Mental Health Summit

November 16-17, 2022  | Virtual event

All times listed below are in Eastern Time. This agenda is subject to change.
November 16, 2022

1:00 – 1:30 PM:

Mental health and health-care professionals: What’s next post-COVID?

Our health-care professionals were among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. As frontline employees, they witnessed the suffering of patients and their families and took this home with them every day. As COVID winds down, the mental-health impact remains. What is the lasting fallout for these professionals? How can we make sure they have the support they need and deserve? What are the potential solutions moving forward? During this panel discussion, two top leaders in health-care disability support services will offer their observations and views as our health-care system begins to right itself following a once in a century health-care crisis.


Chris Anderson, president, Medaca Heath Group

Carolyn Chapman, organizational health consultant, Canada Life

Alana Shearer-Kleefeld, vice-president of employee benefits, 3sHealth

1:30 – 2:00 PM:

Mental health in the workplace: A shared responsibility

There are many situations that either positively or negatively impact employees’ psychological health and, consequently, their ability to do daily work well. Some things can’t be controlled, while others can. It's all about balance. How can employees, managers and organizations act on the protective factors they can control? How can employers support employees’ self-management of mental health? From the organizational culture to the essential skills a good people manager must master, to the support of team members and the goodwill of the employee, this session will discuss an approach and tools to promote a good mental-health balance in the workplace.

Speaker:  Rebecca Smith, director of group life and disability services, Medavie Blue Cross

2:00 – 2:30 PM:

Managing the pandemic after the pandemic – the private sector’s role in building a better health-care system for all Canadians

The pandemic exposed serious gaps in our health-care system. Wait times were exacerbated. Siloes and fragmentation continue to persist. We’re also on the brink of a generational mental-health crisis. Digital health care offers a proven alternative to traditional “bricks and mortar” solutions. Private sector-led innovations like virtual therapy, telemedicine, navigation platforms and digital pharmacies have the potential to improve access, reduce fragmentation, dramatically lower health-care costs and amplify return on investment. Why aren’t these technologies more widespread, especially when they’re clinically validated? Why aren’t public health systems adopting and scaling these services? Why aren’t private sector players — from insurers to digital health providers — given a seat at the table during health-care public policy discussions. This session will discuss digital health care, particularly digital mental health, e-pharmacy and telemedicine; Green Shield’s move into digital health and the importance of a social impact/CSV mindset; the potential role of private sector health-care innovators in building a better system for Canadians; and where the Canadian health-care system needs to go next.

Speaker:  Joe Blomeley, executive vice-president, head of health services and enterprise growth, Green Shield Canada

2:30 – 2:45 PM:


2:45 – 3:15 PM:

Reducing the impact of mental disorders in the workplace

Mental disorders continue to be the leading driver of disability incidence and claim costs in the workplace and employers are looking for guidance. This session will discuss the growing impact and cost of mental disorders on workplaces, how to create an effective workplace mental-health strategy and share an innovative solution that is helping to reduce the incidence and duration of work absences.

Speaker:  Dr. Sam Mikail, director, mental health solutions, group claims, Sun Life

3:15 – 3:45 PM:

The impact of nutrition and diet on mental health

Our mental and physical health is affected by the foods we eat. Nutrition determines our gut and digestive health, which plays a role in our stress levels and wellbeing. This session will explore how certain nutrients and foods may help with mental illness and make healthy eating less stressful for people who are already stressed or otherwise struggling. Attendees will learn about the interdependence of mental health, stress, nutritional intake and behaviours.

Speaker:  Heather Barnes, registered dietician, Shoppers Drug Mart

3:45 – 4:15 PM:

Bell’s mental health journey

Bell Let's Talk was launched in 2010 and is a multi-year charitable program dedicated to promoting mental health awareness. This program is built on four key pillars: fighting the stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research and leading by example in workplace mental health. In this session, Monika Mielnik will provide insights on Bell's workplace mental health strategy including an overview of its program, the application of the National Standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace, the metrics the company is using to measure progress and the program's continuous evolution.

Speaker:  Monika Mielnik, director, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, mental health and well-being, Bell Canada

November 17, 2022

1:00 – 1:30 PM:

Mental health in the workplace: Where do we go from here?

The pandemic may be fading but mental-health problems are not—1 in 3 employees are still dealing with mental-health issues. For Canadian employers who are already facing a labour shortage, the situation is especially puzzling since they’ve increased their investments in health and wellness initiatives over the past 2 years. This session will review these wellness initiatives, which were often undertaken in a hurry, specifically looking at which practices were most common and most relevant to the ever-changing expectations of staff, which practices have been proven most effective and what measures should be prioritized as part of a sustainable mental-health strategy as organizations redefine their organizational needs.

Speaker:  Eric Minardi, senior advisor in disability management, Desjardins Insurance

1:30 – 2:00 PM:

Re-thinking mental-health absence and disability management: Innovative new ways to support return to work

Studies have shown that the Canadian economy loses at least $50 billion annually due to mental-health issues and that chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety are major reasons for long-term disability. These claims are a complex matter for any employer to manage and it can be difficult to know where to start. Join this session to learn best practices in prevention and identifying early warning signs, how to better connect mental-health case management and new mental-health treatments that support returning to work sooner. This will be presented using real case studies and data-driven evidence.

Speaker:  Adam Kelly, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer, CloudMD

2:00 – 2:30 PM:

The incremental cost of ADHD in the workplace

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common neurodevelopmental disorder associated with wide-ranging economic implications across the lifespan of a plan member or caregiver. While ADHD is frequently seen as a childhood psychiatric disorder, it often extends to adulthood, with an estimated 4.4 per cent of adults (1.05 million Canadians) affected – and many undiagnosed. This session will review how the understanding of incremental societal costs can be used to determine which treatments provide optimal outcomes and systematically review literature on the incremental costs of ADHD, including the workplace and the impact from the pandemic.

Speaker:  Beata Komierowski, outpatient psychiatrist, Psychiatric Adult Services

This session has been made possible by Takeda Canada.

2:30 – 2:45 PM:


2:45 – 3:15 PM:

Creating a health culture: Understanding the health continuum

Prevention is a key part of your human resources and financial strategy because people are an organization’s most valuable asset. Your employees’ physical and mental well-being are crucial to your organization’s smooth operations and profitability. This session will teach employers how they can make prevention a key part of their strategy, take positive steps to promote the health of their organization’s people and financial assets, be proactive by offering employees the right services at the right time and assess the impact of wellness initiatives.

Speaker:  Valerie Fernandez, organizational health senior advisor, Beneva

3:15 – 3:45 PM:

Pushing past the pandemic: How to ensure that your wellness program promotes mental health and resilience

This session will review the critical features to look for in successful workplace wellness programs. It will also present data from published studies of effective programs in Canada.

Speaker:  Dr. Steven Grover, professor of medicine, McGill University

Please email Megan Lepage