sust canada dialogue

About Sustainable Canada Dialogues

Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD) is a voluntary initiative that mobilizes over 80 researchers from every province in Canada. 


Our network of scholars represents disciplines across engineering, sciences and social sciences, sustainability being at the heart of our research programs. We share the concern that if governments in Canada don’t steer the course of economic and social development towards sustainability, the next generation of citizens will face dire consequences of extreme climate warming.

Sustainable Canada Dialogues is an initiative of the UNESCO-McGill Chair for Dialogues on Sustainability and counts on the generous support of the McGill’s Faculty of Science and Trottier Institute for Science and Public Policy, and Dr. Catherine Potvin's Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Mitigation & Tropical Forests.

Our Objective

Sustainable Canada Dialogues aims to identify actions designed to have viable, large impacts based on our expertise and on dialogue among our members. We believe that putting options on the table is long overdue in the Canadian context and hope that our input can help Canadian governments at all levels make ambitious and thoughtful commitments to emissions reductions.

In preparation for the 2015 federal election followed by the 2015 Paris-Climate Conference, we launched our climate action plan Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars at the Americana conference in Montreal on March 18th, 2015. On March 27th at the Green Living Show in Toronto, we launched an issue of Alternatives Journal magazine dedicated to sustainability, in which SCD scholars presented in more detail options towards a sustainable Canada. On April 12th 2015, we hosted a colloquium during the Climate Change Impact and Responses Conference in Vancouver that focused on possible futures for Canada.      

                                  Download Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars

Our Process

Sustainable Canada Dialogues' members are motivated by a shared view that putting options on the table will stimulate action and is long overdue in Canada. We believe that climate change is the most serious “symptom” of non-sustainable development and that all sectors of Canadian society must contribute to a transition towards sustainability.

To build our collective vision of a pathway to sustainability for Canada, a Delphi survey was launched in June 2014. The Delphi survey identified six main areas for action:

      • transition to a low-carbon economy
      • transforming the energy system
      • urban planning and transportation
      • governance and institutions
      • land use
      • education, information and research.

Six drafting groups were formed, each with three to six scholars by thematic area. Their expert knowledge and the recommendations retained in the third round of the Delphi survey served as the basis for Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars. The proposals put forth by the drafting groups were compared with the climate mitigation plans of EU, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, UK and USA, and also compared with the reports of the IPCC AR5-Working group III, the New Climate Economy and Deep De-carbonization’s Canadian chapter. The energy section benefitted greatly from a workshop held in November 2014 to discuss meeting energy needs for Eastern Canada.

Following academic tradition, the first draft of the position paper was sent to SCD scholars who had not participated in the drafting and to a number of external scholars for comments and evaluation. The comments from the 11 SCD and 10 external reviewers were addressed and integrated to the current version of the position paper by a four-member redaction team. The position paper was then returned to two members of the SCD review team who acted as editors and confirmed that the modifications made to the document were satisfactory. The position paper was then circulated to all SCD members for final approval.





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Canada Team

Chair Holder