With the increasing impact of COVID-19 in Canada, the health and safety of our conference delegates, staff and partners comes first. We have therefore made the decision to postpone the Mental Health in the Capital Conference originally scheduled for March 30–31, 2021 in Ottawa. We are committed to delivering this important event and look forward to welcoming you on the revised date of Tuesday, March 30 to Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

Your registration will automatically roll over to the new event date. If you cannot attend the new date, your ticket will be transferable within your company. Should no one be available to attend, we can apply a credit to your account

Disability claims for mental health issues have become a top concern for Canadian employers. Organizations have adopted mental wellness strategies to help employees thrive and to protect psychological safety … but how effective are these strategies? Ultimately, the employee experience is significantly influenced by their employers’ ability to implement an effective wellness strategy.

What to expect

Mental Health in the Capital 2021 will focus on two core topics: employee experience and the link to psychological safety.

How do we define employee experience? It’s the everyday experiences—positive and negative—that affect employees’ mental health and impact their career life cycle from entry to exit. Positive experiences range from rewards and recognition for outstanding work to healthy manager-employee relationships, clarity on roles and responsibilities, and how employees are valued within the organization. Negative experiences can include unclear expectations on what success looks like, exposure to incivility, and feelings of exclusion.

Mounting research suggests that psychological safety plays an important role in predicting whether the employee experience will be positive or negative. Making a commitment to create a psychologically safe workplace is much easier than achieving this outcome. How employers follow through on their commitment with evidence-based programming, program evaluation, and audits influences their degree of success.

Leading insights with practical take-aways:

  • Awareness: Understanding the impact employee experience can have on your employees’ health and productivity is critical. You will explore how examining your mental health initiatives through the lens of employee experience can help determine how effective these initiatives are.
  • Empathy: Check-the-box initiatives are no longer acceptable. The stakes around employee psychological safety are too high, and the financial costs affect the bottom line when initiatives don’t have the desired result. Employee expectations are increasing, as are changes in occupational health and safety legislation, and employers are being held more accountable for facilitating psychological safety. Match expectations and gain insights on what you can do to influence the employee experience.
  • Action: You will get exposure to experts and peers who will provide insight to help positively influence the employee experience. These new insights can help you introduce new ways of thinking that will challenge the status quo.
Sponsor packages


Check back for future updates of the event.


8:00 a.m.
Registration and continental breakfast
8:30 a.m.
8:45 a.m.

Session description coming soon.

9:00 a.m.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that 50 per cent of Canadians live with mental illness, not just as a patient but also as a caregiver. In 2017, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) became the first U.S. employer to launch an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for employees living with mental illness, thereby identifying and organizing a new group of employees not widely considered as part of diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies. The ERG is a voluntary, employee-led group that focuses on shared identities/affinities and experiences, and looks to apply those perspectives to initiatives that create value for all of Johnson & Johnson.

In his presentation, Craig Kramer, J&J’s Mental Health Ambassador, will outline why the company made this move, why mental health is so important for employers, its connections with D&I, and how leading companies can collaborate to help reduce stigma, foster healthier workforces, and build a more accepting and inclusive working world.

Discover how Johnson & Johnson is helping to lead the transformation of mental health care in Canada and walk away from this presentation feeling empowered to be a leader in your own family and community.

10:00 a.m.

Jason Finucan, founder of StigmaZero and author of the book Jason: 1 | Stigma: 0 – My battle with mental illness at home and in the workplace, will deliver an engaging and impactful spotlight on his personal experiences with physical illness, mental illness and stigma. This session will be sure to open your eyes to the challenge that stigma presents in every workplace—and you will learn an important reality: while mental illness can be treated, with the right training stigma can be cured

10:15 a.m.

We know every employee and employer are different and that they each have different experiences in the workplace. To ensure that every individual’s mental health and well-being are accounted for, promote positive mental health, and prevent psychological risks or threats in the workplace, we must understand what psychological safety is and how it can impact employee and employer experiences and more.

This presentation will provide a baseline understanding for the day ahead as we learn about the different risks and predictors of negative mental health in the workplace, along with some not-so-obvious factors. We will explore how an individual’s mental health and experience in the workplace can extend to influence business, the community, and beyond.

10:45 a.m.
Health break
11:15 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set A (please select one)

Learning how to set yourself and employees up for success

A1: Understanding and supporting a diverse workplace

In this session, participant take-aways include:

  • Understanding what it means to be transgender
  • Understanding the differences between gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression
  • Understanding challenges for transgender issues
  • Learning how to successfully support a transgender employee and the organization in the workplace

Sponsored by:

A2: Beyond the perks—Delivering positive experiences in the modern workplace

Good customer experiences come from good employee experiences. Organizations and CEOs are increasingly waking up to this reality, but aligning the expectations of employees and workplaces—and structuring positive everyday interactions, both human and technological—can be harder than it looks.

During this session, we’ll discuss what really shapes employee experiences—good and bad. We’ll also explore new movements in workplace experience design and return-to-work strategies. Learn how to go beyond superficial quick fixes, and use the strengths of your organization to ensure a resilient, modern employee experience.

Sponsored by:

12:15 p.m.
Networking lunch
1:15 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions—Set B (please select one)

Insights into how to shape the employee experience

B1: The unfolding world of digital therapeutics

Could digital therapy be the next blockbuster drug? In an over-prescribed world, digital therapeutics offer a low-cost alternative or accompaniment to medication. This is a particularly exciting development for mental health.

Interventions like internet cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) have the potential to dramatically lower costs and improve access to mental health treatment, while reducing our reliance on prescription drugs. So why aren’t these technologies more widespread—especially when they’re clinically validated? How can employers and governments promote and scale these services? In this presentation, Green Shield Canada will share their experiences with iCBT, their moves into digital health, and their fast-growing relationship with digital therapy provider MindBeacon.

Sponsored by:

B2: Brain food—How nutrition contributes to better mental health and organizational wellness

What we eat affects who we are on a day-to-day basis. And yet, among all the factors contributing to mental health and corporate wellness, nutrition may have the lowest profile.

Research shows that when dietitians intervene with people with mental health conditions and their care providers, they can reduce nutrition-related side effects of psychiatric medications, improve cognition, support better self-management of concurrent and comorbid conditions, and enhance overall occupational, social, and psychological functioning. Furthermore, these positive outcomes are cost-effective.

This session will delve into the education, policies, and services in nutrition that organizational leaders can implement to support the mental health of their people, and help reduce mental health claims.

Sponsored by:

2:15 p.m.
Health break
2:45 p.m.

The bigger the institution, the more effort it takes to shift its culture. Join mental health leaders from the federal public service to discuss how the government is reshaping its people management practices and culture for mentally healthier workplaces—in all departments. The panel discussion will highlight how the federal government’s focus is evolving from awareness to action, and aligning with the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The panel will also touch upon the importance of data and measurement, and the government’s current progress enterprise-wide.

3:45 p.m.

Through offering the employee perspective, Hayley speaks to what it can feel like to disclose a personal struggle with mental health challenge in the workplace. She shares her own experience to offer insight into how employers can consider what practices and skillsets are required in an effort to work towards creating psychological safe workplace culture. Hayley will speak to the important that Peer Support has played in her recovery as well as how her living experience has influenced her career today.

4:00 p.m.

The secrets of success are the same no matter what business you’re in, and success begins with getting motivated. Inspiration and comedy unite in this 60-minute transformational presentation from “I should…” to “I will!”

Energizing and funny, Jessica’s call to action combines her trademark character comedy with quirky anecdotes to deliver motivational insights into:

  • finding greater meaning in your work
  • using positive psychology to be happier day to day
  • setting and reaching your goals
  • learning to laugh at life’s shortcomings

Jessica gives quick, achievable “how to’s” about these topics and more, in a laugh-out-loud hour of fun. The audience receives introspective takeaways to guarantee that Jessica’s presentation makes a meaningful impact.

4:45 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
Day 1 adjournment
5:00 p.m.
Networking Reception
8:00 a.m.
Continental breakfast
8:30 a.m.
8:45 a.m.

The difference maker between good and great companies is how they treat their people. Good organizations focus on the customer experience, processes, data, and making informed decisions. Great organizations do all of this, but they set themselves apart by focusing on and prioritizing their people. Good organizations downplay the elephant in the room; great organizations not only deal with the elephant, but they make the invisible, visible.

Great organizations take charge and are willing to roll up their sleeves and dig into those not-so-good employee experiences. Maybe it’s staying in contact with a team member on leave, jumping in to support an employee in need, providing resources to employees as they think through roadblocks, or enabling them to be leaders at what they do. It’s about tuning in to the employee’s experience—hearing from them and making sure their needs are met.

This is where great organizations thrive, as employees feel protected enough to make breakthrough’s and innovations that carry their organizations forward. People who feel the safest are the most creative, the most responsive, and the most committed. If you want to go for the stars, you have to make the sky available.

Workplace health professionals gathering for this year’s Mental Health in the Capital Learning event have an enormous opportunity to create safer spaces for employees to thrive. While not always easy, we will celebrate you and your work, recharge your batteries, and encourage you to create memorable employee experiences. You matter.

9:30 a.m.

You’ve committed to creating a safe workplace and developed a strategy to get there, but how do you implement it and make a positive impact?

On the first day of the conference, we learned about some of the guiding parameters and principles that make for a positive workplace and employee experience. This session will highlight how specific employers have influenced the employee experience within their own organizations and how you can, too.

Using practical examples and lessons learned, this panel will help you refine your mental health and well-being strategy, turn that strategy into action, and consider its impact over time.

10:15 a.m.
Health break
10:45 a.m.

Whatever your job, ignoring the mental health of your workplace is bad for business. Most people spend more of their waking hours at work than anywhere else. However, two thirds of employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace. In any given week, hundreds of thousands of employees are off work due to a mental health problem or illness, with depression alone being the single largest contributor to years lived with disability. Yet, only about a quarter of people would feel comfortable talking to their employer about a mental illness.

However, evidence from around the world is growing and convincing: promotion, prevention, and early intervention initiatives for workplace mental health show positive returns on investment. So how do we create, turn around, or further improve the mental health and safety of our workplace? What are the most current best and promising practices for supporting employee health and productivity? Where do you start, how do you take it to the next level, and what resources, tools, and training are available to help?

To answer these questions and more, Mark Henick draws upon his years of personal and professional experience in mental health, including managing a national workplace mental health training program and running a corporate mental health strategy consulting firm. He helps employers, employees, unions, and professional associations to clarify their needs, in a manner tailored to their role in their specific workplace.

In this interactive workshop Mark will help to better understand what works and what doesn’t in supporting employee mental health. He provides insights on implementing effective workplace mental health strategies, and calls on every employee at every level to play an active role. Mark brings his personal passion for mental health to every presentation because he firmly believes that supporting the mental health of your workforce is more than a smart business decision.

It’s the right thing to do.

11:45 a.m.
12:00 p.m.
Conference adjournment
12:00 p.m.
Post-Event Workshop (Optional)—Event attendees only
(available to event attendees only)

Workplaces across Canada have built a business case for workplace mental health, only to meet challenges when it comes to making it a reality.

It’s time to make workplace mental health a priority. Join our workshop and learn how to move from “best evidence” to “actionable strategy.”

At this workshop you will:

  • Explore elements to consider when it comes to psychological health and safety management system (PHSMS) audits;
  • Review the connection between psychological safety and employee experience;
  • Work through a three-phased approach for improving psychological health and safety and the employee experience;
  • Network with a peer group at different stages of their journey toward a psychologically healthy workplace.

Professionals in the following areas should attend:

  • Employee benefits
  • Employee and labour relations
  • Disability management
  • Health and safety
  • Learning and leadership
  • People leadership
  • Talent management
  • Wellness

Workshop postponed

4:30 p.m.
Optional post-event workshop adjournment

Highlights from previous conference

In our previous conference, Mental Health in the Capital 2019, we explored topics that matter most to workplace health professionals. We shared what was new, what others were doing, and how to engage new colleagues to tackle your biggest challenges. Here are some highlights:

  • 227 past attendees
  • 4.2/5.0 overall satisfaction

Attendees by job function:

Jobs by function Services Retail trade Wholesale trade Unknown Financial services Communication & utility services Public admin.

Attendees by job title:

Attendees by job title CEO Vice-President Director Manager Technical Admin Board member

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan McCarthy

Co-Founder Culture of Good

Lisa MacLeod

Jean François Ménard

Founder and President, Kambio Performance Mental Performance Specialist, Consultant and Speaker

Sapna Mahajan

Sapna Mahajan

Director, Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Senator Stan Kutcher

Senator Stan Kutcher

Affiliation: Independent Senators Group




Coming with a group?
contact us for more information and group rates.

Fairmont Hotel


Fairmont Chateau Laurier
1 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8S7

*Conference fees do not include accommodations.


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