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Canadian Health and Wellness Innovations Conference

February 26 - 28, 2024
Fairmont Empress |
Victoria, BC

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Keynote Presentation: Unlocking Happiness at Work

Loving what we do makes us more engaged, more productive and higher performing. So why is only 13% of the global workforce happy and engaged? It isn’t just costing employers—Studies show that employee disengagement is making us lonely and anxious, and it’s harming our health. Using research, data-backed insights and practical advice, Jennifer will show us how to become happier, healthier and higher performing.

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Catching the Wave—Benefits and Well-Being Strategies for an Age-Friendly Workplace

As employers face increased burnout, chronic illness and competition for talent, reimagining workplace well-being and benefit programs has taken on a new urgency. With 40% of Canada’s workforce projected to be age 55+ by 2026, it’s critical to shift strategies now to prepare for our aging population. This session will cover:

  • Using Canada’s demographic shift to forecast the health and productivity challenges of your future workforce
  • Creating an outcome-driven, future-focused health promotion strategy to prevent chronic disease and disability
  • How myths, biases and hidden ageism could be impacting employee health
  • Optimizing your benefits and well-being programs to create an age-friendly workplace.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Culturally Responsive Benefits—How Plan Sponsors Can Better Serve Their Members and Beneficiaries

This session will discuss the challenges faced by specific communities—including but not limited to Indigenous peoples, refugees and immigrants, LGBTQIA+ individuals and people with disabilities. It will provide action items for plan sponsors that can help:

  • Improve access to mental health services
  • Support financial wellness and retirement income security
  • Increase worker engagement and productivity.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Supporting Women’s Health in the Workforce and Bridging the Care Gaps

From menstruation to menopause and beyond, women and nonbinary individuals face unique health challenges that are often misunderstood or marginalized in the workplace. As companies work to become more inclusive, bridging the women’s health gap is a top priority. Questions our panel will address include:

  • How can employers support the well-being of women in the workforce?
  • What benefit strategies are available to support equitable access to care, better health outcomes and business success?
  • How can access to various products and services contribute to better health outcomes for women at work?

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

15-Minute Mindfulness Meditation Break

Research shows that taking an intentional mindful pause in your day can improve focus, memory and mood. Join lawyer and mediator Ari Kaplan for a short guided session to boost your self-care and recharge your afternoon.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Developing an Inclusive Wellness Strategy for the Future of Work

Inclusive wellness strategies and “whole person” approaches to well-being are necessities for the workplace of the future. But we must act now if we are to get ahead of the curve on mental health, build resilience and promote psychological safety at work. This session will:

  • Explore the inclusive well-being approach for work and life
  • Learn the power of well-being intelligence competencies to build resilience
  • Explain how to transform mindsets and behaviours with a well-being competency coaching framework
  • Provide steps to promote well-being and resilience as a key organizational strategy.

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Roundtable Discussions

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

The Role of Technology in Innovative Health Behaviour Change

Attend this session to gain a better understanding of the evidence supporting and refuting technology-enabled health behaviour change. You will:

  • Learn the basic elements of behaviour change as it relates to health, including how the brain forms new habits
  • Understand the research evidence for and against enabling technologies
  • Get to know the technologies currently available to plan administrators that enable their health and wellness programming.

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Rehabilitation—The Next Big Conversation

Back pain is the leading cause of disability around the globe, impacting 11 million Canadians each year. Yet spine care is a neglected aspect of health care—particularly in underserved communities, where access is limited. Just as mental health has become a workplace priority, musculoskeletal conditions will be the next big organizational hurdle to overcome. This session will:

  • Share data from Canada and abroad that has the World Health Organization identifying “rehabilitation” as an urgent call to action
  • Discuss rehabilitation strategies
  • Start a new conversation about the role organizations can play.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

You Are No Longer Alone—Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention in Construction

Hear personal stories of perseverance, resilience and redemption. This session will address:

  • The five drivers of substance abuse and suicide
  • Awareness, training and recognizing patterns of behaviour
  • Mental health safety policies and resources
  • Respecting work-life balance while finding your purpose and passion.

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Cancer in the Workplace—Modernizing Benefits to Improve the Member Experience

Working-age Canadians now account for 35% to 40% of all cancer diagnoses, and many cases are preventable. Highlighting recent research, this session focuses on practical, innovative ways to modernize health and disability benefits to better manage cancer. Using interactive problem-solving exercises, we will address:

  • Equity in drug and health plan policy and design
  • Access to and alignment of existing workplace resources and programs
  • Accommodations for workers with cancer and other chronic conditions.

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Soothe and Restore

Taking a few minutes every day to move and breathe and check in with ourselves can prevent chronic illness and repetitive strain injuries, improve concentration and support general well-being. Join Elizabeth Chavez for 15 minutes of conscious breathing, light movement and some lighthearted fun. This session can be done seated or standing.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Drug Trends in Private Plans

During the last 15 years or so, the focus of public and private drug plans in Canada has been on high-cost specialty drugs used to treat complex diseases. Recently, new trends have emerged in relation to common diseases that require innovative strategies targeting a much broader segment of the population. This session will explore these important trends, which are projected to have a tremendous impact on drug plans, covering aspects such as:

  • Dynamics of chronic disease medications
  • Recent changes in the treatment of diabetes and obesity
  • Impact of new treatments and potential improvements to drug plans.

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Understanding the ROI of Innovative Therapies

This session will look at how plans can balance the need to make upfront investments in meaningful new therapies—many of which will have a significant cost impact—with the potentially long timeline for a return on that investment. In particular:

  • What happens to patients with chronic, progressive diseases that are not optimally managed, from the perspective of a surgeon dealing with the outcomes of years of suboptimal health?
  • How can plans position themselves to make appropriate investments upfront, and where will the drug pipeline move the discussion next?
  • How can plan sponsors measure the return on investment?

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

The Workplace Wellness Value Proposition—Engaging Employees After Returning to the Workplace

A lot of organizations want their employees back in the workplace, but after years of remote work, many aren’t that keen to return. This session will discuss:

  • What we have learned since returning to work in person
  • How to address employees who believe they have a right to work from home
  • The most effective strategies for improving worker engagement
  • Considerations for employees who have never worked from home.

9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Long-Term Disability Insurance—A Vision for the Future

Factors like remote work, mental health challenges and economic uncertainty can all impact disability claims and trends. And previous economic downturns have shown that we’re not immune to a resurgence of disability cases once the economy stabilizes. However, group plans can help alleviate these problems, and employers have an important role to play. This session will discuss:

  • What are the main risk factors to look for over the coming months?
  • Should changes be made to group benefits now?
  • How can we rethink disability for a healthy future?

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Helping Caregivers to Cope—Wellness Program Essentials

Whether it’s caregiving for an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s, a newborn after parental leave has ended or someone who is critically ill, juggling the combined demands of work and caregiving can be overwhelming. Often, there is a significant impact on mental health and personal needs. This session will explain the benefits of wellness programs to empower the caregiver when dealing with these challenges, including:

  • What a wellness program encompasses
  • How to attain daily living support and work-life solutions
  • Seeking short-term professional help to address a particular mental health concern.