Priority Projects

Our Future Hamilton Summit

Promotional banner for the 2019 Our Future Hamilton Summit

Hamilton’s Annual Public Engagement Summit

Our Future Hamilton is the largest municipally-led public engagement initiative in Hamilton. Nearly 55,000 residents and community partners participated in the process to create a 25-year Community Vision for Hamilton. One of the legacies of Our Future Hamilton is the annual community engagement summit.

Within the past four years, Hamilton’s annual public engagement summit has grown to become one of the largest in the country. Over 450 participants including residents, community partners, academia, policy makers, municipalities and other stakeholders attend the Our Future Hamilton Summit in November.

Each year, the summit explores current issues as prioritized by residents and stakeholders through the community visioning process. The summit also includes an annual progress report, strategic networking, table discussions and engaging keynote speakers.  The event is free and registration opens in mid-September.

2019 Our Future Hamilton Summit

Preparing Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow. Hamiltonians have told us they want a city that is built upon a strong local economy, supports farming and agriculture, creates better employment opportunities, and advances skill development. Join us as we explore key trends that could impact the future of employment in Canada and affect local skill demands in Hamilton.

Event Details

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
8:30 am to 12:30 pm
LIUNA Station, 360 James Street North, Hamilton
Free Event. Registration Required.

Register now button


2019 Summit Theme

Preparing Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow

Hamilton is currently ranked as the most diversified economy in Canada. This provides Hamilton with an opportunity to leverage its impressive cultural, economic and academic assets to enhance economic development for the city. While we experience an upswing in investment and a historically low unemployment rate, the local labour market is changing in line with broader national and global trends. We will continue to see changes in how we work, where we work, and who participates in the labour market.

The traditional jobs of the past are becoming ever more elusive, with jobs becoming more flexible, precarious in nature and the gig economy taking a larger share of the labour market. With factors such as increasing digitalization, robotic automation, and artificial intelligence in our work places, the impacts of climate change, and political uncertainty could change not only the nature of our work but also the skills required to perform work.

At the 2019 Our Future Hamilton annual summit, participants and speakers will explore key trends that could impact the future of Canada’s labour market over the next 10-15 years and how these changes may affect future skill demands in Hamilton.

2019 Speaker Biographies

Summit Host

Headshot of Keanin Loomis, Our Future Hamilton 2019 host

Keanin Loomis, President & CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
Keanin is in his sixth year as President & CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that he was Chief Operating Officer of Innovation Factory, Hamilton's Regional Innovation Centre, and a lawyer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the College of William & Mary School of Law. He serves on the Boards of Supercrawl and the Hamilton Port Authority, and proudly lives with his wife and three children in Hamilton's lower city.   

2019 Keynote Speakers

Heather Russek,Director, Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship

Heather Russek, Author, Turn & Face the Strange  and Director, Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship
Heather has spent the last 10+ years working on large-scale initiatives and, more recently, on applying human-centered design. As Director of Policy Innovation, Heather provides strategic direction, leading the day-to-day operations of PIP and sparking partnerships across sectors. Prior to joining BII+E, Heather worked at St. Joseph’s Health Centre as the Director of Corporate Strategy and Initiatives. She brings with her experiences ranging from management consulting, to program management and oversight, to project management. Heather believes that using novel methodologies to engage people will enable policy innovation and is hoping to test new models of collaboration and innovation at BII+E. Heather has a Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University, an MBA from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, and a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University.

Jessica Thornton, Director, Strategic Initiatives at Evergreen

Jessica Thornton, Lead Author, Turn & Face the Strange, Senior Projects Designer + Employment in 2030 Project Advisor and Director, Strategic Initiatives at Evergreen
Jessica is a collaborator at BII+E who uses creative problem solving around human-centred design, strategic foresight, and design research methods to advance innovation policy. Formerly at BII+E, she was responsible for leading several major projects, including Employment in 2030 and Digitally Lit. Previously, Jessica led user research as part of the Impact of Tech on Ontario’s Workforce Project, as well as BII+E’s engagement in various education related projects such as Basecamp, SHAD at Ryerson, ZerotoStartup, and YRDSB Climate Hack2Action. Before BII+E, Jessica spent nearly a decade in the not-for-profit sector, in a range of roles, tackling issues such as housing affordability, transportation accessibility, and sustainable food system development.

Jessica holds an Honours BA in Anthropology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto, a certificate in food security from Ryerson University, and a diploma in Fundraising and Volunteer Management from George Brown College. Jessica recently completed a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University, exploring the futures of public engagement.

On behalf of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) at Ryerson University, Heather Russek and Jessica Thornton highlight key findings from their report “Turn and Face the Strange” and talk about how we can leverage technology to transform the way we work. The session will discuss how Canadians can come together to address how Canada can stay ahead of the curve by identifying key factors affecting the future of work, use technology to enable knowledge transfer and use trends to our advantage.

Jason Thorne, from the City of Hamilton

Jason Thorne, General Manager of Planning and Economic Development, City of Hamilton
Jason Thorne is a professional planner who leads the Planning and Economic Development Department at the City of Hamilton, Canada. He oversees a team of 800 staff working across multiple portfolios including planning, building, development engineering, transportation planning, parking, arts, culture and economic development. Born and raised in Hamilton, Jason has been working in planning and community development his entire career. As a Manager with the Ontario Growth Secretariat and Director of Policy and Planning with Metrolinx, Jason was one of the key architects of two of the Province of Ontario’s most significant planning initiatives, Places To Grow and the Big Move regional transportation plan. Jason also worked as a planning consultant for communities across Canada, in Africa and Latin America as a Partner and Principal with the Toronto-based firm planningAlliance. Jason is a passionate advocate of community-based planning, sustainable and inclusive development, and the creation of complete, vibrant cities. Above all, he is a proud Hamiltonian who is excited to be working in his hometown.

Jason will expand on the topic of economic growth and prosperity.

Summit Organizers and Contacts

City Manager’s Office, City of Hamilton

John Ariyo
Manager, Community Initiatives
905-546-2424 x1564

Cindy Mutch
Senior Project Manager, Community Engagement
905-546-2424 x4992

Michelle Williams
Communications Officer
905-546-2424 x5540

2018 Our Future Hamilton Summit 

Learn more about Our Future Hamilton Summit held in 2018.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson
Medical Officer of Health, City of Hamilton

Ray Boisvert
Provincial Security Advisor, Government of Ontario

Beatrice Ekoko
Project Manager, Environment Hamilton

2017 Our Future Hamilton Summit

Learn more about the Our Future Hamilton Summit held in 2017.



2019 Presenting Sponsor

Royal Bank of Canada Logo