Creating a better workplace for your employees—one that is agile in the face of change, that actively engages diverse perspectives, and that prioritizes physical safety and psychological wellbeing—is no easy task.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has ignited change, uncertainty, and opportunities in unprecedented ways.

As you think about the future of work, how is your organization activating a better workplace?

The Better Workplace Conference 2020 will bring together thought leadership, case studies, and engaging discussions to address unique challenges and opportunities that are emerging for Canadian organizations.

Join us for a week-long virtual journey centred around connecting you with industry experts and leaders from across the country and sharing practical information that can be directly translated to your workplace.

Man working on computer holding baby; hands typing on a laptop

Speakers

Ron Tite

Purpose-Driven Leadership and Marketing Expert
Founder of Church+State content marketing agency

Stéphane Grenier

Founder and Lead Innovator
Mental Health Innovations

Camille Dundas

Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
ByBlacks.com

Wes Hall

Executive Chairman and Founder
Kingsdale Advisors

Agenda

The Better Workplace Conference 2020 is all about shaking things up. We want to break away from the status quo, open minds, and forge new relationships. To do this, we enlisted a select group of Council on Workplace Health and Wellness members to become our BWC 2020 ambassadors and help support the development of this agenda.

This year’s agenda revolves around the following themes:

  • Drivers shaping our workplaces
  • Innovation to build safer and more productive workplaces
  • The leadership competencies needed in industry 4.0

Please note: All agenda times are in Eastern Daylight Time. See what time that is for you.

View the agenda and access links for each session on October 26.

1:00 p.m.

Join us as we welcome you to our first fully virtual Better Workplace Conference.

Co-hosts

Brian Benjamin

Vice-President
The Conference Board of Canada

Amanda Daoust

Amanda Daoust

Network Manager
The Conference Board of Canada

1:30 p.m.
Keynote session A

Over the course of the last decade, an increasing amount of attention has been paid to workplace mental health. As business leaders and organizations began to take tangible steps towards improving how they support their people, the COVID-19 pandemic struck with little to no warning.

Workplace paradigms were disrupted overnight, requiring a complete reengineering of existing support systems and connection modalities.

Working remotely became the new norm and organizations were forced to rethink how to shape their workplaces for the future, as well as find innovative ways to hire, engage, retain, and support employees.

Throughout his entire career, Stephane has been a people leader. Over the course of the last 20 years, he has focussed exclusively on improving how organizations can better support employees struggling from mental health and/or life challenges. Now President of his own virtual company, Grenier brings tangible and pragmatic solutions to today’s workplaces by blending lived accounts, riveting corporate case studies, leading-edge research and technology, all underpinned by passionate arguments.

Moderator

Steven Solomon

Vice President, Client Management
Teladoc Helath Canada

Speaker

Stéphane Grenier

Founder and Lead Innovator
Mental Health Innovations

2:00 p.m.
Break
2:05 p.m.
Plenary session

The evidence is mounting: Organizations must develop a mental health strategy for their employees. Even though the tools, resources, and guidelines exist to help deliver strategies, many organizations still struggle to find a way forward. For some organizations, the pandemic has forced a reset in corporate mental health initiatives. Others have found the need to push forward even more.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has trained hundreds of thousands of Canadians through The Working Mind and Mental Health First Aid programs. For years, they were delivered by thousands of qualified trainers to 5,000+ communities and 14,000+ organizations. And for the first time in our history, these courses are available virtually. While training is instrumental to help change the conversation, equip employees with positive coping mechanisms, and enhance healthy behaviours, it’s only the beginning.

In this session we will discuss:

  • Scalable efforts that are proven to reduce stigma, increase resilience, and enhance healthy and safe cultures within an organization
  • How the Mental Health Commission is helping organizations implement a mental health strategy—from audits, to evaluations, to sustaining momentum
  • Real-life journeys that organizations are taking to change the mental health dialogue within their workforce.

Moderator

Tiana Field-Ridley

Implementation Specialist, Workplace Mental Health
Mental Health Commission of Canada

Speakers

Pauline Meunier

Training and Delivery Specialist
Mental Health Commission of Canada

Steven R. Sproule

Manager of Health
Benefits and Retirement
Husky Energy

Julia Tahardi

Disability Management Consultant
Health and Wellness Department
Hydro One

2:50 p.m.
Break
3:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set A (please select one)

A1—Before things go south: Monitoring new-normal workplace culture

Organizations are being tested right now on how well they’re adapting strategies, approaches, and policies to reflect current realities. And it’s up to the leaders to help their organizations face adversity. How can you be sure your workforce is thriving?

In this session, Zorianna Hyworon, CEO and founder of InfoTech Inc., will provide practical take-aways on how leaders can monitor workplace culture during organizational change and uncertainty. She will explain how our “new normal” could impact work environments, and show how leaders can use data, metrics, and insights to inform policies and detect signs of workplace risks before they happen. Building on her experience working with multinational companies, Zorianna will unpack case studies and offer tools and solutions for leaders to bring back to their organizations.

Moderator

Eric Pfeiffer

Senior Health Management Consultant
Manulife

Speakers

Zorianna Hyworon

President & CEO
Wellness Checkpoint

How can you best support your employees from the point of recognizing a problem to providing accessible, quality healthcare? Thankfully, there are now many virtual options—something that’s more important now than ever before.

Comprehensive virtual care is designed to treat the whole person—from general medical, to mental health, to complex care needs. In this session, hear how leading Canadian employers are harnessing the power of virtual care to drive greater convenience, outcomes, and value.

Moderator

Marcel Qualizza

Assistant Director, HR Strategies
BC Pension Corporation

Speakers

Vanessa Lycos

Vice President, Product and Marketing, Group Solutions
Empire Life

Steven Solomon

Vice President, Client Management
Teladoc Health Canada

3:45 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

4:45 p.m.
Day 1 adjournment

View the agenda and access links for each session on October 27.

1:00 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

1:25 p.m.
Opening remarks
1:30 p.m.
Keynote session B

The global pandemic and worldwide Black Lives Matter protests have sparked renewed discussion about inclusion and belonging for Black employees. This virtual session is for corporate executives who want to go beyond public statements and root out racism from their hiring practices and workplace cultures.

With a combination of education and practical discussions, this session will help leaders understand the range of Black experiences in the workplace and their impact on mental well-being. This armchair discussion will touch on key topics such as:

  • The secret racist history of Canada (Spoiler: We had slavery too!)
  • How can HR support employees who experience racism in the workplace?
  • When good people do bad things: Why all of us have biases and how to recognize them
  • What do I do now? Things you can do today to help make your workplace a safer space for everyone
  • How true leaders support colleagues in allyship

Moderator

Andrew Wood

Account Executive
Desjardins Insurance

Speakers

Laura Williams

Principal and Founder
Williams HR Law Professional Corporation and Williams HR Consulting Inc

Camille Dundas

Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
ByBlacks.com

2:15 p.m.
Break
2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set B (please select one)


B1—Coaching your way to success

Solving today’s business challenges requires different thinking. Leaders and teams need to make space to develop promising ideas. One of the best ways to do this is by thinking like a coach. In this session, we’ll explore best coaching practices from some of Canada’s leading organizations. We’ll also share how you can develop these skills in-house to generate fresh ideas, solve today’s problems, and keep employees feeling confident, engaged, and cared for.

Moderator

Amanda Daoust

Amanda Daoust

Network Manager
The Conference Board of Canada

Speakers

Margo Hoyt

Managing Director, Talent & Leadership Development
LHH

B2—Digitization and the future of work

COVID-19 has expedited the adoption of digital technologies. As a result, we will see faster adoption of automation. These two forces combined will alter fundamental aspects of the Canadian economy: On the one hand, productivity will increase. On the other, one in five Canadian workers will need to recalibrate their skills.

This session presents The Conference Board of Canada’s latest research findings on the impact of technology on Canada’s local economies. Afterward, panellists will discuss potential next steps, roles for stakeholders, and private sector involvement.

Moderator

Harry Sharma

Director, Innovation and Technology
The Conference Board of Canada

Panellists

Ken Doyle

Executive Director
Tech Access Canada

Zafer Sonmez

Zafer Sonmez

Research Associate
The Conference Board of Canada

Mental health accounts for 30% of disability cases in Canada, but 70% of costs—and it may well get worse after the pandemic. Businesses and insurers need to start innovating across the board from prevention to treatment. But what kind of innovation are we talking about?

Up until now, the world of psychological health has been largely unreceptive to technology, but it has recently taken a giant leap forward thanks to artificial intelligence. Now it’s at the heart of a lucrative market where the need to sell sometimes takes precedence over the will to cure. With this in mind, real innovation—the kind that prevents illness and ensures a safe work environment—may come from elsewhere

This presentation will give you a behind-the-scenes look at new technologies, and into the heart of organizations where the future of mental health is unfolding.

Moderator

Lyne Brun

Supervisor, Health and Wellness
Nova Scotia Power

Panellists

Charmaine Alexander

Senior Advisor, Disability Management
Desjardins Insurance

3:30 p.m.
Break
3:45 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

4:45 p.m.
Day 2 adjournment

View the agenda and access links for each session on October 28.

1:00 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

1:25 p.m.
Opening remarks
1:30 p.m.
Keynote session C

COVID-19 has changed how work is being done and how employees interact. A recent study conducted by The Conference Board of Canada and Mental Health Commission of Canada found the quality of employees’ social connections matter in predicting how well they cope through difficult times.

When ignored and undealt with, the psychosocial factor of isolation can increase the risk for employees’ mental harm and erode their mental health. As organizations adjust and adapt to the new normal, they must consider the importance of meaningful social connections for supporting employee’s mental health and job fulfillment.

In this session, Dr. Howatt will:

  • Explore the relationship between the psychosocial factor of isolation and employees’ psychological health and safety in the workplace.
  • Review the links between social connections gaps and mental health.
  • Discuss how to measure employees’ perceived isolation and loneliness in the workplace.
  • Define actions employers can take to support employees in building healthy and safe social connections.

Moderator

Aida Begovic

Senior Director, Workplace Wellbeing Products
Health Solutions Team, Shoppers Drug Mart

Speaker

Bill Howatt

Chief of Research, Workforce Productivity
The Conference Board of Canada

2:15 p.m.
Break
2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set C (please select one)

C1—Tools for a resilient workforce

As employees return to work, join Aida Begovic and Dr. Angel Enrique Roig to learn how employers can better support their employees’ mental health. Their chat will walk you through some tools that are available in market today. Dr. Enrique Roig will explain how digital platforms can promote and maintain individuals’ positive mental health and well-being. He will also explain the many ways users can make the most out of the platform, and provide examples of free tools you can use to support those dealing with stress and help them build resilience.

Moderator

Lyne Brun

Supervisor, Health and Wellness
Nova Scotia Power

Speakers

Aida Begovic

Senior Director, Workplace Wellbeing Products
Health Solutions Team, Shoppers Drug Mart

Angel Enrique

Digital Health Scientist
Silvercloud Health

The next phase of the pandemic will throw out leadership challenges like we’ve never seen. Economic realities will begin to bite. Social distancing will create cultural wedges in the workplace. New competencies will be needed and along with them, practices to help navigate what’s ahead. Relational leadership is a new way to think about how we lead that is meant for these times. As a relational leader, you’ll harness emergent, dynamic and co-created energy that will help you see the big picture faster, accelerating performance. In this presentation, we’ll explore how pausing, planning and preparing are will keep you moving with agility and confidence. You’ll leave the session armed with the 7 key questions to ask of yourself as you prepare for a turbulent 2021.

Participants will learn:

  • How to make the leap onto relational leadership’s seven stepping stones
  • How to harness multiple perspectives to ignite commitment, trust, and accountability
  • How to develop pause, plan and prepare, enabling you to find more room to maneuver and attain much needed breathing space

Moderator

Lyne Wilson

Assistant Vice-President, Talent Management
NAV Canada

Speakers

Jill Birch

Leadership and Team Development Facilitator
Founder and CEO, BirchGrove Inc.

3:30 p.m.
Break
3:45 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

4:45 p.m.
Day 3 adjournment

View the agenda and access links for each session on October 29.

1:00 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

1:25 p.m.
Opening remarks
1:30 p.m.
Keynote session D

Leaders have always been expected to manage change. But this is different. Change has changed. Reality is shifting daily, if not hourly, and there are no orderly phases or playbooks to get us through. In these unprecedented times, even the best employees will struggle to stay productive. While we can’t stop the current tsunami, we do have the power to create calm within the storm.

In this virtual session, Dr. Liane Davey equips leaders with the tools needed to deliver even in the midst of chaos. With the right mindset and language, leaders will be able to surface and move through resistance and drama rather than getting stuck in it. Most importantly, Dr. Davey will share strategies you need right now, so you have the energy, patience, and endurance to be there for your employees throughout this ordeal.

Liane Davey

PhD, psychologist, business strategist, author, keynote speaker

2:15 p.m.
Break
2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set D (please select one)

D1—Returning after workplace injury or illness: What’s changed since COVID-19?

This session will explore how COVID-19 is changing the return-to-work process and its impacts on Canadian employers and their employees. Join this discussion to see how employers can adjust their return-to-work procedures in a pandemic-era workplace. Get practical tips and ideas as we consider the future of work.

This session will explore the following questions:

  • How has COVID-19 changed businesses’ return-to-work and claim management processes?
  • How can employers better support their employees in their return from a workplace injury and/or illness?
  • Looking at the future of work, what other considerations will employers need to navigate?
Samia Jarjoura

Vice President,Sales & Consulting
ReedGroup Canada

Melissa O’Dell Reinhardt

Paralegal
ReedGroup Canada

Nicole Desautels

Workers’ Compensation Specialist
ReedGroup Canada

As leaders and professionals, we have suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a completely unprecedented pandemic, which has accelerated our transition to digital workspaces and remote technology systems. In this new world, we are more physically distant than ever, yet our need for connection and collaboration has never been greater. Leaders all around the world have been tasked with the challenge of connecting their people virtually and establishing new inroads to digital transformation. To achieve success, leaders will have to understand how to leverage emotional intelligence in a virtual space, which is even more challenging than leveraging these critical leadership skills face-to-face. This session will outline what emotional intelligence is, why it matters today more than ever, and how leaders and professionals can leverage this skill in digital landscapes to cultivate more effective team collaboration.

Moderator

Marcel Qualizza

Assistant Director, HR Strategies
BC Pension Corporation

Speakers

Jamelle Lindo

Emotional Intelligence Leadership Coach
Paradigm People Development Inc.

3:30 p.m.
Break
3:45 p.m.

A great deal is learned from connecting and networking with others. Build your network, engage in conversation, and learn from your peers during these intentional networking blocks.

4:45 p.m.
Day 4 adjournment

View the agenda and access links for each session on October 30.

1:25 p.m.
Opening remarks
1:30 p.m.
Plenary session

A key insight into workplaces doing well during the pandemic is how quickly they were able to pivot. Developing capabilities to transform ways of working together means embracing new ways to learn, to empower and generate a culture of trust. This means understanding how change has changed and acquiring new skills to become ever more innovative and agile. How leaders respond in the coming months will make the crucial difference in this time of fragility.

This panel discussion will explore the experiences of three leaders who will share their perspectives and lessons learned during the pandemic, how their leadership has changed and how they are supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion to foster greater collaboration. Our panel will look not only at best, but next practices, sharing advice to support your leadership in the development of stronger, connective workplaces.

Moderator

Jill Birch

Leadership and Team Development Facilitator
Founder and CEO, BirchGrove Inc.

Panellists

Kunal Gupta

CEO
Polar Inc.

Diane Brisebois

President & CEO
Retail Council of Canada

Wes Hall

Executive Chairman and Founder
Kingsdale Advisors

2:15 p.m.
Break
2:30 p.m.
Keynote session E

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no seasonality to leadership. While inputs and outputs may change in response to different cultural trends, varied economic indicators, or even (once a century), the societal effects of a global pandemic, the operating system that governs them shouldn’t change.

What creates better workplaces has very little to do with foosball tables, holiday parties, or Wednesday afternoon Zoom Trivia Challenges where Mary is almost guaranteed to begin on mute. Interestingly, what helps create better workplaces is the same organizational operating system that creates better-performing organizations and better-performing people.

After all, organizations don’t deliver results, growth, or even great culture. People do. And it’s those people who need to be access and be running the same operating system. Better workplaces are created when the organization and its people align what they think, what they do, and what they say.

We are grounded by our purpose (the THINK part). We are defined by our actions (the DO part). And both are adopted by our colleagues, clients, and partners through our communications (the SAY part).

To create better workplaces, we should probably create amazing learning places, right? Done. This humourous and insightful session will have you laughing and learning whether you’re in your office or in your home. Just make your bed, okay?

Ron Tite

Purpose-Driven Leadership and Marketing Expert
Founder of Church+State content marketing agency

3:15 p.m.

Join us as we reflect on the past 5 days of our virtual conference. Thank you for joining us at BWC 2020!

Co-hosts

Brian Benjamin

Vice-President
The Conference Board of Canada

Amanda Daoust

Amanda Daoust

Network Manager
The Conference Board of Canada

Attend the conference, receive a certificate

Did you know that the Better Workplace Conference is now approved for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours? That means for attending, you will receive 7.75 hours towards your CPD requirement.

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