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Agenda and Speakers

Workplace Mental Health 2016Jun 13–14, 2016 Toronto

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Monday, June 13, 2016

7:45 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:15 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair
Brewer <br />  
Executive Program Developer
The Conference Board of Canada
8:30 AM Plenary Session 1
Healthy Brains at Work: Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits and Programs

This session will outline the findings of the Board's latest research on the prevalence of employer-sponsored benefits and programs in Canada that address mental health at work. You will hear how employers are addressing mental health, including the guidelines and standards they use to implement their mental health strategy.

Louis will also discuss the challenges and barriers employers face when implementing a mental health strategy or policy.

Hear first-hand the results of this timely research and discuss how you can use this information to benchmark your own mental health programs, strategies, and costs.

Thériault <br />  
Vice-President, Public Policy
The Conference Board of Canada
9:00 AM Plenary Session 2
Research based priorities regarding mental health and disability

This session will provide the findings of Morneau Shepell's recent research on workplace mental health and disability from the point of view of employees, employers and physicians. Items covered include demographic trends that will increasingly impact employers' disability rates, the specific actions that employees believe would have prevented their disability absences, and critical challenges and insights related to mental disability that can directly inform a workplace mental health strategy.

Paula will also provide recommendations regarding a model of investment and foundational approach to workplace mental health strategy, as well as ways to integrate workplace mental health into your overall people strategy.

Allen <br />  
Vice-President, Research and Integrative Solutions
Morneau Shepell Ltd.
9:30 AM Plenary Session 3
Mental Health At Work: Applying And Augmenting The National Standard, Removing Stigma and Creating a Respectful Workplace

In previous years this event has featured discussion of the Mental Health Commission's groundbreaking work in raising the awareness of mental health and helping organizations address the issue in the workplace. The Standard has become the reference point for best practices in the field. As organizations begin applying the Standard it is valuable to examine the progress they have made to date and the lessons learned. And this session does just that through the experience of CAMH, one of the early adopters of the Standard.

Paula Harrington will be joined by Laura Zychla who will share the findings of a recent study that set out to evaluate the current state of mental health issues (including stress and burnout) in the medical laboratory profession, and create the process and associated tools to identify, monitor and support positive change in the Canadian workforce.

Harrington <br />  
Director, Organizational Development
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Zychla <br />  
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
10:15 AM Networking Break featuring Tri Fit
10:35 AM Plenary Session 4
What if your wellness strategy actually made your employees well?

This session will examine emerging trends in employee wellness as companies increasingly focus more on improving employee health rather than reducing benefits claims and costs and absenteeism. This wide ranging discussion will focus on the following key issues:

  • link between mental and physical health
  • technology and impact on wellness (e.g., wearables, gamification) including results from Xerox HumanServices' global survey Emerging Technology to Promote Employee Wellbeing
  • benefits of rebranding EAP for greater utilization
  • value of life coaching
  • measuring the impact and ROI

Reitmeier <br />  
Health Practice Leader
Xerox Canada Ltd.
11:15 AM Plenary Session 5
The Science of Happiness

Scientific studies have shown that 50% of our individual differences in happiness are determined by our genes, 10% by our life circumstances, and 40% by our intentional activities. This one-hour session will introduce participants to some of the research-based “happy habits” they can adopt to increase their levels of happiness and well-being. The importance of happiness at work and strategies for leaders will also be discussed. During this session, you will:

  • Develop a deeper understanding about happiness and the latest research in this field of study
  • Understand the importance of happiness in the workplace and what leaders can do
  • Increase their understanding of where they can have the greatest impact and influence on increasing happiness and wellbeing
  • Learn research-based techniques and strategies for long-lasting happiness

Spetch <br />  
Director, Organizational Wellness
Homewood Health
11:55 AM Plenary Session 6
FIT to Lead—Stakeholders who Walk the Talk While Advancing their Wellness Strategies

This wide ranging discussion featuring two wellness leaders will give you the opportunity explore different approaches to wellness and compare the strategies that have worked in different organizations.

These leaders will share some of the key milestones of the initiatives they have led together with some of the challenges and plans for the future. These will include:

  • Building the ROI case for wellness
  • Wellness as a key component of the employee value proposition
  • Links between mental and physical and spiritual health
  • Mindfulness
  • Successful strategies for increasing participation

Okazawa <br />  
Vice-President, People and Organization
Mars Canada Inc.
Woolman <br />  
Senior Manager, Wellness and Benefits
Deloitte LLP
12:40 PM Networking Luncheon
1:40 PM Plenary Session 7
Mental Wellness and Grief in the Workplace

While many quote the figure that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health issue at some point in our life, the number who will experience grief at the loss of a loved one likely approaches 100%.

And grief has a big impact on performance—both for those grieving whose focus and decision-making capacity may be impaired, and their colleagues who often feel at a loss as to what to say and how to act when someone returns from bereavement leave.

This is an important mental health issue in the workplace, one we will explore in this interactive and ultimately uplifting session.

Marshall <br />  
Founder and Principal
The Solacium Group
2:20 PM Plenary Session 8
Addressing the Wellness Issues of an Aging Workforce—What's Your Strategy for Alzheimer's Sufferers in the Workplace?

As the working population ages and with more people working beyond the traditional retirement age, the incidence of chronic disease will increase in your organization. Alzheimer's disease is increasingly an issue for employers. This is both because as the working population ages more dementia sufferers are at work and also people are being diagnosed earlier.

This session will examine the challenge this development poses and suggest ways that organizations can best address this issue. You will hear some original research into the extent of the problem from the Board as well as the hearing some of the human stories that must inform decision making in this area.

Discussion will include identifying signs of dementia, how to respond, and how companies can best support sufferers and equally importantly caregivers.

Harvey <br />  
Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer
Alzheimer Society of Ontario
3:00 PM Refreshment Break featuring Tri Fit
3:15 PM Plenary Session 9
BroMatters: Healthy Minds for Working Men

Major depression is prevalent in the general population and men are not immune from depression. However, men are socialized to be emotionally stoic and exemplify traditional masculine characteristics such as independence, self-reliance and dominance. Men are concerned over the perceived negative judgments from family, friends and employers if they access treatment for depression.

On November 19th, 2014, Dr. Wang's team was selected by The Movember Foundation's Canadian Mental Health Initiative ( for funding to raise the awareness about depression in men, and to identify effective, low cost and non-stigmatizing solutions that can reduce men's risk of having depression. The Project is led by the University of Calgary in collaboration with five other Canadian universities and several NGOs including the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

Wang <br />  
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
University of Calgary
4:00 PM Day 1 Adjourns

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

7:45 AM Continental Breakfast
8:15 AM Opening Remarks from the Chair
Brewer <br />  
Executive Program Developer
The Conference Board of Canada
8:20 AM Plenary Session 10
Keeping Time: Morning Larks, Night Owls and Circadian Rhythms

Adults spend on average one third of their lives asleep and the quality of our sleep has profound influence on our overall physical and mental health. Shift work, lack of work life balance and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets all have negative effects on employees sleep and thus impact performance.

In this session you will hear from one of Canada's leading sleep researchers about his work in this area.

Lim <br />  
Assistant Professor and Clinician Scientist, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto
University of Toronto
9:00 AM Plenary Session 11
Working Together to Address Mental Health

Addressing mental health for large organizations can be complicated due to multiple competing business priorities, different business functions and organizational designs, and many stakeholders with different aspirations. Despite the challenges ahead, the Federal Public Service Department's have recently begun the journey towards creating a psychologically safer workplace for workers in the Public Service.

In support of these efforts, in March 2015, the President of the Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada established a Joint Task Force to address mental health issues in the Public Service. On December 2, 2015, a Report containing preliminary recommendations of the Technical Committee was released. During this session, the Co-Chairs of the Technical Committee, Caroline Curran and Bob Kingston, will discuss the work of the Committee, its recommendations with respect to mental health in the Public Service, and the next phase of the Committee's work.

Bar-David <br />  
Bar-David Consulting
Curran <br />  
Executive Director, Human Resources Division
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Kingston <br />  
Agriculture Union - PSAC
9:55 AM Networking Break featuring Tri Fit
10:10 AM Plenary Session 12
Connections: Linking Financial and Physical Wellness to Mental Health

Financial stress is a driver of mental health challenges. In fact, the stress that employees may feel from personal financial issues can significantly impact both mental and physical health. A recent study found that those who struggle with financial stress can cost employers more than two work weeks a year in employee productivity. Learn about the dynamics of this issue, such as how financial stress may affect different groups in the workforce and whether they differ based on generation or economic contexts. You'll hear how targeted programs and overall mental health strategies in the workplace can mean positive change for employees.

Pelletier <br />  
Assistant Vice-President, Workplace Mental Health
Sun Life Financial
10:50 AM Plenary Session 13
Autism in the Workplace

Too often discussions about mental health in the workplace begin and end with depression and anxiety. While these are critical issues deserving of attention we need to broaden our focus and consider other mental health issues.

One of these is Autism Spectrum Disorder—and it is one that gained a considerable amount of attention recently after a video of a autistic barista at a Starbucks in Toronto went viral leading to an appearance on the US talk show Ellen.

While this publicity was welcome, what is needed is broader recognition and better understanding of this condition and concrete efforts to place autistic people in the workplace and create the conditions for success.

And that is what Cynthia does. In this session she will share her recent work with Halifax's Autism Job Seekers Database which connects employers— like Halifax Libraries, Value Village and UPS—with people with autism seeking employment.

Carroll <br />  
Executive Director
Autism Nova Scotia
11:30 AM Plenary Session 14
Case Study: It’s Good to be Blue— Workplace Culture and Mental Health Awareness

Loblaw is a recognized leader in the area of overall workplace wellness. In this session however, Dr Jonathan Davids will focus on their work on mental health. Loblaw Companies’ approach will inspire as they tackle the issue head on. Recognizing that removing stigma is a key part of helping those with mental health issues, Loblaw Companies have focused as much on cultural change as on more tangible interventions. And indeed raising understanding of mental health has gone hand in hand with a broader cultural change.

Knowing how hard it is to change culture, this session will provide essential information for anyone wanting to really enhance the mental health of all employees and in so doing create a more engaging and productive workplace.

Hebert <br />  
Senior Medical Director
Loblaw Companies Limited
Davids <br />  
Senior Medical Director, Medical Services Group
Loblaw Inc.
12:10 PM Plenary Session 15
The Coping Crisis: Evolving Coping Skills for Employees

In his book, The Coping Crisis, Dr. Bill Howatt suggests that a large contribution to the mental health crisis is employees' ability to cope with environmental stressors. In this session Dr. Bill Howatt will explore how employees move along the mental health continuum towards mental illness. He will discuss practical examples of how a concept called "coping churn" stalls employees from being able to take control over their lives.

Bill will also explore ideas on how to manage the demands employees must deal with in their environment, as well as the pressure they put on themselves. As with any skill development, developing coping skills requires both knowledge and practice. He will alsol explore how both employers and employees can better deal with environmental pressures, as well as:

  • Introduce the coping skills conundrum and the challenges of changing behaviour
  • Explore 9 micro skills that influence one's ability to cope with environmental stressors
  • Discuss the need role and responsibility of both the employee and the employer in creating environments where coping skills can be developed

Howatt <br />  
Chief Research and Development Officer, Workforce Productivity
Morneau Shepell Ltd.
12:45 PM Closing Remarks
1:00 PM Conference Adjourns


We’d like to thank our generous sponsors for their contribution to this event.

Homewood Health logo

Morneau Shepell logo

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada logo

Xerox HR Services logo

Exhibit Sponsors

A.R.S. Assessment Rehabilitation Services Inc. logo

LifeSpeak Inc. logo

Medaca Health Group logo

SIMAC Canada Inc. logo

Mental Health Commission of Canada logo

Marketing Partners

The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation logo

Certified Disability Management Professionals logo

Healthy Minds Canada logo

Ontario Psychological Association logo

Special Contributors

FitterFirst logo

Trifit logo

The details of this event are subject to change. Please revisit this page periodically for updated information.