Accelerate 2023: Building Bridges & Embracing Change

Environment Funders Canada Conference

May 16-18, 2023
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
Quebec City, QC

We are fortunate to be gathering on the land which is the traditional territories of the Nitassinan and Huron-Wendat
and covered by the Traite Huron-Britannique de 1760.


Environment Funders Canada is thrilled to invite members and other funders to our national conference, Accelerate 2023: Building Bridges & Embracing Change, taking place in Quebec City on May 16th – 18th. We look forward to gathering in this historic city, along one of Canada’s most important waterways, in a province known for its unique style of collaboration!

By now, we all know the drill. Emissions must be halved by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Global action and investments to reach these targets are still not where they need to be. Meanwhile, human and wildlife populations continue to suffer the impacts of climate change and many life-sustaining ecosystems are on the verge of collapse.

The term ‘polycrises’ is increasingly used to describe the interconnecting and intensifying relationship between global ‘human’ and environmental crises. While there are examples of other periods of polycrises in history, never has our dependance on ecological systems been so clearly pronounced.

While other G7 nations have bent their emissions curves downward, Canada remains the only member with rapidly increasing emissions. On the other hand, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Agreement struck at COP15 was largely spurred by Canada’s investments and progress to date. There are strong signals that environmental action is becoming recognized as a key ingredient for tackling other ‘non-environmental’ aspects of the polycrises and benefitting people’s lives.

We are now at a time where the reality of climate change is no longer a debate, where the need to protect biodiversity is understood, and where innovative economic and financial solutions to address our challenges are known.  But greed, powerful interests, fear and resistance to change continue to hold us back.

So what does all this mean for environmental philanthropy?

Relative to other sectors, philanthropy enjoys the greatest degree of flexibility and risk tolerance in the way it can allocate capital. We have the ability and opportunity to use our capital to embrace and resource the kind of change needed to build a truly sustainable future.

Ultimately, the scale of change required needs two key ingredients: a critical mass of political support in the right places, and rules, incentives and disincentives that truly align industry behaviour with climate action and ecological restoration. But those ingredients can’t be developed without challenging the status quo and moving beyond incremental pathways and solutions.

So, what are the bridges we need to build and the new pathways that we need to embrace, to accelerate progress in a very short period of time?

EFC’s 2023 annual conference will be devoted to answering this question, not with theoretical discussions but with tangible, practical solutions that we can action today – and in some cases are already! We have no time to spare. Let’s get to work!

Please explore this website to learn more about our conference and all it has to offer! Our program is still being finalized so please check back often as information will be updated regularly.

EFC staff will also be reaching out to funders directly with opportunities to participate in the development and delivery of some sessions, so please watch for that too!

Last but not least, we are also planning a pre-conference field trip along the St. Lawrence River on May 15th and 16th. Please visit the Field Trip page for more information.

The Venue and Surroundings

Located within the historic district’s Upper Town of Quebec City, the  Fairmont Le Château Frontenac offers a unique experience in Quebec City. With a backdrop of the architecture of the Old fortified City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the north bank of the St. Lawrence River, it is a stunning location in all seasons.

Québec City is located along Canada’s St. Lawrence River near the confluence of the St. Charles River. Most of the area is flat and low-lying; however, the Laurentian Mountains north of the city offer increased elevation. Within an hour of Quebec City are breathtaking natural areas including Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area and Parc de la Chute Montmorency, where we will be spending a beautiful evening for an offsite dinner. Downstream from Quebec City, the St. Lawrence River opens into the St. Lawrence Estuary before reaching the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The meeting of fresh and salt waters along the estuary creates a fertile and rich natural environment, attracting seabirds, marine mammals and a myriad of wildlife.  We will be exploring this portion of the river and the beautiful Charlevoix Region during our pre-conference field trip.

Located just 15 minutes outside of Quebec City is the Huron-Wendat Museum, established in 2008 to teach and oversee the enhancement and conservation of the Huron-Wendat people as well as other Indigenous nations.  In 1967 and again in 2006, the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec recognized the importance of these unique assets and listed nearly 350 objects from the Huron-Wendat collection as part of “Quebec’s cultural heritage”.

Conference Planning Committee

The conference is guided by a knowledgeable Conference Planning Committee, whose input and guidance is vital to making our conference a success. Our sincere thanks are extended to this invaluable Committee.

Committee Members:
Karel Mayrand, Foundation of Greater Montreal (Co-chair)
Jason Bates, Calgary Foundation (Co-chair)
Carolina Restrepo, Okanagan Basin Water Board
Danielle Quenneville, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
Eric St-Pierre, Trottier Family Foundation
Hedy Rubin, Real Estate Foundation of BC
Kris Archie, The Circle on Philanthropy
Lauren Burt, Consecon Foundation
Liz Liske, Arctic Funders Collaborative
Luc Tittley, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Namendra Anand, Northpine Foundation

Conference Registration

Registration is now open! Take advantage of Early Bird rates until April 7 at 5:00pm ET. As a reminder, Sustaining members receive complimentary registrations as follows: Trailblazers (4); Builders (3); Championship (2); Leadership (1). Conference sponsors may also be eligible for complimentary registrations, depending on the sponsorship level $10,000 (2) or $5000 (1).

We encourage you to send multiple attendees from your organization and are pleased to offer a discounted rate of 30% off for each additional ticket after you register two paid registrations at the full applicable price.  We are also offering a reduced youth rate for funders under 30 years old. We are pleased to extend member rates to staff of partner philanthropic network organizations and/or funder collaboratives who do not themselves qualify for an EFC membership.

Please note that Eventbrite automatically adds QST to each ticket price. This tax will be deducted for non-residents and for Quebec residents with a QST number when you input your Billing Information upon checkout.

EFC is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all conference participants and attendees. We will be monitoring public health circumstances and guidance and will be implementing measures as appropriate.

*Please read ticket options carefully and if you have any questions about which to select, please contact Ashley before purchasing, as there are non-refundable Eventbrite charges to EFC once tickets are purchased. Please note that 30% off discount tickets are only for additional registrants after two have been registered at full price.