Benefits and Pension Summit

April 17, 2019
Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre

Untitled Document


Early bird price: $299 + HST (effective until February 28, 2019)

Planning for tomorrow, today
A rapidly changing workplace means today’s employers must plan for tomorrow’s employees. With gender and race equality at the forefront, as well as up to five generations now working together*, the future workforce is looking more diverse than ever before. These major shifts will have a significant impact on work. What do employers need to know to attract and retain top talent? How should benefits and pension plans be updated to reflect the needs and wants of the new workforce?

This year’s Benefits and Pension Summit will aim to answer these questions–and more–to help your organization stay ahead of the game.

*The five generations:
Traditionalists—born before 1946.
Baby Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964.
Generation X—born between 1965 and 1976.
Generation Y/Millennials—born between 1977 and 1997.
Generation Z—born after 1997.

This Summit is designed for senior-level personnel within plan sponsor organizations in both the public and private sectors to discuss common challenges and acquire solutions.

This event sells out annually. Register early to avoid disappointment.


This full-day conference will feature concurrent streams with sessions focused on benefits and DC pensions.

Early bird price: $299 + HST (effective until February 28, 2019)
Regular price:
 $349 + HST (effective March 1, 2019)

Benefits Canada has a limited block of rooms available at the Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre at the rate of $229 + HST per night. Please use the following link to book your room prior to March 18, 2019. Book your group rate for Benefits and Pension Summit.  



CE credits will be offered at this event. Please visit the registration page for more information.



For agenda and speaker information, please contact Sara Ametrano, conference editor.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Alison Webb, publisher, Benefits Canada.
For registration questions, contact Emma Ramsey, registrations specialist.

Join the conversation! @BenCanMag

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Benefits and Pension Summit

April 17, 2019
Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre

This is a full-day conference. It will begin at approximately 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and registration and will end around 4:30 p.m.

Note: This agenda is a draft and is subject to changes.

Opening keynote session:
2030—A brave new world
Today, we are seeing big technology and new finance companies aiming to disrupt the financial planning industry across all demographics. In just 11 years, between 2019 and 2030, we’ll see more changes in the pensions and benefits industry than we have in the past 100 years. Nikolas Badminton will look to indicate how 2030 will be by identifying "signals of change" we see today in the use of technology, wealth movement, young people’s attitudes towards saving and the impact on other ages, along with the changing landscape of how people are operating in our exponential world.

Nikolas Badminton, futurist and strategic advisor

Closing keynote session:
Search and discover: What the Internet and big data reveal about who we are
How can Google search terms help predict elections? How many white Americans voted against Obama simply because he was black? Are crime rates affected by violence in the media? Are boys secretly favoured over girls amongst parents? For Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the answer to these questions doesn’t lie in traditional polls, but in the billions of Google searches made every day. Through his original research with search terms and big data, he’s discovered—and predicted—a number of counterintuitive insights, often that fly in the face of conventional wisdom. And in this surprising keynote, he lays out just what big data can reveal about our biases, anxieties and hidden desires—and how Internet searches can provide answers to questions we’re often too afraid to ask. Though sometimes uncomfortable, these revelations are designed to help us understand the world with more accuracy. And they’re here to help us become smarter consumers of data, based on asking better questions. It’s about what people are actually doing, Stephens-Davidowitz argues—not what they say they want to do.

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author and former data scientist, Google

This keynote session is sponsored by Desjardins Insurance

Defined Contribution Pension stream featured sessions:

1) Panel: Canadian DC Plans Come of Age

DC plans have evolved since they emerged in Canada in the 1980s. They have grown to the point where they have begun to eclipse private Canadian DB plans. As they have grown in assets and prominence, the plan features and investment structures have continued to evolve. This session will take a glimpse at the DC plan of tomorrow, focusing on how integrated accumulation and decumulation is tailored to the risk tolerance and needs of each plan member.

Colin Ripsman,
president, Elegant Investment Solutions, Inc.

Jim Cooke, vice-president of total rewards, Sobeys Inc.
Roman Kosarenko, senior director, pensions, George Weston Limited
Marc-Antoine Morin, AVP, chief product owner, member engagement, Manulife

2) DC decisions: What matters most for your plan members
According to research and analysis on the impacts of plan sponsor decisions to the retirement outcomes of their plan members, some plan sponsor decisions are more consequential for members than others. What should plan design, investment structure and investment selection look like? This presentation will evaluate and rank the key decisions that plan sponsors make by quantifying the potential impacts on plan members’ retirement success.

Nicole Lomax, manager, marketing intelligence and services, TD Greystone Asset Management
Jafer Naqvi, vice-president and director, fixed income and multi-asset, TD Greystone Asset Management
Hiedi Pearson vice president, employee services, human resources,
Harvard Developments, Harvard Property Management

3) Re-defined contribution plans and engaging members with clarity
This presentation will allow attendees to walk away with tangible tools to apply with their own plan member communications. In an industry where member engagement is often discussed, this is a new and unique take on a familiar topic. The session will explore the four universal communication principles, the emotional response participants have to the current language of retirement plans and the words to use versus the words to lose. 

Rob Kochel, vice-president, Invesco

4) A perfect match: The right target date fund for your plan
Target date funds (TDFs) are the core investment vehicle for the majority of capital accumulation plans and plan members in Canada. But with an increasing variety of TDFs available, how should a plan sponsor make sure they have the right one? This presentation will dispel some common myths around TDFs and give plan sponsors a better understanding of the most important factors to consider. 

Zaheed Jiwani, principal, Eckler Ltd.
More speaker information coming soon

5) Artificial intelligence, blockchain and technology
This session will explore data digital solutions and trends in the defined contribution space around the world. Hear about how technologies are being put to use in DC pension plans and the challenges encountered along the way.

Serge Boccassini, manager, defined contribution product solutions, Northern Trust

Group Benefits stream featured sessions:

1) Modernizing Total Rewards for Tomorrow’s Workforce
It’s an exciting new world! Technology, AI and demographic shifts are quickly changing how work gets done. To remain relevant, how we design and deliver total reward programs needs to change too. In this session, we’ll explore trends and hear about Hydro One’s modernization journey.

Ofelia Isabel, managing director, Willis Towers Watson
Sabrin Lila, director, compensation & human resources analytics, Hydro One

2) Panel: The first six months of legalized cannabis in Canada
Implementing changes to benefits plans with the recreational legalization of cannabis can come with uncertainty and misinformation. Many plan sponsors/employers are confused as to their rights and obligations in this area, and also in regard to medical cannabis. Some plan sponsors and employers have already implemented changes while others have taken a “wait and see” approach.

On the sixth-month anniversary of cannabis legalization, what have we learned from these implemented changes in benefits plans? Why are some employers hesitant to address coverage in their plans? What do employers need to keep in mind from a legal perspective? This discussion will aim to summarize areas of interest/controversy in the lead up to and post-legalization of recreational cannabis, and to provide some solid takeaways for attendees for risk mitigation. 

Jennifer Paterson, editor, Benefits Canada

Gregory Clooney, senior legal consultant, Morneau Shepell Ltd.
Ned Pojskic
, leader, pharmacy and health provider relations, Green Shield Canada
Troy Purcell, senior manager of employee health and wellness,
Canadian Nuclear Laboratores,
Angelo Tsebelis, president , Starseed Medicinal Inc.

3) Improving benefits plans for both the payer and the beneficiary abstract
This presentation covers a unique and real story of how an employee with type 1 diabetes and a benefits specialist teamed up to influence a health benefits plan with a solution that served both the employee and the employer. Topics covered will include:

•           Why personal stories matter
•           Improving the process
•           Knowing your audience
•           Value proposition for both parties
•           ➢ Increased productivity and decreased absenteeism ➢ Reduced risk of workplace accidents ➢ Decreased short and long-term disability

Mark Buckle, junior engineer, AOPS, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (plan member)
More speaker information coming soon

4) The benefits of fraud? There are none
Benefits fraud is a top concern among plan sponsors and insurance carriers. Conference attendees will learn how data analytics, proactive measures and industry partnerships can help in the fight against fraud. The session will include an employer’s experience with benefits fraud over the last five years, the process it followed and their employees’ reactions when faced with the facts.

Terisa Ducharme, associate director, pension and benefits, human resources department, York University
Shelley Frohlich, director, fraud risk management, Sun Life Financial

More information to be posted shortly.

Mental Health Summit, Vancouver


April 17, 2019
Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre


Opening keynote:
Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is a renowned futurist that drives world leaders to take action in creating a better world for humanity. He is a strategic advisor who provides expertise in new technologies and promotes exponential thinking with a critical, honest and optimistic view that empowers you to plan for today, tomorrow and the future.




Closing keynote:
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a former data scientist at Google and the author of Everybody Lies, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller that explores how Google searches open an unprecedented window into human behavior, choice and decision-making. He is also a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times and has worked as a visiting lecturer at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has developed a course about his research. A direct, succinct and frequently humorous writer and keynote speaker, he’s presented his original research using big data as engaging lectures, scientific manuscripts and popular data journalism. He has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University and a bachelor of arts in philosophy, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University.



Zaheed Jiwani

Zaheed Jiwani

Zaheed Jiwani is a principal and leads Eckler’s defined contribution consulting group. With over 20 years in the institutional investment industry, Jiwani is able to provide a unique perspective, drawing on his experience in consulting, asset management and record-keeping. He works with clients in a variety of areas, including governance, investments, record-keeper selection and plan design. His strength is dissecting complex problems, developing relevant solutions and distilling everything into a format that is easy to understand. Jiwani regularly contributes to the industry through conference speaking engagements, authoring articles and sitting on the Benefits Canada advisory board. Prior to joining Eckler, he lead the defined contribution business at an asset management firm, where he helped design and build a lifecycle/target date fund suite incorporating alternative asset classes. Prior to that, Jiwani lead the defined contribution consulting practice at another consulting firm, where he consulted to defined contribution and defined benefits clients. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor of science degree with a specialist in actuarial science and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) charterholder (2001).

Roman Kosarenko

Roman Kosarenko

Roman Kosarenko is a senior director of pensions at George Weston Limited. He oversees investment aspects of multiple defined benefits and defined contribution/401k plans for George Weston, Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix. Kosarenko has been involved with investment oversight of corporate pension plans since 2004, including prior positions with BMO and Nortel. He is an active member of the PIAC and an advocate for DC decumulation solutions.

Joe Nunes

Joe Nunes

Joe Nunes is the executive chairman of Actuarial Solutions Inc., He has practiced in defined benefit pensions, defined contribution programs and retiree health plans for 30 years. Nunes is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and a graduate of the University of Waterloo. He is a frequent contributor to the actuarial profession and actively participates in professional meetings. Nunes also regularly shares his views on pensions and broader issues of financial security through his writing and his speaking.

Colin Ripsman

Colin Ripsman

Colin Ripsman founded Elegant Investment Solutions (Elegant IS) in 2019, bringing 25 years of investment experience gleaned from senior roles with several leading consulting and investment management firms. During his career, Ripsman has serviced a wide variety of clients, including corporate and non-profit organizations, as well as multi-employer pension plans. He has special expertise in providing meaningful and practical advice in areas such as asset allocation and investment policy, performance evaluation and investment manager selection. Ripsman also has extensive experience in the design of DC investment structures. Prior to joining Elegant IS, he was vice-president and portfolio manager of institutional client services with Foyston, Gordon & Payne Inc. Ripsman was also a principal in Eckler’s investment consulting practice. Before Eckler, he was vice-president and institutional portfolio manager at Phillips, Hager & North, managing relationships with a wide range of clients and developing DC investment products. He also spent 16 years with Mercer, including a tenure as global head of DC consulting. Ripsman is an active participant in the pension and investment industry. He is a frequent speaker and author on investment topics and sits on the Benefits Canada advisory board. Ripsman has also been appointed to the investment and pension advisory committee of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Jana Steele

Jana Steele

Jana Steele is a partner in Osler’s pensions and benefits group. She has extensive experience dealing with pensions and benefits in the context of corporate transactions. She is involved in providing advice with respect to both the establishment and the ongoing administration of pension plans. Steele advises on issues such as plan design, governance, administration, pension investment, compliance, trustee obligations, surplus matters, plan conversions, plan mergers, de-risking strategies and plan wind-ups. She also has experience dealing with pensions and benefits issues arising in insolvencies and corporate restructurings. Steele is a frequent speaker on pension matters in Canada and has guest lectured at several universities. She has been recognized in the area of pensions and employee benefits in several industry publications, including Chambers Global, Chambers Canada, Legal 500, Best Lawyers in Canada, the Canadian Lexpert Directory and Who’s Who Legal.


J. Gregory Clooney

Gregory Clooney

Gregory Clooney, a lawyer and senior legal consultant at Morneau Shepell Ltd., is well versed in benefit and pension issues and experienced in drafting strong governance policies and procedures, as well as educating and advising on related matters. He provides guidance on benefit and pension plan design and documentation, compliance, governance, troubleshooting and related due diligence. Clooney's goal is to help organizations understand and meet their requirements and obligations, pursuant to their unique needs, while implementing best practice in an efficient and effective manner. He is a contributing author and coordinator of the Morneau Shepell "Handbook of Canadian Pension and Benefit Plan"s and a contributor to the Morneau Shepell “Summary of Pension Legislation in Canada.” He regularly drafts industry articles advising of recent benefit and pension-related news and serves on the OBA Pension and Benefits Executive committee.

Wade Domries

Gregory Clooney

Wade Domries is the vice-president of total rewards at TELUS. A member of people and culture at TELUS, he leads a team focused on recognizing and empowering the organization's team members by offering personalized total rewards that support their well-being and diversity. Domries leads all aspects of TELUS’ compensation, recognition, benefits and pensions, HR systems, operations, transition services and well-being strategy, as well as works closely with TELUS’ board of directors and its human resources and compensation committee. Previously, he spent three years as the vice-president of home solutions marketing, leading the national marketing team responsible for driving TELUS’ consumer wireline strategy in Western Canada. In this role, he oversaw the development of customer and competitive insights, unique value propositions, product and pricing, and customer marketing strategy to deliver superior home solutions in B.C. and Alberta. Domries also spent nine years as the vice-president of customer experience, where he led all strategy, enablement and executions teams, as well as frontline organizations spanning both wireless and wireline, where he transformed TELUS’ customer experience by embedding their "customers first" culture across all call centres. Domries graduated with a bachelor of commerce from Sauder School of Business at U.B.C.

Shelley Frohlich

Gregory Clooney

Shelley Frohlich is the director of fraud risk management in Sun Life’s group benefits division. She is responsible for investigating, detecting and preventing fraud through strategic direction and fraud risk management. Under her leadership, the team uses intelligence-led anti-fraud strategies with a focus on the profiling of medical and dental providers and facilities, including the investigation into large collusion schemes and organized crime. Frohlich has been with Sun Life since 2010 and has worked in the investigation field within the insurance industry for the last 18 years, including participating in court and regulatory hearings pertaining to fraud.

Ofelia Isabel

Ofelia Isabel

Ofelia Isabel is the managing director of client management at Willis Towers Watson. She has spent the last 28 years working to make organizations better and healthier places to work – places that great people want to join and give their best. Having designed and implemented more total rewards programs for organizations across multiple industries than she can now count, Isabel remains excited and optimistic about the changes organizations are now willing to embrace. Since joining Willis Towers Watson in 2001, she has held various roles, including leading the rewards, talent and communication business in Canada and the U.S. Midwest and leading the Canadian defined contribution business. Isabel is a Canadian human resources leader, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. She completed her human resources studies the University of Toronto’s Rotman Business School and her actuarial degree at the University of Toronto. She’s also currently completing her professional coaching certification. Isabel is a frequent speaker on total reward and employee experience topics.

Sabrin Lila

Sabrin Lila

Sabrin Lila is the director of compensation and human resources analytics at Hydro One Networks Inc. She is an energetic leader, who has held this position since 2017 and has experience in multiple disciplines, including compensation, human resources analytics, talent management, leadership development, organizational design and employee and labour relations. Lila is focused on designing innovative ways to attract, retain and motivate talent through performance and compensation programs. She is forward thinking and keenly interested in designing strategies to prepare for the future workplace, through programs such as workforce planning and analytics. When Lila isn’t busy at work or off traveling, you will find her at the Ismaili Centre Toronto, where she volunteers as a tour guide, or in Brampton, where she serves as the vice-principal teacher support for the Ismaili Tarqia Board of Canada. Lila holds a masters of industrial relations and human resources from the University of Toronto and bachelor of political science from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Ned Pojskic

Ned Pojskic

Ned Pojskic is Green Shield Canada’s (GSC) leader for pharmacy and health provider relations. In this role, he is responsible for setting GSC’s strategic direction with respect to provider and drug benefits management. Pojskic takes the lead in managing stakeholder relations with all health care providers, including pharmacy, dental and paramedical. He is also responsible for overall drug formulary management, including pricing and policy as well as pharmaceutical industry partnerships. With an industry background that includes a role as director of health policy for the Ontario Pharmacists Association, Pojskic is a key member of GSC’s strategic market solutions team. He holds masters and doctorate degrees from the department of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Toronto and is currently appointed as an adjunct professor within the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.


More information to be posted shortly.

For information on the speakers, please contact Sara Ametrano, Conference Editor, Benefits Canada

Event Location

The 2019 Benefits and Pensions Summit will take place at the Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre Hotel.

Visit the Marriott website for more information

525 Bay Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 2L2

Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre


With further inquiries about event logistics, please contact Kristy Davidson, event manager.

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