Shaping Alberta’s Approach
to Climate Change Adaptation

CCEMC Climate Change Adaptation Leaders Forum

Wednesday January 20, 2016, 8:00AM – 5:00PM
Matrix Hotel
10640-100 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Forum Pre-reading Working Session Documents

Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerabilities
Risk Areas and Key Questions

Shaping Alberta’s Approach to Climate Change Adaptation

On January 20, 2016, the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation will host
Alberta’s first Climate Change Adaptation Leaders Forum. This one-day gathering of decision makers from business, academia, NGOs and municipal, provincial and federal governments provides an important opportunity to collectively shape our approach to adaptation.

Our changing climate will have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social implications for all Albertans. In the years ahead, the impacts will be diverse and it is critical that we collaborate to identify ways to prepare for and manage the risks associated with these changes.

You and your organization have an important voice in this conversation and participation will help ensure your interests are represented. Suggestions from the working sessions will be summarized into a report for the Government of Alberta, CCEMC and key stakeholders that will help us mobilize plans to address climate change adaptation in Alberta.


Note: Program subject to change and additions

  • 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM: Registration and Breakfast
  • 8:00 AM – 8:15 AM: Welcome remarks 
  • 8:15 AM – 9:00 AM: Keynote: Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA), University of Waterloo presents: “Weather Gone Wild, Not Adapting is NOT an option!”
  • 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Case Study Keynote: Craig Snodgrass, Mayor, Town of High River, Alberta presents “Flood Mitigation – Anticipating Climate Change”
  • 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Generation Y Keynote: Emerson Csorba, co-founder of Gen Y Inc. 
  • 10:00 AM – 10:15 AM: BREAK 
  • 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM: Aboriginal Values Keynote: Dr. Patricia Makokis, MD, Saddle Lake Cree Nation. A noted authority on Aboriginal values, Dr. Makokis will speak on “The Natural Laws of First Nations”
  • 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM: Inspirational Keynote: Robin Esrock, bestselling author, tourism expert and global adventurer
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: LUNCH 
  • 12:30 PM – 12:45 PM: Inspired Conversations setting:
    This facilitated Round Table working session is calling leaders to action to address the impacts of climate change in Alberta and offer inspiring, insightful and actionable suggestions.
  • 12:45 PM – 2:30 PM: Inspired Conversations: Round Table Begins
  • 2:30 PM – 2:45 PM: BREAK
  • 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM: Inspired Conversations – Round Table Continues
  • 4:15 PM – 4:30 PM: CCEMC closing remarks


Introductory Keynote Speaker – Dr. Blair Feltmate, Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA), Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo

Dr. Feltmate is Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo. The primary purpose of the ICCA is to mobilize practical and cost-effective means to help de-risk Canada from climate change and extreme weather events.
Previous positions Dr. Feltmate has held include Vice President, Sustainable Development, Bank of Montreal; Director, Sustainable Development, OPG; and Partner, Sustainable Investment Group/YMG Capital Management. 
Dr. Feltmate has published scores of papers on adaptation to climate change, the additive value of sustainable development applied to business, and population and community ecology. He has co-authored two textbooks: Aquatic Insects (1992) and Sustainable Banking (2015). He holds a Ph.D in Theoretical and Applied Ecology, Masters in Zoology, Masters in Sustainable Development, and he was an NSERC post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Feltmate is a member of various business and NGO boards.

Case Study Keynote – Craig Snodgrass, Mayor, Town of High River, Alberta

Born and raised in High River, Craig Snodgrass has deep roots and commitment to the community. Not only is he a lifelong resident, but he is also the owner of a successful business.

Since being elected mayor in 2013, he has worked with his fellow councillors, town staff, residents and businesses to build a community where innovation is encouraged and where individuals can dare to think outside the box.

He’s committed to moving the town forward and to implementing Council’s mission statement:

“Doing it better, being innovative and daring to be different”.

It is an exciting time to be in High River as it expands and is reimagined into a vibrant, people-focused community that reflects best practices for living and creating a beautiful town.

Mayor Snodgrass will speak on how the Town of High River has taken a variety of actions to protect against future disasters since major flooding affected the community in 2013. Some of these measures include the construction of dikes, planning for a new Centre Street bridge and transportation corridor, and the removal of entire neighbourhoods.

GEN Y Keynote – Emerson Csorba, Co-founder and Director, Gen Y Inc.

Mr. Csorba consults with clients across various sectors and cities as well as overseeing marketing/sales for Gen Y Inc. His experience includes work with multinational corporations in heavy materials and aggregates, to facilitations with leading technology business incubators, agricultural societies, economic development agencies, newspapers and government departments. He is a 3M National Fellow, American Express Top 45 Emerging Innovator in North America, and was recently named an Avenue Magazine Top 40 Under 40 recipient in Edmonton. In 2014, Emerson received the University of Cambridge Trust Scholarship in order to read for a M.Phil in Politics, Development and Democratic Education (Pembroke College), after graduating as a Peter Lougheed Scholar in Sciences Politiques at the University of Alberta, where he continues to contribute as an Alumni Council representative.

Emerson is the Former Editor-in-Chief of The Wanderer Online, a digital magazine that in 2 years produced over 1200 articles. He also served as the Chair of TEDxEdmonton, and was a Curator of the Edmonton hub of World Economic Forum Global Shapers, also serving as a member of the WEF Global Shapers Council on Collaborations. Emerson’s work in Cambridge includes advising UK government and business leaders on innovation as a Centre for Science and Policy Fellows Network member, and serving on the Executive of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, where he helped deliver a one-week event for tech leaders including the CTO of the United States. He was also elected a Vice-President of Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, Europe’s longest-standing student entrepreneurship society, spoke at the Judge School of Business and Cambridge Regional College on innovation and entrepreneurship, and advised fast-growing startups such as the Innovation Forum and Cambridge Squared.

Aboriginal Values Keynote – Dr. Patricia Makokis

Dr. Makokis is an authority on Aboriginal values. She lives them daily. Residing on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Northern Alberta, she has embraced both the Cree culture and the western world view. Currently, Dr. Makokis works as a liaison between the oil patch and the indigenous people to help them achieve together a better future for both. She intimately knows the history of indigenous peoples and she practices their philosophy and beliefs in everything that she does. She knows the proceedings and results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The vital and necessary guiding principles of her Indigenous values are deeply rooted in the worship and respect for the land and the environment. This is the perspective that she brings, The Natural Laws of First Nations, to the table as we, together, frame a new Policy on Climate Change.

Dr. Makokis is internationally and nationally renowned. She is in demand as a speaker across Canada not only because she is an expert on Indigenous matters, but also because of her articulate and humourous presentations.

Inspirational Keynote – Robin Esrock, bestselling author, tourism expert and global adventurer

Robin Esrock is the creator and host of the 40-part series Word Travels, seen weekly on CityTV and OLN in Canada, on National Geographic in over 50 countries, and on Travel Channel in 21 languages worldwide. He is the author of the bestselling book The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-of-a-Kind Travel Experiences, which Jon Montgomery (host of The Amazing Race Canada) calls “A big game changer…[this book is] a definitive guide to any Canuck looking to experience great travel and adventure.” His books The Great Western Canada, Central Canada, and Atlantic Canada Bucket List, will be available February 2015, and The Great Global Bucket List is forthcoming from HarperCollins in 2016. Esrock has been a travel columnist for The Globe and Mail, MSN, Bell, Outpost, and the Vancouver Sun, and his stories have been published in National Geographic Traveler, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald, and Dallas Morning News.

Esrock has been profiled as a travel expert by, among others, the CBC, CTV, Global, CNN, Forbes Travel, and Travel and Leisure. He was Master of Ceremonies for the prestigious Explorer’s Club Annual Dinner in New York, sharing the stage with the likes of Buzz Aldrin and Ken Burns, and spoke at the world’s largest-ever TEDx event.