Invest in Canada’s Board of Directors brings together accomplished industry leaders representing Canada’s most prominent sectors. Passionate about showcasing Canada on the world stage, they embody the best our country has to offer: innovative mindset, entrepreneurial spirit and strategic thinking.
Two experienced and dynamic business executives are assuming leadership roles at Invest in Canada. Laurel Broten is the new Chief Executive Officer and Karl Tabbakh becomes the Chair of the Board of Directors. Both were appointed by The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.
George N. Addy
Peggy Van De Plassche
Karl Tabbakh is a lawyer, a business leader and a strategic advisor with over 20 years of international business experience. He is the Regional Managing Partner for Québec and Co-Leader of the firm’s international business strategy for McCarthy Tétrault LLP. Karl is an active advocate and leader in the business community, and currently serves as Chair of the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of directors of the Canada Arab Business Council.
Karl spent eight years in the Middle East and four years in London, UK, where he developed a solid international network and gained an understanding of international business and investments, particularly with respect to the attractiveness of Canada as an investment destination.
An active community leader, Karl supports many non-profit and community service organizations, including as member of the Centraide/United Way campaign, director of the National Circus School and co-president of the Fitspirit Father/Daughter Ball.
Born in Syria, Karl immigrated with his parents to Canada at age 10. He holds an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, a BCL from the Université de Montréal and a B.Comm from Université Laval in Québec City. Karl is fluent in French, English, and Arabic.
Laurel Broten is an awardwinning CEO, former Ontario Cabinet Minister, lawyer, legislator, advocate and community builder. Laurel served as President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), the agency responsible for investment attraction and export development for the Province of Nova Scotia from 2015 to 2022. During this time, she led the agency’s transformation, delivering significant gains in both the quality and quantity of jobs created in the province and spurred material export growth in traditional and emerging sectors and industries.
From 2013 to 2015, as President and CEO of Broten Public Policy International Inc., Laurel provided strategic advice on complex public policy challenges, change management and government transformation to clients in Canada and abroad, including conducting a comprehensive review of Nova Scotia’s taxes and regulations.
From 2003 until 2013, Laurel served in a number of senior roles in the Government of Ontario, including Minister of Education, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of the Environment, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Vice-chair of Treasury Board/Management Board, and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier, to the Minister of Health and Long-term Care and to the Minister of Energy.
After graduating with distinction with her Juris Doctor from the University of Western Ontario, Laurel clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for Madam Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé. Laurel then practiced as a commercial and civil litigation lawyer with three leading Canadian law firms until her election to government in 2003.
Laurel lives in Halifax with her husband and twin teenaged sons.
On January 5, 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed David Morrison deputy minister of international trade and personal representative of the prime minister for the G7 Summit.
Prior to this, Mr. Morrison was the foreign and defence policy adviser to the prime minister and personal representative of the prime minister for the G7 Summit.
At Global Affairs Canada, Mr. Morrison previously held the positions of associate deputy minister of foreign affairs from 2017 to 2018, and assistant deputy minister for the Americas Branch from 2013 to 2017. In 2012 and 2013, he was senior vice-president at the Canadian International Development Agency.
Mr. Morrison was also the executive secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund from 2008 to 2012 and deputy assistant administrator, spokesperson and director of communications at the United Nations Development Programme from 2004 to 2008. He was also founding president of NetAid, a partnership between the UN and Cisco Systems that used the Internet to fight global poverty, from 2000 to 2004.
Mr. Morrison began his career with the UN Development Programme in North Korea in the late 1980s. He served as a political officer at the Canadian embassy in Havana from 1991 to 1994, and as a director and member of the Executive Board of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was responsible for the program of the annual summit in Davos, from 1995 to 1999.
Mr. Morrison holds a master’s degree of Philosophy in International Relations, from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree in History from Yale University.
George N. Addy
George N. Addy, a senior partner with Davies Ward Phillips Vineberg LLP, brings almost 40 years of foreign investment, regulatory and competition law expertise and strategic insight to business-critical client matters, both in Canada and internationally.
Because of his unrivalled knowledge and expertise, clients turn to Mr. Addy as lead counsel for their most transformative and complex structural initiatives and issues surrounding business conduct. He advises on foreign investment matters involving the Investment Canada Act and related sectoral control legislation and anti-corruption matters, as well as the full range of civil and criminal practices governed by the Competition Act. He regularly consults on issues related to internal investigations, compliance programs and search warrants, including dawn raids.
Prior to joining Davies, Mr. Addy was head of the Canadian Competition Bureau and a senior executive in the telecom sector. He is a board member at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and has lectured at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.
Mr. Addy earned the Institute of Corporate Directors ICD.D designation in 2006 and has his LLB and BA from the University of Ottawa.
Michele McKenzie is principal of McKenzie Strategies, a management consulting firm focused on business development and strategy, based in Nova Scotia. She has worked for a range of clients including Chemonics International, the Trans Canada Trail, Tourism Nova Scotia, Cabot Links, and the Halifax Partnership. She is a director of the Trans Canada Trail, the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. and the Property Valuation Services Corporation. In 2017, she completed a one-year Fellowship at Harvard University, investigating tourism development in emerging economies.
Previously, Ms. McKenzie was a senior consultant with the USAID funded Building Economic Sustainability Through Tourism Project based in Amman, Jordan and was the president and CEO of the federal Crown Corporation Canadian Tourism Commission (now Destination Canada). Additionally, she is a former Deputy Minister, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and spent her early career as an entrepreneur.
Ms. McKenzie has been recognized as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women - Top 100 by WXN and was named by Hotelier Magazine as one of the 10 Most Influential Leaders in Canada's Hospitality Industry in the Past 25 Years.
Ms. McKenzie is a graduate of Dalhousie University and holds an honorary degree from Humber College.
Peggy Van De Plassche
Peggy Van De Plassche is an experienced technology, operations, strategy and finance executive with expertise in new venture development, business management and restructuring, investment management, strategic planning and financial analysis.
A finance professional by trade, Peggy started working in technology 15 years ago, before fintech was a word. She is a founding partner at Roar VC, which invests in Canadian Data AI startups catering to the financial services industry. Prior to launching Roar VC, she was senior advisor at Portag3 Ventures as well as VP Innovation at CIBC. Peggy has also worked at CGI and BMO, founded 113 Ventures, invested in tech companies, and consulted for large organizations and startups.
She has been involved in the community as head of committee and volunteer for several non-profits, is a board member for Zoom.ai, FrontFundr, Hackergal, the Digital Finance Institute Advisory Board, the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada Advisory Board, and acts as an advisor for the AI Fintech Holt Accelerator and Portag3 Ventures.
Peggy holds a M.Sc. and a B.B.A. from the IÉSEG School of Management and is a CFA Institute member.