The 2017 EHRC Awards of Excellence took place on February 28, 2018 at Vantage Venues, 150 King Street West, 27th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5H 1J9

2017 Leader of the Year:

Mr. Mike Allen, Senior Vice President of Nuclear Refurbishment, Ontario Power Generation

Following a long career working in the energy sector, Mr. Allen joined OPG in 2003 as a Maintenance Manager at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Fourteen years later, he is now leading the thousands of staff working on OPG’s $12.8 billion Darlington Refurbishment project. He is recognized for his vision, leadership and his tireless work supporting the workforce of the electricity industry. Mr. Allen also sits on the Board of the Electrical Power Systems Construction Association (EPSCA).


“We are delighted to recognize Mike as this year’s recipient. As the leader of a critical initiative, OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment, he understands and demonstrates how important people are to the outcome of a successful project,” said Jim Kellett, Board Chair, EHRC. “As an inspirational leader, Mike personifies many of our key objectives for this award such as passion, employee development, communications with staff, and motivation.”


The Leader of the Year award was established by EHRC in 2013 to recognize and celebrate an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to their organization within the Canadian electricity industry through visionary people management strategies and leadership. The successful nominee is an individual who has affected positive change and is dedicated to ensuring that their workforce has the opportunity and skills to contribute to their company’s overall strategy and success.


Keynote Speaker:

Bernard Lebelle, National Innovation Director, Deloitte 

Bernard is Deloitte Canada’s National Innovation Director, coming from France and reporting to Chief Innovation Officer Terry Stuart. He is bringing over 20 years of international experience as consultant / entrepreneur within top consultancy firms and industries. Bernard applies his passion to solve wicked strategic problems by co-designing disruptive innovative solutions, implementing collaborative open-innovation processes and intrapreneurship programs.


As the lead of the National Innovation Office, Bernard’s responsibility includes driving the Innovation Agenda forward with each of Deloitte Service Lines to disrupt service offerings leveraging Exponential Technologies (AI, Blockchain, IOT…) as well as leading the Ecosystem Strategy and promoting Deloitte’s Eminence and though-leadership in innovative venues.


Prior to joining Deloitte Canada, Bernard was the founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Bleu Cobalt, where he created the original design of Esprit Startup© an innovation consulting service offering leveraging Design Thinking, Visual Thinking & Lean Start-up approaches.  He was previously with Deloitte, BearingPoint and PwC in France after starting his career in Sales & Marketing for Air France in the UK and Canada.


Bernard is a published author, with 5 books in French, on “working smarter” techniques at Editions Eyrolles. In France, he has previously been a regular keynote speaker on l’Esprit Startup©, The Art of Pitching, Creativity & Innovation, Startup Scaling.  While at Bleu Cobalt, he designed & delivered multiple action-learning modules on “New Ways of Working in a Digital Age”, Collaborative Innovation, Visual Thinking, the Art of Pitching, Creativity & Innovation.


As part of the Deloitte’s National Innovation Office, Bernard strive to educate, inspire and help all Canadians improve their lives by leveraging the power of exponentials technologies.

New for this year: In advance of the Awards, EHRC hosted a special Panel Session and presentation in support of our 2017-2022 National Labour Market Study for the Canadian Electricity industry. The format for the session included a summary of findings and emerging themes presented by our consultants R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. and the Centre for Spatial Economics. Followed by an arm-chair panel dialogue and Q&A. Our panel included representatives from education, employment and labour as follows:


Lisa Nadeau, Vice-President, Human Resources, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO)

Lisa Nadeau is Vice-President, Human Resources for the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO). As a part of the senior leadership team, she is responsible for leading the strategic integration of existing and emerging AESO priorities, change and transition management, knowledge transfer, education and other human resources management accountabilities.


Ms. Nadeau has extensive human resources expertise in strategy development, workforce planning, performance management and organizational design. She is also experienced in compensation planning and design, employee relations, recruitment, learning and development, change management and human resources information systems implementation.


As a life-long learner, Ms. Nadeau holds a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., a Bachelor of Management (Honours) from the University of Manitoba, and a post-graduate diploma in Management Consulting from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France. Ms. Nadeau holds certificates in Human Capital and Effective Organizations and in Adult and Continuing Education from the University of Southern California and the University of Calgary respectively. She has also earned her Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation.


John Ives, Staff Officer, Power Workers’ Union

John Ives currently works as a Staff Officer with the Power Workers’ Union. He started work with Ontario Hydro as a Construction and Maintenance Electrician apprentice in 1980. He holds an Interprovincial Construction and Maintenance Electrician Certificate of Qualification and an Industrial Electrician Certificate of Qualification. John first began his union career as a Business Representative with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1788 in 1990.


John began working for the Power Workers’ Union in 1995.  John’s current duties include overseeing the operation and administration of the Power Workers’ Union Hiring Hall which supplies casual workers to different Power Workers’ Union employers in the electricity sector. He is involved in the recruitment and selection of new applicants into the sector and the representation of the applicants when they start work through the Power Workers’ Union. John has been involved in the administration and operation of apprenticeships since 1988 and has sat on the Hydro One/ Power Workers’ Union Joint Apprenticeship Council since 1999.


Since 1999, over 2000 apprentices have been jointly recruited into the apprenticeship programs of the Joint Apprenticeship Council. More than 1500 of these apprentices have received their provincially recognized certification and become journeypersons while the remainder are still receiving their apprenticeship training. John is also a Trustee of the Power Sector Benefit Trust and Power Sector Retirement Trust which provides pension and benefits to 4500 members.


Heather Whitters, Senior Manager Human Resources – Corporate, New Brunswick Power

Heather Whitters is Senior Manager Human Resources – Corporate at New Brunswick Power.   In this role she supports both the human resources strategy development for the organization and the execution of human resources programs and services across New Brunswick Power’s corporate groups.   Heather has been with NB Power for more than 27 years, 19 years of which have been within the Human Resources team.


Most of her Human Resources career has been in Total Rewards with an extensive focus on the Compensation field including the design of compensation programs, leading job evaluation, market analysis, policy development, administration including union, nuclear, management and executive compensation.


Heather’s contribution to the Compensation profession includes being one of the founding members of two Compensation and Benefits groups who meet annually and collaborate regularly on topics of common interest.  One is for electric utility companies across Canada and the other is geographically focused for all interested companies across Atlantic Canada.  Heather also was a committee member for the National Occupation Standards project initiated by the Electricity Sector Council (now Electricity HR Canada) (2007-2009) and is presently serving as Steering Committee Chair for the Electricity HR Canada National Labour Market Information (LMI) Study (2017-2022).


Heather has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of New Brunswick and holds her Canadian Compensation Professional certification from the World at Work Association.  Heather enjoys life in Fredericton with her husband and their three teenagers.


Gary Thompson Honorary Fellow, Ryerson University, and Supervisor – Engineering, Generation Planning & System Studies, Toronto Hydro 

Gary Thompson is an accomplished Engineering Professional, with over 25 years working with utilities and industry. He is recognized as a leader, strategic thinker, highly skilled asset manager, smart grid innovator and electrical engineer. Currently at Toronto Hydro, he leads a team of professionals that plan and enable the connection of all electricity generation and large industrial infrastructure, including Solar PV and Energy Storage. To date his group has connected approximately 1600 solar pv projects. Gary contributes to standards development by being a member of CSA, UL and IEC technical standard committees covering solar, wind and energy storage. As active Educator and Researcher he has developed and taught courses in Power Systems, Electric Machines, Renewable Energy and Business. He currently is an Honorary Fellow and Lecturer at the Center for Urban Energy, at Ryerson University. An active community volunteer, he possesses over 25 years in the area of Board Governance and Operations. He has served on various Boards and Committees within the areas of education, municipal government, law enforcement and social services.


Farah Alexis, Director, Human Resources, Hydro One Networks Inc.

Farah Alexis is the Director, Human Resources of Hydro One Networks Inc. Ms. Alexis has held this position since early 2016, and previously held the roles of Director of Talent Management, Development Manager and HR Business Partner since joining Hydro One in 2000.


She has over twenty years of experience in the field of HR, with a specialization in talent management including talent acquisition, performance management, employee and leadership development and employee engagement.


She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba.


Thank you to all our Awards Sponsors:

For more information contact: