Supply Chain Task Force at a glance

Global supply chains continue to be under pressure by the COVID-19 pandemic, growing impacts of climate change, and fallout from the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Ensuring that our supply chains are resilient and fluid is a top priority for the Canadian Government. A well-functioning global transportation system is critical to securing supply chains, enabling global trade, and forms the backbone of nearly all sectors of the economy. Thus, it is critically important that any measures taken to address supply chains consider the important role transportation plays and are developed in consultation with industry.

The National Supply Chain Task Force, launched by the Minister of Transport will complement measures the Government is already taking, including a series of roundtables and consultations, pandemic recovery, and collaborative efforts with the U.S. The Task Force will provide independent advice to the Minister in the form of interim and final reports.

The Task Force will consult with industry experts and make independent recommendations regarding short and long-term actions to alleviate supply chain congestion. It will be active for a period of 100 days, once all members are appointed, to provide expert advice and recommendations to the federal government regarding actions that could be taken by all levels of government and industry with the objectives of increasing competition, access, reliability, resiliency, redundancy, efficiency, and investment in the national transportation system and supply chain while promoting continued international transportation services to Canada. The recommendations of the Task Force will help inform the development of a National Supply Chain Strategy, which was referenced in the 2022 federal budget.

As part of their mandate and scope of work, the Task Force will engage Canadian supply chain stakeholders and business leaders to examine pressing supply chain congestion and fluidity issues in the Canadian and global contexts.

Activities the Task Force will undertake include:

  • Assessing the range of impacts on Canada’s economy, including on the volume and value of trade and the capacity of infrastructure assets to accommodate trends in flows;
  • Noting collaborative opportunities to support a resilient North American and global trade network and address congestion by accounting for actions taken or considered by like-minded countries;
  • Working with experts and partners in the Canadian and global contexts to identify structural weaknesses, policy or regulatory impediments, and/or market power imbalances that impact competition in modal and multi-modal sectors;
  • Identifying the data, technology, and mechanisms that, individually or collectively, could be scaled to improve supply chain and transportation network visibility, operational optimization, coordinated planning, and resiliency, as well as contract certainty and conflict resolution options; and
  • Establishing areas of action/recommendations that could be directed to federal and other levels of government and industry, to reduce congestion and improve the fluid and predictable operation of transportation supply chains.

The Task Force will also engage existing industry tables (e.g., Commodity Supply Chain Table), the Federal-BC Supply Chain Recovery Working Group, Canada-U.S. Supply Chain Working Group and other regional fora. Meetings are being organized around specific policy themes to support a structured approach to the Task Force’s work and recommendations.

The Task Force is initiating engagement in two phases: the first phase will involve a series of meetings with key national associations and transportation interests; the second phase will advance discussions with individual stakeholders, both in group and single meeting settings. The Task Force is required to submit two reports to the Minister of Transport: an interim report, containing early findings and potential short-term actions, that is expected early in the summer; and a final report providing substantive advice and recommendations, to be submitted by the end of the 100-day mandate. The final report will inform the Government of Canada’s National Supply Chain Strategy, as referenced in the latest federal Budget Plan.

Supply Chain Task Force membership Co-Chairs

(announced on March 25th)

Louise Yako

Louise Yako is the former President and CEO of the BC Trucking Association, a non-profit advocacy organization representing about 1200 companies in British Columbia.

Ms. Yako has extensive leadership experience in public policy, association management, human resources development, and safety programs. The advocacy she executed while serving as the first female President & CEO of the BC Trucking Association led to, among other things, effective reforms that improved industry safety, new and revised policy that increased industry productivity, and the industry-led development of a commercial truck operator training standard. For over 6 years, she was the chief spokesperson of the provincial industry and represented the BC industry at a national level as a regional vice president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. She is known for her ability to build consensus and foster partnerships.

She has also served on numerous national, provincial, and regional boards and committees including WorkSafeBC, the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Sector Council, and the Asia-Pacific Gateway Skills Table.

Ms. Yako is also currently serving as Chair of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Active Vessel Traffic Management Advisory Panel. Ms. Yako has a Master of Business Administration from UBC and a combined Bachelor of Journalism with Political Science from Carleton University.

Jean Gattuso

Jean Gattuso began his career at Lassonde Industries Inc. as Director of Marketing for the A. Lassonde Inc. subsidiary in 1987 and quickly rose through the ranks of the organization, serving in numerous senior executive positions.  He was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc. in 2009, then president in 2012. Lassonde Industries brings together all Lassonde entities in Canada and the United States.

Under the leadership of Mr. Gattuso, Lassonde Industries Inc. considerably expanded its market reach and manufacturing footprint, now operating 17 plants in Canada and the United States and employing over 2,700 workers, while achieving $1.9B in sales in 2020.

Mr. Gattuso is a former member of the Board of Directors of Food, Health and Consumer Products Canada, among several current and former board memberships.

Mr. Gattuso has received many awards over the course of his career, including the Golden Pencil Award in 2015, the "MBA of the Year" award in 2014, and Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 from Ernst & Young in Quebec. Mr. Gattuso has an MBA from UQAM.

Task Force Members Bios

Robert (Bob) Armstrong, FCILT, CITP

Mr. Armstrong is president of CILTNA and president of his own consulting firm Armstrong Trade & Logistics Advisory Services Inc. He has over 50 years of experience in the fields of global supply chain management, international trade, cross border logistics and customs regulations and procedures.

As CILTNA President he has led many seminars presented by CILTNA members to government and industry. He has over 40 years of experience in the fields of global supply chain, international trade, cross border logistics and customs regulations and procedure. He has also served as President and CEO for the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters Inc. and President of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC).

Earlier in his career he spent many years in senior management with the supply chain and logistics industry, a major government relations company, and a large public accounting firm, where he was a partner. Among his many industry roles Bob has specialized in the marine sector since 2005 developing several short sea shipping initiatives for the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes network. His other activities include Chairman of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association, Director of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, Chair of the METROLINX Goods Movement Strategy for the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area and Member of the Goods Movement Roundtable for Peel Region.

Keith Bruch former VP of Paterson Global Foods

Mr. Bruch has been in sales, marketing and coaching roles throughout his 30-year career. He has worked with customers in more than 30 countries including; Japan, Morocco, the US, Canada and Turkey.

For over 20 years, worked at Paterson Global Foods where he became Vice President, of Operations. He was responsible for market development, commodity trading, transportation, country and terminal assets and organic grain business units. He developed and executed strategies for marketing activities into domestic and global markets. He also performed operations management, logistics and execution planning for country and terminal assets.

Throughout his career he has also served as President of the Alliance Grain Terminal (AGT) in Vancouver, President of Alliance Seed, CEO of Nutrasun Foods, CEO of FeedMax, President of Alliance Grain (Australia). Also, he is a former Chair of the Western Grain Elevator Association, as well as a member of several committees of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange and the International Commodities Exchange (ICE) in Winnipeg.

He has marketed and sold financial products, commodities and food products applying the principles and practices that underpin the Sandler Sales Submarine and is currently President of Sandler Training Canada.

Shauna McMillan, P. Eng., Executive Leader & Supply Chain Professional

Ms. McMillan is a seasoned supply chain professional and passionate business executive. Most recently, she worked for Canadian National Railway (CN) for over 8 years, holding the position of Assistant Vice President, Sales & Industrial Products, and leading a team of sales professionals supporting forest products, metal, mineral and frac sand products to North American customers. Leveraging her experience not only from CN but also as a customer, she has developed, implemented and monitored strategic sales plans and direct sales activities, which has generated increased value for rail services and market share gains. Immediately prior, Ms. McMillan was appointed Chief of Staff to the President & CEO, serving a key strategic advisor role which required working closely with internal and external stakeholders to facilitate and track execution of key deliverables, including; safety, diversity, engagement, and customer centricity. Prior to that, she was the Director of Marketing (both for Intermodal and Automotive) for over four years.

During her time at CN, Ms. McMillan was also active in the community being elected to a director role on the Brampton Board of Trade where she served until late 2021.

Before joining CN, Ms. McMillan worked for Canadian Tire Corporation for 14 years where she honed her supply chain skills through a number of roles, from distribution and capacity planning to International Transportation Manager in which she oversaw procurement and operations for the global inbound product supply to the Canadian distribution network.

Ms. McMillan holds a P.Eng. (Ontario) and a Master of Science, Transport Management and Supply Chain from the University of Denver. She is a certified Supply Chain Professional and certified in Production and Inventory Management from the Association for Supply Chain Management.

Stephane Roche, CAE V-P, Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Roche is a senior executive with over 25 years of experience specializing in company transformation & digitalization. He has experience in Supply Chain management for small-to-medium-sized businesses as well as for major companies in the industrial, aerospace, medical and service sectors. He has been with CAE (software and numeric solutions developments) for over five years and is currently the Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer of Healthcare and Post-Merger Integration. Before this, he was the Vice-President for Global Strategic Sourcing and Corporate Transformation for CAE.

Other work experiences include being the Vice-President of Supply Chain IGS (transformation) at Bombardier from 2016 to 2019. From 2014 to 2016, he was the Vice-President, General Manager at Thyssenkrupp Aerospace in Montreal. He also worked for Pratt & Whitney for over six years as a Value Stream Manager and Strategy and Business development manager.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from l’École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) and is a member of l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.

Howard Eng, former Greater Toronto Airports Authority President & CEO

After a global airport career, Mr. Eng recently retired as President & CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), a position he held for 8 years. Mr. Eng started his career in Edmonton with Transport Canada. He then joined the Edmonton International Airport where he held progressively more senior management positions, culminating in his appointment as Vice President, Operations in 1993. In 1995, he joined the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) where he served as Executive Director, Airport Operations, and during his 17-year tenure, HKIA became one of the world’s largest international hubs and won more than 40 Best Airport awards. Mr. Eng returned to Canada in 2012 to assume the President & CEO position at GTAA, which has emerged as a global mega hub, joining the ranks of the top 30 international airports worldwide based on passenger numbers.

Mr. Eng is a past Chair of the Canadian Airports Council (CAC) and also represented Canada on the Airports Council International (ACI) World and North America governing Boards. He is also a past member of the World Travel and Tourism Council. In 2020, he was named the Ontario Chamber of Commerce CEO of the year, and the Airports Experience CEO of the year for North American airports over 40 million passengers. Mr. Eng holds Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of Alberta.

Gretchen Pohlkamp, Partner, NovaPark Consulting

Gretchen Pohlkamp is an innovative thinker and problem solver who has led numerous significant systems change projects in the Nova Scotia government. As a retired civil servant, she takes on consulting projects related to land use planning and land management, as well as coaching and mentoring individuals needing help with career and life changes. While in government she created systems and integrated data to manage Crown lands effectively - acquiring, leasing and managing the provincial land holdings to improve forestry, mineral and agricultural uses of the land; she led the change from a paper based land records system to an online guaranteed land titles system; she led the creation of the Family Division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, which involved establishing services, writing legislation, regulations and court rules, as well as ensuring judges could be appointed within one year of project initiation.  Gretchen is a retired member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society; a part-time helper on her son’s no-till farm; a detailed editor and co-authored of numerous academic papers; and a community volunteer where she lives in Dartmouth, NS.  Gretchen grew up in Surrey, BC where she lived until moving to NS in 1978. She has BA (International Relations) from UBC, a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Kings College in Halifax, and a law degree from Dalhousie Law School. She is married with two adult children and a handsome dog (lab/mastaff mix).