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June 19-21 2023
Mulroney Institute of Government
The Atlantic Economic Forum

Register today

Monday, June 19, 2023

3:00 pm O'Regan Hall

Arrival at StFX

Hotel/residence check in & registration


5:00 pm Charles V. Keating Centre

Opening Ceremony

Sponsored by Scotiabank
Introduction & Land Acknowledgement
  • Cynthia Dorrington, President of Vale & Associates & StFX Board of Governors
Welcoming Remarks
  • The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Canada & MP for Central Nova
Introduction of the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney
  • The Honourable Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman, TD Bank & Former Premier of New Brunswick
Introduction of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
  • The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, 18th Prime Minister of Canada
TAKING STOCK OF THIS MOMENT: Global Change & Inclusive Regional Economic Growth Opportunities for Atlantic Canada
  • The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada


6:00 pm


  • Cynthia Dorrington, President of Vale & Associates & StFX Board of Governors
Indigenous Ceremonial Opening
  • Kerry Prosper & Ainslee Pictou
  • The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Dinner Served – 6:45 PM
Welcoming Remarks
  • The Honourable Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia
  • The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Canada & MP for Central Nova


8:00-10:00 pm

Post-dinner networking



Tuesday, June 20, 2023

8:00-8:45 am Mulroney Hall



8:45-10:15 am Mulroney Hall—Barrick Auditorium

Opening plenary session

Sponsored by MITACS
Opening Remarks & Moderator
  • David Chaundy, President & CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
Demographic Change, Trade, & Productivity, Emerging Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Dr. Herb Emery, Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics, University of New Brunswick
How Universities and Colleges are Fueling Economic Prosperity in Atlantic Canada
  • Tashmia Ismail-Saville, Chief Business Development Officer, MITACS

Respondent & Panelist

  • Mo AlGermozi, Chief Executive Officer, Graphite Innovation and Technologies


10:15-10:45 am

Networking Break


10:45 am-12:00 pm Mulroney Hall—Scholar’s Walk

Concurrent Panel Sessions

Atlantic Canada's Economic Challenges and Opportunities
A TRANSFORMING LABOUR FORCE: diversity, immigration, workplace culture, skills shortages.
Sponsored by JD Irving Ltd.


  • Chris MacDonald, Vice President, Government Relations, JD Irving Ltd.


  • Andrew Parkin, Executive Director, Environics Institute
  • Kelly Lendsay, CEO, Indigenous Works
  • Christiane Fox, Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
URBAN GROWTH & HOUSING CHALLENGES: urban and rural dynamics, risks and opportunities.
Sponsored by Town of Antigonish, Municipality of the County of Antigonish


  • Glenn Horne, Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of the County of Antigonish


  • Dr. Robert GreenwoodDirector, Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, Memorial University
  • Amanda McDougall-MerrillMayor, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
  • Wendy LutherPresident & CEO, Halifax Partnership
PUBLIC FINANCES & SUSTAINABLE SERVICES: post-pandemic prospects and choices.
Sponsored by National Bank of Canada


  • Dr. Bobbi Morrison, Schwartz School of Business, StFX University


  • Denise Lewis FlemingDeputy Minister, Finance, Government of Prince Edward Island
  • Karen OldfieldCEO, NS Health
  • Patricia HearnDeputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
12:00-1:15 pm


Sponsored by Sodexo


1:15-2:30 pm Mulroney Hall

Concurrent Panel Sessions

Atlantic Canada's Economic Challenges and Opportunities
NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY SECTORS: start-ups, education, finance, infrastructure.
Sponsored by Springboard Atlantic


  • Daryl Genge, CEO Springboard Atlantic


  • Dr. Dhirendra ShuklaHerbert Smith ACOA Chair, University of New Brunswick
  • Michelle SimmsPresident & CEO, Genesis
  • Julia Rivard DexterCo-Founder Shoelace Learning
AGRI-FOOD, FISHERIES, & FOOD SECURITY: new markets, new products, new players.
Sponsored by Cooke Aquaculture Inc.


  • Dr. Marcia English, Associate Professor Human Nutrition, StFX University


  • Dr. Sylvain CharleboisDirector, Agri-food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University
  • Chief Terry PaulMembertou First Nation, Clearwater
  • Sue CoueslanVice President, Natural Products Canada
Sponsored by Everwind Fuels


  • Alisdair McLean, Executive Director, NetZero Atlantic


  • Jennifer WagnerBreakthrough Energy Fellow
  • Trent VichieCEO Everwind Fuels
  • Dr. Larry HughesMacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance, Dalhousie University
2:30-3:00 pm

Networking Break


3:00-4:30 pm Mulroney Hall—Barrick Auditorium

Plenary Session

Sponsored by Business Council of Canada
Opening Remarks
  • Goldy Hyder, CEO Business Council of Canada


Realizing Economic Potential in Atlantic Canada—An Investor's Perspective
  • KEN LANGONE, CEO, Invemed


  • Annette Verschuren, Chair and CEO, NRStor Inc.


6:00 pm Charles V. Keating Centre

Opening Reception

Sponsored by CIBC


6:30-9:00 pm

Dinner & fireside chat

Sponsored by Emera
Opening Remarks:
  • Host: Dr. Don Abelson, Director Brian Mulroney Institute of Government
COALITION FOR A BETTER FUTURE: Emerging Economic Opportunities for Atlantic Canada & the CBF Scorecard
  • The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Co-chair of the Coalition for a Better Future, Vice-chair of Global Investment Banking at CIBC, & Former Minister of Transport, Labour, and Natural Resources
  • The Honourable Anne McLellan, Co-chair of the Coalition for a Better Future & Former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada


  • Danny Graham, Chief Engagement Officer, Engage Nova Scotia


9:00-10:00 pm Charles V. Keating Centre

Post-dinner reception & networking


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

7:30-8:30 am Mulroney Hall



8:30-10:00 am Mulroney Hall—Barrick Auditorium

Closing plenary session

Indigenous Business & Economic Development Opportunities for Atlantic Canada


  • Jarvis Googoo, Director, Atlantic Indigenous Economic Development Integrated Research Program


  • Rose Paul, CEO & President Bayside Corporation
  • Mary Beth Doucette, Assistant Professor and Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, Shannon School of Business, Cape Breton University
  • Kelly Lendsay, CEO, Indigenous Works
  • Christopher Googoo, Chief Operating Officer, Ulnooweg


10:00-10:30 am

Networking Break


10:30 am-12:15 pm

Policy Leaders' Panel

Strategic Direction & Next Steps for Economic Development in Atlantic Canada
Sponsored by Saltwire Network


  • Kristan Hines, Senior Vice President of Corporate & Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations
  • The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  • The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Canada
  • The Honourable Gilles Arsenault, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Trade, Province of Prince Edward Island
  • The Honourable Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills, and Immigration, Nova Scotia
  • The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Canada
12:15 pm

Rapporteur's Summary & Concluding Remarks


  • Charles McMillan, Author, Professor of Strategic Management and International Business, York University

Concluding Remarks::

  • Catherine Blewett, President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency


12:30 pm



12:30-3:00 pm

Breakout spaces available for further discussions





All media personell are required to register. Please fill out the form here. More information regarding the event, parking, and media access will be sent to you in the next couple of days.

Press Releases

Speakers & Panelists

To learn more about the speakers and panelists at the Atlantic Economic Forum, please click a name below.

Name: The Honourable Tim Houston
Title: Premier of Nova Scotia

Tim’s love of this province and its people — and discussions in hockey rinks — sparked his interest in politics. He successfully sought the Pictou East PC nomination in 2012 and was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in the 2013 provincial election. He was re-elected in 2017 and again in 2021. In 2018, Tim was elected Leader of the PC Party of Nova Scotia. Tim was sworn in as premier on August 31, 2021. Premier Houston also serves as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Trade.

Tim attended Saint Mary’s University where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce. He then earned his Chartered Accountant designation in Halifax. After graduation, he and Carol moved to Bermuda where he worked with both Deloitte and in the reinsurance industry. In 2007, Carol and Tim returned to Nova Scotia and he and his family have lived in Pictou County ever since.

The Honourable Blaine Higgs

Name: The Honourable Blaine Higgs
Title: Premier of New Brunswick

First elected to the Legislative Assembly on September 27, 2010, Blaine Higgs represents the riding of Quispamsis and has served as the 34th Premier of New Brunswick since 2018. On September 14th, 2020, he was elected for a fourth term and formed a majority government, becoming the first Premier since Premier Bernard Lord to secure a second mandate from the people of New Brunswick.

In more than a decade in public service, he has served as Minister of Finance, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation, and Chair of the Board of Management. He also served as Minister of Human Resources until October 9, 2012.

Premier Higgs graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in engineering, refining operations and in the transportation sector at Irving Oil Limited prior to his career in the public service.

The Honourable Sean Fraser

Name: The Honourable Sean Fraser
Title: Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

The Honourable Sean Fraser was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Central Nova in 2015 and appointed Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in 2021.

Minister Fraser previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance from 2019 to 2021, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change from 2018 to 2019. In 2021, he also served concurrently as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister. Before entering politics, Minister Fraser had a successful legal career with one of Canada’s top-ranked law firms, where he practised commercial litigation and international dispute resolution.

Minister Fraser holds a law degree from Dalhousie University, a master’s degree in public international law from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University.

The Honourable Anne McLellan

Name: The Honourable Anne McLellan
Title: Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Better Future

The Honourable Anne McLellan is a respected scholar and policy maker and a senior advisor at Bennett Jones in Edmonton. She served four terms as the Liberal MP for Edmonton Centre from 1993 to 2006 and has held senior federal cabinet positions in the areas of justice, natural resources, health and public safety.

Prior to entering politics, Anne was a professor of law at the University of Alberta, where she served at various times as Associate Dean and Acting Dean. From 2015 to 2020, Anne was Dalhousie University's seventh chancellor.

She sits on and chairs a number of boards, including the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Institute for Research for Public Policy, and the Invest Alberta Corporation. In July 2009 Anne was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in October 2013 she received the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Anne was born in Hants County, Nova Scotia and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in arts and law from Dalhousie University where she was appointed Chancellor in 2015.

Ken Langone

Name: Ken Langone
Title: Founder & CEO, Invemed, Philanthropist, & Investor

Successful investor and philanthropist, Ken Langone is one of America’s most respected businessmen. Born in Roslyn Heights, New York, Mr. Langone started from humble beginnings and worked as a ditch digger to fund his way through college. Following his graduation from Bucknell University, Mr. Langone worked on Wall Street and quickly made a name for himself. Launching the venture capital firm Invemed in 1974, Langone invested in several successful companies, most notably The Home Depot which now employs over 400,000 people.

Langone’s legacy and impact extends beyond the business world. He has donated millions to charities including $200 million to NYU’s Langone Health medical center. As a co-founder of Home Depot, Langone funded Ken's Krew, a program that trains special-needs adults between the ages of 18 and 21 through employment with Home Depot and other corporate partners.

The Honourable Frank McKenna

Name: The Honourable Frank McKenna
Title: Deputy Chair, TD Bank & Former Premier of New Brunswick

The Honourable Frank McKenna has been an executive with TD Bank Group since 2006 and joined TD Securities in January 2020. As Deputy Chair he is focused on supporting the continued expansion of TD Securities' global footprint.

Frank has extensive expertise in business and government. After successfully practicing law, he served as Premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997. Upon leaving public life, he was in widespread demand as a Corporate Director and acted as Counsel to two national law firms.

In 2005 he became Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America. After completing his time as Ambassador, he joined TD Bank Group and also became Chairman of Brookfield Asset Management and a Director of Canadian Natural Resources.

He is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, Queen’s University and the University of New Brunswick Law School and is also the recipient of 15 Honorary Degrees.

Dr. Herb Emery

Name: Dr. Herb Emery
Title: Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics, University of New Brunswick

An advisor to federal and provincial policymakers, Dr. Herb Emery focuses his research on the development of the Canadian economy and the persistence of long-standing regional disparities. Aside from understanding the economic fundamentals of growth in a small open economy, Dr. Emery’s work incorporates political, historical, cultural, and other institutional factors that have shaped Canadian development processes.

Dr. Emery began as the Vaughan Chair in July 2016. He holds an MA and PhD in Economics from the University of British Columbia. His academic career began at the University of Calgary where, from 1993 to 2016, he assembled a track record of demonstrated excellence in research, teaching, and leadership.

Starting in 2019, Herb has led the JDI Roundtable on Manufacturing Competitiveness in New Brunswick, aimed at exploring policies and strategies for invigorating the province’s longstanding economic engine of manufacturing exports.

Dr. Andrew Parkin

Name: Dr. Andrew Parkin
Title: Executive Director, Environics Institute

Dr. Andrew Parkin is the Executive Director of the Environics Institute. His career has been driven by a commitment to bringing diverse interests together, mobilizing evidence to inform decision-making and deliberation, and bridging the gap between policy research and public dialogue.

Dr. Parkin has previously held a variety of senior positions including Director of the Mowat Centre, Director General of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC), Associate Executive Director and Director of Research and Program Development at the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, and Co-Director of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada.

A political sociologist by background, he completed his post-doctorate at Dalhousie University, his Ph.D. at the University of Bradford (U.K.), and his B.A. (Honours) at Queen’s University. He has received several academic honours, including a Commonwealth Scholarship and a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has authored or co-authored numerous publications on Canadian public policy and is a frequent commentator in both English- and French-language media.

Kelly J. Lendsay

Name: Kelly J. Lendsay
Title: CEO, Indigenous Works

Kelly Lendsay is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost innovators and organizational development experts in Indigenous engagement and workplace inclusion systems, models, and corporate/Indigenous partnerships. A proud Canadian Indigenous leader of Cree and Métis ancestry, he moves seamlessly between both worlds fostering economic inclusion, wellbeing, and prosperity for all.

In 1998, Kelly stepped onto the national stage as the inaugural president and CEO of Indigenous Works, created by the recommendations in the 1996 Report from the Royal Commission of Aboriginal People. He has been leading the charge designing new systems and Indigenous engagement strategies, growing the organization into an award winning, ISO-certified enterprise. 

Over the past decade Kelly has generated more than a dozen sectoral partnerships in Canada and abroad including the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium in 2022.  He was a 2022 semi-finalist for Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year award hosted by the CANIES Innovation and Entrepreneurs Foundation.

Dr. Robert Greenwood

Name: Dr. Robert Greenwood
Title: Director, Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development at Memorial University

Rob Greenwood is Associate Vice President (public engagement and external relations) for Memorial University. In the past, he has operated his own consulting business and has served as a Director and Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy in Economic Development departments in Newfoundland and Labrador and in Saskatchewan. He was also Vice President, Corporate Development, Information Services Corporation of Saskatchewan, and founding Director of the Sustainable Communities Initiative, a partnership of the University of Regina, the City of Regina, and the National Research Council of Canada.

Rob holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Business Studies from the University of Warwick, England, which he attended as a Commonwealth Scholar and an Institute of Social and Economic Research Doctoral Fellow. He was Newfoundland’s representative on the International Advisory Board of the North Atlantic Islands Program and co-edited Competing Strategies of Socio-Economic Development for Small Islands, published in 1998. He was also co-editor of Remote Control: Lessons in Governance for and from Small, Insular and Remote Regions, published in 2009.

Michelle Simms

Name: Michelle Simms
Title: President & CEO, Genesis

As CEO of Genesis, Memorial’s business incubator for technology-based ventures, Michelle leads the management team in handling day to day operations of the Genesis Group and establishes long-term relationships with key stakeholders in the community. 

With the leadership of the Board of Directors, she develops and implements the Genesis Group strategic plan. With more than a decade of experience advising technology companies, Michelle is passionate about entrepreneurs and advancing the technology sector of Newfoundland and Labrador.    

The daughter and the grandchild of entrepreneurs, Michelle has long had a passion for business that she shares with her community as CEO of Genesis and as a Board member for the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks and OceansAdvance Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Memorial University and has participated in leadership programs at Queen’s and Saint Mary’s University.

Chief Terry Paul

Name: Chief Terry Paul
Title: Chief of Membertou First Nation & CEO of the Membertou Development Corporation

For nearly four decades, Chief Terrance Paul has guided the Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton through an incredible economic, social, cultural, and governance transformation. Today, Membertou is one of the most efficient and economically flourishing Indigenous communities in Canada and a role model for community development.

Elected in 1984 and re-elected every two years since, Chief Paul is credited with tripling his community’s land base, increasing Membertou’s employment rate to 80 per cent, and building economic and social opportunity for the entire Cape Breton region. In 2021, with Chief Paul at the helm, Membertou made the single largest investment ever by an Indigenous group in Canada with the acquisition of 50 per cent of Clearwater Seafoods.

The Honourable Lisa Raitt

Name: The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Title: Vice Chair, Global Investment Banking at CIBC, Co-Chair of the Coalition for a Better Future & Former Minister of Transport, Labour, and Natural Resources

The Honourable Lisa Raitt is vice-chair of global investment banking at CIBC and formerly the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition. She served in the House of Commons for 11 years. From 2008-2010, Ms. Raitt served at the Minister of Natural Resources. During the 2009 economic crisis, Ms. Raitt led consultations with stakeholders in the energy sector, the forestry sector and the mining sector developing policy to support employment and investment during the downturn. As Minister of Labour from 2010-2013, Ms. Raitt championed mental health in the workplace supporting the development of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace – the first of its kind in the world.  She was named the 2011 Champion of Mental Health, Public Sector by the Canadian Alliance of Mental Illness and Mental Health. In July 2013, Ms. Raitt was named Minister of Transport just days after the train derailment in Lac Megantic.  She led the development and execution of the complex cross-border response to this disaster. Ms. Raitt initiated the comprehensive review of the Canada Transportation Act. She was responsible for the operations of Canada’s Crown Corporations including VIA Rail, Canada Post, and Marine Atlantic. In 2015, Ms. Raitt was appointed Finance Critic for the Official Opposition and in 2017 she was appointed Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. In 2018, she also became the Justice Critic for the Official Opposition.

Dr. Dhirendra Shukla

Name: Dr. Dhirendra Shukla
Title: Dr. J. Herbert Smith ACOA Chair, University of New Brunswick

Dr. Dhirendra Shukla has been the Dr. J. Herbert Smith ACOA Chair since September 2009. Dhirendra worked for several years in the telecom sector for Nortel Networks and Croda International.

Dhirendra currently teaches entrepreneurial finance, business planning, and strategy, as well as leadership in an era of deep change. His current research interests include venture capital, syndication, entrepreneurship, corporate finance, performance and governance, and Boards of Directors.

Dhirendra received his BEng and MSc in Chemical Engineering and Computing and Performance Engineering from the University of Bradford (UK). He obtained his MBA from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and completed his PhD in Entrepreneurial Finance at the University of London. 

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois

Name: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Title: Director, Agri-food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois is a professor in food distribution and policy and the scientific director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, a unit focused on understanding the future of food systems in Canada and elsewhere. His current research lies in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. 

Dr. Charlebois has authored more than five books on global food systems and published more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles in academic and professional publications, primarily with scholars outside of his field, including food scientists, agricultural economists, and organizational behaviourists. 

In May 2008, he led a team of 35 scholars from around the world in publishing the first-ever World Ranking of Countries on Food Safety Performance. The report garnered substantial international media attention and remains an important source of information on food safety around the world. As a result of the report, he was asked to chair an international summit on food safety regulatory metrics in Helsinki, Finland, in 2011 that involved 24 countries. Given the report’s significance, a second edition was published in May 2012 and a third in December 2014 in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada, Health Canada, and Agriculture Canada.

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney

Name: The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney
Title: 18th Prime Minister of Canada

In September 1984, Brian Mulroney led the Progressive Conservative party to the largest victory in Canadian history, becoming Canada's eighteenth Prime Minister. He was re-elected with a majority government four years later thereby becoming the first Canadian Prime Minister in 35 years to win successive majority governments and the first Conservative Prime Minister to do so in 100 years. He resigned in June 1993, having served almost nine years as Prime Minister.

Mr. Mulroney’s government introduced bold new initiatives such as the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. His government also introduced a wave of privatizations, a low inflation policy, historic tax reform, extensive deregulation, and expenditure reduction policies that continue to underpin Canada’s impressive economic performance today. In an important attempt to include Quebec in Canada’s amended constitution, Mr. Mulroney was the architect of the Meech Lake Accord.

For his many accomplishments as a world leader, Mr. Mulroney has received numerous prestigious awards, including Canada’s highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Canada, as well as the highest honour of the Government of Québec: Grand officier de l’Ordre national du Québec.

A strong advocate for nurturing future generations of leaders, Mr. Mulroney spearheaded the largest fundraising campaign in the history of StFX to establish the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and an undergraduate program in Public Policy and Governance.

Dr. Larry Hughes

Name: Dr. Larry Hughes
Title: MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance, Dalhousie University

Dr. Larry Hughes is a professor at Dalhousie University where he teaches undergraduate Computer Engineering courses and an interdisciplinary graduate course in energy systems analysis. His research interests focus on how a jurisdiction can identify, quantify, and mitigate the risks to the energy security of its energy system while transforming to a low-carbon economy.

He has written reports on electric vehicles for Nova Scotia Power and been an intervener at several UARB hearings on electricity rates and the Maritime Link.

Dr. Hughes has published in academic journals including Applied Energy, Energy, and Energy Policy, and the mainstream media, such as the Globe and Mail and Policy Options. He is often quoted in the media and his research has influenced energy policy in Nova Scotia. Dr. Hughes has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the U.K.

John Paul

Name: John Paul
Title: Executive Director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat

Mr. Paul is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Taking direction from the Chiefs through frequent All Chiefs Forums and Executive Chiefs Board of Directors and Co-Chairs, Mr. Paul provides policy analysis and strategic advice on a wide range of policy issues facing First Nations in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. The APC Secretariat’s mandate is to research, analyze and develop alternatives to federal policies affecting its member First Nation communities.

Mr. Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from Cape Breton University in 1980 and a Master of Public Administration in Financial Management from Halifax’s Dalhousie University in 1982. A strong and dedicated advocate for First Nations, Mr. Paul has worked toward positive change for First Nations communities in diverse policy areas for more than 35 years.

Jarvis Googoo

Name: Jarvis Googoo
Title: Director, Atlantic Indigenous Economic Development Integrated Research Program

Jarvis was raised in We’koqma’q, Unama’kik, attended an Indian Day School from 1985 to 1993, and graduated from a Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey school. He holds degrees from Saint Mary’s University (cum laude), Dalhousie Law School, and is a non-practicing member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. 

He has spoken and presented on numerous Indigenous topics, such as health, law, colonialism, assimilation, Indian Residential and Day Schools, Truth and Reconciliation, Peace and Friendship, and Mi’kmaw history, culture, and language. Some of the audiences Jarvis has presented to include Dalhousie Law School and Medical School, the Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association, churches, schools, Girl Guides of Canada and Scouts Canada, and regional and national media outlets. In 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Jarvis sits on numerous boards and advisory committees, such as the Saint Mary’s University Advisory Council on Indigenous Affairs, the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaw Initiative Advisory Committee, Global News Advisory Committee, and the North American Indigenous Games Cultural Advisory Committee.

He is also an avid and passionate runner, completing several marathons to date. He lives in Kjipuktuk/Dartmouth with his wife Kerrianne and their Shelties Looloo and Eevee.

Alisdair McLean

Name: Alisdair McLean
Title: Executive Director, NetZero Atlantic

Alisdair is an advocate for research and development that enhances our understanding of energy development and renewable energy technologies on the natural and social environment. He has a record of accomplishments across diverse industries, including more than 15 years of experience in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

Alisdair holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (B.Eng) from Dalhousie University and a certificate in Strategic Marketing Essentials from Wharton, University of Pennsylvania.

Amanda McDougall-Merrell

Name: Amanda McDougall-Merrell
Title: Mayor, Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Amanda McDougall-Merrill was first elected to the Cape Breton Regional Council in 2016 serving as Councillor for District 8 and most recently elected to serve as Mayor of the CBRM in 2020.  

As Councillor for District 8 Amanda has proven to be a strong and community-minded leader. With a moral compass to make the right decisions and ask tough questions Amanda has the character and courage needed to lead the CBRM towards a prosperous and sustainable future.   

Although Amanda holds a bachelor’s in political science Degree from Cape Breton University, it was her years of volunteer work with organizations such as the Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association, Cape Breton C@P Society, Lumiere, Cape Breton Community Housing Association and more, that sparked her passion to lead change within the CBRM.  

As a CBRM Councillor, the Executive Director of ACAP Cape Breton and a past Program Coordinator at Coastal Discovery Centre, Amanda has helped move our communities forward and is well-aware of the incredible potential our community holds.   

Patricia Hearn

Name: Patricia Hearn
Title: Newfoundland and Labrador Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Affairs
and Department of Immigration, Population Growth, and Skills

Patricia Hearn was appointed Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat in September 2016.  She was also appointed as the Deputy Minister in the Department of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills in 2021. Ms. Hearn had over 20 years of experience as an executive with the Government of Canada in areas of economic and social policy and programs. Most recently she served as the Atlantic Executive Director of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. formerly Industry Canada, where she oversaw the operations of the Federal Government’s economic program and policy agenda in the four Atlantic provinces.

In addition to her Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Education degrees, Ms. Hearn also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Memorial University.

Christiane Fox

Name: Christiane Fox
Title: Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada

Christiane Fox was appointed Deputy Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in July 2022. She is also the Deputy Minister Champion of the Federal Youth Network.

Prior to her appointment, Christiane was the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, a position she held since September 2020. From November 2019 to September 2020, she was the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and, from June 2017 to November 2019, the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth. She also held several positions at the Privy Council Office, including Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Communications and Consultations; Director of Operations, Policy in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Relations Secretariat; and Director General of Communications.

Christiane started her career as a communications advisor at Industry Canada (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada), where she worked in communications and in science policy. She has a B.A. in Mass Communications and Psychology from Carleton University and is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Master’s Certificate Program in Public Administration.

Christopher Googoo

Name: Christopher Googoo
Title: COO, Ulnooweg

Christopher Googoo is a proud member of the We’koqma’q First Nation, living in Millbrook on the unceded territory of Mi’kma’ki, with his wife and three children. 

He is the Chief Operating Officer of Ulnooweg and the Executive Director of The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation. He has been working to strengthen the relationship between Canada’s philanthropic sector and Indigenous communities at Ulnooweg since the organization was created 23 years ago. Most recently he been involved in the creation and implementation of the new national Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund, the implementation of the Ulnooweg Education Centre’s STEAM based education program, and the recent acquisition of 200 acres of old growth forest land Asitu’l~sk (formerly Windhorse Farm), to create a space for healing and education.

He is currently a Board member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Centre for Local Prosperity, the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia, and Chair of Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia. Chris holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from St. Francis Xavier University.

Charles McMillan

Name: Charles McMillan
Title: Professor of Strategic Management and International Business, York University

Charles J. McMillan, Professor of Strategic Management & International Business, is the author of nine books and monographs related to international business & strategic management. He has written and lectured extensively on globalization, Japanese science and technology policy, and Canadian innovation, and authored more than 90 technical articles and papers in academic journals and media outlets.

Active in Public Affairs, he has served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, working on trade agreements, regional development, Pacific Rim strategies, energy policy, science and technology, and foreign investment legislation. He now consults widely to governments, multinationals, and international organizations around the world.

Dr. McMillan has served on the Boards of Yamaichi (International) Canada Ltd, Boeing Canada, and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2013.

Rose Paul

Name: Rose Paul
Title: CEO & President, Bayside Corporation

Rose Paul is a highly credentialed business expert and leader, currently guiding the long-term economic development of the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation community and the reserve lands on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway.

As part of her responsibilities, Ms. Paul oversees Band businesses that provide own-source revenues, including fisheries, tobacco shop and gas bar operations and the entertainment centre. She has developed a five-year strategic plan that includes capacity development and provides options for the board of directors on diversifying and investing in businesses through economic development partnerships. 

Ms. Paul obtained her master’s in business administration from Cape Breton University and was chosen valedictorian of the inaugural Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at St. Francis Xavier University. She has won numerous awards and recognition, including the 2017 Cando Economic Developer of the Year award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award, and the Nova Scotia Community Spirit award.

Mary Beth Doucette

Name: Mary Beth Doucette
Title: Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, Cape Breton University

Mary Beth Doucette is Assistant Professor and Purdy Crawford Chair in Cape Breton University’s Shannon School of Business. With a focus on interactions between Mi’kmaw and Canadians, Doucette researches how people in organizations use policies and procedures to share knowledge in culturally informed ways.

As Purdy Crawford Chair, Doucette has promoted interest among Canada’s Aboriginal people in the study of business at the post-secondary level for the past five years, while undertaking pure and applied research specific to Aboriginal communities. She focuses attention and research efforts on the Membertou Business Model, Unama’ki Partnership Model and national and international comparative analysis. 

She is a Membertou band member, an Industrial Engineer, and has an MBA in Community Economic Development. Her graduate research focused on community economic development in First Nations. She is currently enrolled in a PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University, where she continues to build foundational concepts that are of most interest to her, including Etuaptmumk/Two-Eyed Seeing, reconciliation through community leadership, organizational governance, education, and mentorship.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Name: The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Title: Minister of Official Languages & Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor was first elected as Member of Parliament for Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe in 2015. She has previously served as Minister of Health and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Minister Petitpas Taylor has worked with all orders of government, and focused on local infrastructure development, seniors’ services, and investments in jobs and the local economy. 

Before entering politics, Minister Petitpas Taylor worked for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Saint John and had a 23-year career as a social worker and Victims Services Coordinator for the Codiac Regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She also served on the City of Moncton's Public Safety Advisory Committee.

Minister Petitpas Taylor has spent her entire life advocating for a fair and just society for all. She has been the Chair of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women and a member of the Coalition for Pay Equity. She has volunteered with several community organizations, both provincially and locally, including the Coalition Against Abuse in Relationships and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s local Suicide Prevention Committee in Moncton.

Chris MacDonald

Name: Chris MacDonald
Title: Vice President, Government Relations J.D. Irving, Limited

Born in Miramichi, NB, Chris MacDonald graduated from St. Thomas University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A. Hons. Dist.) and graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1989 with a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B.). Chris joined Saint John Shipbuilding as in-house legal counsel in 1991; he transferred to their parent company, J.D. Irving, Limited, in 1995; and took on the role of Director, Government Relations in 2004 and Vice President, Government Relations in 2020. Chris is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of New Brunswick, and he is a member of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (NB) Board of Directors. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Saint John, the Greater Saint John Community Foundation, and Sports New Brunswick. He and his wife Jane Grannan reside in Rothesay, NB with their three children.

Wendy Luther

Name: Wendy Luther
Title: President & CEO, Halifax Partnership

Joining the Halifax Partnership as President & CEO in June 2019, Wendy leads the organization toward achieving the Halifax Economic Growth Plan’s ambitious goals of growing our population to 550,000 and GDP to $30 billion by 2031. She is a champion for Halifax, bringing public-private sector leadership experience in representing Halifax and Nova Scotia nationally and internationally. Wendy is passionate about building deep, collaborative relationships with the business community, our investors, and other stakeholders to support what the Partnership does best – playing a leading role in positioning Halifax as a city of the future, where businesses and people thrive.

What excites Wendy most about Halifax is that it is a magnet for young people and a catalyst for vibrant businesses.

Karen Oldfield

Name: Karen Oldfield
Title: President & CEO, Nova Scotia Health Authority

After serving for more than 18 years as President and CEO of the Halifax Port Authority, Karen was recently named the Interim President and CEO of Nova Scotia Health (NSH). This appointment was made by Premier Tim Houston in an effort to take immediate action to improve health care in Nova Scotia. While seconded to Nova Scotia Health, Karen has also been appointed Deputy Minister of Priorities and Planning for the Government of Nova Scotia, a role fundamental to the strategic priorities of the province.

During her tenure at the Port Authority, revenues more than tripled, enabling the organization to make significant financial investments in strategic port and transportation infrastructure to improve port competitiveness and the livability of the City of Halifax. Oldfield has global experience, particularly in trade development and the establishment of new markets together with deep expertise in supply chain management and logistics. Karen operates and achieves results in complex, multiparty/stakeholder environments, particularly at the nexus of levels of government interacting with the private sector.

Julia Rivard Dexter

Name: Julia Rivard Dexter
Title: Co-Founder & CEO, Shoelace Learning & Squiggle Park

An innovative tech entrepreneur and former Olympian, Ms. Dexter has led several successful technology ventures, including her time as CEO of, Google’s first North American premier Apps partner. 

She is currently co-founder and CEO of Squiggle Park and Shoelace Learning, which aim to improve literacy rates for children worldwide. An experienced board member currently serving on the Board of Nova Scotia Power, Julia is also recognized as a technology industry leader with a history of award-winning performance.

Julia holds a Bachelor of Communications from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has completed the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program, Board Governance.

Sue Coueslan

Name: Sue Couselan
Title: Vice President, Strategy and Partnerships, Natural Products Canada

Sue is passionate about the power of naturally derived products and driven by their potential to create sustainable benefits for a broad range of sectors. She excels at seeing challenges from multiple perspectives and brokering mutually beneficial relationships among the diverse stakeholders in the network.

As Vice President, Strategy and Partnerships, Sue strives to put Canadian natural products – and the people behind them – on the world stage. She leads NPC’s key relationships and initiatives to help promote and strengthen Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster and is instrumental to the direction and implementation of the Cluster’s main initiatives, including the Innovation Hub and the Cluster-Building activities.

Before joining NPC, Sue was Director of External Relations for Genome Atlantic, where she led a range of regional and national initiatives, initiated multi-level government relations, issues-management, and fundraising plans, and implemented organizational strategies and subsequent change management. 

Sue has more than 20 years of experience in communications, journalism, and marketing in private and public settings. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University, and a Bachelor of Journalism from King’s College.

Trent Vichie

Name: Trent Vichie
Title: CEO, EverWind Fuels

Trent Vichie is the CEO of EverWind Fuels. Mr. Vichie’s infrastructure experience includes over $20 billion of equity raised (energy and power, solar and wind, renewables, marine terminals, pipelines, gas and liquids, processing, communication, water desalination, district heating, strategic rail).

In addition to managing a $20 billion portfolio of infrastructure assets, he has sat on the boards of seven infrastructure companies across these sectors. Mr. Vichie has raised over $15 billion of institutional capital from over 100 investors (including US public pension plans, Canadian institutions, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, fund of funds, and high net worth investors).

Mr. Vichie received a master’s degree in economics from Macquarie University (Actuarial Studies) in Sydney Australia and qualified as an actuary in Australia. He is a CFA Charterholder.

Jennifer Wagner

Name: Jennifer Wagner
Title: Fellow, Breakthrough Energy

Jennifer is a dedicated climate advocate with a passion for leveraging science and innovation to solve the world’s most complex problems. Her mission is to help launch, nurture, and scale innovative startups with massive climate change mitigation potential and to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate tech sector.

Jennifer is an experienced startup advisor, investor, thought leader, speaker, and team builder. She joined Breakthrough Energy Ventures portfolio company CarbonCure Technologies as employee number two in 2010, and eventually assumed the role of president. Her responsibilities included overseeing the company’s operations and personnel amidst a period of rapid growth and launching the carbon removal credit business. She also led her team to win two major global innovation competitions: theNRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE and Emissions Reduction Alberta’s Grand Carbon Challenge. 

Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from McGill University. Jennifer earned a Master of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University. She has been named a Clean Energy Rising Star by Business Insider, one of Canada’s Clean50 Emerging Leaders, one of Climate Action Summit’s ClimateTrailblazers, and one of 20 Women Driving the Future of Climate Tech.

Annette Verschuren

Name: Annette Verschuren
Title: Chair & CEO, NRStor Inc.

Annette Verschuren is Chair and Chief Executive Officer of NRStor Inc, a company that develops and manages energy storage projects. Ms. Verschuren founded NRStor in 2012 after observing the global scale of the issue of energy storage, its enormous business potential, and many benefits to developing economies. 

Prior to this, Ms. Verschuren was president of The Home Depot Canada. She oversaw the growth of the company’s Canadian operations from 19 to 179 stores from 1996 to 2011, increasing revenue from $600 million to $6 billion. Her career includes roles with the Cape Breton Development Corporation and the Canada Development Investment Corporation. Ms. Verschuren also launched Michaels of Canada, a chain of arts and crafts stores.

Ms. Verschuren is the Chancellor of Cape Breton University and is on the Board of the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, (VCSEE). She has received several Honourary Doctorates from Canadian universities including her alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, and was named to the Order of Canada for her contributions to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility. 

Goldy Hyder

Name: Goldy Hyder
Title: President & CEO, Business Council of Canada

Goldy Hyder is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of Canada. Founded in 1976, the Council is a non-profit, non-partisan organization composed of the chief executives and entrepreneurs of Canada’s leading companies. 

From July 2014 to October 2018, Mr. Hyder was President and Chief Executive Officer of Hill+Knowlton Strategies and prior to joining Hill+Knowlton in 2001, he served as Director of Policy and Chief of Staff to The Right Honourable Joe Clark, former prime minister and former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. 

In addition to his achievements in business and public policy, Mr. Hyder has a long track record of service on behalf of several charities and non-profit organizations, including the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s Asia Business Leaders Advisory Council and the Business + Higher Education Roundtable. 

Mr. Hyder is a regular commentator in the Canadian media on business, politics and leadership. In 2013, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions to Canada. He holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Calgary.

Danny Graham

Name: Danny Graham
Title: Chief Engagement Officer, Engage Nova Scotia & Former leader, Liberal Party of Nova Scotia

Over a thirty-year period, Danny Graham has held senior positions in business, law and government. Danny is best known as the former leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and the MLA for Halifax Citadel – and as the current Chief Engagement Officer of Engage Nova Scotia. He is currently Counsel to McInnes Cooper – advising on business matters, Collective Social Responsibility and Aboriginal Law.

He has been lead counsel in cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has been an advisor to Justice Canada and the United Nations, as well as a consultant to the governments of Thailand, Jamaica, Tanzania, and Ukraine. In Nova Scotia, he was the province’s Chief Negotiator on Aboriginal rights between 2006 and 2014 in the Made in Nova Scotia Process. He also helped author We Choose Now: A Playbook for Nova Scotians – a ten-year plan for the economic future of the province.

Daryl Genge

Name: Daryl Genge
Title: President & CEO, Springboard Atlantic

Daryl manages and monitors the operations and overall sustainability of Springboard Atlantic. Sitting in our Central Office, he builds partnerships on behalf of the network that strengthen Atlantic Canada’s innovation ecosystem and cultivates new opportunities for our post-secondary research community.

In conjunction with Springboard’s Board of Directors, members, Central Office staff, and government partners, Daryl leads the development and execution of Springboard’s organizational strategy.
Prior to his role at springboard, Daryl held Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister (acting) positions with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development where he championed public-private investment strategies to drive the development and growth of innovative industries and played a leadership role in international trade and foreign direct investment attraction.

Dr. Marcia English

Name: Dr. Marcia English
Title: Associate Professor of Human Nutrition, StFX University

Dr. Marcia English is an Associate Professor, with expertise in food chemistry, food microbiology and food product development at St. Francis Xavier University, where she also leads the X Food Research Lab. She uses her background in food chemistry to address challenges and add value to Nova Scotia’s farming and food production community.

Marcia holds a BSc (First Class Honours, Co-op) Biology from the University of New Brunswick, and was awarded her PhD in Food Science from Dalhousie University in 2017. Since joining the Department of Human Nutrition (HNU) in 2014, she has been the lead supervisor for several undergraduate and graduate research projects and has mentored several HNU students awarded Wallace Entrepreneurship Internships. 

Marcia collaborates with partners in academia, the government, and the food industry. She currently serves as the Conference Chair for the Science Atlantic Nutrition and Foods Committee and is the Secretary of the Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST), Atlantic Division. 

Dr. Bobbi Morrison

Name: Dr. Bobbi Morrison
Title: Associate Professor and Acting Dean of Business, Gerald Schwartz School of Business. StFX University

Dr. Bobbi Morrison is an associate professor in the Gerald Schwartz School of Business, where she teaches consumer behaviour, introductory marketing, and social media marketing. 

She has been on faculty at StFX since 2002. Her research focuses on patient access to primary care and public perceptions of the health system. Recent research has been focused on pharmacy, exploring such areas of extended scope of practice and experiences of unattached patients. 

She is a co-investigator on research projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Nova Scotia Health Authority Research Fund. She has also held a research grant as the principal investigator from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) and consulted for provincial pharmacy regulatory authorities.

Richard Saillant

Name: Richard Saillant
Title: Economist & Public Policy Consultant

Richard Saillant is a Moncton-based economist and author. Richard is a former vice-president of the Université de Moncton and director of the Donald J. Savoie Institute. He has also spent nearly fifteen years in Ottawa in various departments, including the Privy Council Office, Industry Canada and Transport Canada. Immediately prior to returning to New Brunswick, Saillant was a director general at Industry Canada, where he advised the government on large foreign takeover proposals, including BHP's failed attempt to acquire Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the largest takeover proposal in Canadian history.

Richard has written or edited four books over the past three years, his most recent book, A Tale of Two Countries: How the Great Demographic Imbalance is Pulling Canada Apart (2016) was longlisted for the National Business Book Award.

Dr. Donald Abelson

Name: Dr. Donald Abelson
Title: Director, Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, StFX University

Donald E. Abelson, PhD, is Director, Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, Steven K. Hudson Chair in Canada-US Relations, and Professor, Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University. Before joining StFX, Dr. Abelson served as Director, Canada-US Institute, Director, Centre for American Studies, and Chair, Political Science, University of Western Ontario. He is also Adjunct Professor (Political Science), Dalhousie University and Adjunct Research Professor (Political Science), University of Western Ontario. 

Dr. Abelson teaches and conducts research in the fields of Comparative Politics (Canada and the US) and International Relations. His current research, funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, explores the relationship between three US think tanks and the universities with whom they are or were affiliated, and he is the author of several books on the topic, including Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy Institutes. Dr. Abelson is also the author of over five-dozen journal articles and book chapters.

Dr. Abelson received his MA and PhD (Political Studies) from Queen’s University, an MA (Journalism) from the University of Western Ontario, and a BA Hons. (Political Science) from the University of Toronto.

Jane Taber

Name: Jane Taber
Title: Senior Vice-President, Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations

Jane Taber is a former Globe and Mail political journalist who spent more than 25 years covering Parliament Hill and Queen’s Park.

During her tenure on Parliament Hill with the Globe, Jane was also co-host of CTV’s Question Period. She’s interviewed the country’s main political players, covered leadership contests, trade deals, international summits, and the important issues of the day. She has also worked as communications director to the former Premier of Nova Scotia.

Since joining NATIONAL Public Relations in August 2016, Jane has specialized in media training, media relations and speech writing; she also works on crisis communications and labour issues. She has worked on several national campaigns as the media relations lead, pitching to regional and national media and coordinating television and print interviews.

Jane is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program and was appointed to the Carleton University Board of Governors in June 2019; and served as a mentor to the Public Policy Forum’s Action Canada leadership fellows.

Kristan Hines

Name: Kristan Hines
Title: Senior Vice-President, Corporate and Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations

Kristan is passionate about helping people achieve their goals – and this is evident in all that she does. For close to 20 years, she has tackled some of Atlantic Canada’s most compelling challenges and provided counsel to Canada’s most senior leaders in government and industry. From her work on Parliament Hill and Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia, to her relationships with clients across our region, Kristan is respected for her calm approach, trusted counsel, and ability to get things done. 

At NATIONAL, Kristan brings together experts in government relations and advocacy, issues and crisis management, media relations, public engagement, and strategic communications from across the region and the NATIONAL network to tackle issues and help clients achieve their goals. 

Kristan is a graduate of Acadia University and Dalhousie University. She proudly serves on the Executive Committee of the Dalhousie University Board of Governors and Phoenix Youth Programs. She is also a member of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission Board of Directors.

Name: The Honourable Bloyce Thompson
Title: Minister for Agriculture, Justice, Public Safety and Attorney General and Deputy Premier, Prince Edward Island

Bloyce Thompson was elected as the MLA for Stanhope-Marshfield in the 2019 and 2023 general elections.

Thompson is an active member of his community and the agriculture industry. As a third generation dairy farmer and businessman from Eastside Farms in Frenchfort, PEI, he has been a strong advocate for the dairy industry locally, nationally and globally. Thompson has travelled to the United States, Japan, Portugal and other countries, lending his professional expertise in bovine livestock breeding to the dairy industry.

Thompson is a proud graduate of Dalhousie Agricultural College. He has served his industry as a member of the genetic evaluation board of the Canadian Dairy Network and as a board member of the Dairy Farmers of PEI.
Thompson has been a coach to the Sherwood/Parkdale Minor Baseball Association, served as vice-president of Old Home Week, and serves as an elder in the York-Covehead United pastoral charge.

Name: The Honourable Jill Balser
Title: Minister of Labour, Skills, and Immigration

The Honourable Jill Balser was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly as MLA for Digby-Annapolis in 2021. She is the Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration, Minister responsible for the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act, Minister responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Act (except Part II), and currently sits on the Treasury and Policy Board.

Prior to being MLA, Jill was the Project Lead for the Inspiring Communities initiative for Turning the Tide, a non-profit organization in Digby. She also spent four years as the YREACH Immigrant Settlement Staff Member at the Fundy YMCA from 2014-2018. 

Jill is an active volunteer in her community. She has spent many years volunteering at events and participating on boards. She coached junior girls basketball at Digby Regional High School for four years and supported the junior girls golf team in the summer months, alongside her mom. Jill was the Co-Chair of the Refugee Sponsorship Group ‘Team Rima.’ She also led the first and second Multicultural Festival in the Digby Area. 

Name: The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Title: Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor was first elected as Member of Parliament for Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe in 2015. She has previously served as Minister of Health and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Minister Petitpas Taylor has worked with all orders of government, and focused on local infrastructure development, seniors’ services, and investments in jobs and the local economy.  

Before entering politics, Minister Petitpas Taylor worked for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Saint John and had a 23-year career as a social worker and Victims Services Coordinator for the Codiac Regional Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She also served on the City of Moncton's Public Safety Advisory Committee. 

Minister Petitpas Taylor has spent her entire life advocating for a fair and just society for all. She has been the Chair of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women and a member of the Coalition for Pay Equity. She has volunteered with several community organizations, both provincially and locally, including the Coalition Against Abuse in Relationships and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s local Suicide Prevention Committee in Moncton. 

Name: David Chaundy
Title: President & CEO, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council

David Chaundy is President and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), a role he was appointed to in November 2018. Mr. Chaundy joined APEC as an economist in 1999, taking on increasingly senior roles, including responsibilities for APEC’s research projects, its member-only publications on Atlantic Canada’s economy, and APEC’s annual business Outlook conference. 

Mr. Chaundy has over twenty years experience researching Atlantic Canada’s economy, sharing his insights and ideas in numerous publications and presentations to business, government, and other stakeholders. As someone who lives and works in the region, he is keen to ensure a healthy, inclusive, and sustainable Atlantic Canadian economy. 

Mr. Chaundy is a member of the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council and the National Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the Labour Market Information Council. He is Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics, a Director and former president of the Atlantic Association of Applied Economists and a Director of the Atlantic Canada Economics Association. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Cambridge and a M.Sc. in economics from the University of York, England.

Catherine Blewett

Name: Catherine Blewett
Title: President, ACOA

Catherine Blewett assumed the role of President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency effective November 26, 2022. She currently also serves as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Ms. Blewett brings a wealth of experience to the ACOA management team. From September 2020 to June 2022, she was the Chief Strategic Engagement Officer for the Ocean Frontier Institute. Prior to that, she was the Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet. She was the Prime Minister's personal representative for the International Ocean Panel – a group of world leaders focused on solutions for ocean health and wealth in policy, governance, technology, and finance.

Ms. Blewett served as the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard from 2016 to 2019, where she led the development and implementation of the Oceans Act and key fisheries legislation. She led Canada's oceans initiatives for the G7 and achieved Canada’s mandate on ocean protection targets of 5 percent by 2017.

Ms. Blewett holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Dalhousie University.

Ahmed Hussen

Name: The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Title: Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen was first elected in 2015 to represent the riding of York South—Weston. He has previously served as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Minister Hussen immigrated to Canada in 1993 and settled in Toronto. He began his career in public service after high school, working with the Hamilton-Wentworth social services department. In 2022, he co-founded the Regent Park Community Council. As its president, he played a key role in securing the $500‑million revitalization project for Regent Park, while advocating for its 15,000 residents. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his leadership efforts in the Regent Park community.

Serving as National President for the Canadian Somali Congress, Minister Hussen worked with national and regional authorities to advocate on important issues to Canadians of Somali heritage, strengthening civic engagement and integration. 

Minister Hussen holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa and has practised law in the areas of criminal defence, immigration and refugee law, and human rights. 

Gudie Hutchings

Name: The Honourable Gudie Hutchings
Title: Minister of Rural Economic Development

The Honourable Gudie Hutchings was first elected in 2015 to represent the riding of Long Range Mountains. In 2021, she was appointed to Cabinet as Canada’s Minister of Rural Economic Development. As minister, she is focused on accelerating high-speed Internet access for all Canadians as well as improving rural housing, transit and work opportunities.

With over 30 years of experience as a small business owner in the Atlantic Canadian tourism industry, Gudie’s community ties have made her a strong advocate for rural families and workers.

Gudie has also served as Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism, a role in which she engaged with tourism operators and advocates, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development. In this role, she helped create a national action plan to end gender-based violence. Gudie has the honour of being a founding member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

Denise Lewis Fleming

Name: Denise Lewis Fleming
Title: Deputy Minister, Finance, Government of Prince Edward Island

Denise is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant) who has worked in PEI’s public service since 1992. She has served with the Auditor General's Office, the Public Service Commission, and the Provincial Treasury. From January 2009 to April 2021, she worked at Health PEI where she held various senior leadership positions, including six years as Chief Financial Officer and three years as Chief Executive Officer.

Throughout her years of service, Denise has provided leadership for service delivery improvement initiatives, the introduction of new programs, and large contract negotiations. She is a past member of the Conference Board of Canada's Council for Innovation Procurement and has been a Public Sector Pension Plan commissioner since 2009.

Denise is a graduate of the Bachelor of Business Administration program at the University of Prince Edward Island and Dalhousie University’s Master of Public Administration program. She is also an alumnus of the 2017 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Name: Mo AlGermozi
Title: Chief Executive Officer, Graphite Innovation and Technologies

Mo AlGermozi is the Chief Executive Officer of Graphite Innovation & Technologies. GIT is a leading Canadian materials engineering firm focused on developing green and sustainable solutions for the global shipping industry. Mo has successfully championed innovative operational concepts and solutions. In addition to being the co-founder and CEO of Graphite Innovation & Technologies, Mo has co-invented four different inventions in the coatings field, with patents filed worldwide. These innovations are mainly focused to reduces fuel consumption by large ships and eliminates toxic materials used in marine coatings. Mo also sits on different boards such as the board of advisors for Dalhousie university Emera Idea Hub. 

Tash Ismail-Saville

Name: Tashmia (Tash) Ismail-Saville
Title: Chief Business Development Officer, Mitacs

For the past 15 years, Tashmia has been building experience and expertise in the innovation ecosystem, with a special focus on inclusive and impactful innovation for economic development. Tashmia was appointed as the CBDO at Mitacs in 2022. She came to Mitacs following her role as the Vice-President in the Partner Solutions Group at MaRS (the largest urban innovation hub in North America).

For five years prior to that, Tashmia served as the founding CEO of the NPO YES (the Youth Employment Service) in South Africa. There she worked on innovative policy design and implementation, delivering a digitally driven, high impact, national employment program, which produced 65,000 youth jobs under her leadership. She has also worked as a consultant for multinational firms, as Founding and Managing Partner at Boundless World Consulting, where her focus was on innovation management and inclusive business model research, strategy, and design.

Tashmia has held academic posts, at Kelley School of Business, Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management, and as the Innovation Faculty member and Head of the Inclusive Markets Programme at the highest rated business school in the African continent, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), where she now serves on the Advisory Board. She has held leadership roles, researched, written, consulted, and taught on policy, global innovation networks, and inclusive business model design in countries across the globe.

Glenn Horne

Name: Glenn Horne
Title: Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of the County of Antigonish

Glenn Horne has been a public servant for 15 years.  After graduating from StFX and Carleton Universities, Glenn began his public service career in Health Canada’s Strategic Policy Branch eventually becoming an advisor to the Director General of Health Care Programs and Policy.  In 2013, Glenn left the federal public service for municipal government, becoming the Municipal Clerk Treasurer of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, where he is now the Chief Administrative Officer.  
As CAO, he has a particular interest in innovative and collaborative approaches to providing community-centred municipal services and has been instrumental in initiatives such as Strait-IT, the Antigonish Active Transportation Corridor, the Net-Zero Community Building project, the Friendship Accord signed with Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and the requested consolidation of the County and Town of Antigonish into one municipal unit.
Glenn is a former President of the StFX University Alumni Association and member of the Board of Governors.  He is the incoming Membership Chair for the Nova Scotia branch of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and an incoming board member of Antigonish Affordable Housing Society.
Glenn resides in St. Joseph’s, Antigonish County, with his children, Aiden & Emily, and wife Sarah.

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Atlantic Canada is entering an exciting period of growth and opportunity, and the inaugural Atlantic Economic Forum will bring together local, national, and global leaders in business, government, and economic development together to help build a more prosperous future for our region.

This forum is purposely designed for leaders to connect and strategize ways to take action, focusing on the challenges facing Atlantic Canada and the many opportunities for renewed growth.

Featuring keynotes, discussions, and debates on our most pressing market-related topics, the Forum will inspire, accelerate, and create tangible economic progress for our region.

We hope you will join us.

St. Francis Xavier University Campus
StFX offers hotel style accommodation for guest participating in the Atlantic Economic Forum, available at a special conference discount rate. A link to book overnight accommodation for the Atlantic Economic Forum is available upon completion of the conference registration.

Please click on the link for the room type/price you are interested in at the links below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Who will be attending the Forum?

To see who will be speaking at the Forum, click on the agenda tab or download a PDF version here.


Who can register to attend?

Registration is open to the public, with anyone welcome to register.


How do I register?

To register for the Forum, click here.


What forms of payment do you take?

We accept all forms of credit card payment.


What does a conference pass give me access to?

A conference pass gives you access to all conference programming, beginning Monday evening to Wednesday afternoon, including both dinners.

For a full breakdown of our programming download a copy of our agenda here.


How do I book my accommodations?

Once you register for the Forum, you’ll be prompted to book your accommodations at O’Regan Hall, located on the StFX campus. 

You can also book your accommodations directly by clicking here.


Where can I park when I arrive?

Attendees can park in front of Mulroney Hall, located at 2332 Notre Dame Ave., in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.


Where do I go when I arrive?

Once you arrive on campus, attendees can head to O’Regan Hall to check-in to their accommodations and receive their registration package. Onsite registration will begin at 3:00 pm on Monday, June 19.


Where is the campus located?

StFX University is located at 4130 University Avenue in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. 


How far from the Halifax airport is campus? 

The campus is 182 km from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, approximately a 1-hour and 50-minute drive. 


How do I access Wi-fi on the campus? 

Upon arrival to campus on Monday, select the wi-fi network “AEF.” The password will be provided to all attendees upon arrival. There will also be signs indicating the password.


What buildings on campus are being used?

•    O’Regan Hall (Registration and hotel check-in)
•    Charles V. Keating Centre (Opening reception and dinners)
•    Mulroney Hall (Breakfasts, lunches, plenary sessions, keynotes, and panels)

To see a full map of campus, click here


How do I communicate my dietary restrictions?

Upon registering for the conference online, you will be asked to note if you have any dietary restrictions/allergies. 

Note: All dietary restrictions must be communicated to the event organizers prior to the conference.


What is the dress code?

Business casual.


Have other questions about the conference? Send us an email at 



Invest Nova Scotia
Maritime Launch Services


Business Council of Canada
National Bank

Cooke Aquaculture Inc.





National PR
Municipality of the County of Antigonish
Town of Antigonish
Schwartz School of Business
Mulroney Institute of Government
Benjamin Bridge