2A – Operational compliance: How to navigate environmental obligations and commitments

November 15 – Course Agenda

Course Description

In today’s world, organizations must not only meet regulatory requirements but also uphold non-regulatory promises they make to stakeholders, communities, and the environment.

In this course we will equip you with the knowledge and tools to effectively navigate the complex landscape of environmental obligations and commitments in the face of uncertainty.

This course is designed to empower you with the insights and strategies needed to achieve environmental compliance operability – the state when all essential functions, behaviours, and interactions perform together at levels to realize environmental benefits.

Course Chair: Click name to see bio
Guest Speakers: Click names to see bios

Course begins 9 AM

Morning Session – Know Your Obligations
Environmental Landscape

In this session, we will delve into the very essence of environmental obligations. We will explore the nature of these obligations, dissect various regulatory designs, and gain valuable insights into the environmental initiatives adopted across 25 Ontario municipalities.

Furthermore, we will introduce you to the “12 Environmental Pillars” and uncover the Environmental Golden Assurance Thread that runs through them to ensure compliance and environmental success.

Speaker: Raimund Laqua, PMP, P.Eng., Lean Compliance

Environmental Risk & Compliance

Through a municipal case study, we will dissect both external and internal obligations. We will examine operational risks, including organizational silos, accountability structures, assurance mechanisms, and priority setting. We will explore how the organization mapped out what is critical-to-the-environment (CTE) to develop a path forward centered around an “Environment-First Policy”.


  • Sandra Brunet, former Associate Director, Business Performance and Environmental Sustainability, City of Barrie (retired)

Technology and Compliance: Environmental Compliance and Generative Artificial Intelligence

This talk will discuss how Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT is transforming the landscape of regulatory analysis and environmental compliance. While Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT have become everyday companions for creativity, the spotlight now turns to the less explored avenue – its role in professional context.

One of the main challenges in regulatory compliance is understanding the details of regulations, laws, standards and guidance documents. Human analysts and consultants must often “digest” this information for their customers to help them understand how to interpret and comply with a set of requirements. Nimonik has identified this challenge as a significant hurdle for most businesses and is employing Generative AI to assist companies in a cost-effective manner.

Traditional approaches to this problem, such as in-house analysis and hiring consultants, are time-consuming, expensive, and often inconsistent. Generative AI is positioned as a solution to help. This talk will discuss the progress made so far, challenges, shortcomings and risks related to generative AI in the environmental compliance world.

Speaker: Jonathan Brun, Nimonik

Afternoon Session – Keep All Your Promises
Environmental Management Program Essentials

In this afternoon session, we will provide you with the essential framework for effective environmental management programs. We will discuss the operating model that underpins successful environmental programs, covering governance, program design, systems, and processes.

Key concepts and principles, such as organizational culture, obligations, promises, measurement, and continuous improvement, will be explored. You will also learn how to measure success through effectiveness, performance, conformance, and assurance metrics.

Speaker: Raimund Laqua, PMP, P.Eng., Lean Compliance

Environmental Risk & Compliance: Manufacturer Case Studies — From a Reactive to Proactive Approach
  • A brief review of the key compliance obligations specific to Ontario manufacturers.
  • How shifting to a proactive approach to environmental compliance has helped industry reduce the risk of non-compliance and identify and resolve challenges to avoid delays and downtime.
  • Review practical tools and best practices that manufacturers are using to stay compliant and make informed, proactive decisions about the future of their operations.

Speaker: Roslyn Miller, Altech Environmental Consulting Inc.

Improving the Probability of Success

To conclude this course, we will tackle the critical aspect of managing uncertainty and risk. We will differentiate between reducible and irreducible uncertainties and introduce you to the powerful Bowtie Analysis technique for visualizing obstacles and opportunities. Additionally, we will discuss the “5 Immutable Principles of Program Success” that your program must address and guide you through a Program Pre-Mortem to evaluate and enhance your existing compliance program.

This “Operational Compliance” course will provide the foundation for you to achieve environmental compliance excellence. Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the field, this comprehensive course will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the intricacies of environmental obligations and commitments.

Speaker: Raimund Laqua, PMP, P.Eng., Lean Compliance

Question and answer period

Course ends 4:30 PM

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