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CHOA CONNECTS is THE conference for energy professionals and executives to convene on the most pressing issues affecting the Canadian energy, heavy oil, and oil sands industry. This year’s event will explore Indigenous Partnerships, Workforce Strategy, Decarbonization, and Bitumen Beyond Combustion. The conference promises a diverse and dynamic program that delves deep into the industry’s transformative potential and provides a space for attendees to grow their industry connections.

Steve-Saddleback Photo


Empowering Indigenous Futures: Pathways in the Energy Sector

Presented by Steve Saddleback

– member of the Samson Cree Nation located in Maskwacis, Alberta, Treaty Six Territory –

In this thought-provoking keynote address, we delve into the vital role of Indigenous communities in the energy sector, exploring the historical contributions, current initiatives, and future opportunities. The address will highlight the contribution of Indigenous knowledge and sustainable practices that have shaped the energy landscape, emphasizing the importance of collaboration, respect, and inclusivity in fostering meaningful partnerships. Through examples from the past, inspiring stories from the present, and glimpses into the future, attendees will gain a profound understanding of how embracing Indigenous wisdom can not only drive innovation but also pave the way for a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous energy future for all. 


Program Details:

Making Indigenous Equity Partnerships a Reality

Matt Stellick (RBC Capital Markets)

Ted Bauer (Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation)

Malek Eid (Mikisew Group of Companies)

Barrie Robb (FIVARS Consulting Ltd)

This panel brings together Indigenous voices, financial experts, and energy industry leaders to discuss the dynamic landscape and importance of Indigenous equity partnerships within the energy industry and beyond.

Workforce Strategy – Maximizing Opportunities to Attract and Sustain the Talent you Need

Heather Exner-Pirot (Macdonald-Laurier Institute)

John Desjarlais (IRN)

Dale Hansen (SAIT)

Industry professionals and thought leaders will address the vital need for a skilled and diverse workforce able to support the incremental growth expected in heavy oil, alongside other investments in an energy transition. Join us to learn strategies for sourcing, developing, and retaining talent, including engaging Indigenous workers—an essential element for the industry’s growth.

Examples of Strategies Along the real-world Decarbonization Road Map

Jane Cavanagh (Scovan)

Vanessa White (Alberta Innovates)

Nathan Tedford (Hatch)

Aurora Young (Cenovus)

This session will explore existing and developing technologies for achieving Canada’s emissions reduction targets. Learn about energy-efficient technologies that can propel us towards our 2030 goals and discover the potential of small modular nuclear technology to revolutionize emissions reduction within the next 15 years.

Advances in Bitumen Beyond Combustion (BBC)


Paolo Bomben (Alberta Innovates)

Dr. Doug Brown (ZS2 Technologies)

Bill Mazurek (MEG Energy)

Crystal Park (Greenfire Resources)

Alberta Innovates will review the latest developments related to Bitumen Beyond Combustion and lead a panel discussion which aims to initiate BBC commercialization discussions and explore the role of oil sands producers in making this vision a reality.



Explore the key issues that impact the energy, heavy oil, and oil sands industry. Be immersed in thoughtful and honest discussions with industry experts, thought leaders, and inspirational change champions as we delve into the themes of Indigenous Partnerships, Workforce Strategy, Decarbonization, and Bitumen Beyond Combustion.



Connect with a diverse network of energy professionals, stakeholders, and students dedicated to Canada’s energy future for a better world. Forge new relationships and be inspired while inspiring others on the amazing work and significant progress within Canada’s energy sector.                                   



Be immersed in an engaging conference experience designed to build connections, spark curiosity, and celebrate the relationships that underpin our industry. Explore provocative ideas at the conference sessions, sit in on unique and innovative talks at the Industry Corner, and build meaningful relationships at the CONNECTS Social.

Future Innovators Corner

The Future Innovators Corner is focused on the next generation of energy leaders. This segment offers post-secondary students a chance to attend CHOA CONNECTS, expand their professional networks, explore potential careers in the energy sector, and be a part of the energy transformation.

Industry Corner

The Industry Corner provides a unique opportunity for companies, sponsors, and industry partners to share their innovations and insights in TED-style talks, keeping attendees informed of the latest industry advancements throughout the day.

Trade Show Floor

The Trade Show Floor is a dedicated space with high traffic, customized for networking and strategic connections. CHOA’s corporate sponsors, collaborators, and other industry partners are invited to have a booth and present their products and services to the conference participants.

If you want to book your spot at the Industry Corner or

want to be part of the Future Innovators Corner, contact

[email protected].

Join us at CHOA CONNECTS 2023 as we explore, connect, and experience the future of the Canadian energy, heavy oil, and oil sands industry. Together, we will drive positive change, foster meaningful partnerships, and inspire innovation in pursuit of a sustainable and prosperous energy future.








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