Annual Meeting Ajax 2018

Thank you for joining us in Ajax, ON for the 2018 Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Annual Meeting and Conference!


This year's Annual Meeting and Conference exhibited mayors, on both sides of the border, continuing to protect and preserve the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence communities, economies and waterways.

Please contact (312) 201-4518 with any questions regarding this year's Annual Meeting & Conference.

Delegate Program

*Dress code for the event is business casual. Please note that Thursday’s dinner event will be tented outdoors – please wear comfortable footwear. High heels are not recommended.*

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Registration and Arrival
Hilton Garden Inn

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Some Events Open to Members Only

Board Meeting
(Board Members only)

9:15 – 12 pm
Walking Tour of Ajax
Downtown Ajax (Members, companions and guests welcome)
Join an Ajax historian on a guided walking tour of Ajax. Learn about our storied history as home to Defence Industries Limited, the largest munitions plant in the British Commonwealth during WWII.

Regional Meetings
Discussion of timely topics related to water quality in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basins, consideration of member resolutions.

Annual General Meeting
(Members only)

Members’ Welcome Reception
(Members only)


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Events Open to Members & Non-Members

8:30 – 9:00 am
Opening Ceremonies
Ajax Convention Centre

9:00 – 10:00 am
In conversation with Dan Egan and David Ullrich
Ajax Convention Centre
Former Executive director, David Ullrich sits down with award-winning author Dan Egan, a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a senior water policy fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences. His prize-winning book, The Death and Life of the Great Lakes examines the perils faced by the Great Lakes and the ways we can restore and preserve them for future generations.

BONUS: Attendees to receive a copy of Egan’s book!

10:15 – 10:45 am
Press Conference
Ajax Waterfront

10:45 – 11:45 am
Waterfront Tour
Ajax Waterfront
Discover Ajax’s waterfront, featuring the largest stretch of publicly owned waterfront in southern Ontario. The tour will highlight the history and conservation of the Ajax waterfront, focusing on the Town’s water quality and water advocacy work and dedication to preserving the natural landscape.

1:00 – 1:45 pm
Resilience Solutions for Flooding and Extreme Weather Panel 

Ajax Convention Centre
With more frequent and intense rain and flooding events and other extreme weather, solutions that build resiliency and preparedness are needed by Great Lakes and St. Lawrence municipalities. This panel explores the experiences of these municipalities with flooding and severe weather and provides tools and programs designed to help mitigate the impact of these events.

Confirmed Panelists: Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of Gatineau, Quebec;
Bill Schleizer President & CEO, Delta Institute

2:00 – 2:45 pm
Municipal Liability Related to Extreme Weather
Ajax Convention Centre
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence municipalities face uncertainty not just around planning, preparedness and response to the physical impacts of climate change and extreme weather, but around financial and legal liability and risk as well. This panel will draw from experts in the fields of municipal bond ratings, insurance, and law to provide mayors and municipal staff with ideas around resiliency in the face of potential liability.

Confirmed panelists: TBD

3:00 – 3:45 pm
Coastal Resilience Solutions for Shoreline Municipalities Panel
Ajax Convention Centre
Coastal communities face unique challenges and need “out of the box” solutions when it comes to the impacts of climate change. This panel explores issues that Great Lakes and St. Lawrence communities are grappling with along their ever-changing shorelines, including maintaining public beaches and recreational waters, managing the impacts of shoreline erosion, and ensuring they can rebound quickly after coastal extreme weather events.

Confirmed Panelists: Marc Parent, Mayor of Rimouski, QC; Mike Donahue, Vice President of Water Resources and Environmental Services, AECOM;  Julie Kinzelman Research Scientist, City of Racine

4:00 – 4:45 pm
Resiliency Planning and Green Infrastructure
Ajax Convention Centre
Presentation by Cameron Davis, Vice President on GEI Consultants. 

6:00 – 10:00 pm
Evening Under the Stars at the Ajax Waterfront

Rotary Park (For members, companions and guests)
Hosted at Ajax’s picturesque waterfront venue, this special gala is to celebrate with an evening under the stars. An upscale casual evening affair, guests are invited to take in a specially crafted meal featuring locally sourced food and drinks from the Greenbelt while enjoying live music and exciting entertainment showcasing Ajax’s diversity.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Events Open to Members & Non-Members

8:45 – 10:00 am
Keynote Address
Ajax Convention Centre
Dianne Saxe is the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), a tough but fair watchdog over Ontario’s environmental, energy and climate performance, and guardian of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993 (EBR). Prior to her appointment, Dianne was one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers. She has 40 years’ unparalleled experience writing, interpreting, and litigating Ontario’s energy and environmental laws.

10:15 – 11:15 am
Tech Solutions for Climate Resilience Panel
Ajax Convention Centre
In the face of challenges posed by climate change, cities must embrace technology to build resiliency. In this panel, attendees will learn how technology can be used to help mitigate the uncertainty around the impacts of climate change, reduce communities’ GHG emissions, and foster better waste management. The panel will also discuss how technology is being used to help communities address harmful algal blooms, reduce energy related pollution emissions, and understand the threat of urban heat islands.

Confirmed Panelists: Lance Watkins NASA DEVELOP; Loch McCabe American Water Works Association Water Utility Energy Challenge; Branko Kerkez, Project lead for Smart Water Systems, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan

12:00 – 3:00 pm
Hands-on Science Exploration and Closing Ceremonies

Greenwood Conservation Area
Delegates and guests will tour to Ajax’s beautiful Greenwood Conservation Area, where the Town’s Sustainability Coordinator and partners Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters



**Please note – this itinerary is subject to change as more details become available. A finalized itinerary will be provided to all registered delegates.

Companion Program

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

9:15 – 12 pm
Walking Tour of Ajax
Downtown Ajax

Parkwood Estate Tour and Tea
Parkwood Estate
Companions have the opportunity to experience a tour and tea at the historic Parkwood Estate. The tour will explore the luxurious interior space of the Parkwood Estate mansion that has been the set of famous films and television shows including X-Men and Bomb Girls. Learn about the vibrant lifestyle of a Canadian auto-baron and his family before ending the tour in the Orchid House Tearoom.

5:30 – 8:30 pm
Members Welcome Reception
St. Francis Centre

Thursday, June 14, 2018

North Durham Tours
Northern Durham
Explore the scenic landscape of Northern Durham and its unique venues and activities.

6:00 – 10:00 pm
Evening Under the Stars at the Ajax Waterfront
Rotary Park

Friday, June 15, 2018

12:00 – 3:00 pm
Hands-on Science Exploration at Greenwood Conservation Area
Greenwood Conservation Area


Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Signature Sponsors






Silver Sponsor: 









In kind support:






Special thank you: 


Press Release and Related Materials

Press materials for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Press Release, June 14.

Press Release



Find here, the 2018 Resolutions passed by our membership.

Panel and Speaker Presentations/Videos

Keynote Speaker 1: Dan Egan

Dan Egan, Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences
Watch here the video of Dan Egan in conversation with Dave Ullrich.

Panel 1: Resilience Solutions for Flooding and Extreme Weather

John Dickert, Former Mayor of Racine and President/CEO of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.
1. John Dickert Presentation

Bill Schleizer, President and CEO of Delta Institute
2. Bill Schleizer Presentation

Claudia Verno, Director of Policy, Insurance Bureau of Canada
3. Claudia Verno Presentation

Panel 2: Municipal Liability Related to Extreme Weather

Teresa Chan, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
1. Teresa Chan Presentation

Brian Kelly, Manager of Sustainability, Region of Durham
2. Brian Kelly Presentation

Panel 3: Coastal Resilience Solutions for Shoreline Municipalities

Mayor Marc Parent, Mayor of Rimouski
1. Marc Parent Presentation

Julie Kinzelman, Research Scientist, City of Racine
2. Julie Kinzelman Presentation

Mike Donahue, Vice President of Water Resources and Environmental Services, AECOM
3. Mike Donahue Presentation

Cameron Davis and Peter Ventin

Cameron Davis and Peter Ventin, Vice Presidents, GEI Consultants

To view this presentation, please contact Jane Eagleton at

Panel 4: Tech Solutions for Climate Resilience

Lance Watkins, Science Systems and Applications, Inc. NASA DEVELOP Center Lead
1. Lance Watkins Presentation

Loch McCabe, Founder, Energy Emissions Intelligence, LLC, and project team member of the American Water Works Association Water Utility for Energy Change
2. Loch McCabe Presentation