Past Event: Employers Cancer Care Summit (Toronto)

February 27, 2018
One King West Hotel, Toronto

Benefits Canada is proud to present the 2018 Employers Cancer Care Summit

The theme of this year’s conference is:

Confronting cancer
There have been many advancements in oncology, yet cancer is still one of the top health concerns in Canada. In 2017, it was estimated that there would be over 206,000 new cases of cancer nationwide, and over 80,000 resulting in death. What are the most common types of cancer affecting the working population? How many employees are going on long- or short-term disability because of cancer and treatment? What is this epidemic costing plan sponsors?

The 2018 Employers Cancer Care Summit will seek to address these questions and explore the steps employers can take to address cancer in the workplace.

Who Should Attend?
Plan sponsors (employers), plan advisors, group insurers, TPA’s, PBM’s, industry experts and patient associations.

CE Credits
We will be applying to the Institute for CE credits.

This full-morning conference will cost $99+tax to attend.

This event sells out quickly. Register now to guarantee your spot!



Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Joanne Boccia

Join the conversation on Twitter: #ECC18 @BenCanMag


Employers Cancer Care

February 27, 2018
One King West Hotel, Toronto

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

8:25 - 8:30 a.m. 
Opening Remarks

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

A new era of treatment for lung cancer

Systemic treatment for cancer care has changed dramatically in the last decade. Choices of treatment are more often being personalized based on specialized tests done on the tumour. These more modern treatment choices are not only highly efficacious, but also, better tolerated than the classic chemotherapies. Attendees will receive overview of how the management of oncology has changed using the example of non-small cell lung cancer. The session will review some of the newest treatment paradigms with highlights of patient cases. The presentation will demonstrate the impact on patients and those that surround them, including their employers. 

Dr. Rosalyn Juergens, chair of the lung cancer disease site team and head of the department of clinical trials, Juravinski Cancer Centre, and medical advisory chair, Lung Cancer Canada

(This session has been made possible by Merck.)

[Download the Presentation]

9:00 - 9:30 a.m.  
The Role of the Drug Access Navigator in Supporting the Workplace
Drug Access Navigators (DAN’s) are a critical part of a patient’s health team in ensuring the best reimbursement outcome for oncology patients and their families.  Alana Bourke will highlight the role of the DAN, navigation pathway for working Canadians and highlight how Patient Assistance Programs offer much more than patient financial assistance. This session will provide an overview of the different services being offered to Canadians receiving medical treatment, importance of navigation with private insurance and value of Patient Assistance programs to ensure patients who are working have the best outcome to return to work and lead productive lives.

Alana Bourke,
drug access navigator and registered pharmacy technician, St. Michael’s Hospital

(This session has been made possible by Amgen.

[Download the Presentation]

9:30 - 10:00 a.m. 
Changing the Face of Cancer: Helping employees with cancer get well and return to work 
Nearly one in two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, while one in four will die of the disease*. Cancer and related treatments not only have a significant impact on employees and their families, they represent growing costs to group benefits plans. In this dynamic session, you will learn more how having plans and programs in place tremendously benefit employees living with this disease. 

*Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017.

Anjila Arora, director, pharmaceutical benefits, Sun Life Financial
Irene Keller, director, product development in group benefits, Sun Life Financial

[Download the Presentation]

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. 
Networking break

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. 
Cancer in the workplace: The human experience
A candid point of view on the reality of a cancer diagnosis and its impact on the workplace. A survivor shares her own personal experience as well as those of people she has coached over the last few years as they manage their own cancer journey. The session will also discuss the changing landscape as new treatments pave the way for a better patient experience and its impact on the workplace.

Mei-Lin Yee, patient rights advocate

(This session has been made possible by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.)

[Download the Presentation]

11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. 
Best practices in managing cancer: A practical approach for employers
There is a new paradigm in cancer. Over 40% of new cancer cases are in the working-age population, and there are many more survivors than ever before. This creates both opportunities and challenges for employers, employees, insurers and advisors. This session will discuss key issues and gaps in workplace cancer management, provide research-based principles and practices and connect cancer to co-morbidities and the employer's broader health-focused goals. Attendees will learn what employers can do now and discover a call to action to benefit employees, caregivers and employers.

Chris Bonnett, principal consultant, H3 Consulting
Allan Smofsky, managing director, SSP

(This session has been made possible by AstraZeneca.)

[Download the Presentation]

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Returning to work after cancer: Challenges and helpful strategies

Many cancer patients struggle with returning to work after cancer. Ongoing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, pain, depression and anxiety can pose significant barriers to the return process. This session will explore the challenges and strategies to help the employee and employer to more successfully manage the return.

Ilene Shiller, money matters case manager, Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation

[Download the Presentation]

12:00 p.m.
Closing remarks

ECC Speakers




Anjila Arora

Anjila Arora is the director of pharmaceutical benefits at Sun Life Financial. In her role, she helps develop the pharmaceutical benefits strategy and supports business development teams in central and western Canada. She is a trained pharmacist and holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy residency, respectively obtained from the University of Saskatchewan and the Regina Health District. Prior to joining Sun Life, Arora spent a number of years in the pharmaceutical industry, with the last nine years in market access, and prior to that, as a clinical pharmacist in a hospital setting.



Chris Bonnett

Chris Bonnett is the principal consultant of H3 Consulting in Guelph, Ontario. He consults on strategies to improve health in the workplace and provides practical prescription drug policy research for private and public drug plan leaders. Bonnett's communication credits include dozens of health-focused articles and invitations to speak at more than 100 conferences across Canada and the US. He has been a volunteer director on the boards of three health service organizations, and has been a member of the Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey Advisory Board since 2003. He holds a master's degree in health science from the University of Toronto and is a part-time PhD candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.



Alana Bourke

Alana Bourke is the drug access navigator in St. Michael's Hospital's specialized complex care program, in Toronto. In her role, she is responsible for ensuring patients suffering from a cancer diagnosis or hematological malignancy are able to access the specialized medications they require, not only in a timely manner, but without financial hardship.

Bourke is a trained and registered pharmacy technician with the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP), and is an active member of Oncology Drug Access Navigators of Ontario (ODANO). Prior to her role as the drug access navigator, Bourke practiced extensively in many unique areas of pharmacy, including but not limited to, oncology research, immunodeficiency and community-based practice. 

Bourke has considerable experience in navigating through a complex system of drug coverage and an affinity to delivering optimal healthcare at the patient level. She is dedicated to maximizing appropriate drug funding options, as well as removing administrative and financial burden from the patient and their families. With her knowledge, compassion and expertise in this area, patients are provided with the opportunity to apply enhanced focus on their health and recovery from cancer.



Dr. Rosalyn Juergens

Dr. Rosalyn Juergens received her medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She was an intern and resident in the Osler Internal Medicine Training Program at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. Dr. Juergens completed a fellowship in medical oncology with a focus on upper aerodigestive malignancies as well at Johns Hopkins. Additionally, she completed her doctor of philosophy in clinical investigation at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She was an adjunct assistant professor in the department of oncology The Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, where she remained from 2007-2010, and is now an associate professor in McMaster University’s department of oncology.

Dr. Juergens’ clinical expertise is in lung and esophageal cancer. She chairs the lung disease site team at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. She also is the head of the department of clinical trials at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. She is also a member of the Escarpment Cancer Research Institute. Her areas of research expertise involve improving therapeutics and diagnostics in cancer.



Irene Keller

Irene Keller is a director for product development in group benefits at Sun Life Financial Canada. She is responsible for a team of product managers and for the identification, selection, implementation and management of innovative insurance solutions supporting key group benefits businesses. Her main accountabilities involve growing the strategic vision and prioritization for the portfolio of products critical to group benefits’ continued financial success, relationship management across key business stakeholders, as well as designing and implementing continuous improvements to the product development process.

Keller’s knowledge and expertise includes the strategic development and implementation of health products, organizational health strategies and workplace mental health strategies. In previous roles, she has worked in a variety of settings that span from human resources, occupational health, organizational health, benefits and wellness, and disability management. Keller is a registered nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario and holds a specialized certificate as a Canadian Certified Occupational Health and Safety Nurse. She is also a Canada Certified Excellence professional with subject matter expertise in the healthy workplace framework.



Ilene Shiller

Ilene Shiller is a social worker and case manager with Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation’s money matters program. She has been with Wellspring since 2008.

With a number of years of experience working in the area of income replacement options for people too sick to work, Shiller has gained knowledge at both the front-line and policy level. She has trained numerous professionals across Ontario on how to navigate the maze of income support programs and how to help patients return to work after an illness. Shiller assists clients with returning to work after cancer through both group-based and individual counselling, and manages specialized clinics including the Employment Law/Long Term Disability legal clinic, Financial Advice clinic and Career Coach clinic.

Shiller holds a masters of social work degree and a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Toronto. Prior to becoming a social worker, Shiller practiced law for 15 years.



Allan Smofsky

Allan Smofsky is the managing director of SSP, a strategic planning consultancy dedicated to measurably improving health, engagement and performance, primarily in the workplace/private payer space. He has extensive experience in employee benefits, health promotion and disease management, as well as organizational strategy development, execution and evaluation. Smofsky consults on issues–and to stakeholders–across the spectrum of organizational health.

A fluently bilingual (French and English) native of Montreal, Smofsky founded SSP in 2004 following several years in senior-level leadership and consulting positions with global health/benefits and human resources and consulting firms, as well as workplace health service providers. He is currently based in Toronto.

Smofsky is an active member of several health and benefits industry organizations, including the Group Insurance Pharmaceutical Committee (GIPC), Ontario Workplace Health Coalition (board of directors) and Benefits Breakfast Club Advisory Committee. He also teaches the Centennial College (Toronto) community and health studies workplace wellness and health promotion post-graduate program.

Smofsky has demonstrated leadership in advocating for a comprehensive and integrated approach to organizational health. He is a past winner of the Benefits Canada Workplace Benefits Award and is a frequently invited speaker and writer on benefits, organizational health and well-being issues



Mei-Lin Yee


Mei-Lin Yee was born and raised in Montreal. She practiced administrative law for several years before deciding to make a career change into the field of human resources. With almost 25 years of experience in the field, Yee honed her skills in employment law and benefits management as she led the human resources team of a Montreal-based research institute.

In June of 2009, Yee was diagnosed with stage IV cancer of unknown origin, which was later decided to be an aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer. Over a period of almost five years, she received eight months of oral chemotherapy, 174 IV chemo treatments, several  surgeries and radiation.
In March of 2014, Yee was declared to be in complete remission and has not had any treatment since.

Yee lives well with her chronic illness and the side-effects of years of treatment. She now spends her days enjoying life with her husband and three children while managing an active volunteer career as a patient rights advocate. In November 2017, the government of Canada awarded Yee with a Canada 150 Community Service Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Human Rights in recognition of her volunteer work raising awareness and advocating for the rights of employees living with chronic illness



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

One King West Hotel

The 2018 Employers Cancer Care Summit will be held in the stunning Grand Banking Hall, located on the second floor of the luxury One King West Hotel and Residence.

One King West Hotel and Residence

Getting there:

The hotel is located in downtown Toronto on the northwest corner of Yonge Street and King Street. It is directly across the street from King West subway station, which is also accessible via an indoor path.

On-site valet parking is available, via the Melinda Street entrance, on a first-come, first served basis.

Valet parking rates:

  • $45.00 overnight (with in/out privileges), valid until check out time (11 AM).
  • $35.00 3-hour visitor rate. 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM. No in/ out privileges. Maximum of 3 hours. $5 each additional hour. Overnight rate applies after 7:00 PM.

Self-parking is available on Wellignton Street, just walking distance to One King West.


Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Joanne Boccia