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 National Energy Board (NEB), 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 practised law with Duncan & Craig, Barristers & Solicitors.
Dean O’Gorman, M.Sc., Hearing Commissioner (Full-time)
Dean O’Gorman was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2017. He has a master of science degree in theoretical physics and has spent most of his career working at the intersection of environmental, energy, and economic challenges. He began his career with the Saskatchewan government working on climate change and natural gas issues. He then spent over a decade at Environment Canada in Ottawa as a senior climate change policy expert, contributing to a range of cross-cutting environmental policy issues. As director of review panels at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), he was responsible for establishing and overseeing reviews of some of the most controversial projects in Canada, including major pipeline projects, several oil sands mines, hydroelectric and nuclear electricity generation projects, and major mining projects. As part of his role at CEAA, he managed the Government of Canada’s indigenous consultation process for projects undergoing a federal environmental assessment by review panel. Mr. O’Gorman is a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation from Newfoundland. Since 2013, Mr. O’Gorman has worked in Calgary as an environmental consultant specializing in regulatory processes, environmental assessments, and climate change.
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 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.
Jude Daniels, LL.B., Hearing Commissioner (Part-time)
Jude Daniels was appointed a hearing commissioner for the AER in July 2016. Ms. Daniels has extensive experience as a lawyer and aboriginal consultation advisor dealing with regulatory matters, including reviewing regulatory applications and negotiating benefit agreements. Since 2014, Ms. Daniels has been a sole legal practitioner. In 2014, she was appointed by the federal government to the Social Security Tribunal – General Division where, as the sole tribunal member, she hears appeals under the Canada Pension Plan Act. Ms. Daniels served for two years as senior legal counsel and four years as senior technical lead in aboriginal relations with TransCanada Pipelines and for three years as manager of aboriginal relations and four years as counsel with BP Canada Energy Company. Jude is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and has also served as general counsel with the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association and led a cross-ministry team on land and legal issues at the Government of Alberta, Aboriginal Affairs.
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 practised 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 practises 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 on the Real Estate Practice Advisory Committee of the Law Society of Alberta.