Pipe Dream or Reality? Showcasing Municipal Water Best Practices

Event Details

  • October 2, 2017
  • 1:00 pm EST
  • Free
  • Online

Pipe Dream or Reality? Showcasing Municipal Water Best Practices

Live Panel Discussion

Canadian municipalities have made many strides in the last two decades to improve the sustainability of their water and wastewater systems. This has included massive changes to how we build and maintain our infrastructure, and how we pay for it. Most notably, user fees are proving to be the key to addressing common, interrelated challenges that Canadian municipalities are encountering: cost recovery, water conservation, and water quality.

Join us for a live discussion where our panelists, hailing from four municipalities from across Canada, share their experiences from the front line. In doing so, they will illustrate the 10 Best Practices from our new report, Only the Pipes Should be Hidden: Best practices for pricing and improving municipal water and wastewater services.



Chris Ragan

Chair, Canada's Ecofiscal Commission
McGill University, Department of Economics

Clifford Clark Visiting Economist, Finance Canada

Christopher Ragan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at McGill University. He is the Chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, which launched in November 2014 with a 5-year horizon to identify policy options to improve environmental and economic performance in Canada. He is also a member of the federal finance minister’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which began in early 2016.

Chris Ragan is also a Research Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute, from 2010-13 he held the Institute’s David Dodge Chair in Monetary Policy, and for many years was a member of the Monetary Policy Council. In 2009-10, he was the Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at Finance Canada; in 2004-05 he served as Special Advisor to the Governor of the Bank of Canada. In 2010-12 he was the President of the Ottawa Economics Association.

Ragan’s published research focuses mostly on the conduct of macroeconomic policy. His 2004 book, co-edited with William Watson, is called Is the Debt War Over? In 2007 he published A Canadian Priorities Agenda, co-edited with Jeremy Leonard and France St-Hilaire from the Institute for Research on Public Policy. He is the author of Economics (formerly co-authored with Richard Lipsey), which after fifteen editions is still the most widely used introductory economics textbook in Canada. Ragan also has a regular column in The Globe and Mail. Ragan teaches regularly for McKinsey & Company in its internal MBA program. He also teaches in EDHEC’s Global MBA program in France. In 2007 Ragan was awarded the Noel Fieldhouse teaching prize at McGill University.

Ragan received his B.A. (Honours) in economics in 1984 from the University of Victoria and his M.A. in economics from Queen’s University in 1985. He then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he completed his Ph.D. in economics at M.I.T. in 1989. See his personal McGill website for downloads of his published research as well as his newspaper columns: https://mcgill.ca/economics/christopher-t-s-ragan



John Enns-Wind

Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Battleford, Saskatchewan

John Enns-Wind grew up in Newcastle ON and started his career in the North West Territories helping communities grow through economic development. Since then he has been helping build communities from a non-profit perspective, as a consultant to non-profits, a volunteer coach, as Mayor of Kindersley SK and now CAO of the Town of Battleford SK.

Bringing the rational to the irrational of the public sphere is challenging; especially given the challenges of municipal infrastructure deficits. John is trying to do this through a strategic approach with priority based budgeting. In Battleford, the needle has been moving but the team recognizes we still have lots of opportunities to see the needle go where it should go.

John’s three sons look askew at him because he joined, in their words: “the cult of Crossfit.” Two of them have changed their minds and do Crossfit with him.


Emanuel Machado

Chief Administrative Officer , Gibsons, British Columbia
Emanuel Machado is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Gibsons. For over a dozen years, Emanuel has worked with communities throughout Canada, promoting a greater use of renewable energy, net-zero buildings, water strategies, social plans and sustainability frameworks, all with a focus on people, recognized with numerous awards including the Arbor Vitae Award from the Province of British Columbia and the Professional Award for Innovation in local government.

More recently, Emanuel has been developing a program for the Town of Gibsons, called Eco-Assets, which recognizes the role of nature as a fundamental component of the municipal infrastructure system, leading to a greater understanding of the value of ecosystems services and improved financial and operational management plans of the community’s natural assets.


Erin Mahoney

Environmental Services Commissioner, Regional Municipality of York
Newmarket, Ontario
Erin Mahoney is Commissioner of Environmental Services for The Regional Municipality of York. Responsible for managing over 300 staff and a $2.5 billion ten-year capital infrastructure budget, she oversees delivery of water and wastewater services as well as waste management, forestry and corporate energy services for almost 1.2 million citizens and 28,000 businesses in York Region. Erin proactively manages the Environmental Services portfolio by negotiating current priorities with an acute awareness of the future needs of the Region.

In her role as Commissioner, Erin has also served as Chair of the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario (RPWCO) from 2012-2014. RPWCO members provide the full spectrum of Public Works infrastructure and services to over 80% of the population of Ontario. As Chair, Erin elevated RPWCO’s profile by actively engaging with the Provincial government and providing strategic policy advice on matters related to public works service delivery and infrastructure including a focus on key water issues.

Prior to joining York Region in 2008, Erin enjoyed a distinguished career in the private sector with an internationally recognized engineering services company. Erin was Vice President of Earth Tech Inc.’s National Environmental Business in Canada and managed Earth Tech’s second largest water group in North America. At that time, Erin had over 20 years of experience on projects involving water and wastewater treatment, waste management, environmental legislation, approvals requirements and public consultation.

Erin is an active member of the public works community and holds membership with: Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association, Toronto Board of Trade, Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and American Public Works Association.


Carl Yates

General Manager, Halifax Water

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Carl Yates has extensive experience in the water utility profession having served as Project Engineer, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Halifax Water Commission from 1988 to 1996. In 1996, he was appointed General Manager of the Halifax Regional Water Commission which assumed a regional mandate after the municipal amalgamation of the greater Halifax area in 1996.

In 2007, Mr. Yates oversaw the formation of the first regulated water, wastewater and stormwater utility in Canada with the transfer of wastewater and stormwater assets from Halifax Municipality. Halifax Water is a body corporate municipal utility, generating approximately 140 million dollars in annual revenue with assets of over $2 Billion.

Mr. Yates is Past Chair of the Focus Area Council of the Water Research Foundation, a Board member of the Canadian Water Network, and a member of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Nova Scotia.

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