The University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy program uses the convening power of the university to bring together academic researchers and senior decision-makers from industry, government, Indigenous communities, local communities and environmental organizations to determine how to strengthen public confidence in energy decision-making.


Our approach

Positive Energy began with a kick-off conference in early 2015. This conference brought together senior-level policy and regulatory decision-makers; representatives of industry, academia and NGOs; and leaders of local and Aboriginal communities. The conference focused on North American case studies that highlighted the societal issues raised by energy development, and analyzed the success of different industries, individual projects and jurisdictions in resolving these issues.

Over the next three years (2015-2018), a team of researchers delved deeply into the critical success factors underpinning social acceptance and support, as identified by conference participants. These included questions of Indigenous rights, leading-edge methods to involve Indigenous communities in resource development, intergovernmental conflict resolution and innovative ways of addressing environmental concerns.

In the following three years (2018-2021), research focused on public confidence in Canada’s energy and climate future. It explored political polarization around energy issues in Canada, how to clarify and strengthen the roles and responsibilities of policymakers, regulators and the courts in energy decisions, and models of and limits to consensus-building on energy decisions.

The current phase of Positive Energy (2022-2027) aims to help Canada strengthen public confidence in energy policy, regulation and decision-making for net zero. Research and engagement are focused on helping Canada move from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’ of emissions reductions, with a primary emphasis on developing integrated approaches to energy and climate, identifying institutional innovations that support change, and fostering cross-country collaboration.

Our supporters

Positive Energy’s Research Team and Advisory Council are grateful for the invaluable support of committed organizations who want to build support for energy development in Canada. Our supporters are involved in a number of ways: they provide financial assistance to the project, they advise on our research and share relevant research studies undertaken by their organizations, and they provide expert speakers for our events.

Financial supporters of Positive Energy include Alberta Energy, the British Columbia Utilities Commission, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Gas Association, Cenovus, the Clean Resource Innovation Network, Electricity Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Ovintiv and Petronas. Positive Energy has also received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Nanos Research is our official pollster.

PE Brochure

uOttawa Positive Energy Brochure

Click here to view (PDF, 1.7MB)

Contact us

Positive Energy

Institute for Science, Society and Policy 
120 University Private
Social Sciences Building
15th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5800, ext. 3911
[email protected]