Approved for CPD Credits from HRPA

This program (PROGRAM ID# Provided on-site) has been approved for 6.5 continuing professional development (CPD) hours under Section A of the Continuing professional development (CPD) Log of the Human Resource Professionals Association (HRPA). Be sure to note the program ID number on your continuing professional development (CPD) log.


HRPA Certified
Human Resource Professionals Association , HRPA Certified Course Content (6.5 Hours)

Breakfast & Solution Hall Open

Opening Remarks


Diane J. Brisebois
President & CEO , Retail Council of Canada


Kevin Graff
President , Graff Retail

Leadership Success Drivers In Times of Change

With it’s acquisition of RONA in 2016, Lowe’s now operates or services over 600 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores. The company along with its independent dealers has more than 29,000 employees. How does such a dramatic acquisition affect your people? How does it affect the people of the company that you’ve acquired? In this session, Jim Caldwell, EVP of Big Box Retail for Lowes Canada will discuss the challenges and opportunities of building a new team and how a strong and forward-thinking human resources strategy can help companies succeed.


Diane J. Brisebois
President & CEO , Retail Council of Canada


Jim Caldwell
Executive Vice President, Big Box Retail Stores , Lowe's Canada

FAST FIVE - Impact of Leadership and HR Practices on Retail Companies

The David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services offers executive education for retailers, and engages in research and innovation focused on the retail sector. The David Sobey Centre is pleased to present the work of three of our leading researchers in the fields of leadership and human resources. Dr. Kevin Kelloway's work demonstrates how transformational leadership in retail companies impacts employee engagement and, ultimately, customer loyalty. Dr. Feng Liu's work examines negative customer-employee interactions and implications for training. Finally, Dr. Catherine Loughlin's research addresses how retailers can leverage a multi-generational workforce create high performance teams.


Ramesh Venkat
Director, David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing , Sobey School of Business

Mental Health In the Workplace


The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) is the first of its kind in the world. Launched in January 2013, it has already garnered much attention and uptake from coast to coast, internationally, and across all sectors and sizes as leaders champion the need to focus on PH&S in the workplace. In this session, Ed Mantler, Vice President, Programs & Priorities, MHCC will discuss the standard, the challenges and successes of the campaign, and provide insights from some of the early adopters, and how they have seen this standard impact their organizations.


Ed Mantler
Vice President of Programs and Priorities, MHCC

Bell Canada: Sharing our experience in developing and deploying workplace mental health programs.

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 4 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 - Senior Consultant, Workplace Health will provide insights on Bell’s workplace mental health strategy including an overview of its program, the application of the National Standard in the workplace (including manager and employee training) and the metrics the company is using to measure progress and nurture continuous improvement.


Monika Mielnik
Senior Consultant, Human Resources - Workplace Health, Bell

AM Networking Break

AM Concurrent Sessions

A. Build Your Employment Brand : Effective Strategies to Attract & Hire Talent for Growth

Retailers face a huge challenge, how do you convince the best and brightest not only to work for you, but that a career in retail is the best place to be? In this session, strategies for building a dynamic employment brand will be reviewed by both retailers and experts. These strategies can produce elevated engagement, employment brand ambassadors, and great place to work organic recognition that will increase applications and improve quality of hires across your organization.


Stacy Parker
Managing Director , Blu Ivy Group


Ted Moroz
President, The Beer Store


Kristen MacLellan
Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Best Buy Canada

AM Concurrent Sessions

B. Diversity and Inclusion
Gender Transition in the Workplace

The clearest evidence of a healthy workplace is found in productive, creative employees who share an awareness and appreciation of one another. This includes a mutual respect for the different strengths and contributions of members. Appreciating and learning about diversity will ultimately help organizations and their employees deal constructively with difference, in a non-threatening and inclusive way. Today’s focus will be on best practices for supporting leaders and employees with gender transitions in the workplace.

A transgender person is a person whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional expectations of masculinity or femininity. Whether the employee has already made the transition to a new gender or the employee is transitioning on the job, it’s important to understand what the best practices are for managing any workplace implications.


Michel Arsenault
Clinical Director for Ontario and Digital Clinical Services, Morneau Shepell

AM Concurrent Sessions

C. HR UnScripted: Manage in the Moment

Change is the new normal in Canadian Retail today. Retail HR Professionals are often the agents of this change and recognize the need to build resiliency and the change-ability of their workforce. But how are HR leaders developing these skills? In this session, you will be introduced to The UnScripted Mindset™ that allows us to develop the ability to create opportunity in the face of uncertainty. The best retailers in the future will be the ones who are able to adapt to change at light speed today. Join us and develop the key skills required by today's retail workforce: the confidence to embrace the uncertainty and ambiguity that accompany change and the ability to manage the UnExpected, the UnPredictable and the UnAvoidable while you Manage in the Moment.


Jennifer Spear
President & Creative Strategist, Clean Slate Strategies

Lunch and Networking

Lunch & Learn Session

How to Continue Health & Safety Success in your Workplace!

Check out this Health and Safety lunch session at HR conference to hear the latest and greatest ways to learn about preventative H and S methods using technology to your advantage. Learn how the virtual audit can benefit the employer, enhance safety and ensure compliance within your Retail Stores!


Sonny Brar
Vice President, Member Programs and Services, Retail Council of Canada


Andy Freitas
Corporate Loss Prevention, Health and Safety Manager, Sears Canada

PM Concurrent Sessions

A. Using Technology to Improve Employee Engagement and Drive Business Decisions

Engaged and productive employees are key to delivering the high levels of customer service we have all come to expect from our retail experience. However, only 35% of respondents recently surveyed* rated employee engagement as strong within their organization. Sudden unexpected absences, short time requests for schedule changes can greatly impact the retail workforce and cause significant productivity issues. Take this opportunity to learn how to use technology to your benefit and allow Employers to update required scheduling, absences and vacation in matter of seconds and most importantly be able to communicate it immediately.

This opportunity cost of ineffective workplace engagement is high and leaders are looking for answers. Organizations that focus on flexibility and employee engagement are more likely to drive greater sales and business success by using technology to their benefit.


Sonny Brar
Vice President, Member Programs and Services, Retail Council of Canada


Matthew Zelek
Strategic Account Advisor – Retail , Kronos Incorporated

PM Concurrent Sessions

B. Legalized Marijuana: How to Prepare to Manage it in the Workplace

Canada has undergone unprecedented changes in two decades, Health Canada has introduced changes allowing broader legal access to marijuana for medical purposes and legalized marijuana is expected by 2018. This is a tremendous change that the far majority of employers are unprepared to manage in hazardous, safety sensitive, work environments. Medical accessibility of marijuana has been the Trojan horse to cultural and political acceptance for recreational use globally and the widespread minimization of the harm it poses to our workplaces and on our roadways. The topic of marijuana is highly polarized, has evolved into multiple complex debates, and has left most people in a fog, feeling overwhelmed and ultimately paralyzed by misinformation— a fog that will cost lives if not cleared. This session is aimed at shedding light on the top research related to safety implications, helping employers understand the significant risk that legalization poses in their safety sensitive workplaces and providing clear guidance on how manage both medically authorized and legally accessible marijuana before it is too late. Ultimately equipping the audience with compelling facts, resources, and action steps to keep their safety sensitive workplace safe - regardless of what the future holds.


Dan Demers
Senior Manager, Strategic Business Development. , CannAmm

PM Concurrent Sessions

C. The Performance Development Platform – A New ERA of Performance Management

The shift in work has begun. Across all industries, companies are re-defining their own workplace cultures, overhauling their engagement strategies, and re-aligning their company goals to focus on a productive, flexible & dynamic workforce. Early adapters of this new way to work have seen immediate results in increased engagement, improved retention & and an attractive employment brand. However, in these new flexible, empowered , entrepreneurial & engaged environments, how do HR professionals track and manage performance, and provide accurate compensation? In this session, Microsoft will provide a case study on the way they have completely re-imagined the Performance & Development Model and will share how they have aligned performance measurement with modern workplace culture.


Andrea Coopman
Sr. Human Resources Manager, Microsoft

Networking Break

The Evolution of Employee Engagement

In this session, Gil Dennis, Executive Vice President of Retail and Human Resources will discuss new strategies that Indigo is using to improve employee engagement. By focusing on creating a transparent environment where associates can effectively use their voice, strengths, and work experiences to support the company's mission, Indigo has implemented strategies that enable a decentralized leadership model in support of highly engaged teams. These new models have led to increased productivity, and an environment where individuals can maximize their potential.


Gil Dennis
Executive Vice President, Retail and Human Resources, !ndigo

Creating Future Leaders


In this session, two award winning, yet very different talent development strategies will be presented & discussed. Insights on lessons learned through the process, what worked & what didn’t, and the reasoning behind the strategies taken will be reviewed. Once each cast study has been presented, both retailers will sit down with Kevin Graff & discuss the challenges that retailers face for talent & leadership development. How do millennials react differently to career development? What drivers can help motive young staff to develop and evolve into managers and leaders within a retail organization? What does the future of talent development hold for retail in Canada?


Kevin Graff
President , Graff Retail


Miles Lucas
Country Human Resources Manager , H&M Canada


Rod Power
North American Retail Trainer , Michael Hill

Developing a Vibrant Workplace Culture

There is a massive shift taking place in the way people want to work today. Across Canada, young professionals are leaving secure, traditional workplaces for new, exciting and vibrant environments. Traditional financial driven goals are being replaced by a desire to have work life balance, and thrive in a vibrant & empowered culture. In this session, Kelly Davis, SVP, HR will discuss how Town Shoes Limited has evolved it’s culture into a fun & inspiring environment, and how this culture shift has enabled them to attract and retain top level retail talent.


Kelly Davis
Senior Vice President, HR, Loss Prevention & Customer Service. , Town Shoes Limited

Retailer Networking Event

Join us for our retailer networking event. Our solution hall is transformed with music, tasty treats, creative beverages (including non-alcoholic options), lively interactions with colleagues, friends, industry experts and HR solution providers.