Showcasing Research of Graduate Students

June 10, 2021 at 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET

Facilitator: Cole Atlin


The Ontario Association for Impact Assessment (OAIA) seeks to foster innovation in and sharing of best practices in impact assessments. Since 2018, OAIA has been supporting graduate students through a student bursary. This webinar is intended to focus work of recent graduates or current graduate students with a view to informing practitioners of new, emerging and innovative ideas.


Rhys McMaster is a member of the Siksika Nation and a Master of Science student at the University of Saskatchewan in the Geography and Planning department, as a part of the Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security (CASES) Partnership. She received Bachelor of Science, with Honors, in Environmental Earth Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She will be presenting her research entitled, Wind energy environmental assessment requirements and processes: an uneven landscape. She wishes to acknowledge her co-authors: Bram Noble, Greg Poelzer, and Kevin Hanna.

Presentation Overview: Environmental assessment is an important entry point to developing renewable energy projects, yet its role in the renewable energy sector remains poorly understood. The assessment requirements for wind energy development specifically are considerably variable across Canada, which creates implications for renewable energy transition – such as potentially the predictability of the assessment and the attractiveness of jurisdictions for developers.

Charla Patterson holds a Master in Renewable Resources from McGill University and a Master in Environmental Impact Assessment from Concordia University, both in Montreal. Her focus has included science-based environmental policy. She will be presenting her research entitled: Consideration of Ecological Connectivity in Canadian Environmental Impact Assessment: A Critical Review of Current Practice.

Presentation Overview: Currently, ecological connectivity is largely absent from the EA process, and even projects that attempt to include connectivity in their assessment lack the rigor required to effectively characterize connectivity or assess project impacts. Modernizing the environmental assessment (EA) process requires innovative, evidence-based policy that is consistent with the recommendations of scientists and experienced EA practitioners. To ensure the protection of ecological connectivity, it is necessary to establish a legal framework to address issues pertaining to the lack of policies, standards, guidelines, definitions, and thresholds for connectivity analysis.

How to Register and Join

Participation in this webinar is restricted to current OAIA members and is free to current OAIA members.

By logging into the OAIA website, you will be able to register for this webinar here.

If you are not a current OAIA member, the OAIA website will direct you to first purchase a membership.

A calendar invite with the link to join will be sent 24 hours prior to the event to registered OAIA members.

Registration will close on June 1st, 2021.

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We look forward to welcoming your participation at the OAIA webinar.