Industry Strategy Council

Industry Strategy Council

The Industry Strategy Council is a forum where experienced business leaders share perspectives regarding the impact of COVID-19 on key sectors of the Canadian economy, notably:

  • To identify the scope and depth of COVID-19's impact on industries and inform government's understanding of specific sectoral pressures.
  • To serve as a means to coordinate business communities' input on the impact of COVID-19.

Message from the Chair of the Industry Strategy Council

In launching the Industry Strategy Council, the Government of Canada has mobilized the talent and acumen of Canadian business leaders to shape our country's economic competitiveness amidst new pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is both a great honour and a tremendous responsibility to be asked to chair the Council, and I look forward to working with all members to solidify Canada's economic performance in this new global context.

The Council will create a synergy between the private sector and the Government of Canada to address industry challenges. We want to create an environment in Canada that allows the business community to help address our urgent challenges and impediments to growth.

We will be informed by fact-based analysis, capitalizing on our collective expertise. We will foster dialogue between our industry leaders and government experts, who will weigh various economic and health scenarios as part of our discussions. Our members will consult widely, seeking input and validating their own observations.

The Council aims to put forward concrete ideas for the Government to consider not just for the immediate term but for the long term as well. We will be guided by the principles of transparency and inclusion, ensuring that the diverse perspectives of sectors, regions and communities, including SMEs and Indigenous peoples, are part of our discussions and proposals.

Our actions will be swift; our advice will be strategic and innovative. Our desire is to ensure that Canada remains a robust, resilient, innovative and inclusive country—for the benefit of all Canadians—long after the current pandemic has passed.

Monique Leroux
Chair, Industry Strategy Council

Monique Leroux
Chair, Industry Strategy Council

Industry Strategy Council membership

Monique Leroux, C.M., O.Q., FCPA, FCA, Chair, Industry Strategy Council; Vice Chairman, Fiera Holdings; Former Chair and CEO, Desjardins Group

Monique Leroux is a Companion of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and Vice-Chairman of Fiera Holdings Inc. She serves as an independent director of global companies such as Michelin (ML-France), Bell/BCE, S&P Global (SPGI), Couche-Tard (ATD) and Lallemand Inc. (privately-owned company).

She served as Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group from March 2008 to April 2016 and as Chair of the Board of Investissement Québec from 2016 to 2020.

Prior to those roles, Ms. Leroux served as Chief Financial Officer of Desjardins Group, Senior Vice-President at RBC (Royal Bank), Chief Operating Officer at Quebecor Inc. and Partner at Ernst and Young (EY) in Canada.

Ms. Leroux is a Member of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (France) and a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award (United States).

  • Murad Al-Katib, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGT Food and Ingredients — Agri-food sector
  • John Baker, M.S.C., President and Chief Executive Officer, D2L Corporation — Digital Industries sector
  • Rhonda Barnet, President and Chief Operating Officer, AVIT Manufacturing — Advanced Manufacturing sector
  • Paviter Binning, President, Wittington Investments, Limited — Retail sector
  • Ben Cowan-Dewar, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cabot Links — Tourism & Hospitality sector
  • Karimah Es Sabar, Chief Executive Officer and Partner, Quark Venture — Health & Biosciences sector
  • Karen Hamberg, Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability, Westport Fuel Systems Inc. — Clean Technology sector
  • Mark Little, President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor Energy Inc. — Resources of the Future sector
  • Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montreal Port Authority — Transportation sector
  • Dr. Mona Nemer, C.M., C.Q., FRSC, Canada's Chief Science Advisor, Ex-officio


September 28, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • The Council reviewed and discussed the framework and methodology for providing advice, including an approach for estimating the relative impact of its different recommendations.
  • The Privy Council Office provided an overview of the Speech from the Throne and highlighted synergies with the Council's work.
  • ISED outlined the latest considerations for the timeline and delivery of the Council's advice, including continued engagement with stakeholders.
  • In closing, Council members acknowledged the work and consultations so far and discussed next steps.
September 15, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Council members shared sector-specific insights from engagements by each Council member.
  • Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada (Statistics Canada), provided a statistical overview of economic and social trends affecting Canada, including differential impacts by sector and within diverse demographics and regions across Canada. Council members discussed the importance of this nuanced data in informed decision making.
  • Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), provided an update on the current priorities of the NRC around the pandemic response and broader support for research and development. Council members discussed the importance of continued support to bring new Canadian technologies to market.
  • Council members reviewed, validated and discussed priorities as well as milestones for their advice to government. 
August 31, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Council members reviewed the insights that had emerged from the engagement sessions they had undertaken in the past months. The Council has met with 50+ groups, over 100 individuals, surveyed 500 firms and received submissions from the public through their web portal. Members also reviewed a framework for structuring their advice.
  • Tabitha Bull (Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business) shared insights on the impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous businesses in Canada, and issues of importance to indigenous businesses and communities like connectivity and sustainability.
  • Les Linklater (Health Canada) provided the latest overview on fighting COVID-19, and discussed the potential to gather input from and partner with industry on testing and contact tracing.
August 18, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, provided an overview of Government of Canada programs that support innovation.
  • Panelists Iain Klugman (Communitech) and Ilse Treurnicht (Advisory Committee on Open Banking) joined Council members to discuss the Canadian innovation ecosystem.
  • The Council held a working session to refine its emerging advice.
August 17, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Panelists Tom Jenkins (OpenText) and Louis Têtu (Coveo) joined Council members to discuss the state of and trends in digitalization across key sectors of the Canadian economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Council members from the clean technology and digital industries sectors presented their economic recovery scenario modelling; they discussed sustainability and digitalization as cross-sectoral themes.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada gave a joint presentation on meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets. The Council discussed the government and private sector collaboration needed to accelerate environmental and economic sustainability.
  • Panelists Randall MacEwen (Ballard Power Systems), Steve Oldham (Carbon Engineering) and Dominique Boies (Enerkem) joined Council members to discuss positioning Canada's resources and clean technology sectors for global leadership on sustainability.
August 7, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, presented her latest reflections on infrastructure and the links between infrastructure and a sustainable economy.
  • Michael Sabia, Chairman of the Canada Infrastructure Bank outlined how the Bank can play a role in reducing risk around large-scale infrastructure projects, attracting private capital, and multiplying the impact of public investments.
  • Council members reviewed global examples of policies, regulations, and practices related to infrastructure projects, including roles for private sector investment.
  • Panelists Cynthia Garneau (VIA Rail), Wendy Zatylny (Association of Canadian Port Authorities), and Stephen Laskowski (Canadian Trucking Alliance & Ontario Trucking Association) joined the Council to discuss transportation of passengers and goods across multiple modes and economic implications for key sectors.
August 4, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Dominic Barton, Canada's Ambassador to China provided an overview of public health and economic approaches taken in Asia to address the COVID-19 pandemic; he also discussed future market opportunities for Canada
  • The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, shared the importance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada's economic recovery and accepted feedback on the suite of federal business support programs 
  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, received an overall update on the work of the Council thus far and provided direction on how the  Council, through their sectoral analysis, might continue their efforts to position Canada for economic recovery
  • Panelists Gilles Labbé (Héroux-Devtek) and Marc Parent (CAE) joined Council members to discuss COVID-19's impacts on the aerospace manufacturing industry
  • McKinsey and Company presented economic recovery scenario modelling for the advanced manufacturing, agri-food, health and biosciences sectors; they also presented international approaches to understand sectoral pressures and cross-sector strategic directions
  • Panelists Dean Stoneley (Ford), Paul Soubry (New Flyer), and Jerry Dias (UNIFOR) joined members to discuss the economic impact and stabilization considerations in the auto manufacturing industry, and the impact on other sectors
July 20, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • The Industry Strategy Council began the meeting by reviewing draft frameworks for organizing insights, taking stock of stakeholder engagement, and identifying common pressures and trends.
  • Council members of the respective sectors led presentations and roundtable discussions of sectoral analysis for retail, resources of the future, and transportation. The analysis focused on latest pressures and possible forward trajectories.
  • The Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, joined the members to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Canada's resource sectors in the wake of market shocks and volatility, including issues of stabilization and the sector's role in getting Canada to net zero.
  • The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, addressed the Council on the opportunity to build sustainability into Canada's industrial sectors for increased innovation and competitiveness.
  • The Council concluded by expressing a desire for ongoing discussion of cross-sectoral issues and committed to continued engagement of stakeholder views. 
July 7, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, recognized the Council's work so far and shared a vision for how the Council's work will set the stage for the launch of the Economic Strategy Tables in the fall.
  • The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport provided an overview of the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada's air travel sector.
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, spoke to the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada's tourism and hospitality sector, including impacts on regional economies.
  • A panel discussion was held on COVID-19's impacts on air travel, with panelists Chris Avery (Canadian North), Deborah Flint (Greater Toronto Airports Authority), and Calin Rovinescu (Air Canada).
  • Destination Canada presented scenarios of economic impact on Canada's tourism and hospitality sector.
  • Health Canada presented health indicators that will guide public health officials in monitoring and preparing for various COVID-19 resurgence scenarios as the Canadian economy reopens.
  • The Council collectively reflected on emerging themes raised throughout previous meetings, as well as the conceptual and analytical framework for the work going forward.
June 22, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, along with departmental officials, provided an overview of the COVID-19 economic supports provided by the Government of Canada.
  • The Council discussed several potential macroeconomic trajectories for Canada based on economic indicators to date, as well as personal and peer observations.
  • McKinsey and Company provided a look at health measures other countries have taken as they re-open their economies.
  • The Department of Health, and the Department of Employment and Social Development, provided an update on elements of Canada's public health response, including the national COVID-19 testing strategy and occupational health and safety considerations.
  • Council members then discussed the forward plan of work, and reviewed key findings of the previous round of the Economic Strategy Tables.
June 08, 2020 — Record of Discussion
  • Members highlighted their experiences in their respective sectors and shared their aspirational vision for the Council.
  • Finance Canada presented an overview of COVID-19 impacts on the Canadian economy, and discussed projections for key economic indicators.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development presented on emerging dynamics in demand and supply affecting key Canadian sectors as the economy prepares to reopen amid a changing operating environment.
  • Health Canada presented on the public health response to COVID-19, providing an epidemiological overview of the pandemic, and Canada's public health approach for restarting the economy.
  • McKinsey and Company provided supporting materials highlighting economic responses to COVID-19 across the globe.
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, shared his ambition for a partnership model between Government and industry to work together to respond to the economic effects of COVID-19.
  • Council members noted the importance of openness and engagement with diverse perspectives across Canada including industry, labour, Indigenous Peoples, associations, academia, and other stakeholders, to hear the many economic realities unfolding in the wake of COVID-19.

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