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Understanding the Changing Legal Climate: A Primer on Climate Law for Engineers and Other Professionals


Mississauga, ON - January 16, 2018

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Engineers Canada, Zizzo Strategy and Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) are jointly offering a professional development course entitled “Understanding the Changing Legal Climate: A Primer on Climate Law for Engineers and Other Professionals.”

The course is divided into four sections:

  • Section 1 - Legal Framework for Climate Change Mitigation
  • Section 2 - Legal Framework for Climate Change Adaptation
  • Section 3 - Professional Responsibility and Avoiding Negligence
  • Section 4 - Corporate Disclosure of Climate Change Risks

Sectionss 1 and 2 provide an overview of legal frameworks aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change and discuss existing and emerging legal obligations at the provincial, federal and international level. Sectoion 3 hones in on professional obligations and duties as they relate to a changing climate and assessment of reasonably foreseeable risks in light of climate change. Finally, Section 4 explores corporate issues relating to climate change, including risk disclosure requirements, asset management and director and officer obligations.

When and where

The course will take place on January 16, 2018 at Credit Valley Conservation, 1255 Old Derry Road, Mississauga, ON, L5N 6R4.


This course is intended primarily for engineers, but is also relevant to other professionals, including lawyers, planners, architects and scientists, among others. It aims to educate professionals on climate change law issues and the associated implications on their practice.

This course does not satisfy the requirements for the Infrastructure Resilience Professional (IRP) certification.

Members of Zizzo Strategy will be leading the course instruction. Instructor bios are included below. Guest speakers with expertise in relevant areas will be invited to join and present throughout the course.  


Climate change is here. It has already had a serious impact on our infrastructure, economy and environment; and its future impacts will only grow with time. Mitigation efforts may slow the rate of change, but are unlikely to reverse the trend. The majority of Canada’s infrastructure is decades old, and was designed based on out-dated climate patterns. In light of our changing climate, design standards and existing infrastructure systems may need to be revised to ensure public safety and quality of life.

The combined efforts of engineers, lawyers and other professionals will be required to address the combined challenges of infrastructure development/renewal and climate change. Professionals must augment skills with new information necessary to (re)design for, and adapt to, a climate-adjusted future. An understanding of climate change risks and opportunities affecting project planning, design, construction and operation will be necessary to properly execute projects going forward.

Engineers, lawyers and other professionals have a duty to act in the public interest and are subject to legal responsibilities and standards of care, which could expose them to legal liability relating to climate impacts and associated damages if proper standards of prudence are not met. As the climate continues to change, legal duties and standards of care are also evolving. Relying on outdated standards and processes could be considered negligent. There is a need for education on climate change law and policy developments among professionals, the wider construction industry and related decision makers to promote improved consideration of climate change in a variety of practice-areas and project-types.


Fees are as follows:

  • $300 (plus applicable taxes) (for continuing professional development of members of any of the 12 provincial or territorial engineering regulators)
  • $350 (plus applicable taxes) (for professional development of other professionals who are not licensed engineers)

Fees cover course instruction and materials as well as coffee breaks and breakfast/lunch.

A Certificate of Completion for CPD will be issued by Engineers Canada.

An application for recognition of the course for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) is underway with the Engineering Institute of Canada.

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For further information please contact:

David Lapp, FEC, P.Eng., IRP
Manager, Globalization and Sustainable Development
Engineers Canada
Ottawa, ON
613-232-2474 x240
613-793-2203 (cell)

Laura Zizzo, BES, JD
Founder and CEO
Zizzo Strategy Inc.
Toronto, ON

Workshop Instructors

Laura Zizzo BES, JD, Founder and CEO, Zizzo Strategy Inc.

Laura Zizzo is a lawyer and strategic advisor with over a decade of experience leading organizations towards a low-carbon and climate-adapted future through the application of law and policy. Laura started her legal career with a prominent Bay Street law firm before founding the first law firm in Canada focused on climate change in 2009. She is a frequent writer and speaker on the move to the low-carbon economy and is a leading voice on the legal imperative to adapt to climate change. Laura holds a degree in Environmental Studies (BES) from the University of Waterloo and a law degree (JD) from University of Toronto.

Joanna Kyriazis, Policy Director, Zizzo Strategy Inc.

Joanna is a trained lawyer and policy advisor who combines her advocacy and scientific skills to identify risks and create innovative solutions. Her work focuses on global carbon policy, land-use and transportation planning, resilient cities and climate risk. Joanna previously practiced at a boutique law firm where she advised clients on emerging issues in climate change, energy and environmental law and policy. Prior to that, she practiced at a premier law firm in New York. Joanna graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in Natural Resources (BSc) and obtained her law degree (JD) from the University of Toronto.

Zizzo Strategy helps private and public sector clients thrive in a low-carbon and climate-disrupted world.  We have both lawyers and engineers on our team and work at the intersection of law, engineering, and business, using our deep climate knowledge to help our clients understand critical issues, create frameworks to enable better decision making, and implement effective and efficient solutions.