Omni Hotel in
Montréal, Quebec
May 31st - June 2nd, 2017

The conference took place on May 31-June 2, 2017.

Le Village | © Frédérick Plante

Program

On this page you will find information on the workshops, speakers, times and locations for the 2017 VRA Conference.

For more information, please click on the "+" in the upper right corner of the workshop.

May 31st, 2017 | CAVEWAS Pre-Conference

Chronic Pain – A Complex Issue in Forensic Vocational AssessmentExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Niall Trainor MA RRP CVRP(F)
Time: 2017 - 8:30am to 12:00pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon Saisons A&B

A forensic vocational assessment is one that aims to assist a court, workers’ compensation tribunal, or other legal body to understand how an injured worker’s employment potential has been altered by personal injury sustained during a motor vehicle accident, industrial accident, or other misadventure. These assessments are typically detailed and complex, involving the identification and analysis of multiple employment assets and barriers. Chronic pain figures prominently as a barrier to employment in personal injury litigation. Using real cases, Niall will explore chronic pain as a barrier to employment. He will also discuss assessment methods, case analysis models, ethical considerations, legal report writing, evidentiary problems, and the role of the vocational expert in legal proceedings. Participants will have an opportunity to analyse real case evidence and discuss their own findings and opinions. Niall will also identify areas for further research and development as it pertains to forensic vocational assessment and our profession.

Niall Trainor MA RRP CVRP(F)
Niall Trainor MA RRP CVRP(F)

Niall Trainor obtained a Masters degree in Sociology from the University of British Columbia in 1983. His studies included the Sociology of Work, Social Psychology and Social Research Methods. He has been a member of VRA since 1993 in which he holds the designation of Registered Rehabilitation Professional (RRP). He is also a member in good standing of the Canadian College of Vocational Professionals within which he holds the designation of Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Professional (Fellow). He has acquired more than thirty-two years of practical work experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation. He began his career in vocational rehabilitation, working for the YMCA in Vancouver, where he developed and managed four employment programs. His multifaceted role involved supervising and training staff as well as personally assessing the employability of workers with multiple employment barriers, providing career advice, and teaching job search skills. After leaving the YMCA in 1992 Niall went on to collaborate with health professionals, providing vocational assessment and counselling to persons grappling with physical, cognitive and psychological barriers to employment. Since 1995 he has been appearing in the Supreme Court of British Columbia as an Expert qualified to give opinion evidence in matters pertaining to vocational rehabilitation. In that capacity, he assesses individuals whose employability has been affected by trauma such as motor vehicle accidents. He is highly respected by both the plaintiff and defense bar.

Determining Potential Impact of Loss / Grief on EarningsExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Sean FitzGerald, CCVE-D, CVRP-F, CLCP, RRP
Time: 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon Saisons A&B

The death or catastrophic injury of a child can have an economic impact upon a parent's earning capacity. This presentation will outline the concepts of Thanatology around the impact of losing a child or living with a severely disabled child can have upon a parent's residual earning capacity.

Sean FitzGerald, CCVE-D, CVRP-F, CLCP, RRP

Sean FitzGerald in addition to his current professional certifications in life care planning, vocational rehabilitation and vocational evaluation, use to also hold the designation of Certified Thanatologist (CT) through the association of death education and counselling. Sean is also a past president of CAVEWAS and past president of CVRP.

Anxiety, from its genesis to management: Practical information and interventions for Vocational ProfessionalsExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Dr. Camille Hadida, DC QP CVRP(F) CCVE
Time: 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon Saisons A&B

Anxiety is prevalent among clients of Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals (VRPs) and it presents in many different forms. Understanding the type of anxiety, its root causes and the behaviours clients engage in to relieve their anxiety is essential to the rehabilitation process. Yet mental health treatment funding and resources are often limited creating greater challenges for successful vocational rehabilitation. This workshop will provide a clinically relevant overview of the various types of anxiety disorders and how they impact clients’ in and out of the workplace. Using an interactive approach, participants will explore and practise:

  • ways to effectively communicate with clients about anxiety, helping them gain a better understanding of their maladaptive reactions 
  • effective strategies for reducing anxiety symptoms, improving quality of life and participation in vocational activities
Dr. Camille Hadida, DC QP CVRP(F) CCVE
Dr. Camille Hadida, DC QP CVRP(F) CCVE

Camille Hadida is a Doctor of Chiropractic, with a Chiropractic Fellowship Degree in Clinical Sciences, a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Professional (Fellow) and a Canadian Certified Vocational Evaluator. She is also a Registered Psychotherapist (QP). Her clinical experience ranges from physical and vocational rehabilitation to counselling psychology. Her counselling interests include a variety of mental health and anxiety disorders, self-esteem issues, anger, cognitive disabilities, self-harming behaviours and family, school, work and relationship stressors.

June 1st, 2017

Professional Ethics: A Preventive Maintenance ApproachExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Christopher Bauer
Time: 2017 - 8:45am to 10:15am | Plenary Session | Room: Salon Saisons A&B

This won’t be a review of the ethics code, case studies, or case law! Instead, it will be a unique program designed to help assure that you and your entire organization are able to more easily “walk the talk” of great ethics. This often-humorous program will show us ethics risks we never even knew we had and what can be done right now to make sure those risks don’t turn into costly ethical and legal problems on the job. You will also learn how even a slightly changed focus on ethics can significantly build your organization’s bottom line.

Ethics and fun aren’t words you normally hear in the same sentence. However, Dr. Christopher Bauer has been making professional ethics both straightforward and fun for international audiences for more than 25 years. He will present ethics differently than you have probably ever experienced them before. The tone will be conversational and the ideas immediately applicable. You will leave with easy, practical ideas and tools to reduce your risk for ethics difficulties while simultaneously reducing the risk of your colleagues, coworkers and entire organizations

Christopher Bauer
Christopher Bauer

Christopher Bauer is a licensed psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience as a trainer, speaker, and consultant. Between coaching, speaking and consulting, he has worked with front-line workers to senior executives and everyone in-between. Clients of Dr. Bauer have run the gamut from small and medium sized businesses and organizations to every level of staff and management at Fortune 500 corporations.

Dr Bauer’s articles on building and maintaining great ethics have appeared in such journals as CEO Refresher, CFO Magazine, Financial Executive, Internal Auditor, and many others. His latest book is titled "Better Ethics NOW: How To Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming”. He also publishes a free “Weekly Ethics Thought” seen by thousands of readers worldwide.

Because of his unique contribution to the prevention of ethics problems, Dr. Bauer has been recognized with the prestigious Certified Fraud Specialist designation by the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists.

Creating A Culture of Ethics, Compliance, and AccountabilityExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Christopher Bauer
Time: 2017 - 10:45am to 11:45am | Workshop | Room: Salon Pierre de Coubertin

Ethics, compliance, and accountability share a common skillset; all are about doing what you say and saying what you do. This highly interactive workshop will show you how to assure that your actions - and those of the folks around you - are fully and consistently aligned with your stated values. Remember, your values, whether stated, unstated, or mis-stated, drive everything you do. Come learn how to assure everyone with whom you work will see that do what you say and say what you do!

Christopher Bauer
Christopher Bauer

Christopher Bauer is a licensed psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience as a trainer, speaker, and consultant. Between coaching, speaking and consulting, he has worked with front-line workers to senior executives and everyone in-between. Clients of Dr. Bauer have run the gamut from small and medium sized businesses and organizations to every level of staff and management at Fortune 500 corporations.

He is also called on regularly to speak on values-driven leadership, management, and customer-service initiatives.

Dr Bauer’s articles on building and maintaining great ethics have appeared in such journals as CEO Refresher, CFO Magazine, Financial Executive, Internal Auditor, and many others. His latest book is titled "Better Ethics NOW: How To Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming”. He also publishes a free “Weekly Ethics Thought” seen by thousands of readers worldwide.

Because of his unique contribution to the prevention of ethics problems, Dr. Bauer has been recognized with the prestigious Certified Fraud Specialist designation by the Association of Certified Fraud Specialists.

Self-Reported Chronic Pain as a Predictor of Relapse Post Residential Addiction Treatment, a 6 Month Follow-Up StudyExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Carson McPherson, Cedars at Cobble Hill, Royal Roads University
Time: 2017 - 10:45am to 11:45am | Workshop | Room: Salon Printemps

The relationship between chronic pain (CP) and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) have recently become of interest in the field of addiction research. This study seeks to examine the role of self-reported CP as a predictor of relapse from SUDs in 198 adult patients 6 months following discharge from residential addiction treatment. A chi-square test of goodness of fit determined that there was no significant relationship between self-reported CP and abstinence at 6 months. This study adds to the mixed results in the literature examining CP as a predictor of relapse to SUDs, pointing to the need for further study to understand the intricacies of CP and sustained abstinence from substance use. Despite CP’s known attributes as an initiating factor of SUDs, this study does not find any association in achieving abstinence post treatment. The inconsistent use of language of abstinence, relapse, and recovery throughout the literature may account for the discrepancies of findings regarding chronic pain and SUDs. Further research is required to understand the relationship between CP, SUDs and addiction relapse for residential treatment populations.

Carson McPherson, Cedars at Cobble Hill, Royal Roads University
Carson McPherson

Carson is responsible for the business operations and research capacity building activities of Cedars at Cobble Hill, a residential addiction treatment centre on Vancouver Island.  In this role, he is responsible for administration, strategic planning, managing non-clinical operations and overseeing all research partnerships with leading universities across Canada. Carson holds both a Masters of Business Administration as well as a Masters of Science and is currently a Doctoral student at Royal Roads University along with holding the Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE) designation with the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Carson has recently published clinical research in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addictions, Innovations in Psychology and has numerous papers currently under peer review.

Navigating through the Duty to Accommodate under Human Rights Legislation: Practical Prevention StrategiesExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Asha Rampersad, Lawyer & HR Advisor – Bernardi Human Resource Law LLP Heather McNicol
Time: 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm | Workshop | Room: Salon Pierre de Coubertin

Managing employee disability claims has emerged as one of the most challenging issues confronting today’s workplace.  Increasingly, employers have been faced with skyrocketing costs associated with managing disability claims, including mental stress claims, both from an administrative and premium perspective.  This trend is expected to continue as the Canadian population ages, and the proliferation of chronic mental stress claims increases.  To assist in managing and containing costs, many companies have opted to use the services of third party disability management providers to assist with the management of claims and the return to work process.

While many employers are aware that they are required to accommodate an employee’s disability to the point of undue hardship under various provincial human rights legislation, many disability management providers are not clear what their legal responsibilities are to their clients and how they can assist in searching for ways to accommodate employees consistent with human rights legislation.

Join us for this important and timely session where you will learn the answers to some key questions and topics such as:

  • What is the duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship? What does undue hardship mean?
  • How to manage employee claims of “stress” vs. a clinically recognized mental disorder
  • Is the duty to accommodate exhausted if claims of STD or LTD are denied?
  • How will the legalization of marijuana impact the workplace?
  • Doing your due diligence to protect against potential litigation before various administrative tribunals, courts and grievance arbitration.
  • Can your clients’ failure to investigate claims of harassment, discrimination and violence in the workplace expose employers to increased claims for chronic mental stress?
Asha Rampersad, Lawyer & HR Advisor – Bernardi Human Resource Law LLP
Asha Rampersad

Asha has successfully represented major Crown Corporations, municipalities, and large private sector clients on a broad range of labour and employment matters, including human rights litigation; grievance arbitrations; AODA and human rights compliance; and occupational health and safety issues.

Equipped with several years of teaching experience at the university level, and conducting numerous training sessions for human resource professionals, Asha has significant expertise in delivering training to both employers and employees on all facets of employment and labour law, including collective agreement interpretation.

Asha has been quoted in the Law Times regarding an employer’s Duty to Investigate, and has been published in several magazines and newsletters regarding human rights and disability management issues. Asha also has extensive experience designing various attendance management programs for her clients, and frequently provides strategic advice to large employers regarding all facets of disability management.

Asha is part of the faculty for the Osgoode Professional Development Continuing Legal Studies program and lectures in both the Mental Health Certificate Program and the Labour Studies Certificate Program.

Asha joined the firm in 2015 and her main areas of practice include human rights litigation, disability management and grievance arbitration.

Heather McNicol
Heather McNicol

Heather, Director of Employer Services for arc Health Management Solutions, has over 15 years of disability case management experience. Heather began her career working one-on-one with disabled employees providing home-based rehabilitation programs to facilitate recovery and return to work. Heather then moved on to work in the group insurance sector where she developed and implemented rehabilitation programs to facilitate complex claim resolution. Heather has earned an honours degree in Physical and Health Education, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is a Registered Rehabilitation Professional and is currently pursuing a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources Management from McMaster University.

Creating a Mentally Healthy WorkplaceExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Addie Greco-Sanchez, RRP, RVP, CVRP, AGS Rehab Solutions Inc.
Time: 2017 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm | Workshop | Room: Salon Printemps

Mental health issues account for approximately 40% of disability claims and sick leave in Canada, with depression and anxiety being the most prevalent. (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2010). Unfortunately, the lack of understanding as well as the stigma associated with mental illness issues, often result in missed opportunities to mitigate the impact on employees and for the workplace.

The National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was introduced by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2014 in assist employers in understanding how to protect and promote psychological health and safety of its employees. Implementing this Standard is no small feat. Addie Greco-Sanchez will share AGS’s experience as one of 40 participants of the three year Case Study Project with the Mental Health Commission of Canada in implementing the Standard. The audience will hear how AGS incorporated comprehensive steps into their workplace as well as shared these concepts to their clients. Participants will walk away with practical tips to get their own journey started on implementing positive mental health practices into their workplaces.

Addie Greco-Sanchez, RRP, RVP, CVRP, AGS Rehab Solutions Inc.
Addie Greco-Sanchez

Addie is the President of AGS Rehab Solutions Inc., and a recognized industry leader with over 25 years of experience in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

Addie ranked on the 2015 PROFIT/Chatelaine’s W100 Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs. She is often called upon as a subject matter expert in the area of mental health. She is an avid national speaker on mental health as has been called upon as an expert panelist. Audiences have included Excellence Canada, the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She has authored many articles in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

Medical MarijuanaExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Asha Rampersad, Lawyer & HR Advisor – Bernardi Human Resource Law LLP
Time: 2017 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon Saisons A&B

The number of Canadians who are using medicinal marijuana for various disabilities in recent years have dramatically increased.  This has posed challenging issues for employers regarding the scope and extent of their accommodation obligations and balancing the rights of others with respect to safety in the workplace. This panel will address some of these challenging issues by addressing the following:

  • Do third party insurers have to accept the treatment plan of a family doctor recommending the usage of medicinal marijuana for an employee?
  • Is it reasonable to ask employees to try other conventional treatments and medications as alternatives to using medicinal marijuana?
  • Accommodating the usage of medical marijuana in the workplace and return to work considerations.
  • How do you accurately measure the level of impairment for individuals using medicinal impairment to determine if they can safely perform their duties?
Asha Rampersad, Lawyer & HR Advisor – Bernardi Human Resource Law LLP
Asha Rampersad

Asha has successfully represented major Crown Corporations, municipalities, and large private sector clients on a broad range of labour and employment matters, including human rights litigation; grievance arbitrations; AODA and human rights compliance; and occupational health and safety issues.

Equipped with several years of teaching experience at the university level, and conducting numerous training sessions for human resource professionals, Asha has significant expertise in delivering training to both employers and employees on all facets of employment and labour law, including collective agreement interpretation.

Asha has been quoted in the Law Times regarding an employer’s Duty to Investigate, and has been published in several magazines and newsletters regarding human rights and disability management issues. Asha also has extensive experience designing various attendance management programs for her clients, and frequently provides strategic advice to large employers regarding all facets of disability management.

Asha is part of the faculty for the Osgoode Professional Development Continuing Legal Studies program and lectures in both the Mental Health Certificate Program and the Labour Studies Certificate Program.

Asha joined the firm in 2015 and her main areas of practice include human rights litigation, disability management and grievance arbitration.

June 1st, 2017, 4:00pm - 6:00pm: AGM followed by cocktail hour

VRA AGM Documentation

The board of directors is pleased to present the following material required for the upcoming VRA AGM to be held in Montreal on June 1st at 4:30 pm EST:

- AGM Agenda listing the required motions

- 2016 draft AGM minutes

- 2016 final audited statement approved by the Board. In accordance with Bylaw 4.1 (a) the final audited statement is to be presented to members (no approval is required by members).

At this AGM, there will be a member vote required for two positions on the board; the term of these two positions was one year (from one AGM to the next). Those two positions are:

- VRA Rep to CVRP – open Call. Deadline for applications expires on May 19th.

- CVRP Rep to VRA – the nominated representative by CVRP to VRA is Roselle Piccininni

Following this election, the full slate of directors will be formally presented to the members although a vote by members on this slate is not required.

If you are unable to attend the AGM but want your vote to count, please submit your proxy in accordance to the proxy requirement listed under Bylaw 4.12 by May 19th. Proxy forms can be emailed to vraconference2017@vracanada.com.

As per Bylaw 3.5 (b) only Professional Members have the right to vote at a meeting of Members. Please make sure that your proxy holder is a Professional Member!

If you plan on attending the conference and AGM but have not registered yet, please visit the conference website here 2017conference.vracanada.com/registration to register.

June 2nd, 2017

How to better deal with Stress by better understanding what causes itExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Philippe Denichaud, CMC
Time: 2017 - 8:30am to 10:00am | Plenary Session | Room: Salon La Galerie

Most people have no idea what actually causes stress and therefore do not have any valuable, tested and immediately applicable mechanisms to appropriately cope with it.

A large part of what the daily work involves, amongst others, are two critically important issues:

  1. The people being supported are either dealing with stress or the consequences of stress
  2. The support function is in itself stressful.

Therefore "moving ahead" one of the most important things to better understand is this very complex but completely human condition that is never going to go away and is always present in one form or another. Knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress and how to professionally, competently, consistently and appropriately deal with it is a key awareness and skill, at the conscious level, to have in the profession.

Philippe Denichaud, CMC
Philippe Denichaud

Philippe Denichaud is the President of Denichaud Consulting Group Inc., Self Assess Inc., Enfin Exclusive Wines Inc. and the founding partner and President in Breakthrough Management Inc. and The Best Flip Chart Company Inc..  Originally from South Africa, but now a Canadian and resident in Toronto, he has lived and worked in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, England and France and is fluent in a number of languages.  In addition to being the President of his own companies, he has consulted to businesses across industry and impacted organizations from the President down to people on the shop floor.  His educational background is Commerce, Finance and Industrial Psychology.  He is also a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Philippe's primary skill set is in the ability to help organizations and people move to their next phase of growth and development.  A specialist in growing and coaching adults he brings to any given situation a clarity and objectivity that is rare and extremely effective in resolving or moving a situation ahead.  His high intelligence, strategic thinking and integrated negotiating and problem solving/decision making skills have helped many people at all organizational and social levels move to their next stage of awareness and consequential growth.

His insatiable appetite for knowledge and a driven commitment to continually grow at a personal and professional level, coupled with his vast business experience has ideally equipped him to be one of those few specialists who have the skills to convert theory into practical business strategies that really work.

As a Consultant, Coach and Trainer/Teacher Philippe is a Master facilitator in a number of different areas, specifically in the subjects of:  Leadership and Management, Executive Coaching, Strategic Thinking, Professional Sales and Service Consulting, Sales Management, Self-Management, Team Building, Time Management, Basic and advanced Management/Supervisory Skills, Customer Service, Effective Communications, Stress Management, Career Planning, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Creativity and Innovation, Succession Planning, Project Management and Strategic and Operational Planning, Presentation and Negotiating Skills, Policy and Procedure initiation, development and administration, Organizational Effectiveness, Structure and Development, Psychometric Profile and Emotional Quotient (EQ) implementation & Management, and overall Human Resource Planning, Development and Recruiting.

Re-inventing Rehab: Moving Forward in the Disability Benefits SystemExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Val Lougheed, MEd, RSW, CCRC, CVRP(F), CVE, RRP, Founder and Past President, Agilec
Time: 2017 - 10:30am to 11:30am | Plenary Session | Room: Salon La Galerie

Many of us work in benefits systems – workers’ compensation, long and short-term sickness benefits, disability benefits, etc. Our goal is to help people return to function/work with effective rehab interventions and financial support.

We all have success stories of courageous people who overcame unimaginable challenges and returned to productive lives. But the statistics tell a different story. According to the OECD, member countries spend 2% of their GDP annually ($100 billion in the US) on disability benefits yet many people never return to work.

The system itself needs to change and attempts are being made all over the world. While we wait for this to happen maybe there is a way to move forward in our jobs if we re-invent the way we do rehab.

This presentation explores the experience and neurological implications of injury or illness, and the origins of motivation. Participants will:

  • explore the experience of being injured or ill
  • understand how aspects of a benefits system can derail recovery and positive outcomes
  • learn practical techniques to engage, motivate and empower people to move forward in spite of negative forces
  • re-invent their approach to rehab
Val Lougheed, MEd, RSW, CCRC, CVRP(F), CVE, RRP, Founder and Past President, Agilec
Val Lougheed

Val, Founder & Past President of Agilec, has been working in voc rehab for 39 years. Agilec delivers employment, voc rehab and training services in ON and is a partner in Voc Rehab Canada.

Val is in the unique position of having been on both sides of the fence. In 2003 she was in a head-on collision. After 5 months in hospitals she spent 3 years in rehab and lives with permanent impairments. Her first book Be Still is a recovery narrative. Her second book Be Strong (manuscript) is a critical analysis of disability benefits systems.

Val has been a passionate speaker across North America for 22 years.

Stressed to KillExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Sylvia Marusyk
Time: 2017 - 11:30am to 1:00pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon La Galerie

With mental illness on the rise, everywhere you turn people are ready to blow their top! In “Stressed to Kill” Sylvia takes a deep look at the effects of stress, shares her powerful tools to reduce it (the legal and moral ones only….) as well as personal strategies for becoming the “boss“ of your stress.

Stress is the next health epidemic and it tends to be contagious; infecting entire teams. Stress leave costs businesses over 50 billion dollars a year. Not mention the cost in the loss of human potential.

Discover better health and a dramatically improved quality of life. And if that’s not enticing enough, how about learning the secret to slowing the aging process? Sylvia shares that with her audiences too!

Discover:

• The powerful biochemical impact stress has, as well as its strong and indisputable link to illness.

• How to identify all the components of stress – physical, cognitive, emotional and environmental – and avoid or modify many of these.

• The mind-body connection to stress and how you can stop it in its tracks with these techniques.

Sylvia Marusyk
Sylvia Marusyk

Sylvia Marusyk is an ACTIVATIONAL speaker who gives her audience the tools to build healthy lives and workplaces.

She’s fun, she’s sassy and she’s passionate about safety and health! Sylvia’s entertaining presentations focus on a proactive approach to building healthy lives and workplaces. As an Occupational Therapist with years of practice in the field of workplace safety and health, Sylvia knows prevention is the key to creating happy, healthy individuals, employees and businesses.

Stressed employees make more mistakes, take more time off work and are less safe on the job due to preoccupation, poor judgment and fatigue. Recognizing we are a mind-body, not a mind and a body, has helped her educate people about truly effective ways to change their health. Sylvia’s presentations invite audiences to laugh while learning practical, powerful tools to handle stress, reduce repetitive strain injuries and prevent burn out.

Sylvia also continues to practice as an Occupational Therapist, providing accredited workplace injury prevention services to all sectors of business and industry. The former radio show host of Happy Hour With Sylvia, is also a regular Health & Wellness contributor to CJOB radio.

Sylvia wants to help you discover the power of your mind-body so you can make the rest of your life, the best of your life!

The Ethical Challenges of Multiple Relationships and Professional BoundariesExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Jody Hawley, Ph.D., CCRC, CVRP (F)
Time: 2017 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon La Galerie

Whenever rehabilitation professionals have connections with a client in addition to the professional-client relationship, a secondary relationship exists. Because rehabilitation professionals function in a variety of roles in their professional and personal lives, the possibility of a multiple relationship is always present.  The major risk of concurrent or consecutive multiple relationships are that the existence of the connection outside of the provision of rehabilitation services will compromise both the judgement of the professional and the response of the client to the rehabilitation services.  Professional roles and  relationship boundaries with clients are the most pervasive themes found in violations of professional standards of practice/code of conduct.  Additionally, boundary issues were one of the most prevalent themes of ethical dilemmas identified by rehabilitation professionals in the US (Hartley & Cartwright, 2016).  Professional associations including CVRP, CRCC, and CCPA have been responding to these challenges with more defined rules and standards of practice.

This presentation will identify some of the challenges of professional boundaries with a focus on contemporary rehabilitation services, vocational rehabilitation settings, as well as client and professional issues which have the potential to challenge ethical boundaries.   Harmful versus nonharmful interactions will be reviewed and how to avoid a slippery slope or a slow and gradual erosion of our ethical safeguards. There will be reference to the 2017 revisions of CVRP and CRCC Code of Ethics and when it may be acceptable for a vocational rehabilitation professional to begin a professional relationship with a person he or she knows from another context, and to understand the restrictions on the initiation of personal relationships with former clients.  It will also identify the documentation and consultative requirements when engaging in a boundary extension.  Case scenarios will highlight some venues of boundary problems and potential warning signs.  Best practices and prevention guidelines will be presented and the actions that professionals should take if boundaries have been compromised.

Jody Hawley, Ph.D., CCRC, CVRP (F)
Jody Hawley

Jody has provided vocational rehabilitation services for over thirty years with a specialty in the return to work following workplace violence.  She teaches in the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling graduate program at University of BC and the Rehabilitation and Disability Management Program at Simon Fraser University. Her publications, research, curriculum development, presentations, and teaching include ethics, disability management, foundations of rehabilitation and working alliances.

She has been a passionate advocate for vocational rehabilitation standards since 1988, serving on the VRA Board including chairing the VRA Ethics and Discipline Committee for more than eight years and editor of the Rehab Review for five years.  As President of VRA BC Society, she presented before the BC Health Professions Act Committee in 1990 to further the professionalism. In her current role as chair of the CVRP Professional Standards Committee she has been engaged in the collaborative development and ongoing revision of the CVRP Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Leading Ethical Practice: The Dance Between Professional Ethics, Competence and Leading SelfExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Rick Thomas, EdD, MAOL, Chief Inspiration Officer, Ambient Consulting, Inc. Diana Vissers, MA, RRP, CVRP(F), Principal, Work to Wellness
Time: 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm | Workshop | Room: Salon Hiver

This interactive and experiential workshop will focus on the intersection between professional ethics and competence and the essential element that binds them together – effective and intentional self-leadership.

The facilitators will provide a safe, interesting and fun learning container within which participants will explore current and relevant field-based examples that touch on many aspects within the Profession’s Ethical Standards through the lens of self-leadership, specifically personal accountability. Built on foundational adult education and leadership principles, this session will bring to life many components of ethical practice and competence and provide participants with immediately applicable tools to enable them to lead and practice with added intention moving forward.

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Connect one’s own knowledge, understanding and practice of ethical and competent behaviour to her/his self-leadership
  • Use a simple tool to determine one’s own accountability behaviour within the context of ethics and professional competence
  • Apply a powerful method to reflect and take action towards finding and creating solutions to potential challenges
  • Coach self and others on the use of these two tools using relevant and timely, profession-related case studies and personal examples to ensure that the learning is ‘real’
  • Understand how these skills and tools compliment the ‘Ethical Decision-Making Steps’ which are outlined in VRA’s Code of Ethics (2009), and
  • Practice skills and knowledge acquired during the session with the assistance of take-away job-aides and materials.
Rick Thomas, EdD, MAOL, Chief Inspiration Officer, Ambient Consulting, Inc.
Rick Thomas

Rick is a leadership explorer, coach, consultant and author. As principal and “chief inspiration officer” of Ambient Consulting, Inc., Rick’s work is to assist leaders achieve greatness through self-exploration, collaborative dialogue and adaptive action.

For several years, Rick has had the opportunity to engage and work with inter-disciplinary leaders in a variety of contexts, most recently in the BC health care environment. Rick has experienced first-hand the benefits of the synergy that is created when the rich diversity and multicultural gifts of people - their talents, skills and experience - are allowed to flourish.

Rick has over 18 years of experience as a human resources development and learning strategist, facilitator, coach and organization development consultant gained through multiple contexts facilitating leadership development, culture transformation, and strategic organizational development initiatives for progressive organizations of 55 to 23,000 employees. He is also an active keynote speaker and has been a speaker, trainer and panel moderator at several conferences across Canada, the US, Scotland and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Rick holds a doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on human resources strategy and leadership, a masters in organizational leadership and systems renewal and a masters in adult education. Rick is faculty with both the Justice Institute of BC’s Fire & Safety Division (School of Public Safety) and the Centre for Leadership, which is a division of the School of Health, Community & Social Justice. Rick is also an executive coach. His first book, “The Anxiety Chronicles: 39 Real-life stories of Personal Angst, Honesty, Humour and Coping” is available on amazon.ca.

Rick’s passion stems from his desire to experience others tapping into their passion at work and in life.

Diana Vissers, MA, RRP, CVRP(F), Principal, Work to Wellness
Diana Vissers

Diana is a professional occupational health consultant with a focus on mental health.  For the past 25 years she has worked with organizations to preserve and promote the health of their employees and with individuals who have and are experiencing health challenges that interfere with work.  Her diverse experience includes work in the private and public sectors, with the Workers’ Compensation Board, private disability insurance companies, unions, and community based mental health agencies.  She is founder of Work to Wellness Rehabilitation Inc., a corporation that specializes in disability prevention and promoting return to work in complex situations.  She currently assists organizations to assess their workplace for psychological safety risks and provides training and recommendations to improve mental health literacy and management in the workplace.  She is an active member of an array of professional organizations including the Human Resources Management Association (BC), Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada (member since 1998), the College of Vocational Rehabilitation Professions.  Diana recently completed her Masters of Arts degree in Disability Management with a special focus on workplace disability prevention and mental health.

Diana has a passion for helping employers understand their role in workplace health and disability, and to create change that impacts every aspect of the organization.  She delivers presentations and workshops at professional conferences, employer organizations, and is an Instructor at Simon Fraser University where she designed an industry leading course on Workplace Wellness.

How to Have Fierce ConversationsExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Monica Kendel, PCC (Professional Certified Coach), Team Lead and Executive Coach at Agilec
Time: 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm | Workshop | Room: Salon Automne

Do you want to tackle difficult conversations, deliver feedback and bad news effectively yet you recognize that you lack the knowledge, skills and confidence to do so?

Do you want to encourage the development of more effective communication within your work teams and with clients?

This presentation will introduce “How to Have Fierce Conversations” and provide you with an overview of Fierce and some practical strategies and take-aways to start having those difficult conversations.

Monica Kendel, PCC (Professional Certified Coach), Team Lead and Executive Coach at Agilec
Monica Kendel

Monica is an Organizational Development professional with over 20 years leadership experience in the public, for profit and and not-for-profit sectors with a strong management background including – Organizational Development, Communications, Stakeholder Relations, Human Resources as well as Program Management.  She leads a team of employment and vocational rehabilitation specialists for Agilec’s Courtice office.  In addition to this role, she provides training and executive coaching. 

She holds a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University (2010).  Monica has certified in Motivational Interviewing (2010), BC Public Service Coaching Certification (2011), Fierce Conversations© (2012). In 2012, Monica completed the facilitator training for the conflict management tool Strength Deployment Inventory© (2012), Lumina Learning (2015), and Mindfullness-based Chronic Pain Management (2016).  She reached her Professional Certified Coach (2014) designation in 2014 and is a member of the International Coaching Federation.  Monica is a continuous learner and continues to build her certification.

High Voltage – A Personal JourneyExpand the content to view more information.

Presenter(s): Curtis Weber, Safety Specialist, Survivor, Prevention Expert
Time: 2017 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm | Plenary Session | Room: Salon La Galerie

Bringing a tragic, life-changing, and near fatal experience full circle; this presentation will leave all in attendance motivated and inspired. As part of the keynote address, Curtis takes time to promote the conference theme(s) and also additional guest speakers.

After Curtis’ injury, he received multiple levels of healthcare and developed many relationships with care providers across Canada. In these presentations, he speaks openly about his experiences in hospitals and addresses how care providers can positively affect their patients in ways they may not fully realize. Curtis is a Safety Officer of a Saskatchewan Health Region, his wife is a registered nurse, so he knows well how traumatic injuries like the one he suffered affect the healthcare system.

With experience hosting events for thousands of healthcare providers, Curtis leaves his audiences empowered, inspired and with valuable new insights into care management.

Curtis Weber, Safety Specialist, Survivor, Prevention Expert
Curtis Weber

On July 29th, 1999, Curtis was 17 years old and working as he did everyday as a Construction Laborer on the Saskatchewan prairies.

After a long day at work, Curtis and his crew were attempting to transport a grain bin under a power line with their picker truck. Prior to performing the task, they assessed the risk of moving the bin under an overhead power line. After a brief discussion, they talked about the power line and how it “had the potential to kill somebody”. Just minutes later, it nearly did.

They thought they could get the job done safely. As they worked against the elements, Curtis steadied the bin from the high winds while they approached the overhead line. Then the predictable happened. The preventable happened.

As they approached the overhead line, the operator of the crane did not boom down far enough and backed directly into the power line. Curtis immediately became the ground point for the electricity as 14,400 volts of electricity surged through his body three separate times. Curtis was surrounded by steel and as each cycle of 14,400 volts passed through his body, the electricity tried to eject him from the live zone, instead throwing him violently from one end of the steel structure to another as the 2nd and 3rd cycles of 14,400 volts of electricity passed through him.

Curtis was given a 0% chance of survival, his family was told he would not survive his injuries. Instead he has 3rd and 4th degree burns to over 60% of his body and is now a double amputee. Let Curtis tell you his story of triumph over tragedy and share with you how and why he was lucky that day.