William Gagnon

Changemaker and Innovation Facilitator

William Gagnon is green buildings specialist and decarbonization expert. He completed a building engineering degree (Concordia University), grad-level studies in Sustainable Carbon Management (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi) and a Climate Fellowship from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

William is passionate about social engineering to accelerate decarbonization; in parallel to his work, he has been hosting an ecoanxiety workshop series with different groups in Canada and abroad.  In 2018, he received the Corporate Knight’s Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Award, and was shortlisted for the Eco Canada Impact Award.

An innovator, his most recent work includes the creation of a strategy for the Northern Building Retrofit Economy: he demonstrated that retrofitting all buildings in the Northwest Territories to zero carbon would create a return on investment of 9%, in addition to unleashing savings of $20M per year, and create more than 120 direct and indirect jobs for the Territory. He holds two LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) professional accreditation and the Living Future Accreditation..

William now sits with CDETNO where he works on accelerating the creation of green jobs and circular economy through innovation. He is a trained UNLEASH Innovation Lab facilitator.

He lives, works and plays on Chief Drygeese Territory of the Yellowknives Dene; he is an advocate for LGBTQ2+, and is a “northern vegetarian” (eats happy meat, once in a while).  William is a carbon-neutral individual and cross-country skis as much as possible.

William sits on the board of the Northern Council for Global Cooperation where he promotes the Sustainable Development Goals across the three Canadian Territories, and on the board of the Green Party of Canada.

William was invited to speak at conferences in Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Montreal, Toronto, Anchorage, Seattle, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, China and Spain.

Topic Presentations


What’s being done elsewhere: stories from site visits of electric planes in Norway, carbon-negative district energy systems in Finland, carbon farmers in Sweden, and other climate solutions and their engineering and financing mechanisms. Explanations on their applicability in the North, and why Canada needs to jump on that.


Carbon markets and carbon pricing; how the north could benefit from a price on carbon that would incentivize innovation and push for more « low-tech-high-tech » technologies. I believe that engineers and designers will be one of the most in-demand professions in the low-carbon economy.


Retrofitting all buildings in Canada to carbon-neutrality will create jobs and bring economic savings to our communities. The Northern Building Retrofit Economy presents market opportunities for retrofitting buildings that are financially viable for both designers and homeowners; providing a 9% ROI, $20M annual savings for the Territory, a much-needed incentive to retrofit the building stock crippling with energy losses and health condition issues.

It gets harder to float through the days without expressing deep worries about our future on this planet.  Eco-anxiety, eco-anger, eco-grief, or eco-paralysis — these feelings are normal.  It’s okay to have them.  It’s a healthy reaction to what is happening around us.   How can we better channel and use them as fuel for climate action work?


Participants will experience an interactive presentation about key concepts and terms on climate emotions, their underlying mechanisms, and they will deepen their understanding about why these thoughts are normal. This workshop is an invitation to normalize, destigmatize and share climate emotions, transforming them into meaningful climate action.

Three-quarters of Canadians feel really anxious or increasingly worried about the climate crisis*


Eco-Anxious Stories is a community of storytellers channelling worry and fear about the climate crisis into courageous, compassionate action. Included among our collaborators are climate and mental health professionals who help us design tools to support healthy, long-term relationships with our eco-anxieties. Join us today at ecoanxious.ca.

Only 12 percent of Canadians feel that climate change is not something that people should be concerned about.*

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Travels From

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories


"The OUT OF THE BLUE book is an anthology with international contributions and case studies; the event on May 21st will launch the book and serve as a networking event for exchanging ideas within the theme of water and blue urban development in a time of rapid and challenging climatic change. The anthology is an interdisciplinary co-creation project by professionals within the fields of design, presenting stories about the blue from New York, Miami, Yellowknife, Manila, Melbourne, Quebec, Oman, Oslo, Gøteborg and the Netherlands. "

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