Past Event: Mental Health Summit Vancouver

December 05, 2017
Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

The 2017 Mental Health Summit, Vancouver

Mind your business: keeping a close eye on mental health in the workplace

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental health issues typically account for just under one-third of disability claims. In fact, more than 80 per cent of Canadian employers rate mental health illness as one of the top drivers for short- and long-term disability claims. Together, organizations have lost over $6 billion in productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism from mental health concerns. What steps can plan sponsors take to minimize these financial losses? How can current plans be updated to include/enhance coverage for mental health concerns for the employee or the caregiver? Come to this year’s Mental Health Summit to discover ideas on how to approach mental health in the workplace.

This is a full-morning conference. The 2017 Mental Health Summit, Vancouver, will cost $149.00 plus tax.

Who Should Attend?

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

CE credits will be offered at this event.

Looking for the Toronto Mental Health Summit?




Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Joanne Boccia

Join the conversation! @BenCanMag #MentalHealth17


Mental Health Summit, Vancouver

December 5, 2017
Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

7:15 - 8:10 a.m.
Breakfast and Registration

8:10 - 8:15 a.m. 
Opening Remarks

8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
Session one
Early optimized treatment in depression: A paradigm change for rapid, impactful recovery statements
This session will highlight the importance of very rapidly treating major depressive disorder (MDD) with the best appropriate and tolerable treatment (or early optimized treatment) to ensure quick and successful recoveries. MDD is a medical condition that requires urgent treatment, including rapid treatment and follow-ups, which are essential to helping ensure a full recovery. The presentation will discuss why early optimized treatment and full functional recovery should be the goal for every person suffering from MDD.

Dr. Diane McIntosh, clinical assistant professor, University of British Columbia

(This session has been made possible by Lundbeck Canada and Pfizer Canada)

[Download the Presentation]

9:15 - 9:45 a.m.  
Session two
The virtual kitchen table approach to de-stigmatizing post-traumatic stress disorder
When there is a virus, a sickness, any threat to your health you should want to prevent, manage and eradicate it. We take every precaution to prevent physical exposure to all types of hazards, and should we feel an oncoming cold or infection, we seldom hesitate to seek medical attention, while also being careful not to expose our families and friends to the bug. We don’t hesitate to talk about it with our co-workers to protect them. Unfortunately, all too often, we aren’t as quick to tell others when we are not mentally well. With no physical signs, illness or injury caused by exposure to trauma can often go undetected by family and co-workers. How do we change the culture within the workforce? How can we let our peers feel free to speak about their feelings? This session will explore solutions, such as “kitchen-table” conversations, to minimize the stigma of mental illness in the workplace.


Andy MacDonald, consultant, first responder community, Homewood Health

(This session has been made possible by Homewood Health)

[Download the Presentation]

9:45 - 10:15 a.m.  
Session three
Sleep disorders: Why they should be keeping plan sponsors awake at night
Over 40% of adults suffer from sleep issues, and many go undiagnosed. They have a serious impact on employees’ mental and physical health. The cost in lost productivity is astronomical for businesses. How can managers address this issue in their workplaces? This session will whisk you through some hard to believe and even frightening facts about sleep disorders. It will present do-it-yourself preventive programs, as well as a new intervention program. The presentation will also reveal the results of a sleep health pilot project that took place earlier this year.

Nadeem Rajabali, regional vice-president, business development, group and business insurance, western Canada, Desjardins Insurance
Bradley Smith, president and founder, HALEO Preventive Health Solutions Inc. 

[Download the Presentation]

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. 
Networking break

10:45 - 11:30 a.m. 
Session four
Reinventing Support for Canadians Suffering from Mental Health Illnesses
Canadians with mental illness often encounter challenges when seeking treatment, including receiving frequent misdiagnosis of their illness, suffering from ineffective treatment pathway and identifying the right providers. This session will feature a case study showcasing the steps two companies have taken to improve the process for plan members, from start to finish, in order to help them get well and back on their feet faster.

Julie Gaudry,
senior director of group & business markets, RBC Insurance
Eric Glazer,
vice president of innovation, Best Doctors
Michael Sheppard, registered psychologist, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Centre of Vancouver, Adler University

[Download the Presentation]

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Session five
Mental health and the role of the community pharmacist
This presentation explores the role of the community pharmacist in supporting plan members with mental health needs. Topics include medication optimization, medication adherence and precision medicine using pharmacogenomic testing.


Allison Nourse, national director of pharmacy innovation, Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd.

[Download the Presentation]

12:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Session six
Disability management: The effective collaboration between insurers and healthcare professionals
Mental health accounts for over 30% of long-term disability claims. Employers are looking to their insurers and employee healthcare providers to ensure their employees get the care they need and facilitate a supportive and successful return to work transition. This session will discuss the roles of key stakeholders and how they can effectively work together to enable recovery, accommodation and return to work.


Carmen Bellows, senior consultant of mental health, group disability, western region, Sun Life Financial

[Download the Presentation]

12:30 p.m. 
Closing Remarks

HBS Speakers


Carmen Bellows

Carmen Bellows is a senior consultant in mental health, group disability for Sun Life Financial’s western region sector. She is a registered psychologist and holds a master of arts degree in counselling psychology. Bellows has extensive experience in the field of psychology, including community and workplace mental health. Her clinical experience includes working as a therapist and counsellor with survivors of torture and newly arrived refugees in Vancouver, in community health with Vancouver Coastal Health as part of a multidisciplinary team and in a post-traumatic stress disorder clinic at Vancouver General Hospital. She has also worked as a mental health officer with Doctors Without Borders–Holland in Zimbabwe, as a provisional psychologist/clinical counsellor providing employee and family assistance program (EFAP) counselling with Homewood Human Solutions and most recently as an organizational health consultant for health promotion and worklife services at the University of Alberta. Bellows’ most recent post with the University of Alberta involved very similar work to the role she fulfils at Sun Life Financial. She also sits on the board of the Canadian Psychological Association.

Bellows prepares and delivers psycho-educational presentations on topics such as depression, caring for aged family members and dealing with difficult people in the workplace. She is a presenter of workshops on stress and resilience and other topics relevant to workplace mental health.

As a senior consultant in mental health, Bellows is responsible for coaching and training the western regional disability management team to improve their case management skills on claims related to mental illness- and mental health-influencing factors to optimize duration and supporting Sun Life’s clients in driving better workplace mental health. This has a direct impact on the quality of support for disability claimants coping with mental illness and, in turn, has a positive influence on workplace mental health.

Julie Gaudry

Julie Gaudry is the senior director of group and business markets at RBC Insurance, where she leads a team with overall responsibility for the product development and strategic direction for the group benefit solutions sector. With a focus on innovation and thought-leadership, the team is committed to product and service enhancements that make it easier for RBC Insurance’s clients to lead a healthy lifestyle, manage their benefits programs and return to health if faced with a serious medical condition. 

Prior to joining RBC Insurance in 2014, Gaudry spent eight years in human resources at RBC. In this role, she was responsible for the design, financial management and communication of the benefits and wellness programs and the financial education and planning strategy for RBC employees and retirees in Canada. Before joining RBC, she was practicing as a doctor of chiropractic for five years in the Greater Toronto Area, where, as a core part of her patient care, she was an advocate for healthy living, encouraging her patients to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Gaudry holds a bachelor of kinesiology from McMaster University and a doctor of chiropractic diploma from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

Outside of work, Gaudry enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, is an avid volunteer for youth sports and is a five-time marathoner who continues to love running for both the physical and mental health benefits. While she and her family lead an active lifestyle, they also really enjoy unwinding on their family camping trips or vacationing to sunny beach destinations.

Eric Glazer

Eric Glazer is the vice-president of innovation at Best Doctors, where for over the past six years he has been charged with creating new products and services. In his most recent role, Glazer developed, and now currently oversees, Onward by Best Doctors™, a novel, telemental health service that supports patients suffering from depression and anxiety who are also on short- or long-term disability. In this role, he works closely with leading practitioners and insurance executives throughout the country to provide patients and their general practitioners with expert insights, recommendations and coping skills. 

Throughout his two-decade career, Glazer has been producing leading new services, educational programming and thought-leadership events in healthcare, in addition to launching various digital products to support clinician engagement. 

Glazer holds a bachelor of science and a master of business administration in healthcare from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and he sits on the board of directors at the Population Health Executive Roundtable and was formerly on the board at the Society for Participatory Medicine.

Andy MacDonald

Andy MacDonald is the advisor to the first responder community for Homewood Health. He has four decades of experience serving in the field of emergency services. He began his journey, as a volunteer firefighter, immediately after graduating from McMaster University in 1977.  After becoming a professional firefighter in 1979, he progressed through the ranks and served as fire chief in the City of Brampton for seven years. MacDonald capped off his career in public service in the City of Guelph, where he was the general manager of emergency services. In that role, MacDonald provided oversight of the Guelph/Wellington Paramedic Services and the Guelph Fire Department. 

With over 20 years of service as a frontline first responder, MacDonald personally witnessed the psychological impacts of responding to trauma. As an emergency services chief officer, he also saw the effects of trauma-induced stress on his peers, co-workers and the citizens he served. That exposure prompted MacDonald to implement changes in the workplace to help mitigate those effects. His support of Brampton’s and Guelph’s Peer Support Networks earned him a reputation as a “chief that cares.”

His life working in that community has provided him with the insight, knowledge and connections to effectively aid in “getting the message out” that there is help available. He is committed to helping create psychologically safe and healthy workplaces for first responders.

MacDonald spends much of his remaining free time aiding in other causes. He is a founding member of the Camp FACES advisory board and is a passionate supporter of the organization’s great work. He was also the driving force behind the construction of his dream project, the world's first fire/life safety education centre in Brampton. Additionally, MacDonald’s charitable exploits include rappelling off the CN Tower in 1985, to raise money for a Toronto burn unit. That earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records at the time.

Dr. Diane McIntosh

Dr. Diane McIntosh is a clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. She graduated from Dalhousie University, where she completed an undergraduate degree in pharmacy before completing her medical school training, two years of a pediatric residency and then an adult psychiatry residency. As a doctor of medicine, Dr. McIntosh also has a busy private practice and is extensively involved in continuing medical education programs to colleagues nationally and internationally, with a focus on rational pharmacology. She is particularly interested in the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders. As a researcher, Dr. McIntosh has been a principle or sub-investigator in phase II-IV trials, both industry sponsored and investigator initiated, and she is the author of numerous clinical and research papers. She sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and advisory board for the Canadian ADHD Research Association (CADDRA). She has recently published blogs in the Huffington Post, focusing on mental health issues. Dr. McIntosh is also a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC).

Allison Nourse

Allison Nourse is the national director of pharmacy innovation at Pharmasave Drugs (National) Ltd. Joining the company in May 2016, Nourse brings considerable leadership, industry and advocacy experience to her roles, which most recently includes being a manager of the pharmacy services and medicine centre for uniPHARM Wholesale Drugs Ltd. Prior to working at uniPHARM, Nourse held roles at Intelliware Development Inc., Network Healthcare, Shoppers Drug Mart and Wyeth Canada. She was also a practice consultant and pharmacist for Pharmasave Drugs (Pacific).

Nourse is the past-president of the board of directors for the BC Pharmacy Association. She received her bachelor of science degree in pharmacy from the University of British Columbia, completed the industrial pharmacy residency program at the University of Toronto and is a certified health coach.

Nadeem Rajabali

Nadeem Rajabali has been the regional vice-president of business development for group and business insurance for western Canada at Desjardins Insurance since September 2015. With more than 17 years of experience in the group insurance industry, Rajabali contributes to the provision of high-quality services to Desjardins’ clients in western Canada. Having worked as a consulting actuary, Rajabali has proven himself to be a strong team leader with a focus on building solid relationships with both plan sponsors and advisors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Simon Fraser University and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Michael Sheppard

Michael Sheppard is a registered psychologist. In addition to working with Best Doctors, he is the manager of comprehensive psychological assessments services at the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Centre of Vancouver and core faculty at Adler University. Sheppard is active in the provincial psychological community, having joined the board of the British Columbia Psychological Association; he is the director of the membership committee. He is also active in the Canadian psychological community, currently serving as an executive member of the Canadian Psychological Association’s criminal justice section (director of clinical training) and, in the past, the Association’s section for psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychology (secretary and member of the Goethe award committee from 2003 until 2015). In his spare time, Sheppard likes to play games (board games, role-playing games and video games).

Bradley Smith

Bradley Smith worked for over 10 years in Canada and in France as a marketing director for leading pharmaceutical and cosmetics brands before launching a new venture in Montreal in 2015 to develop innovative and accessible preventive health solutions. His company, HALEO Preventive Health Solutions Inc., helps employers improve organizational health and performance by increasing employee access to treatment for sleep disorders. In partnership with Desjardins Insurance and the Sleep Health Institute of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, HALEO recently launched its innovative Healthy Sleep Program, which has already helped hundreds of employees to screen, diagnose and treat insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea. Smith also holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

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

Event Location: Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

Contemporary accommodations bring more fun to travelers staying at 489-room The Fairmont Waterfront, a luxury hotel set in a prime location in Vancouver where lots of fun destinations are within reach. A wide array of delicious food choices are featured at ARC Restaurant + Bar, with guests and locals invited to indulge in the local and handcrafted cuisine offered throughout the day


900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver, BC V6C3L5

For more information about the conference accommodations please contact Joanne Boccia at



Francesca Allman

Sara Ametrano
Joanne Boccia

Join the conversation! @BenCanMag #MentalHealth17