STRATEGY 3

Governance

Develop a governance model that supports a community energy transition

Communities that undertake to implement a CEP with a business-as-usual approach will have limited success. Communities that have introduced new governance models to oversee and implement their plans have consistently proven that doing so will ensure that the CEP remains top-of-mind for elected officials, local government staff and community stakeholders.30
New governance models provide a platform for political, staff and community stakeholders to convene regularly. In some cases, they provide the legal framework needed to implement projects. This can ensure that a process is in place to monitor and report regularly on the implementation of the CEP.

GTI Advice

The Getting to Implementation in Canada (GTI) Initiative, designed by QUEST Canada, is a tool to help communities move Community Energy Plans from a vision to implementation.  Strategies in this framework were derived from the GTI Initiative.

Ensure that there is a clear purpose for new committees or governance structures
Determine if the objective can be accomplished within existing committee structures or if a new structure should be introduced
Consider that new, dedicated committees will ensure that the CEP remains at the forefront for elected officials, staff and community stakeholders
Ensure that the governance structure involves all political, staff and community stakeholders in a constructive dialogue, and ensure they feel that their contribution is valued and supported
Ensure that the CEP progress is monitored regularly and reported back to all stakeholders annually. See Strategy 8: Monitor and Report on CEP Implementation for more information
Ensure that committee members, particularly those who are attending on a volunteer basis, are not overworked through the number of meetings or tasks
There is no “one size fits all” solution for communities. Choose a structure that works for your community

Governance Models to Support CEP Implementation

Table 7 provides a list of governance models to consider to support implementation at the council, staff and stakeholder levels. The table below is non-exhaustive, and communities should consider implementing governance frameworks for each of the tiers involved in the CEP (council, staff and stakeholders).

Table 7: Governance Models to Support CEP Implementation

  • A community-wide committee should be formed to maintain ongoing support for CEP implementation activities.
  • The committee should meet on an ongoing basis.
  • The committee can include a Council representative but this may be informal
  • Staff may attend meetings as a resource but generally not be members
  • Meeting minutes would not usually be reported to Council in a formal way
  • Meetings would be open to the public, by nature of the committee
  • See Strategy 7: Engage community stakeholders and recognize their implementation progress.
Options Primary Tasks and Considerations
COUNCIL-LEVEL

Committee of Council

 

  • Chaired by a Councillor, and may have additional Councillors serving as Vice-Chairs and/or members. Council representatives are reconfirmed annually or at the beginning of Council terms
  • Meeting minutes are reported to Council
  • Community stakeholders may be on the committee
  • Staff would attend meetings as a resource but generally not be members
  • Meetings would usually be open to the public

Mayor’s Task Force

  • Similar to a Committee of Council, but Chaired by the Mayor

 

  • Consider creating a Committee of Council or a Mayor’s Task Force to oversee CEP implementation
  • A council-level committee or task force can be the voice of the CEP in the community and participants can act as community leaders for the CEP
  • The committee / task force should meet regularly to oversee CEP implementation
  • Consider inviting leaders across the community from a wide-range of sectors including real estate, energy distributors, academia, municipal and provincial/territorial government, accounting and finance departments, etc.
STAFF-LEVEL

Dedicate Staff to Manage CEP Implementation

 

  • Ensure there is a dedicated staff person to oversee implementation

 

  • A dedicated staff person should be responsible for overseeing project management activities related to CEP implementation
  • In small communities the designated person may have other responsibilities
  • In larger communities there may be a project director overseeing multiple project managers

Staff Advisory Committee

 

  • A staff committee of technical experts
  • An Advisory Committee of technical experts can provide technical support for the implementation of actions in the CEP including analysis, feasibility studies, etc.

Staff Committee

 

  • A network of staff members involved in implementing actions should be formed.
  • The staff committee should include staff involved in the implementation of cross-sectoral actions in the CEP and/or liaising with the appropriate community stakeholders to manage implementation
  • These staff members should be responsible for monitoring Key Performance Indicators
  • Includes meetings of department managers/leads and/or inter-departmental staff meetings
  • Council members typically do not participate on staff committees
  • Meeting minutes are not usually reported to Council in a formal way
  • Meetings not usually open to the public

Corporate Energy Manager

 

  • A staff person can be assigned to oversee corporate energy actions
  • A corporate energy manager can focus on ensuring that the community is leading by example
  • Finding ways to ensure that energy and emissions are considered in all corporate decisions around buildings, transportation, waste,
COMMUNITY-LEVEL

Community Steering/Advisory Committee

 

  • Create a community-wide stakeholder committee with participation from utilities, the real estate sector, local non-profits, school boards, academic institutions, large energy users, and others.
  • A community-wide committee should be formed to maintain ongoing support for CEP implementation activities.
  • The committee should meet on an ongoing basis.
  • The committee can include a Council representative but this may be informal
  • Staff may attend meetings as a resource but generally not be members
  • Meeting minutes would not usually be reported to Council in a formal way
  • Meetings would be open to the public, by nature of the committee
  • See Strategy 7: Engage community stakeholders and recognize their implementation progress.

Relevant Resources

Clarke, A., MacDonald, A. & Ordonez-Ponce, E. (forthcoming)

Implementing Community Sustainability Strategies through Cross-Sector Partnerships: Value Creation for and by Businesses. In: Borland, H., Lindgreen, A., Vanhamme, J., Maon, F., Ambrosini, V. & Palacios Florencio, B. Business Strategies for Sustainability: A Research Anthology. London, UK: Routledge.

Clarke, A. & Ordonez-Ponce, E. (2017).

City Scale: Cross-Sector Partnerships for Implementing Local Climate Mitigation Plans. Climate Change and Public Administration. Public Administration Review.

Case Studies

Case Study 6

Establishing a Committee of Council in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

The Community Energy Planning Committee was established by City Council on September 10, 2007, following the completion of the Community Energy Plan (CEP).79 The Committee is chaired by the Mayor and includes representatives from across the Community. The primary purpose of the Committee is to assist the City of Yellowknife in an advisory capacity to ensure the CEP is implemented and evolves in an effective manner. The scope of the Committee is to report and make recommendations to City Council through the appropriate standing Committee of Council on the progress and direction of the CEP implementation.80

Case Study 7

Establishing a Governance Framework for Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy, Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton City Council formed an Energy Transition Advisory Committee.81 Committee members serve two year terms and sets out to encourage and promote the strategy, provide advice to Council regarding the implementation of the strategy and assist Council in developing performance measures.

Case Study 8

Stakeholder Engagement in the City of Kelowna, British Columbia

In 2012, the City of Kelowna adopted a Community Climate Action Plan containing 87 actions to be implemented by 2020. Of those actions, 59 were assigned to the local government and 28 were assigned to community stakeholders, including utilities, provincial government and others. In an effort to ensure that community stakeholders understood their roles in the implementation of the plan, the City of Kelowna circulated letters to the organizations responsible for implementing actions in the plan. These letters enabled the City of Kelowna to move forward on implementing actions that are not within its jurisdiction.82

Case Study 9

Stakeholder Engagement in Markham, Ontario

In 2014, the City of Markham began to develop a Municipal Energy Plan (MEP). As part of the MEP, the City created a Stakeholder Working Group.83

The desired outcome of the Stakeholder Working Group is to provide recommendations and feedback on the development of Markham’s MEP including:

  • Identifying energy opportunities and solutions to increase local energy production and conservation
  • Identifying synergies between industry stakeholders to implement MEP recommendations84