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Hearing commissioners are an important part of the AER’s structure. Reporting to a chief hearing commissioner, these commissioners

Hearing commissioners are independent adjudicators, appointed by the Government of Alberta’s Orders in Council. Their decisions may only be reviewed by the Court of Appeal of Alberta. They must adhere to the Hearing Commissioner Code of Conduct.

Alex Bolton, B.Sc., MMSc., P. Geo., Chief Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Alex Bolton is a professional geoscientist with over 30 years of diverse technical and management experience in the energy, government, and consulting sectors. Mr. Bolton was appointed chief hearing commissioner for the AER in June 2014. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Bolton served as a hearing commissioner for the AER and as a board member of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB).  

Prior to joining the ERCB, Mr. Bolton was president and CEO of Epicentre Consulting Inc. He also served for four years as director of Compliance & Enforcement with the Natural Resources Conservation Board, six years with Anderson Exploration dealing with environmental issues and community and regulatory affairs, and nine years as a senior environment advisor and exploration/development geologist with Home Oil. Mr. Bolton holds a bachelor of science degree in earth sciences and a master’s of management sciences in management of technology from the University of Waterloo. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.

Cindy Chiasson, LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Cindy Chiasson is a lawyer with extensive experience in environmental and natural resource regulatory matters, as well as experience in administrative law, including natural justice. Prior to being appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2016, she served as a board member of the Subdivision and Development Appeals Board for the City of Edmonton. Ms. Chiasson had a distinguished 17-year career with the Environmental Law Centre, where she began as staff counsel and served as the executive director for 12 years. As well as being an independent consultant on environmental law and policy for many years, Ms. Chiasson consulted with Alberta Environment on its development and implementation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Ms. Chiasson articled and practiced law with Duncan & Craig, Barristers & Solicitors.

Harold Robinson, LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Harold Robinson is a lawyer with a bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta. Mr. Robinson is an experienced adjudicator and mediator with more than 20 years of experience in government. He is Métis and has worked as a federal adjudicator in the Indian Residential School Independent Assessment Process and as the Director of the Métis Settlements Appeal Tribunal. He previously served as a member of Alberta’s Citizen’s Appeal Panel and a commissioner with the Fair Practices Office. Prior to that Mr. Robinson was Executive Director of the Métis Settlements General Council and worked for a time as a director with Alberta Intergovernmental Affairs - Indigenous Relations. Mr. Robinson brings extensive experience as an adjudicator and mediator and unique insights into the perspectives and interests of Indigenous communities to the role of hearing commissioner.

M.A. (Meg) Barker, B.Sc. (Hons), P.Geol., Q.Med., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Meg Barker is a professional geologist with a bachelor of science in geology from the University of Manitoba. Ms. Barker has more than 30 years of diverse experience in the fields of energy and resource development and regulation, land use planning, and environmental management. She has worked both for and with oil and gas exploration and production companies, independent quasi-judicial regulatory boards, administrative tribunals, and government agencies. Ms. Barker is an experienced adjudicator and a Qualified Mediator and has served on Alberta’s Environmental Appeals Board and Public Lands Appeal Board. Ms. Barker brings an in-depth understanding of the operational and technical aspects of resource and public land development and associated impacts, as well as extensive experience as an adjudicator and mediator to the role of hearing commissioner.   

Parand Meysami, M.Sc., P.Eng., LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)

Parand Meysami is a professional engineer with APEGA. She holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Iran, a master’s of science in environmental engineering from the University of Calgary, and a bachelor of laws (LL.B.) in international law and legal studies in environmental law from the University of London. Ms. Meysami has more than 25 years of experience working as an adjudicator as well as in a broad range of disciplines within the energy industry, including environmental assessment, oil and gas field development, economic evaluations, facility design and operations, safety engineering, joint venture negotiations, and financial management. Ms. Meysami was appointed as a full-time AER hearing commissioner in July 2017 and was reappointed in July 2022. Ms. Meysami has been chairing hearing panels, serving on hearing panels, and conducting alternative dispute resolution processes at the AER. Ms. Meysami is a member of the board of directors at the Canadian Council of Administrative Tribunals, a member of APEGA discipline committee, and has served the Canadian Judicial Council as a public member.

Brian Zaitlin, Ph.D., P.Geo., C.P.G., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Brian Zaitlin was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2016. Dr. Zaitlin is an accomplished geologist who has spent over 35 years in industry and academia. Dr. Zaitlin has significant experience in the technical evaluation of exploration and production opportunities throughout western Canada and the United States. He has worked with a wide variety of stakeholders, including landowners, federal and provincial agencies and regulatory bodies, and various public and private companies, including private equity and financial institutions. He has significant experience working with First Nations, including being chief geologist and board director for two First Nation energy companies. Dr. Zaitlin has authored or delivered over 100 peer-reviewed technical papers and oral presentations and is the recipient of many awards, including the Canadian Society of Unconventional Resources’ Sproule Innovation and Achievement Award, and the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists’ Medal of Merit, and was an American Association of Petroleum Geologists distinguished lecturer.

Elizabeth (Bea) McNaughtan, B.Sc. MBA, P.Ag. Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Elizabeth (Bea) McNaughtan was appointed as one of our part-time hearing commissioners at AER in March 2019. Ms. McNaughtan is a professional agrologist with 30 years of experience. For most of her career, she has been a consultant, providing environmental and socio-economic assessments within the environmental regulatory framework in Alberta, for a diverse client base that includes industry, government, and stakeholders. She was raised on a farm and continues to own mixed pasture and crop land in central Alberta. Bea holds a bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Alberta and a master of business administration from the University of Calgary.

Ms. McNaughtan is the president of Lifford Holdings Inc., where she advises clients from diverse organizations on environmental and socio-economic assessment and management. Bea started her consulting career with Jim Lore & Associates Ltd., completing agricultural land valuations and oil and gas remediation and reclamation projects. She then worked as a business analyst with Suncor, contributing to a major oil sands project as well as internal business processes. Bea continued consulting as a principal and senior consultant at Matrix Solutions Inc. for 16 years, building the socio-economic assessment group, providing senior technical support of soils focused projects such as site remediation and reclamation, and facilitating a wide range of meetings and workshops. At Matrix Solutions Inc., Bea also led business development initiatives with Indigenous businesses and communities in western Canada, creating the opportunity for community members to develop environmental monitoring skills.

Shona Mackenzie, MEng, P.Eng., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Shona Mackenzie is a professional engineer with a master’s in petroleum engineering from Heriot-Watt University in the United Kingdom. Ms. Mackenzie has more than 25 years of diverse energy industry experience, both in Canada and internationally. She has held a variety of senior management and executive positions in both private and public upstream companies focused on hydrocarbon resource development in Alberta and British Columbia. She has also established a consultancy providing petroleum engineering advisory services to mid-cap exploration and production companies and their investors. Ms. Mackenzie brings a strong technical background in reservoir engineering and diverse management experience in the energy sector to the role of hearing commissioner.   

Tracey Stock, K.C., P.Eng., Ph.D., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)

Tracey Stock is a professional engineer, landman, and lawyer. He has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto, a law degree from the University of Calgary, and holds both an MBA and a Ph.D. in management. As an engineer and lawyer, he brings both technical and legal expertise as well as significant knowledge of the energy industry to the role. Mr. Stock also has significant experience as a negotiator, facilitator, arbitrator, and mediator. He was appointed as a part-time hearing commissioner in 2017 and has five years' experience participating on hearing panels and conducting and leading alternative dispute resolution processes related to energy regulatory applications and regulatory appeals.