Supporting Workforce Development to Advance TransformTO Net Zero Strategy

Date(s) - 22 Jun 2023
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM



The ICE Committee in partnership with the City of Toronto hosted this webinar to explore the workforce development implications of the City of Toronto’s Net Zero Strategy and related activities.

TransformTO Net Zero Strategy was unanimously approved by City Council in 2017, demonstrating Toronto’s commitment to a global call for action to limit global temperature rise in line with international goals. It presents thirty near-term actions to put Toronto on the net zero pathway.  More information about the TransformTO is available at

But what needs to be done to have the necessary workforce ready to achieve those targets? This question was explored in the webinar.  It kicked off with an overview presentation of the Net Zero Strategy by Sophie Plottel, Program Manager, City of Toronto Environment and Climate Division. The presentation can be downloaded  by clicking TransformTO Oveview.

A panel of experts then commented on and discussed key questions  about the labour force and workforce transformation implications and answered questions posed by the audience. The panel was made up of: 

    • James Nowlan,  Executive Director, Environment & Climate, City of Toronto
    • Tricia Williams, Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilization, Future Skills Centre 
    • Darryl Chow, Director of Business Development, Geosource Energy Ltd.
    • Manjit Jheeta, Vice-President – Industry, Employment & Community Relations, Centennial College
    • Rob McMonagle, Green Sector Specialist, Economic Development & Culture, City of Toronto (Panel Moderator)

The webcast recording can be downloaded here



More Information about the Speakers:


Darryl Chow

 Director, Business Development, Geosource Energy: A partnership development specialist, Darryl has dedicated his career working for purpose-driven organizations for over 20 years.

Prior to his current role, Darryl worked in the higher-education and not-for-profit sectors where he helped private sector companies develop strategic interactions to deepen their social accountabilities.



Since joining Geosource in 2019, his passionate drive to make our future cities more sustainable and livable has had an impactful effect on the company’s transformation and growth. Privileged to be guiding a remarkable team of North America’s top technical geo-exchange experts, he draws inspiration from their creative approach to innovation and the entire team’s relentless pursuit to change the way energy is delivered.

 As a champion for Geosource, his current responsibilities include Sales Development, Account Management, Marketing Strategy, Advocacy & Stakeholder Engagement, and building on the company’s Corporate Culture.  He holds a degree in Political Science and spends most his free time skiing or fishing with his wife and kids.

Manjit Jheeta

 Vice President of Industry Employment and Community Relations at Centennial College:  Manjit is recognized for her focus on career success for graduates and building strong partnerships with industry, community, and government. Before joining Centennial, she served as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the City of Toronto, where she led the development of the Community Safety Plan, including the Crisis Response program and Gang Prevention Intervention project. In 2020, she established the CivicLabTO partnership as well as securing over $35 million in donated products and funds to support pandemic relief efforts.

Rob McMonagle

Sector Development Officer, Economic and Culture Division at the City of Toronto: Since 2011, Rob has worked at Toronto’s Economic Development Office where he has successfully introduced initiatives to accelerate the growth of Toronto’s robust green sectors. Prior to this, Rob worked at the City of Toronto’s Energy Office (2005-10) and wrote Toronto’s Sustainable Energy Plan and managed the City’s renewable energy initiatives. Rob was the Executive Director of the Canadian Solar Industries Association from 2001-05 and was instrumental in creating Canada’s first Feed-in Tariff program. In 1980 Rob founded and ran Canada’s largest (at the time) renewable energy supply company and installed PV, solar thermal, and wind systems globally until 2000. Rob has received the Canadian Solar Leader Award (2007), Urban Power Leader Award (2010), Forest Ontario Builders Award (2015) and Canadian Green Building Council Government Builders Award (2017).



James Nowlan

Executive Director of Environment & Climate at the City of Toronto:  James oversees the team responsible for the development of corporate environment and climate policies including TransformTO,  the City’s strategy to be net-zero by 2040, as well as the Net-Zero Existing Buildings Strategy and the Electric Vehicle Strategy.  He works  with many City of Divisions, agencies and external partners in the community. The Division also works on a number of innovative projects that support achieving City climate goals, and oversees a number of funding programs such as SolarTO and the Home Energy Loan Program.


James joined the City in January of 2022 after more than 17 years in Ontario’s Public Service, where he held progressively more responsible policy/program, management and Executive leadership positions in several Ontario ministries. In his last position with the Province, James was the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Agency Oversight and Partnerships Division at the Ministry of Transportation, where he worked closely with Ministries, Agencies and other levels of government to support investments in public transit.


Previous to this James has had the opportunity to work on many high-profile environmental and resource management initiatives in the Ontario Public Service working including the establishment of the Greenbelt, renewable energy policy, Great Lakes protection, air quality, climate change and transportation and transit policies, programs and delivery. Under his leadership these teams developed and delivered significant legislation, regulations, programs, policies and infrastructure investments.


Related to his current role James has held a number of positions focused on environment, climate and energy matters, including as the Director of Climate Change Policy with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. While with the Ministry, he led the development and implementation of an all of government Climate Change Action Plan that involved actions to be implemented by 16 provincial Ministries. Delivering on this outcome for the Province, included significant work to work across Ministry silos, create relationships and partnerships, and establish processes to resolve disputes.

Sophie Plottel


Program Manager, Policy & Research Unit, Environment & Climate Division at the City of Toronto:  Sophie was part of the team that developed the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy and works now on implementation, accountability and reporting related to the strategy.

Dr. Tricia Williams:




Director of Research, Evaluation & Knowledge Mobilization, Future Skills Centre: Tricia brings  a strong background across anthropology, sociology and economics disciplines to her role. She has particular expertise in the future of work, including digital economies, skills development, employment and labour markets, migration and gender.

At FSC, Tricia leads a pan-Canadian research strategy focused on advancing strategic goals. She also collaborates closely with our project partners on the broader evidence agenda, ensuring that knowledge is both generated and mobilized effectively for uptake and usage.

In addition to an undergraduate degree, Tricia holds a Master’s degree in international development studies from the University of Guelph and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in sociology and anthropology from Florida International University in Miami.   

ICE Committee