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Workplace Wellness and Mental Health

2015 Event

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2014 Event

Delegates gathered in Toronto for Workplace Wellness and Mental Health to hear the latest Conference Board research on disability management programs, depression in the workplace, absenteeism, addiction and substance abuse. Renowned thought leaders joined the speaker panel, including celebrated Canadian and mental health advocate Margaret Trudeau.

Researchers and thought leaders focused on the importance of wellness initiatives in the workplace and guided delegates on the right path for investment and strategies to for measuring the health and wellness return on investment. Delegates learned that without an industry-leading wellness program, you're putting your organization at a distinct disadvantage in the competition for top talent.

Featured Speakers From the 2014 Event

Margaret Trudeau

Margaret Trudeau
Celebrated Canadian and Mental Health Advocate

Dave Rodney

Dave Rodney
Associate Minister of Wellness
Alberta Health

Melissa Barton

Melissa Barton
Director, Occupational Health, Wellness and Safety
Mount Sinai Hospital

Ronna Bloom

Ronna Bloom
Poet in Residence
Mount Sinai Hospital

Loretta M. Brill

Loretta M. Brill
Chief Executive Officer
Nxknowledge Corporation

Dr. Joe Flanders

Dr. Joe Flanders
Assistant Professor
McGill University Psychology Department and
Founder and Director, MindSpace

Geneviève Fortier

Geneviève Fortier
Senior Vice-President
Human Resources, Government Affairs and Corporate Communications
McKesson Canada

Emmanuelle A. Gaudette

Emmanuelle A. Gaudette
Manager, Prevention, Health and Wellness
The Standard Life Assurance Company

Andre Guérin

Andre Guérin
Director, Human Resources
Medtronic of Canada

Kimberley Hogan

Kimberley Hogan
Vice-President, Human Resources
Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc.

Karim Kurji

Karim Kurji
Principal, Technology Solutions
Buck Consultants Limited

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee
Program Manager, Work With Us
Mood Disorders Society of Canada

Matt Miles

Matt Miles
Vice-President, Product and Marketing
Manulife Financial

Serafina Morgia

Serafina Morgia
Canadian Health and Productivity Practice Leader
Buck Consultants Limited

José Pastor

José Pastor
Senior Advisor, Attendance Management
VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier

Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier
Director, Workplace Mental Health
Sun Life Financial

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
Professor, Psychology
University of Toronto

Sue Pridham

Sue Pridham
Tri Fit Inc.

Aaron Sapra

Aaron Sapra
Regional Director, Canada
Global Corporate Challenge

Jacques Sauvageau

Jacques Sauvageau
Vice-President, General Manager, Quebec
Homewood Health

Dr. Alain Sotto

Dr. Alain Sotto
Chief Health and Wellness Officer, RRJ Inc.
Director, Medcan Wellness Clinic
and Occupational Medical Consultant Toronto Transit Commission

Jennifer L. Sygo

Jennifer L. Sygo
Registered Dietician and Sports Nutritionist
Cleveland Clinic Canada

Karla Thorpe

Karla Thorpe
Director, Workplace Health and Wellness Research
The Conference Board of Canada

Liliana R. Ziobakas

Liliana R. Ziobakas
Wellness Leader and Public Affairs Specialist
DuPont Canada

The Wrap-Up Poem

John BrewerAs program developer and Chair of the event, it was John Brewer’s responsibility to introduce the sessions, foster discussion among the speakers and attendees, and ensure that the conference is a memorable one for all participants. The chair must also summarize the presentations upon completion; and while a few main themes and talking points might suffice at your typical event, John has developed a reputation for presenting abridged versions of each event through the magic of poetry. By inserting case study examples, top lessons, and even jokes from the speakers into his verse, John wowed an already pleased crowd with the exceptional poem below. Enjoy!

Jordan urged us to use words that are our own
so that’s what I’ll do before you head off home

Here’s my dilemma that I’ll share with you.
this event is about employee wellness—news flash you’re an employee too

So we’ve heard quite a lot about what organizations must do
and also things that relate directly to you

To be quite honest it’s been diverse and dense
and now my job is to make it all make sense

Well I will try my best at explaining what I see
but clarity I can’t guarentee

So what have I learned over this day or two
Well here are five things I’d like to share with you

Mindfulness has been used for 2500 years
to calm the mind, focus, get rid of our fears

If you’re suffering overwork, distraction anxiety—you’re not the only one
mindfulness, it’s a tool whose time as come

Continuous partial attention is mental pollution
think then of mindfulness as the solution

Your hippocampus will grow, your amygdyla shrink
your cerebral cortex thickens—this all helps you think

Employees are looking to employers to help them out
a wellness plan is essential now, no doubt

Starting small is good—you can’t change the world in a day
step by step is often the best way

Mix the short then with the long
stick to this and you won’t go far wrong

It can be a wellness fair, a marathon, even a garden—an eden
and let that success grow let it become a beacon

You need some results in the short term but that’s not your goal
we need to focus on people’s health—a wellness that’s whole

Wellness delivers real value—it will reduce your costs
but if that is what you focus on something is lost

So stop then focussing on ROI
think instead of the employees who won’t die

Your initiatives save lives, make no mistake
never doubt that a difference you make

But you’re also helping your company’s bottom line
through engagement, productivity, and people simply feeling fine

Wellness goes way beyond the physical
it’s emotional, intellectual, financial, spiritual

So for physical wellness walk the walk
But for you mind you need to talk, talk, talk

But really you can’t separate the two
they both interact - it’s what they do

It’s about sleep, what you eat, how you work and play
it’s about everything you do (and don’t do) every day

And all these are linked in so many ways
if you’re obese for instance you get depressed

Build that wellness where you happen to be
that might be at work for you, or at home for me

Use technology to engage
There are gadgets and apps that are all the rage

But it’s not the data that you get
it’s what you then do with it

And look at tools like the scout
for simple diabetes testing it’s the bomb, no doubt

Five: Mental Health
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life
but don’t let them turn into strife

For physical wellness walk the walk
For you mind you need to talk, talk, talk

And talking is how we tell our stories, a world create
define your future—determine your fate….

Enable sufferers to connect
isolation is the enemy—it has very bad effects

Peers have an important role to play
its not exaggerating to say they can save the day

And make sure you get leaders on board with the idea
they must support it—do I make myself clear?

Does your organization reward being tough
or do you know when enough’s enough?

So communicate, expose the elephant in the room
unless your a pachadermophobe—that would spell doom

Six: Fatigue
66% would rather sleep than party
sleeping well makes you hale and hearty—which should help you party

Fatigue is something we all know too well
don’t sleep for a few days and you’re lost in hell

To Conclude:
We started with mindfulness, we are ending with this poem
and soon you all back to your homes you’ll be going

So two last thoughts before you go
two small things I’d like you to know

Chances are your spending too long in front of a screen
sitting at your desk all day till your wanting to scream..

Sitting is the new smoking
yes that’s the truth I am not joking

So here then is a simple task
stand up now get off your……..

Take every opportunity to get outside
wellness should be fun—enjoy the ride

So remember overwork is the biggest stress
so turn off the phone ,unplug the tablet—it’s for the best

Focus on your goals, don’t be led astray
if you’re organization goes pathological—fight it or say g'day

Reject the myth of multitasking
focus on one thing at a time is what I’m asking

So whether you are at the bottom of the mountain or the top
Take a focussed moment—or a few—and just stop

Workplace Wellness agenda cover


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

Manulife Financial logo

Homewood Health logo

The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada logo

Buck Consultants Limited logo

McKesson Canada logo

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada logo

Marketing Partners

Association of Ontario Health Centres  logo

Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health logo

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists logo

Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care logo

Canadian College of Health Leaders logo

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work logo

Canadian Positive Psychology Association logo

Canadian Psychological Association logo

Canadian Public Health Association logo

Healthy Minds Canada logo

Mental Health Commission of Canada logo

Mood Disorders Society of Canada logo

Mood Food Culinary logo

Special Contributors

Data on the Spot (DOTS) logo

Tri Fit Inc. logo

Social Media

Twitter @CBoC_Events


“Excellent conference with lots of ideas to improve wellness programming to include building resilience and detecting illness. Thanks for the research presented and the ‘gathering of minds.’”

“Excellent conference! Very informative. Incredible keynote speaker. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.”

“Loved how you touched on all aspects of health and wellness.”

“Very well done”

“Thank you for a wonderful two days”

“This was the first Wellness conference I have attended and I thought it was very well organized with an excellent array of speakers. Thank you!”


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