Report from IAPA – CANECT 2009

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I just finished a day at the Toronto CANECT tradeshow and conference. The show is designed to showcase environmental companies and offer training on new regulations and emerging issues.

Located alongside the much larger IAPA (Health & Safety) conference, CANECT seems like a sideshow; the booths are smaller, the lighting dimmer and it is tucked away in a corner. Compared to previous years, attendance seemed sparser, but I do not have any figures to back that up. The one or two training sessions I popped my head into had many empty seats and on the conference floor, corporate EHS managers seemed few and far between – lots of consultants though. Generally, conferences and tradeshows are great, but, like anything, they need to keep up with the times. The CANECT program looks unchanged from 1993, save the addition of a few greenhouse gas items.

AMERICANA, a conference and tradeshow focused solely on the Environment is simply better run. The program is slicker, the buzz bigger and the crowd generally more interesting. I recently overheard a wise old man say, “The young sometimes think all change is good, and the old sometimes forget that change is necessary for progress”. It is time for CANECT to update its program, look, and style – or else make way for something better.

On another note, today’s keynote speaker was Jill Bolte-Taylor, an amazing neurophyscicist. If you have 15 minutes, watch her TED talk below, it is well worth your time.