WSP Canada has announced that it is growing its biodiversity team, which is dedicated to improving the quality of ecosystems in communities and industries across the country.

As human activities continue to threaten the natural environment, the team is focused on helping industries understand their impacts on biodiversity. providing expertise on how to off-set, restore, or strengthen the biodiversity of the properties clients are managing.

The core services for this new team include:

Biodiversity in project life cycle (mitigation hierarchy)

  • Project design optimization and nature-based solutions
  • Biodiversity baseline characterization
  • Specialized biodiversity studies
  • Critical habitat assessment
  • Environmental and social impact assessment
  • Management strategies for biodiversity protection
  • Biodiversity Action Plan
  • Restoration and Offset Plans
  • Biodiversity loss-gain calculations
  • Biodiversity monitoring and evaluation

Biodiversity Conservation 

  • Management plan for protected areas
  • Management plan for threatened species
  • Habitat restoration and creation
  • Monitoring of threatened species populations

Natural Capital 

  • Optioneering
  • Natural capital protocol
  • Natural capital accounting
  • Ecosystem service assessments and valuation

Biodiversity Governance 

  • Corporate Biodiversity performance (ESG)
  • Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)
  • Stakeholder Management & Engagement

To every project, we bring a breadth of specialized skills required to conduct detailed assessments in natural and modified habitats and a commitment to provide comprehensive biological baseline information to integrate biodiversity considerations in every phase of project planning and implementation.

With global expertise to support our local knowledge in over 100 offices across Canada, the team of environmental specialists, including scientists, engineers, planners, architects, and surveyors has the resources needed to create the best biodiversity solution for our clients.

The WSP biodiversity team is led by three industry leaders in the sector:

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Patrick Lafrance has 22 years of experience in the field of biology, 14 with Environnement Illimité inc., where he acted as project director for environmental expertise (baseline and environmental assessments) and worked on technical surveys (hydrography and MetOcean) in aquatic environments. His expertise has enabled him to lead numerous studies required as part of mining projects, hydropower, port infrastructure, underwater cable and dredging works in Canada and abroad (Senegal, Gabon, Guinea, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and United States). Through these experiences, he has gained a thorough experience in marine habitat mapping and understanding of environmental issues associated to major development projects in coastal and marine environments. He also has practical knowledge of internationally recognized standards including the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards and the World Bank’s Operational Policies and EHS Guidelines.

Hélène Chouinard is an international consultant, specialized in ecology and environment, with 14 years of experience at an international level. She has a strong experience as a project manager and biodiversity specialist for various studies in rich and valued ecological environments in compliance with international best practices. In the framework of environmental and social impact assessment studies, Chouinard has acquired strong experience in the integration and management of biological components under various legislation and international requirements from notably International Finance Corporation, World Bank, African Development Bank, KfW Development Bank and European Union.

Chouinard has developed wide capacities in the application of IFC Performance Standards and EHS Guidelines for mining and energy projects in Africa and Latin America. As a biodiversity expert, she has led various biological baseline characterizations, critical habitat assessments, ecosystem services assessments and has developed Biodiversity Action Plans strongly linked with biological issues of the environment inside which project are located. She regularly engages in collaboration with international, national and local stakeholders to reach an integrated and comprehensive vision of the environment.

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Dr. Kyle Knopff is a principal at Golder (now owned by WSP) with over 16 years of experience working as a terrestrial ecologist and environmental assessment specialist. He leads teams of specialists that work to help clients successfully implement their projects while simultaneously conserving biodiversity. He is intimately familiar with international guidelines and performance standards for biodiversity, including IFC, EBRD, and World Bank. Knopff has completed dozens of domestic and international impact assessments for a diverse array of projects, especially in the mining, oil and gas, power, nuclear and land development industries. He has substantial experience building impact assessments from the ground up, including undertaking baseline studies, selecting valued components, determining ecologically appropriate study areas, identifying and mapping critical habitat, developing comprehensive mitigation strategies, and assessing cumulative effects (including climate change).

Knopff is directly involved in the operational aspects of biodiversity management. He has developed and helped to operationalize biodiversity management plans and loss gain accounting systems and he has experience planning offset and compensation programs. He designs and implements long-term monitoring and undertakes compliance audits. Knopff is a quantitative ecologist and has substantial experience with experimental design, statistical analysis, wildlife population models, and habitat modelling.

To learn more, visit WSP’s biodiversity hub page.

Images courtesy of WSP Canada.


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