Stephanie Cairns, M.Sc
Transitioning to a cleaner, greener Canada means adopting new paradigms for growth and well-being, mobilizing these paradigms into novel policies and practices, and generating change across sectors. Stephanie has been at the forefront of mobilizing this knowledge into application for 3 decades, on topics ranging from carbon-pricing to ecological restoration and protection, natural asset management, and most recently, circular economy. Much of this work has been though leading or managing collaborative projects with broad and diverse groups of academics, private firms, think tanks and NGOs, crafting winning formulae that have shaped the policies and practices of federal, provincial, and local governments.
It was in her most recent role where she may have had her largest impact, as the cat-herding shepherd tasked with connecting numerous interested parties to manage the research and the policy asks of government in the wake of the pandemic.
Stephanie directed the Secretariat to the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, an independent task force of finance, policy, and sustainability leaders that developed recommendations to the Prime Minister for a green and resilient post-Covid economic recovery. The Secretariat coordinated the efforts of 15 task force members, 11 expert advisers, 8 research organizations, and 36 research team members over an intensive 4-month period during the first COVID lockdown in spring 2020 and their efforts are credit by those within government to having been hugely persuasive, and led to $25 billion in strategic investments in the 2021 federal Budget into protecting the environment, and driving activity in the cleantech, energy efficiency, and renewable energy industries, rather than the “business-as-usual” “let’s build a highway” type of rescue projects.