Since its inception in September 2018, the Parliamentary Internship for the Environment (PIE) program has sought to equip the next generation of environmental leaders with the skills, experience and political know-how needed to enact change while providing invaluable support for current environmental champions in office.
This program provides 10-month, full-time internships to outstanding policy-oriented environmentalists. Interns are placed with MPs or Senators, where they will be able to grow as leaders through their political experiences and learning within their offices and through participation in the ongoing GreenPAC-curated curriculum.
Last year, GreenPAC launched a specialized Sustainable Agriculture stream. This year, we launched the specialized stream for Indigenous Interns, furthering the agenda of integrating underrepresented youth into the political decision-making spaces. Each Intern is supported by a personalized learning plan and robust work plan (developed in partnership with the Intern's partner office and approved by GreenPAC). The acclaimed Parliamentary Internship for the Environment (PIE) remains unique among federal and provincial internships for its dual environmental and leadership development focus.
Year 4 of the PIE program was a challenging yet innovative year for GreenPAC. Due to the fall election, Interns could not immediately start with MP partners; they instead worked on GreenPAC-directed learning projects and supported environmental initiatives in the Senate until MPs were sworn in. The program also demonstrated remarkable resilience, contending with a federal election and ongoing uncertainty from COVID-19, as well as unforeseen challenges such as the trucker occupation of Ottawa and leadership changes in the Conservative Party.
Some notable successes in Year 4 include the expansion of the program from four to a record-breaking seven placements, as well as the formal launch of a specialized program stream in sustainable agriculture and themed placement in low-carbon economy. We also expanded our alumni engagement and facilitated an ongoing relationship with our alums and Interns.
The program hosted its second FLIP Summit (Future Leaders in Politics) in January 2022. A full-day, online public event, FLIP 2.0 brought together an impressive list of current and former decision-makers, scientists, policy leaders, PIE alumni, and youth/nonprofit advocates for a dialogue around the theme: "breaking political barriers to environmental leadership in Canada."
Year 4 of the PIE program was a challenging yet innovative year for GreenPAC.
The trial placement of our first-ever placement in the Senate of Canada was considered a huge success. The creation of the Senators for Climate Solutions Group, bringing together 44 Senators, was supported by three of our Interns and officially launched in the fall of 2022.