Chronic Disease at Work

February 2, 2023 | Virtual event

February 2, 2023

12:00 – 12:30 PM:

Emerging trends in chronic diseases post-pandemic: What to expect and how to be proactive to ensure the future success of your workplace

The COVID-19 pandemic has had direct and indirect effects on people with chronic disease, which are now starting to have a major impact in the workplace. This presentation will examine key emerging trends in chronic diseases post-pandemic and include strategies focused on being proactive — conducting assessments, creating plans and implementing them in a timely manner to ensure the future success of your workplace and your business.


Dr. Peter Nord, chief medical officer, Medcan

12:30 – 1:00 PM:

Alopecia areata: An autoimmune disease impacting our largest organ

Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease that affects two per cent of the general population, impacting all genders, ages and ethnic groups. This session will provide a medical overview of AA and discuss diagnosis and current treatment options. A patient will describe her experience living with AA and how the disease has impacted her mental health, how she navigates the workplace and how she manages the financial burden of the disease.


Dr. Jeff Donovan, dermatologist, Donovan Hair Clinic

Jennifer Krahn, owner, Image Evolution by Freedom Wigs

This session has been made possible by Pfizer Canada.

1:00 – 1:30 PM:

Workplace well-being: The impact of shingles in the workplace

Shingles is a chronic disease that comes from the Chicken Pox virus. This session will cover the basics of shingles and how they can impact employees. It will also highlight the impact on health outcomes, workplace well-being and productivity.


Pavithra Ravinatarajan, pharmacist

This session has been made possible by GSK.

1:30 – 2:00 PM:

The burden of multiple sclerosis

This session will demonstrate the high social and economic burden of living and working with multiple sclerosis. It will show how workplace accommodations and treatments could potentially reduce the economic burden of MS.


Dr. Larry Lynd, professor, University of British Columbia

This session has been made possible by Biogen Canada.

2:00 – 2:15 PM:


2:15 – 2:45 PM:

The reciprocal relationship of chronic illness and mental health

Chronic illness affects about 40% of Canadians over 20 years of age, with one out of five reporting more than one condition. Mental illness is considered a chronic condition but is also a frequent co-morbid condition. Join this session to explore the myriad of ways that chronic illness affects mental health and the role that the workplace can play in ameliorating these effects.


Sherry Hnatyshyn-Webster, managing director, Carepath

2:45 – 3:15 PM:

Trends in obesity and health for 2023

Since the publication of the Canadian Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines in 2020, there’s been a great deal of attention on how obesity is defined as a chronic disease, as well as its effective, evidence-based treatment and management. Individuals living with obesity face bias, stigma and discrimination in the workplace, health care and in public, which can negatively impact health outcomes above and beyond the physical condition. Join this session to learn where obesity prevention, treatment and rehabilitation trends are headed in 2023 and how employers and benefits programs can support the health of the workforce.


Mary Forhan, associate professor, chair, department of occupational sciences and occupational therapy, University of Toronto

Ian Patton, director, advocacy and public engagement, Obesity Canada

This session has been made possible by Desjardins Insurance.

3:15 – 3:45 PM:

Chronic disease and disability: Understanding complex disability claims

Complex disability claims are a leading contributor to rising benefits plan costs. Employees on leave may not be receiving the care they need to get healthy and back to work, while employers may be facing uncertainty in understanding how they can support employees on disability leave. This session will dive into the landscape of complex disability claims, including what’s driving them and the road blocks to recovery. Attendees will learn about solutions available right now to help employees get back to a state of well-being and return to work.


Yvonne Murphy, director, disability claims, group benefits, Sun Life Financial

This session has been made possible by Sun Life.

3:45 – 4:15 PM:

The many costs of substance use stigma

This session will discuss the chronic nature of the diagnosis of substance use disorder. The impacts of stigma and discrimination toward people who use or used substances will be explored. It will address both personal and societal economic costs of stigma to the workplace and health-care system. Participants will hear firsthand from someone who has experienced discrimination and will learn how a better approach to people who use/d substances can positively impact their lives and their communities of support.


Anthony Esposti, chief executive officer, Community Addictions Peer Support Association

This agenda is subject to change.