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Back to Work Virtual Summit offered tips, expertise for employers on reopening

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May 28, 2020
By Todd Humber

Filomena Tassi, the federal Minister of Labour, delivers the opening remarks at the Back to Work Virtual Summit hosted by Talent Canada.

Nearly 500 senior business leaders and HR professionals from across Canada took part in the Back to Work Virtual Summit on May 27.

The online event, put on by Talent Canada and OHS Canada magazine, offered employers and management advice and best practices on reopening safely and profitably as businesses continue to open in waves in the COVID-19 era.

The summit was a mix of live and on-demand sessions, and featured additional resources for employers. Federal Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi kicked off the day with a special message for employers.

“The success of this project is knowing that all we share a common goal and that is to reopen in a way that is safe for all Canadians — industry, labour and the general public,” she said. “I know this is a challenging time, but we’re going to meet this challenge together. We’re going to be safe, and we’re going to come back strong.”


Tassi went on to thank Talent Canada and OHS Canada magazines for “organizing this fantastic summit.”

On-demand sessions available

Leaders who missed the live sessions can still watch the on-demand portions. The live sessions have also been converted to on-demand ones, and serve as valuable resources for senior management and HR as they look for advice and help on best practices.

Sessions include:

The physical workspace: A panel discussion featuring Richard Moreau of Calian; Dr. Ken Jenkins of Medisys; and Kris Tierney of the HRPA.

HR and policy changes: A panel discussion featuring Sue Ivay of Calian; Irene Paul of Ultimate Software; and Sharon Ramalho, retired SVP of HR at McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

Healthy living during COVID-19: A session from our partners at Medisys, supported by Telus health.

A conversation on leadership with Simon Sinek: A session from our partners at Ultimate Software.

Coping with isolation and loneliness: A session on mental health issues featuring Dr. Bill Howatt.

Return to office and the future of work post COVID-19: A conversation with Stephen Harrington, national lead of workforce strategy at Deloitte.

Planning for return to work in a complex, multi-jurisdictional environment: A conversation with the leaders at Calian, including Richard Moreau, Sue Ivay and Wes Karges.

Additional resources

In addition to the sessions, there are also articles and whitepapers to help guide managers. These include:

  • Pandemic Workforce Planning, a PDF from XDesign that provides information on policy development, space planning, operational changes, material selection, technology impact and mechanical systems.
  • Resources from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, including sector-specific sheets to help employerse and employee reopen safely.
  • A series of articles from Dave Ulrich, one of the brightest and most-respected minds when it comes to the realm of employers and HR. It includes a look at how to re-enter the office work setting; insights for making work at home work; HR’s role in a crisis; and so much more.
  • There are also videos from Ultimate Software and Medisys, supported by Telus Health, that are worth checking out.

Virtual delegate bag

What’s a conference without a delegate bag? Our sponsors have provided a range of offerings for attendees. Check out https://www.talentcanada.ca/virtual-events/back-to-work-summit/ for the full list of offerings.

Thanks to our sponsors

The day would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors. A big thanks to them for supporting employers and leaders through these challenging times.

Gold Sponsors

Ultimate Software

Medisys, supported by Telus Health


Silver Sponsor

SCJohnson Professional, a Family Company

Bronze Sponsor

SnookBooks Publishing

Talent Canada is committed to helping employers, senior leaders and HR professionals through this time. For more information, visit www.TalentCanada.ca.

To view the full summit agenda, visit www.TalentCanada.ca/BacktoWork.

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