BTH Insight Series Ep. 3: United Way Social Procurement, the Ontario Election and Energy Governance

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This is the third episode of the BTH Insight Series, where we examine various policy topics within the hour. Topics discussed include energy governance, elections and not-for-profits and their role in their social procurement.

United Way Social Procurement

As the largest non-governmental supporter of social services in the region, United Way Toronto & York Region has recently been active in advocating for Community Benefits and connecting partners in the private, labour, and not for profit sector to make projects – like the Eglinton Crosstown Line – a reality. Community Benefit Agreements are initiatives that change social infrastructure by embedding community and social benefits criteria into public contracts, ultimately triggering systems and institutions to do things differently.

Today, we are talking with Nauman Khan, Senior Manager of Public Affairs from the Toronto & York Region chapter of United Way, on social procurement and the Community Benefit Agreements that United Way has been a part of. [Interview at 0.40]

The 42nd Ontario General Election

The 42nd Ontario general election is scheduled to be held on or before June 7, 2018. It is predicted to be a three-horse race between the Liberal Party, the Progressive Conservative Party, and the New Democratic Party led by Kathleen Wynne, Patrick Brown, and Andrea Horvath respectively. Time will tell if Wynne will lead the Liberals to their fifth straight election victory in Ontario. The election in 2018 could play out a lot differently than in 2014, since there have been several changes made in Ontario’s political environment since then. Today we are going to talk about those changes and our predictions of how the election will play out.

“Parties have to make their choices about how far they can stretch themselves without losing the support they already have.” —Dennis M. Pilon, Associate Professor, York University

Dennis M. Pilon is an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director in the department of Political Science at York University. His research has focused primarily on issues of democratization and democratic reform in western countries in both contemporary and historical contexts. Over the past decade, Professor Pilon has done considerable public speaking and media work commenting on many aspects of politics with reporters from print, radio and television, particularly on topics relating to elections and political parties. He is presently a member of the National Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada, a citizens’ group focused on gaining more proportional methods of voting for Canadian elections, and is a member of the editorial board of Canadian Dimension magazine. He has also acted as a consultant on election issues for various legal firms, political parties, trade unions, community groups, and the Auditor General of Canada. [Interview at 15.32].

Energy Governance

The energy sector can be a complex landscape. Policy decisions reflect a hodge-podge of environmental, economic development, engineering and political considerations, yet Consumers often just see the end result on their electricity bills.

In Ontario, several decision-making bodies like the Ontario Energy Board, the Independent Electricity System Operator, and the Ministry of Energy, are some of the institutions that make important energy policy decisions.These institutions each have a unique function in Ontario’s energy system. The question remains do these institutions’ decision-making processes reflect the fundamental principles of good governance. That is, do decisions by energy institutions reflect transparency, accountability and integration?

George Vegh is the head of McCarthy Tétrault’s Toronto energy regulation practice, where he provides advocacy and advisory services to private and public sector clients. He has served as General Counsel of the Ontario Energy Board, Chair of the Ontario Energy Association and the IESO Market Forum and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario. He has led a number of industry initiatives, including Task Forces on Distribution Rate Regulation, Infrastructure Renewal, Distributed Generation and Transmission Connection for Renewable Generation. George Vegh is also an Adjunct Professor of Energy Law at the University of Toronto Law School, the School of Public Policy & Governance, the University of Calgary Law School and at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he is also the Program Director for the Masters Program in Energy and Infrastructure Law.

BTH had a chance to discuss the “Report on Energy Governance in Ontario”, a report written by George Vegh for the Ontario Energy Association and the Association of Power Producers of Ontario in November of last year. Examining the current governances issues facing the sector in Ontario, I sat down with George Vegh to discuss the report and the solutions it recommends like the Energy Information Officer  to mitigate the challenges the province currently faces. [Interview at 37.13].



Jonah Kotzer, Host, Senior Producer, Content Editor, Technical Producer
Kayla Ishkanian, Senior Producer, Content Editor
Julia Chan,
Senior Producer, Content Editor
Sanya Ramnauth, Lead Social Media Director
Mitchell Thibault, Reporter
Jasper Parades, BTH Reporter
Ian T. D. Thomson, Reporter, Executive Producer

Music Credits
Not Dead 
by Fine Times
I Hate My Generation 
by Sloan
by Rush

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