Expert Panel on Churchill Falls 2041 Announced; Premier Furey and Minister Parsons Available to the Media
May 11, 2022
The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, today announced the establishment of an expert panel to recommend potential approaches for the government to ensure maximum long-term benefits from the Churchill Falls assets, as recommended by the Muskrat Falls Commission of Inquiry.
Premier Furey, Minister Parsons and Jennifer Williams, President of NL Hydro, will be available to media in-person at the Media Centre, East Block, Confederation Building, at 1:00 p.m. The availability will be live-streamed on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Facebook page. Masks and physical distancing will be required for attendees.
Members of the 2041 panel are: Karl Smith (Chair), Rexanne Crawford, Jim Feehan, David Hay, Rick Hendricks, Dr. Linda Inkpen, Heather Jacobs, Dr. Nick Mercer, Jane Rowe, David Vardy, Jennifer Williams and Peter Woodward. See biographies in Backgrounder below. The Innu Nation, Nunatsiavut Government, and NunatuKavut Community Council were each invited to appoint an expert to serve on the panel. The Innu Nation chose Rick Hendricks, the Nunatsiavut Government chose Rexanne Crawford, and the NunatuKavut Community Council’s appointee is Dr. Nick Mercer.
The panel has a mandate to recommend potential approaches for the government to ensure maximum long-term benefits from the Churchill Falls assets, the 5,428 megawatt generating station and associated transmission facilities in Labrador, including future upgrades and expansion to the facility (the ‘Assets’), given the expiry of the current contract in 2041. The Panel will educate the public and government on the current contract’s implications for Newfoundland and Labrador. See the Terms of Reference in the Backgrounder below.
Should any matters arise concerning the terms of the Upper Churchill Redress Agreement, process accommodations will be made to respect Innu Nation’s commercial sensitivities.
Under the 1969 Upper Churchill Contract, Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation committed to selling Hydro-Québec the vast majority of the power from the 5,428 megawatt Churchill Falls generating station for 70 years after first power in 1971. That contract will expire in 2041.
The Churchill Falls facility is owned by CF(L)Co and that corporation is owned 65.8 per cent by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and 34.2 per cent by Hydro-Québec.
“Although the expiry of the Upper Churchill contract in 2041 is 19 years in the future, it is a short period of time in terms of the utility planning horizon and to determine the best approach to ensure maximum benefits. I thank the members of the expert panel for committing of their time and expertise to advise on what will be a critical moment in our province’s future.”
Honourable Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
“The establishment of an expert panel was a recommendation of the Muskrat Falls commission of Inquiry. It is important to start planning now to ensure that the province is able to maximize long-term benefits from the Churchill Falls generating station and other potential generation sites on the Churchill River in preparation for 2041.”
Honourable Andrew Parsons
Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology
“As we look to the future and the expiry of the Upper Churchill contract in 2041, it is important that we bring together the right mix of people to examine the contract and prepare for negotiations. I commend the Premier and his government for establishing this expert panel and I am proud to be a member of the team.”
Chair, 2041 Panel
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Office of the Premier
Industry, Energy and Technology
Biographies of Panel Members
Karl Smith (Chair)
Over the last three decades, Mr. Smith served in a number of progressively responsible roles within the Fortis Group of Companies, including Chief Financial Officer – Fortis Inc. (1999-2003), President and CEO – Newfoundland Power (2004-2007), President and CEO – Fortis Alberta (2007-2014), and Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer – Fortis Inc. (2014-2018).
Mr. Smith graduated from Memorial University in 1981 with a degree in Commerce, and following retirement has assumed a role as Chair of the University’s Faculty of Business Administration Advisory Board.
Mr. Smith is a former Chair of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (2014-2016), past Chair of the Canadian Electricity Association, and a retired member of the Chartered Professional Accountants Association (NL Branch). Mr. Smith currently serves on the Boards of Junior Achievement of Newfoundland and Labrador, Young Adult Cancer Canada, and Genesis Centre. He is also a Director of the Canadian Standards Association and co-Chair of the 2025 Canada Games Host Society.
Rexanne Crawford, CPA, CA, of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, is the Deputy Minister with the Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1997 from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Memorial University in 2001. Ms. Crawford was first employed by Deloitte in St. John’s in the audit and assurance practice and went on to obtain the Chartered Accounting designation. In 2011, she returned home to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, accepting the position of Deputy Minister with the Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology.
Ms. Crawford is an active volunteer, giving freely of her time to advance education, sport and recreation in the community.
Dr. Jim Feehan is an honorary research professor at Memorial University. Originally from St. John’s, he is a graduate of MUN in economics and mathematics. He holds advanced degrees in economics from the London School of Economics and Carleton University. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario, Carleton University’s School of International Affairs, and the National University-Kiev in Ukraine.
Dr. Feehan has an international reputation in public finance and the economics of public investment, having published in academic journals in those areas. In 2003 and 2004 he was involved in a major international collaboration project dealing with public infrastructure, which was sponsored by the Economic Research Institute of Japan’s Cabinet Office. As well, he is a recognized expert on Canadian fiscal federalism.
Professor Feehan has also worked on public policy in Newfoundland and Labrador. He has published academic research on many provincial issues such as interprovincial trade, Churchill Falls, the health-care cost of smoking, sales taxes, Muskrat Falls, offshore oil development, fiscal federalism, municipal governance, and electricity policy.
Dr. Feehan was research advisor to the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada and served on various advisory bodies including the Primary Care Advisory Committee and the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee. For nine years he was the editor of the journal, Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, and is a former Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at MUN.
David Hay is the Managing Director of Delgatie Incorporated (his own consulting firm). He is the former Vice-Chair and Managing Director of CIBC World Markets Inc., from 2010-2015. From 2004 until 2010, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of New Brunswick Power Corporation. Prior to that Mr. Hay was Senior Vice-President and Director with Merrill Lynch Canada and Managing Director of European mergers and acquisitions with Merrill Lynch International based in London, England. Mr. Hay spent the early part of his career as a practicing lawyer and taught at both the University of Toronto and University of New Brunswick. Mr. Hay was a Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of the High Court of the Supreme Court of Ontario from 1981 until 1982. Mr. Hay currently sits on the boards of Hydro One Limited, EPCOR Utilities Inc., and the Council of Clean and Reliable Energy. Prior directorships include Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited, where he was Vice Chair, and Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS). Mr. Hay also chaired both the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and SHAD Canada.
Mr. Hay holds a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto (Victoria College). He is a Fellow of the Ivey Energy and Policy Institute with the University of Western Ontario and holds an ICD.D certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Richard M. (Rick) Hendriks is the Director of Camerado Energy. Rick has 20 years of technical, environmental, regulatory and policy knowledge and experience of the electricity sector in Canada. He provides management consulting, strategic planning, analytical, research, negotiation, and consultation services to clients. Rick works with organizational leadership to envision, implement and achieve strategic, economic and environmental objectives. Trained in engineering, science and social science, he brings an analytical, structured and comprehensive approach to understanding, engaging and explaining the opportunities and risks of energy policies, plans and projects. An experienced negotiator, facilitator and educator, Rick supports clients seeking to build partnerships, to understand the implications of proposed projects and policies, to resolve historic disputes, and to intervene in regulatory processes to change the course of development.
Dr. Linda Inkpen served as Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador since September 2014 and retired in November 2021. Dr. Inkpen graduated from Memorial University in 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1974 with degrees in Science, Education, Medical Science, and Medicine. She was chair of the board for Fortis Properties, is a past chair of Newfoundland Power, and was a director of the parent company, Fortis Inc. until 2010. Dr. Inkpen was President of Cabot College (now College of the North Atlantic) from 1987 to 1993, has been a lay member of the Newfoundland Law Society, and worked in many volunteer capacities.
Dr. Inkpen was a member of The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and a member of the Prime Minister’s Roundtable on Science and Technology. She has been the recipient of many awards and honours, most notably Memorial University’s Alumna of the Year Award, the Order of Canada, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Honorary Degrees from Memorial University and Mount Saint Vincent University. Dr. Inkpen currently serves as the Honourary Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
Heather M. Jacobs
Heather M. Jacobs, QC is currently Special Advisor to the Department of Justice and Public Safety. Ms. Jacobs served as Deputy Minister of the Department of Justice and Public Safety on three occasions from 2015 to 2022. Prior to that time, Ms. Jacobs also served as Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Justice and Public Safety for nine years, managed the Government Services Unit within the Civil Division of the Department of Justice for four years, and served as a solicitor in the Civil Division for 13 years. Ms. Jacobs received her Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Memorial University in 1984 and Bachelor of Laws degree from York University (Osgoode Hall) in 1987. Ms. Jacobs was appointed Queens Counsel in 2015 and has been a practicing member of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1988. She has served as a member of the Nalcor Board (as government appointee) and sat independently in 2018. She has also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Oil and Gas Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador and a member of the Board of the RNC Foundation.
Dr. Nick Mercer
Dr. Nick Mercer is a settler-researcher, who holds a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Management from the University of Waterloo, as well as a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Environmental Policy from Memorial University. Dr. Mercer’s research expertise includes renewable energy policy, the sustainability of off-grid energy systems, and participatory approaches to local planning.
Dr. Mercer lives in western Newfoundland. He holds a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship within Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies and provides formal support to communities in Labrador in their pursuit of energy security and autonomy. Dr. Mercer works at the intersection of clean energy and community, ensuring that local rights, knowledge systems, and priorities are at the forefront of energy transitions.
Jane Rowe serves as the Vice Chair, Investments at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan effective October 2020, and sits on the board of Cadillac Fairview, its real estate subsidiary. Previously she served as the Executive Managing Director and head of Ontario Teachers’ Equities department. Prior to joining Ontario Teachers’, she held senior roles at Scotiabank, including Scotia Merchant Capital Corporation, the bank’s Canadian private equity fund, was President and CEO of RoyNat Capital Inc., Scotiabank’s wholly owned mid-market merchant bank, and was President and CEO of Scotia Mortgage Corporation. Outside of Ontario Teachers, Ms. Rowe is a director for TD Bank Group and Enbridge Inc.
Ms. Rowe received a B.Comm. (Honours) from Memorial University, her MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business, and ICD.D certification from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She is an Advisory Board Member of Memorial University’s School of Business, served on the Board of Governors at York University, and served as a Trustee for the United Way of Greater Toronto.
David Vardy served in a number of executive positions in the Provincial Government, including Deputy Minister of the Planning and Priorities Secretariat from 1975-1978, Clerk of the Executive Council from 1978-1985, President of the Marine Institute, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Chair of the Public Utilities Commission. He is a former Director of the Public Policy Research Centre and currently an Associate of the Harris Centre at Memorial University. Mr. Vardy has received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration awarded by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, the Gold Medal Award from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. Mr. Vardy was one of the founding members of the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizens Coalition and recently was a member of the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team.
He holds a B.A. (Honours Economics) and a B. Comm. from Memorial, an M. A. in Economics from the University of Toronto and an M. A. in Economics from Princeton University, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Memorial. He has finished all the requirements for a Ph.D. in Economics at Princeton University except for completion of the dissertation.
Jennifer Williams was appointed President of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in February 2019 and assumed additional responsibility as interim CEO for Nalcor June 2021. Jennifer is now acting as President and CEO of NL Hydro. Prior to 2019, Jennifer had served as Vice President, Production, with NL Hydro since August 2016. Earlier positions include General Manager, Hydro Production, as well as Manager, Regulatory Engineering. Jennifer joined NL Hydro in 2014, having previously worked with both Newfoundland Power and the St. John’s International Airport Authority. A Memorial University graduate, Jennifer has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and is a member and former member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL). Jennifer was awarded the Fellow of Engineers Canada in 2016 and was elected as a Fellow to the Canadian Academy of Engineering in 2020.
Peter Woodward is President and CEO of Woodward Group of Companies; President, Labrador Motors Limited; and President, Markland Realty Limited. Mr. Woodward serves as Director of: The Shaw Group, Emera, Newfoundland Employers Council & Battle Harbour Trust; and is past Director of AIMS. Mr. Woodward has previously served as chair of Labrador Health Corporation, Chair of Labrador College, Chair of Premiers Advisory Council. He has also previously served on the Board of Fishery Products International and on the Board of Newfoundland Power. Mr. Woodward graduated from Bachelor of Commerce, Co-op program at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1981.