CEW 2019 Plenary Speakers


Senator Rosa Galvez

Topic of Plenary:

The place for science in the Senate and in politics in Canada

Scientists need to take an active role in the dissemination of science and knowledge. This is particularly true if we wish to implement public policy that is based on facts and evidence. Senator Rosa Galvez advocates for the inclusion of science in the development and review of legislation in Canada.

In her presentation, Senator Galvez will discuss the relationship between scientists and policy-makers in Canada. By drawing from her own experience of scientist-turned-politician, she will address the importance of positions such as Canada’s Chief Science Advisor as well as the need to use plain language in communications to citizens and lawmakers. She will also give insight into the importance of scientific lobbying and participation in the legislative process.

Using examples from her experience as a pollution and ecotoxicity researcher at Université Laval, she will outline the growing threats to our environment and how scientific research will provide the basis for risk evaluation and impact mitigation to our fundamental economic and civil systems. Our capacity to tackle issues such as climate change and extreme weather events will directly rely on our ability to develop policies and legislation based on science.

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La place de la science au Sénat et en politique au Canada

Les scientifiques au Canada doivent prendre un rôle actif dans la diffusion de la science et des connaissances. Il est dès lors d’autant plus important si nous souhaitions que les politiques publiques soient fondées sur des faits et des preuves. La sénatrice Rosa Galvez prône l’inclusion de la science dans le développement et la révision de la législation au Canada.

Dans sa présentation, la sénatrice Galvez discutera de la relation entre scientifiques et politiciens au Canada. En tirant de sa propre transition de scientifique à politicienne, elle abordera l’importance de positions telles la Conseillère scientifique en chef du Canada, ainsi que le besoin de vulgariser la science dans la communication aux citoyens et aux parlementaires. Elle offrira aussi un aperçu de l’importance du lobbying scientifique et de la participation au processus législatif.

En utilisant des exemples de ses propres recherches à l’Université Laval en pollution et en écotoxicité, elle présentera la menace croissante à notre environnement et comment la recherche scientifique servira de base pour l’évaluation des risques et l’atténuation des impacts sur nos systèmes économiques et civils fondamentaux. Notre capacité à lutter contre des enjeux tels le changement climatique et les événements météorologiques extrêmes est directement liée à notre capacité de développer des politiques et des lois basées sur la science.


Dr. Vince Palace

Vince Palace is an aquatic toxicologist with 25 years of experience in determining exposure, evaluating potential impacts and developing mitigation strategies related to chemical and non-chemical aquatic stressors. Working with industry, government and community stakeholders, Vince has led projects on the impacts of agriculture, hydroelectric power, the oil and gas industry, and mining on aquatic ecosystems. Vince is currently the head scientist for IISD-Experimental Lakes Area and an active adjunct professor at the Universities of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. His expert opinion and testimony have been sought by national and international clients including the United Nations Environment Program, Environment Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the US EPA, and World Fisheries Trust.

Topic of Plenary: 

The International Institute for Sustainable Development Experimental Lakes Area, Canada’s ecosystem-laboratory

The IISD-Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Northwestern Ontario has been continuously operating as a freshwater aquatic research station for more than 50 years. Throughout its history, it has been threatened with closure several times but has survived because of its reputation, influence on the regulatory and scientific process and relevance to people around the world. Conducting science at the ecosystem scale and in a remote northern location requires unique approaches, ingenuity to develop adaptive sampling methods and a commitment by the study teams to share responsibilities and to coordinate analysis of the data. The ELA has served as an important training ground for many of Canada’s influential scientists and has also seen the development and refinement of some fundamental tools that are commonly applied to examine aquatic ecosystem processes today. Operating as a government research station for most of its existence, the largest threat of closure in 2012 marked an important turning point in ELA’s evolution. Rebranding under the IISD banner has facilitated the expansion of ELA’s applied goals and has paved the way for new training opportunities for Canada’s next generations of scientists who, even now, are developing new research tools that will continue to influence ecosystem science.