The global energy landscape is undergoing a profound and rapid shift. Driven by technological change and the commitment to address climate change, societies around the world are developing ways to decarbonize their energy supply and improve energy efficiency. With its history and wealth of industry expertise, innovation and abundant clean energy resources, Ontario is well-positioned to prosper through the transition to a clean energy economy. This is a strategic moment.

How exactly electrification and the energy transition will materialize is yet unclear. It will take commitment from government to align economic and social forces around a common vision and purpose. It will require partnerships with Indigenous communities to effectively develop the energy system based on shared values. And it will take careful and improved planning, frequent reevaluation, and adjustments along the way.

Mandate and scope of work

We thank the Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, for entrusting us with the development of recommendations on how Ontario can navigate a rapidly changing energy landscape and prepare for electrification and the energy transition. The Ontario government established the Electrification and Energy Transition Panel (EETP) in April 2022 and finalized its membership in November 2022. The Panel was established to:

  • Advise government on the highest value short, medium, and long-term opportunities for the energy sector to help Ontario’s economy prepare for electrification and the energy transition.
  • Identify strategic opportunities and planning reforms to support emerging electricity and fuels planning needs in the context of energy demand, emerging technologies, environmental considerations and overall costs to consumers.

The Panel interpreted this mandate broadly to consider the role of Ontario’s energy sector, today and in the future – and to determine what changes are needed to enable successful electrification and energy transition. Recommendations put forward here centre on the fundamental principles and approaches that should guide Ontario and key changes and additions to existing energy planning and governance frameworks. The Panel was also expected to consider the interests and perspectives of Indigenous communities, both with regard to energy project development and with regard to recommendations on the process of long-term energy planning.

The Panel received important advice on the opportunities offered by specific technologies but decided that this was not the place to recommend one or another technology as particularly promising. In addition, the Panel heard clearly that a sufficient supply of qualified labour would be crucial in enabling electrification and the energy transition, and that the natural emergence of this workforce, in line with need, could not be taken for granted. The Panel agrees with this assessment but found it outside the scope of its mandate to offer specific recommendations. While many factors will contribute to a successful energy transition, this report focuses particularly on the crucial role of institutional and policy frameworks for energy planning and governance.


Mr. David Collie and Dr. Monica Gattinger would like to recognize the expertise, dedication, and contributions of Chief Emerita Emily Whetung-MacInnes, who brought a critical and essential perspective regarding collaboration, partnership-building and reconciliation with Indigenous communities to the Panel’s engagements and final report. Ms. Whetung-MacInnes played a key role in facilitating conversations with Indigenous partners; encouraging non-Indigenous stakeholders to consider Indigenous perspectives throughout engagements; and ensuring the Panel’s report reflects the feedback from engagements with Indigenous partners. Ms. Whetung MacInnes, who appointed to the Panel in November 2022, was unable to remain on the Panel for its concluding deliberations due to conflicting professional obligations and stepped down from the Panel on July 23, 2023. She has the Panel’s deepest gratitude, respect and appreciation for the gift of her time and wisdom to this body of work.

Energy transition, electrification and Ontario’s economic opportunity

There is now a broad consensus that we are at the beginning of a fundamental change in how our lives and economy are powered. The Panel finds that based on its economic strengths and given past and current investments in energy infrastructure, Ontario is in an excellent position to benefit from this opportunity and build a more prosperous economy and society.

The term “energy transition” refers to the structural transformation of how a society supplies and uses energy, usually driven by technological developments and shifts in human needs and goals. Past transitions from muscle power and biomass as the primary sources of energy to fossil fuels (first coal and then petroleum and natural gas) illustrate how profoundly energy transitions transform societies and economies as a whole. The current transition to clean energy is driven by an emerging global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of unabated fossil fuels as a primary driver of climate change. This transition involves a strategic evolution towards clean and renewable energy sources, greater electrification of energy end-uses and a comprehensive effort to enhance energy efficiency. The integration of advanced technologies, innovation, and the alignment of economic growth with environmental sustainability play central roles.

In advanced industrialized economies like Ontario, all economic activity is linked to the use of significant amounts of energy. In addition, Ontario’s climate requires substantial heating and cooling for buildings. Like most jurisdictions, in Ontario, electricity represents a relatively small proportion of end use energy (roughly 20 per cent), while fossil fuels provide the vast majority (about 75 per cent) of final energy use.

Electrification and the transformation of Ontario’s economy to clean energy sources is unprecedented in pace and scale and can therefore be expected to be at times uneven and contested. It will be a multi-decade social, economic, and political process that will affect every sector and community in Ontario.

To situate its recommendations, the Panel conceptualizes the stages of this transition in the following manner:

  • Short-term: present-2030 – A period of innovation and change during which government is needed to provide clear leadership in setting up the planning and regulatory frameworks that will be required to support the rapid but orderly transformation, much of it customer-driven, that can be expected to intensify after 2030.
  • Medium-term: 2030-2050 – An intense transformation affecting every part, sector and community in Ontario, leading to the establishment of a clean energy economy.
  • Long-term: post 2050 – If done well, the transition to a clean energy economy has been accomplished. It will be important to continuously plan for and manage the clean energy system to address new and emerging challenges for future generations.

The panel’s journey

Following initial briefings with Ministry staff and deliberations on scope and process, the Panel conducted extensive engagements with key energy stakeholders and Indigenous partners across four streams from March to July 2023. These streams included one-on-one and group-style stakeholder discussions, engagements with Indigenous partners, fifteen thematic roundtables and an open call for written submissions. Findings from these engagements guided the Panel’s recommendations. Over 200 stakeholders, Indigenous partners and communities, government departments and agencies, and members of the public provided input to the Panel.

More information about the Panel’s engagement process, including detailed feedback summaries, can be found in the ‘What We Heard’ report, which is included as an appendix to this report.

The global energy landscape is evolving at an unprecedented pace. While different parts of the world grapple with different problems, common themes include aligning transition objectives with economic opportunities, reforming policy, regulatory and planning frameworks to foster an orderly transition, and ensuring ongoing public support for transition. In the energy system itself, common themes include ensuring energy remains affordable, reliable, resilient and secure, electrification of energy end uses, decarbonization of energy supply, how to maximize energy efficiency and, crucially, how new technologies and business models can be integrated into existing energy systems they were not built to accommodate.

Energy transition is already underway in Ontario, and despite the diversity of Ontario’s energy sector and very different perspectives and interests, there is a shared sense of urgency, excitement and willingness to collaborate and contribute to this global shift towards clean energy. It will take a concerted effort to align these forces, and government must play a key role in actively facilitating a successful and coordinated path forward.

Ontario’s ability to successfully transition will require building meaningful, long-term, and collaborative partnerships with Indigenous communities and entities, and ensuring that Indigenous perspectives are included at the earliest opportunities. The only way forward is together.

Importantly, the transition to a sustainable energy future is not the sole responsibility of any single entity, be it a government, agency, corporation, or community. The process must be a holistic, integrated and collaborative endeavor designed for the long term, and dedicated to bringing the energy sector and public along to secure widespread understanding and enduring support for change.

As we navigate this complex landscape, it is evident that the transition is not unfolding uniformly across Ontario, with distinct regions, communities and organizations facing unique challenges and opportunities. There is a pressing need to recognize and respect this diversity and to ensure that the province’s approach ultimately benefits everyone in Ontario.

Electrification and the energy transition are marked by uncertainty. The process is simply too long, complex and multi-dimensional to predict its precise trajectory or what technologies will become dominant. This uncertainty calls for ongoing collaboration, innovation, experimentation, learning and adaptability. The core focus of our collective efforts should be to approach transformation of our energy systems and broader economy with an open mind and to strategically seize opportunities in the short, medium and long terms.

The Panel’s key objective has been to develop recommendations that lay out the next steps for Ontario to navigate the transition towards a clean energy economy and to propose principles that should guide this work in the long term.

Panel members

Mr. David J. Collie, FCMA, FCPA, C.Dir., MBA

David Collie is the past President and CEO of the Electrical Safety Authority of Ontario (ESA). Prior to ESA, he held several executive positions in the energy sector, encompassing both electric and natural gas distribution systems, including Burlington Hydro, Hydro One and Enbridge (formerly Union Gas). David is a faculty member of the Directors College of Canada and their Energy Executive-in Residence. He is a frequent speaker on the topics of energy transition, grid innovation and modern regulatory practices and a guest faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School’s executive program on strategic regulatory oversight. David is the past Chair of Plug‘n Drive and the Electricity Distributors Association as well as past Vice Chair of the Energy Council of Canada. He was a founding member of the Ontario Smart Grid Forum and a member of the Energy Transformation Network of Ontario. Professionally, David is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Fellow) and a Chartered Director.

Professor Monica Gattinger, PHD

Professor Gattinger is Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Full Professor at the School of Political Studies and Founding Chair of Positive Energy at the University of Ottawa where she has worked for over 20 years. She is a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, board member of the Clean Resource Innovation Network, and serves on advisory committees for the National Research Council Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, the Ontario Energy Board, the Ottawa Science Policy Network and the University of Calgary. Dr. Gattinger received the 2020 Clean50 Award for her thought leadership in the energy sector.

Chief Emerita Emily Whetung, JD

Chief Emerita Whetung grew up in Curve Lake First Nation. She pursued a Bachelor of Arts at Trent University and a Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School after which she practiced in real estate law, a field she has worked in for over a decade. Chief Whetung was elected Chief of Curve Lake First Nation from 2019–2022. She is passionate about the rights of First Nations people, including protecting the environment for future generations and protection of treaty rights. She uses her expertise and knowledge to ensure that the voices of Indigenous people are heard and respected and for finding ways to ensure economic advancements occur in sustainable manners and building healthy relationships between First Nations and Canadians.