Hearing commissioners are an important part of the AER’s structure. Reporting to a chief hearing commissioner, these commissioners
- conduct all hearings for energy applications and regulatory appeals; and
- help develop the AER’s hearing procedures, rules, and processes for alternate dispute resolution conducted by hearing 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.
Cecilia Low, B.Sc., LL.B., LL.M., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Cecilia Low is a regulatory, environmental, and energy lawyer. Professionally trained as both an engineer and a lawyer, Ms. Low has experience in alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and mediation. She was appointed a part-time hearing commissioner for the AER in June 2013 and a full-time hearing commissioner in June 2014. Ms. Low spent her early career as a geophysicist working with energy companies before changing gears and moving to the legal profession, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in law from the University of Calgary. Ms. Low was a partner with Lawson Lundell LLP, worked with Enbridge as a senior regulatory counsel, and served as a fellow with the Canadian Institute of Resource Law. She has practised in the areas of regulatory, environmental, aboriginal, and energy law and has argued in front of the ERCB, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), the Northwest Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Christine Macken, B.A., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Christine Macken is an accomplished mediator and facilitator with significant regulatory experience. She was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in June 2013. A past board member with the Environmental Appeal Board, Ms. Macken previously worked with the ERCB advising the executive and the board on a variety of regulatory issues. Prior to that, she spent nearly a decade as a senior manager with the Clean Air Strategic Alliance. Ms. Macken spent her early career working with the Government of Alberta as a senior intergovernmental officer in the Department of Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs. A leader in the field of alternate dispute resolution with a solid understanding of administrative justice, Ms. Macken has been the recipient of two Alberta Premier’s Awards for Excellence and two Alberta Emerald Foundation Awards.
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.
Dean O’Gorman, M.Sc., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Dean O'Gorman was appointed as a hearing commissioner with the Alberta Energy Regulator in July 2017. He began his career with the Saskatchewan government in the 1990s, working on both climate change and natural gas issues. He then spent over a decade as a senior climate change policy expert at Environment Canada in Ottawa, working to develop and implement national approaches to manage greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to a range of cross-cutting environmental policy issues. At the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, he assumed the role of Director of Review Panels where he was responsible to establish and oversee reviews of some of the most controversial proposed projects in Canada, including pipelines, several oil sands mines, hydroelectric and nuclear electricity facilities, and major mines. In this role, he also oversaw the government’s consultation with Indigenous peoples that were potentially impacted by these projects. Prior to joining the Alberta Energy Regulator, he worked as a senior environmental and regulatory consultant with Barr Engineering and Environmental Science in Calgary, where he specialized in environmental assessments, climate change policy and regulatory developments, and regulatory approvals.
Dean is a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation from Newfoundland. He has a master’s degree in theoretical physics from McGill University.
Parand Meysami, M.Sc., P.Eng., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Parand Meysami was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2017. She is a professional engineer with a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Iran and a master of science degree in environmental engineering from the University of Calgary. She has 20 years of experience working in a broad range of disciplines in the energy industry, including oilfield development, reservoir development and management, environmental assessment, facility design, production operations, safety engineering, economic evaluations, transportation, joint ventures, and financial management. She has served in a variety of progressive leadership roles within the energy industry and has experience leading multidisciplinary teams of technical specialists (geoscientists, engineers), regulatory and environmental professionals, project management professionals, and finance and economics professionals.
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.
Claire McKinnon, LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)
Claire McKinnon was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2017. Ms. McKinnon is a lawyer with over 25 years of experience, including significant experience in regulatory, environmental, and aboriginal law. Ms. McKinnon was senior counsel for the National Energy Board (NEB) in Calgary for 17 years and led the aboriginal consultation and engagement file for the NEB for over 10 years. She was responsible for developing the first model for aboriginal engagement for a federal regulatory tribunal and worked closely with senior officials in other federal departments to develop a national approach for consultation. She served as senior legal consultant to other NEB lawyers on aboriginal issues for most major pipeline applications between 2001 and 2012. Ms. McKinnon has also worked on files involving most other aspects of the NEB’s jurisdiction, including administrative law, environment, regulatory hearings, compliance, land issues, labour and employment law, legislation, and finance and tolls.
Elizabeth (Bea) McNaughtan, 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.
Tracey Stock, J.D., M.B.A., Ph.D., P.Eng., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)
Tracey Stock was appointed a hearing commissioner in July 2017. Mr. Stock is a professional engineer, landman, and a lawyer. He has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto and a law degree from the University of Calgary, and he holds a master of business administration and a doctorate in management. He practiced petroleum engineering in Alberta for several years before being called to the Alberta bar. Mr. Stock has experience as legal counsel with several oil and gas exploration and production companies. He practices corporate, commercial, and property law, and he teaches business law and management at Mount Royal University and survey law at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. Mr. Stock also serves on the Investigative Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta and is a practice management assessor for the Law Society of Alberta.