Diversity and inclusion should be central to climate change policy

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has posted profiles of the new LC3 leaders. Following is the profile of OCAF’s ED.

As the new Executive Director of the Ottawa Climate Action Fund (OCAF) – Ottawa’s Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) Centre – Steve Winkelman is looking forward to bridging silos across sectors, agencies and organizations to advance holistic, lasting solutions in the Nation’s capital.

Working to accelerate Ottawa’s transition to an equitable, carbon-neutral future, the Fund is being incubated by the Ottawa Community Foundation, a charitable non-profit organization working to drive positive, systemic, and sustainable change in multiple areas, including housing, education, food security, as well as environmental and other social issues.

“LC3 presents a huge opportunity considering what the Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) already does in our community,” says Winkelman who has 30 years of experience in supporting senior government officials across the globe on climate change policy, projects and finance, sustainable transportation, urban planning, clean energy, and clean air. “We can complement and leverage each other’s efforts and resources and bring the conversation to other investors and actors. It’s a great platform.”

He is also excited about tapping into the LC3 network and the committed climate action leaders across Canada. “I’m hoping that OCAF’s model of partnerships with the philanthropic, private and public sectors can be shared across LC3, including advancing synergies among housing, transport, land use, and environmental policies,” he says.

Winkelman adds that members of the Network have already started sharing best practices. “If we each copy a really successful program from another Centre, we are going to make good progress, and since the whole LC3 program is being supported by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the opportunities for learning and alignment are huge,” he says. “The real challenge and opportunity will be to determine how we scale up the important work of implementing and replicating things at the project level. When do we start to affect markets, institutions and systems? We must pursue our bold long-term vision while generating tangible, short-term benefits.”

Diversity and equity will play an important role in this work. “In the context of working within a community foundation, we have identified the need for improved collaborative capacity among leaders in climate change and leaders in social inclusion,” he explains. “These communities do not necessarily know each other that well. The pandemic has highlighted many fault lines in our society, including racial discrimination, and unequal access to resources and services. The climate emergency requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. That means that everyone is at the table, working together to shape the low-carbon solutions that all community groups will benefit from.”

The Ottawa Climate Action Fund (OCAF) is a program being incubated by the Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF), a philanthropic organization that works with donors and the community at large to bring about positive, systemic, and sustainable change. The Foundation continues to build on its astute financial management, high-quality donor services, strategic grantmaking and innovative partnerships.

Image courtesy of Tim Chin. 

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