Steering Committee

Our steering committee includes representatives from 10 different organizations across the province dedicated to various green infrastructure focus areas.

Conservation Ontario


A network of 36 Conservation Authorities: community-based watershed management agencies dedicated to conserving, restoring and managing Ontario’s natural resources. Conservation Authorities deliver programs and services totaling almost $300 million annually through more than 3,000 full time and seasonal, part time staff.
Representative: Deborah Martin-Downs, M.Sc., Chief Administrative Officer, Credit Valley Conservation


logo-evergreenA national not-for-profit that inspires action to green cities. Evergreen collaborates with like-minded citizens from diverse corners of the community to help build shared knowledge and a common language and vision to accelerate change.
Representative: TBC, CityWorks, Evergreen

Forests Ontario

logo-forestONA not-for-profit organization created through the merger of Trees Ontario and the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA). As a united voice, Forests Ontario promotes and supports forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness, and encourages and supports landowners in their efforts to plant and manage their forests. Forests Ontario also creates a strong public presence advocating for abundant, healthy and sustainable forests.
Representative: Rob Keen, Chief Executive Officer, Forests Ontario

Green Communities Canada


A national association of community organizations working with homeowners, businesses, governments and communities to reduce their impact on the environment. GCC has more than two dozen member organizations in every region of the country, with combined annual revenues of $24 million, 600 employees, and more than 2,000 volunteers.
Representative: Clifford Maynes, founding Executive Director, Green Communities Canada

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities


A non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop the green roof and wall industry throughout North America. Members include green roof and wall professionals, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, components suppliers and nurseries.
Representative: Steven Peck, Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association


An association representing 2,400 horticultural company professionals and 20,000 industry contacts. Members include landscape, maintenance and snow management contractors, landscape designers, lawn care operators, garden centre owners, arborists, nursery growers, interior landscapers, and irrigation and landscape lighting contractors.
Representative: Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association

LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests)


An award-winning, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of urban forests through planting, education and stewardship. LEAF engages more than 10,000 program participants and volunteers across the GTA each year.
Representative: Janet McKay, Founder and Executive Director, LEAF

Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA)


An association representing more than 1,400 landscape architectural professionals at various levels of membership. OALA’s mission is to promote, improve, advance and accredit the profession of landscape architecture by maintaining standards of professional practice and conduct consistent with the need to serve and to protect the public interest.
Representative: Sheila Boudreau, Urban Designer, Landscape Architect, OALA

Ontario Parks Association (OPA)


A non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1936 with a membership consisting of professionals and companies working in operations, development, and management of municipal parks and open spaces sector across Ontario.
Representative: Paul Ronan, Executive Director, Ontario Parks Association

Toronto and Region Conservation


A conservation authority with a strong history in watershed management and leadership in applying sustainability practices. TRCA owns more than 40,000 acres of land in the Toronto region, employs more than 475 full time employees and coordinates more than 3,000 volunteers each year.
Representative: Brian Denney, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation

Executive and Committees

Steering Committee Chair: Janet McKay, LEAF

Steering Committee Vice Chair: Deborah Martin-Downs, Conservation Ontario

Urban Forest Subcommittee Chair: Janet McKay, LEAF

Stormwater Systems Subcommittee Chair: Clifford Maynes, Green Communities Canada

GIO Staff

Michelle Sawka is the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Program Manager. Michelle’s past experience includes working for the Canadian Urban Transit Association, where she facilitated knowledge and data sharing on sustainable urban mobility and coordinated research to support public transit agencies and advance public transit policy at a national scale. She also has a background in urban forestry and climate change adaptation, including a recent publication on the energy conservation benefits of urban residential shade tree planting. Michelle holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in physical geography and environmental science and management, respectively.



Our Steering Committee