendations on what they’re reading this month.

Rouge by Mona Awad. In her latest work of fiction, Awad explores the dark side of the beauty industry, mother-daughter relationships, how grief shapes us, and the pitfalls of discovering the fountain of youth. The reader is taken from the snowy grey streets of Montreal to the sunny palm-lined ones of Los Angeles in this gripping tale filled with secrets. Beware the way of the roses! – Chelsea Berry, PPF Membership Lead

Between Doom and Denialby Andrew Leach. The latest from the University of Alberta economist aims to dispel some of the common misconceptions surrounding climate change. It is, says the author, “a little bit of a climate change conversation survival guide for people.” It’s highly recommended by PPF Fellow Ed Whittingham

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