CPA 2024 Leadership Summit resounding success!

The CPA’s biennial leadership summit that took place in Ottawa from May 14-16 was one of the association’s most successful to date! 

The summit opened with a prayer from Elder Verna McGregor of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and set a tone of unity, respect, and mindfulness for the proceedings.  

An impressive lineup of speakers followed, delivering insightful presentations and engaging discussions on the future of the propane industry.  

Returning to the stage was the ever-popular Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane and Education Research Council. Tucker addressed issues with the electric grid, such as rising electricity costs and power outages but he emphasized that the industry must focus on promoting how propane is a solution, rather than highlighting the failures of electricity. Key areas for future focus include power generation—such as towable power units and microgrids—and replacing costly, polluting diesel. He also highlighted the importance of hybrids in the future, given the expense and scarcity of battery materials. From propane hybrid taxi cabs and bobtails to dispensers and heat pumps, hybrids represent the future of the industry.  

Also returning to the stage was the Hon. Peter MacKay. He emphasized the need for the propane industry to counter the negative narrative around fossil fuels by engaging with local politicians and promoting propane as an affordable, low-emission, and immediately available energy solution. “Canada cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the energy sector,” he stated, urging the industry to influence the future by communicating with decision-makers about propane’s benefits.  

Tabatha Bull, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, stressed the importance of supporting Indigenous businesses. She said that Indigenous people are starting new businesses at a rate nine times higher than non-Indigenous groups. Indigenous communities are seeking prosperity, and supporting their businesses creates a ripple effect that helps heal generational gaps and build wealth within the community. 

Learning from other associations was the focus of the panel on cross-border cooperation. One important takeaway from panel member Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the Propane Gas Association of New England was that the propane industry “has not told a great story about propane” and challenged audience members to “tell their stories – over and over again”.  “We need to see ourselves as not a bridge fuel but as a fuel beyond. If you put propane in today, you can put renewable propane in later.” Selling green works, she said, describing how her members are now bringing renewable propane into their operations and seeing success.  

Yes! There is renewable propane being developed in Canada, said presenter Seton Stiebert, co-author of the CPA-funded report, Technical Feasibility of Decarbonizing Propane in Canada. But he said it’s a small amount and not available in the marketplace. Seton provided an overview of the study he and co-author Dr. Chris Bataille published, emphasizing the importance of having government support and an equitable playing field in terms of renewable fuel subsidies. To help members advocate for developing renewable propane in Canada, the CPA will be developing a toolkit to guide members through meetings with local politicians. In the meantime, for more information, read the CPA’s Propane Decarbonization Roadmap for Canada that was launched in March. 

In the session “Fuelling the Future: Breakthroughs and Trends in Innovative Energy Solutions,” experts emphasized the influence of government and politics, with ambitious, unrealistic targets as one of the biggest challenges facing industry. Carol Montreuil, VP of the Canadian Fuels Association, described supply and affordability as the “elephants in the room”, noting that the silent majority often never speaks up. He emphasized that the industry must raise their voices, engage in effective advocacy with local politicians, and be armed with facts and data.  

Key message from presenter Félix-Antoine Rollin, VP Business Development for Datanova Software: “Your backup should be indestructible!… And make sure your IT is installing all patches regularly.” 

Sylvain Guimont, D.O., Ph. D and President and Founder of Biotonix, delivered an insightful presentation on the importance of navigating change. Sylvain stressed the need for vulnerability, authenticity, and generosity in the process of adapting to change. By embracing these qualities, individuals and organizations can better manage transitions and foster a supportive environment that eases the stresses associated with change.  

Speaker presentations can be accessed here. Photo highlights of the event are available here, and a link to all the photos here.   

A huge thank you to our incredible sponsors. Your generous support has made this event possible and contributed to its success: Our Partner of the Industry Maxquip Inc, and summit sponsors NGL Supply Co Ltd, Dependable Truck & Tank Ltd, Pro-Par inc, Maxfield LP, Superior Propane, Diversco Supply, DITECH TESTING, Parkland Corporation, BASE Engineering, AltaGas Ltd. and Emergency Response Assistance Canada (ERAC). We are deeply grateful for your commitment to advancing our industry and fostering meaningful connections within our community.