Past Event: Calgary Benefits Summit

May 29, 2018
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary

The 2018 Calgary Benefits Summit

The theme of this year's conference is:

Taking the temperature of Alberta’s workforce
From tough economic times to a disastrous wild fire and a struggling oil industry, Alberta has been facing more than its fair share of obstacles. It’s important that employers and employees alike are prepared to weather an unpredictable forecast. Looking to the future, what can plan sponsors do to ensure the workforce is ready to manage the challenges?

This year's Calgary Benefits Summit will include insightful and educational presentations that will provide delegates with the information they need to strengthen their group benefits plans. Conference attendees will learn ways to reduce costs, create solutions, manage risks and learn strategies for a healthier, more productive workforce.

This is a full-morning conference. The Calgary Benefits Summit will cost $129.00 plus tax.

Who Should Attend?

All employers responsible for benefits plans, as well as brokers and benefits consultants, are welcome to attend.


Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Anya Baker

Join the conversation! @BenCanMag #CalBen18

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Calgary Benefits Summit

May 29, 2018
Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary

7:30 - 8:25 a.m.
Breakfast and Registration

8:25 - 8:30 a.m.
Opening Remarks

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Session one
How big data is shaping employers’ benefit strategies
Big Data has the potential to revolutionize how businesses approach their group benefits. Already, employers are using the data available to evaluate the effectiveness of benefits plans, identify employees who are at risk for developing chronic conditions and even see where they stand compared to industry averages.

But this is only skimming the surface. Big data has the potential to help businesses optimize their benefit-related decisions, and answer key questions such as:

  • Which health conditions are likely to affect your workforce the most?
  • Where can employees get top-level medical care at the best prices?
  • Which workers are at risk for becoming seriously ill?

In order to do this, analytics capabilities must move from being simply descriptive to being predictive and prescriptive. In this presentation, Tarick Fadel will discuss how employers can use the data already at their fingertips to help facilitate better benefit decisions ultimately that save time, money and lives.

Tarick Fadel, director, analytics, research and pricing, Alberta Blue Cross

[Download Tarick's Presentation]

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Session two
The future trends of private drug plan costs: How could national pharmacare impact private drug coverage?
Gain new insight into the factors that have contributed to growth of private drug plans and hear more about where they’re heading in the future. This session will also explore how a national pharmacare program could impact the private plan landscape.


Joe Farago, executive director of healthcare innovation, Innovative Medicines Canada

This presentation is not available for download.

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Session three
Biosimilars…to switch or not to switch?
This session will look at Canada’s progress with biosimilar adoption and what public/private payors are doing to support their introduction into the Canadian healthcare environment. Andrea Staruch will discuss why there is such low patient uptake in Canada, and what strategies exist today to increase biosimilar utilization. Andrea will take a look at the increasing body of evidence – both from clinical trials and registries (real-world evidence) – that supports transitioning patients to biosimilars, and she will share what a biosimilar transition program can look like, from both a patient experience and plan sponsor savings perspective.

Andrea Staruch, pharmacy services consultant, Green Shield Canada

[Download Andrea's Presentation]

10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Networking Break

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Session four
The future of health and wellness in the workplace
What does the employee of the future look like, and how can companies support their health and well-being? This presentation provides an overview of the changing landscape of health and wellness for employees and organizations. It will touch on trends and innovations in healthcare delivery and in health benefits, and how these advancements are contributing to our employee and organizational resilience, and the health of our community.

Kelly Blackshaw, business development leader, Wello

[Download Kelly's Presentation]

11:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Session five
Cannabis and your benefit plan:
This session will explore medical cannabis from a legal perspective and what employers need to know for effective decision making for your benefit plan.

Loretta Bouwmeester, partner, Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP 

[Download Loretta's Presentation]

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Session six
The Fort McMurray wildfire from a human resources perspective
As a human resources department, you've probably developed a business continuity plan to mitigate a wide range of possible disruptions. Then unexpectedly, not only are your employees evacuated from work, but the entire city of 80,000 is vacated in less than 24 hours. From a human resources perspective, Jay Falcone will be sharing some of the challenges and insights on the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and will explore some of the best practices organizations can implement to prepare for potential disasters.


Jay Falcone, senior leader, pension and benefits, Syncrude Canada Ltd.

[Download Jay's Presentation]

12:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Calgary Benefits Summit


Kelly Blackshaw

Kelly Blackshaw acts as the business development director for Wello, INLIV's newest innovation, where her passions are focused on bringing virtual healthcare to individuals and corporations. In this role, she is dedicated to building solid team relationships and exceptional client experiences. A tried-and-true Calgarian, Blackshaw is a titan in the world of Canadian healthcare innovation, with a career that spans four decades in the industry. Former owner and president of Foothills Health Consultants, which is now INLIV, Blackshaw has long been a voice for sustainable health practices, pioneering the development of many corporate health programs in Canada, such as introducing Canada’s first executive healthcare program. Four years ago, she was awarded the Conference Board of Canada’s pioneer award for workplace wellness, and she is also an inductee into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as a Sports Builder.

Kelly Blackshaw

Loretta Bouwmeester is a partner in Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP’s employment, labour, occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers’ compensation practices. Prior to joining the firm, Bouwmeester worked at other national law firms in addition to working in-house as the manager of legal services and corporate policy with a municipality on a broad range of issues. She brings the benefits of this experience to her clients when working with them to both resolve disputes and in proactive strategic planning and risk management initiatives. Bouwmeester has defended employers and prime contractors in regulatory proceedings and appeared before all levels of Court in Alberta in addition to the Labour Relations Board. She is effective advising on national, provincial and federal compliance initiatives (including for employment, labour, human rights, privacy and OHS programs) and both carrying out and directing/overseeing workplace investigations. Bouwmeester has had H2S (Hydrogen Sulfide) Alive and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System training, which enables her to rapidly access sour gas and other oil and gas facilities, and she has been listed as a leading occupational health and safety practitioner in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. She frequently speaks at professional conferences and in-house training sessions, has been published in national publications such as Canadian Occupational Safety and is a co-author of LexisNexis' Disability Management Compliance manual.

Tarick Fadel

Tarick Fadel is the current director of analytics in the research and pricing division of Alberta Blue Cross. His responsibilities include overseeing health and life benefits pricing, underwriting, distribution, reporting and analytics. Being with the company for over 13 years, Fadel's previous roles include manager of group pricing and reporting, and director of group underwriting, reporting and pricing. Tarick holds a degree in actuarial and statistical sciences from the University of Western Ontario, and holds an additional diploma from the Canadian Operations Research Society. He also has previous analytics experience with Statistics Canada and TD Canada Trust.

Jay Falcone

Jay Falcone is the senior leader of pension and benefits at Syncrude Canada Ltd. With over 35 years of human resources experience in the oil and gas Industry, he has dealt with a broad range of issues including employee relations, recruitment and retention, pension and benefits and mining pperations, as well as Aboriginal relations. Falcone earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Alberta and a master of business administration degree in Human Resources from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. He also holds a CPA, CMA (Certified Public Accountant) and CHRP designations from the Province of Alberta. Falcone is passionate about financial literacy and teaches newcomers to Canada financial courses through the Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo. He is also a sessional instructor at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.

Joe Farago

Joe Farago is the executive director of healthcare innovation at Innovative Medicines Canada. Since joining the organization in January 2016 in this role, he is responsible for the private payer market and the national innovation strategy. Farago is leading the pharmaceutical sectors efforts in taking a more proactive, research-based approach to addressing today’s issues to ensure tomorrow’s workforces in Canada have strong private market coverage best suited to meeting their needs. Ensuring employees are healthy and productive at work is as fundamental value of healthy private drug benefits. Over the last 27 years, Farago has acquired a vast knowledge of the Canadian pharmaceutical and specialty biopharmaceutical markets. He has a wide range of experience in market access, government affairs, sales, marketing and operations. Farago has had the opportunity to be part of establishing two organizations in the Canadian market from the ground up and brings a strong understanding of market access success and organizational development. He started his pharmaceutical career with Servier Canada in 1989 until he entered the plasma protein specialty market with CSL Limited in 2007 where he was instrumental in establishing and building the Canadian organization to a market leader.

Andrea Staruch

Andrea Staruch is a pharmacy services consultant with Green Shield Canada (GSC), as well as an actively practicing community pharmacist. Her responsibilities at GSC include the assessment of drug authorization requests, maintaining drug formularies, collaborating on drug plan management strategies and operationalizing new pharmacy initiatives, processes and legislative changes. Staruch received her doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Waterloo, and is also a certified geriatric practitioner.

More speaker information to be posted shortly.

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

Event Details

Fairmont Palliser Hotel
133 9th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Fairmont Palliser Hotel
Calgary's premiere hotel, the Fairmont Palliser, is admired for its stunning architecture and impressive history. Centrally located, this landmark is near the city's financial and business district, and is just a short walk away from Calgary's lively shopping scene and ars, entertainment and culture venues. The hotel offers distinctive accommodation, and guests have referred to it as both majestic and classic. Since opening on June 1, 1914, the Fairmont Palliser has delivered outstanding hospitality, and it is the top choice to celebrate special occasions and to stay during business and leisure trips. With comfortable, luxurious accommodations and a prime location, the Fairmont Palliser Hotel is where you want to be.

Fairmont Palliser Hotel

Getting there:

By bus:

• The Greyhound Bus Depot is on the same street as the hotel. To get from the station to the Fairmon Palliser, it is about a five-minute taxi ride away.

By car:

From YYC Calgary International Airport:

• Take Barlow Trail North
• Left on Airport Trail
• Deerfoot Trail South
• Right on 16th Avenue
• Right on 6th Avenue
• Left on 3rd Street SW
• Left on 9th Avenue

From the North (Edmonton):

• Take HWY-2 South Towards Calgary
• Take Memorial Dr exit, EXIT 256
• Merge onto Memorial Dr West
• Take the ramp toward 4 Ave S
• Turn slight left ontop 4 Avenue Flyover
• Left onto 1 St SE
• Right onto 10 Ave SE
• Take the 1st right onto 1 St SW
• Take the 1st right onto 9 Ave SW

From the East or West (Kananaskis):

• Take TransCanada Hwy 1 East to 16th Avenue
• Turn on Centre Street (Southbound)
• Turn right onto 6 Ave SW
• Turn left onto 3 St SW
• Turn left onto 9 Ave SW
• The Fairmont Palliser is just past 1 Street SW

From the South:

• Take Hwy 2 North, Macleod Trail Northbound
• Turn left on 10th Avenue
• Right on 1st Street SW
• Right on 9th Avenue


Valet Parking:
• Please park your vehicle in front of the hotel's main entrance on 9th Avenue. Rates extended to patrons who enjoy hotel dining outlets or facilities only.

Overnight* includes in and out access
• Sunday - Thursday, $40
• Friday - Saturday, $25

• Monday - Friday, up to 4 hours $20, more than 4 hours, $40 (full-day rate applies)*
• Saturday - Sunday, up to 4 hours $10, more than 4 hours, $15*

Prices include GST. *Rates are subject to change.

Self -Parking:
Impark lot with access off of 10th Avenue West or East or off of 9th Avenue (east of hotel). Take elevators to third floor and walk west to hotel mezzanine entrance. Please note that the hotel does not own or manage the Impark lot and prices are subject to change without notice.

Early Bird (Tuesday – Thursday, enter before 9 a.m., valid until 6 p.m.) - $5
All Day (Tuesday-Thursday, valid until 6 p.m.) - $27
All-Day Special (Monday and Friday, valid until 6 p.m.) - $18
Evenings (from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. next day) - $6
Weekends (Saturday to Sunday and holidays, 6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) - $6


Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Anya Baker