Canada: Powerful Women: Bonnie Hiltz

Last Updated: August 2 2016
Article by Corrine E Kennedy and Zoë Thoms

Our second contributor to the Powerful Women series is Bonnie Hiltz. Bonnie has been the Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs Advisor for ENGIE Canada since 2014. This position has her very actively engaged in a number of energy markets across Canada, working to open up new market opportunities for clean and renewable generation. She has lived and worked abroad in France, Switzerland, Costa Rica and the United States.

How did you get involved in the energy sector?

I have always been interested in policy development generally, but my original area of focus was international development. I hold a Collaborative MA in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Toronto. Before entering the energy sector, I worked in Canada and abroad in the areas of healthcare, international trade and economic development.

My first job in the energy sector came when I returned to Canada in 2005. With the help of a female friend and mentor, I found a job on a small team within the Ministry of Energy that was responsible for the design and rollout of Ontario's early renewable energy procurements. Over the next five years, I was actively involved in the policy development of initiatives such as the Renewable Requests for Proposals, RESOP, natural gas contracts, coal phase-out, Combined Heat and Power, the Supply Mix/IPSP, the Green Energy Act and, ultimately, the Feed-in Tariff Program. What a fascinating time to be involved in energy policy in Ontario!

From there, I took a position with the Ontario Power Authority managing the newly-awarded FIT contracts. The newness of the program, combined with the evolving regulatory approvals, domestic content requirements and other challenges, made for some very interesting and unique challenges as a large volume of contracts all worked to reach operation.

For the last two years, I have been working as the Government and Regulatory Affairs Advisor for ENGIE Canada, where I am responsible for government and external relations for Canadian markets. I am also actively involved in several leading industry associations and have been elected to the Boards of Directors for both the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and the Canadian Solar Industry Association (CanSIA).

My favourite part about the electricity sector in Ontario is the nearly endless opportunity for learning and professional growth. Regardless of one's specific training, skillset or interest, there is most certainly some aspect of this sector that can challenge and motivate you to get involved.

What do you see as the key challenges facing ENGIE and/or Ontario's energy sector today and going forward?

We are currently at a time of reflection in Ontario's electricity sector, but also seemingly on the cusp of another great transition. As conceived in the recently-approved Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016, the IESO is seeking input on its Ontario Planning Outlook (OPO) that will inform the Government's next Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). At the same time, the Government has released details on its Climate Change Action Plan, which seeks to transform energy use in transportation, vehicles, buildings and many more areas of the economy. Climate policy is poised to influence the electricity sector in many ways, including the introduction of a Cap and Trade system, ambitious emissions reduction targets and new goals for electrification in areas such as vehicles and home heating.

This new policy context has the potential to create tremendous opportunity in Ontario's electricity sector. The coming energy transition, as seen in other mature markets around the globe, will be characterized by increased demand for renewable energy, increased distributed generation and increased customer control over their energy consumption. While this kind of transition can be difficult under some market conditions, the unique characteristics of Ontario's electricity market means it is well positioned to make this transition, while still protecting and leveraging the valuable investments that have been made to date.

What Ontario will need next to achieve this success will be a very clear framework outlined in the LTEP and resulting IESO, OEB and LDC activities, to signal where investments should be made and ensuring the right regulatory and economic structures are in place to enable it to succeed. The sector is greatly anticipating this new phase of electricity planning and is ready to make the investments and innovations required to help transition the province to a low-carbon economy.

What are the key challenges and opportunities that you see for women as leaders? Are there any challenges or opportunities that you think are more critical or relevant in the context of the energy sector?

It is no secret to anyone in this sector, least of all women, that our industry has not yet reached gender parity. This is true not only in terms of overall male-female ratios, but also with respect to levels of seniority and compensation within both public and private institutions. While part of this discrepancy is attributable to a lower percentage of graduates in certain relevant fields (for example, only 19% of Canadian engineering students were female in 2014 according to the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering), that difference alone does not account for the persistent disparities, especially in light of the diverse skillsets required in the energy sector.

Despite those remaining disparities, women are gradually taking on more leadership roles and are reshaping our views on gender roles and leadership. Our sector can also take the lead from broader initiatives to increase the number of women leaders in companies, Boards and in government (take our recent Federal and Provincial Cabinets as recent examples). Such concerted efforts to increase female leadership opportunities reach beyond our energy sector, but do signal greater opportunities to come for women leaders in energy.

What advice do you have for a woman starting her career in the energy sector?

Believe in yourself. Build strong networks. Welcome the challenge.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Corrine E Kennedy
Zoë Thoms
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.