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Canadian Benefits Program Certificate

​The Key to Attract and Retain Key Talent!

Gain a Clear Understanding of Canadian Group Benefits.

Group Benefits form an important part of an employee's compensation program and play a valuable role in attracting and retaining key talent. 

Now you can get a comprehensive overview of benefit programs in Canada with this course.

  • Understand the basics and develop better strategies.
  • Manage your programs more effectively.
  • Keep escalating costs under control.

Complete all three levels and to receive your Benefits Program Certificate.

Each day builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous level.
Successful graduates will have completed all three levels.
​Career GPS Domains: Performance & Rewards, Employee Relations

WHY you should be Here:

Complete three levels and receive your certificate.

Level 1 – Introduction to the key elements of a Canadian Benefits program

  • Overview of the public and private benefits in Canada
  • Overview of plan design types (traditional, flexible benefit plans)
  • Underwriting  & risk sharing approaches
  • Administration options
  • Technology solutions for plan members and plan sponsors

Level 2 – In-depth look into cost management and claims management strategies and pricing

  • Review of pricing and risk mitigation approaches
  • Overview of different cost management strategies for Drug, Health & Dental plans
  • Overview of claims management strategies for Drugs
  • Disability management options
  • Fraud management
  • Wellness strategies
  • Employee communication and member support beyond enrollment: making sure the participants understand the true value of plan

Level 3 – Drug and Disability plan landscape and sharing of practical approaches via case studies

  • Drug plan landscape by province
  • Management of high-cost drugs
  • Disability management case study
  • Wellness solutions – assessment tools, program delivery, strategy and approach

WHAT you will Gain:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the many components of Canadian Group Benefits.
  • Insight into public and private benefits programs and individual benefit types to better formulate plans and strategies.
  • Three levels of knowledge sharing to help manage programs better and minimize costs

WHO should attend:

  • HR Professionals tasked with hiring, retaining talent in the organization.
  • C-Suite executives who wish to understand Group benefits programs.

Speaker Bios:

Sarah J. Beech, President, Pal Benefits

  • Sarah Beech is the President of Pal Benefits, working out of the Toronto office. She is responsible for the overall management and operation of the firm.
  • Sarah has more than 27 years' experience in the benefits industry. She began her career as an underwriter with a major Canadian insurance company and later  joined Hewitt Associates, a global human resources and outsourcing firm, where she eventually led the benefits consulting practice and, later, the entire Canadian consulting operation.
  • In her current role, Sarah creates and implements the firm's business and marketing strategies, and builds, develops and manages new and existing client and third-party relationships.
  • Sarah is a member of the advisory boards of Benefits Canada magazine and the annual sanofi-aventis Healthcare Survey and is frequent spokesperson and author on the topic of employee benefits.

Natalie Carr

  • Natalie has been working in the benefits industry in a service role for 7 year on both the Insurance carrier and the consulting side of business, prior to joining Pal in 2010. 
  • At Pal, she lends critical support through a wide range of services including assistance with communications, employee meetings, disability management, escalated claims, wellness plans and transfers to a new provider for mid to large sized organizations.

Atul Goela

  • After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the University of Toronto, Atul spent close to 10 years progressing in his career in both retail and corporate pharmacy – first with Rexall Pharma Plus and then with Shoppers Drug Mart.
  • Atul joined Green Shield Canada in 2012 as senior pharmacy services consultant and has quickly become a valued member of the pharmacy team. His responsibilities include all facets of drug claims, including drug evaluations, formulary design and maintenance, pharmacy provider and stakeholder relations, drug pricing and policy.
  • Atul continues to practice as a retail pharmacist from time to time, and he is a current member of both the Ontario Pharmacist Association and the Canadian Pharmacist Association.

Paul Harrietha

  • Paul, a Principal in the firm and leader of Pal's Communications practice, specializes in change management and the effective communication of complex pension, benefit and compensation plans. Over the past 20 years, he has designed and implemented strategic communication programs for a range of clients across industry sectors.
  • Before joining Eckler, Paul was the Western Canadian practice leader, communication & change management, foran international human resources consulting firm. He has also served as the national communications practice leader for a major benefits consulting firm in Toronto.
  • Paul has spoken and written extensively on the subject of employee communications. He is a former editor atBenefits Canada and Employee Health + Productivity, an award-winning journal that explored the linkage betweenemployee wellness and business performance.
  • Paul holds an Honours BA (English) from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario; an MA (English) from YorkUniversity in Toronto; and an MA (Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations) from the School ofEconomics and Management at Keele University (UK).
  • Paul joined Eckler in 1999 and became a Principal in the firm in 2001.

Patrick Hill

  • Patrick has spent the past 6 years at Pal Benefits Inc where he is a Group Benefits Consultant.  His client consist of Small & Mid Sized organizations, providing assistance in their annual financial plan reviews, including plan design benchmarking analysis and company wellness strategies.
  • Prior to joining Pal, Patrick worked in Group Underwriting and Disability Case Management with a major insurer.

Carmen Hogan

  • As Vice President, Sales and Service, Carmen is responsible for leading the sales team to deliver customized solutions founded on innovation and cost efficiency backed by superior customer service.
  • She accomplishes this by working hand in hand with the GSC account team where listening to customer needs is a priority to drive the development of progressive strategies that are not only unique but also cost effective.
  • Carmen is no stranger to the industry having held increasingly senior positions over 20-plus years, most recently as GSC's Regional Vice President of Sales.
  • Carmen also brings to this role experience in numerous leadership positions in several Canadian group benefits organizations like her current involvement as Chair of the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute, Ontario Regional Council.      
  • Carmen benefits GSC clients through sales strategy that results in superior customer satisfaction and retention.

Brian Kassner

  • Brian is a Senior Health and Group Benefits Consultant in the Toronto office of Towers Watson. He brings 31 years of group benefits experience with primary expertise in plan design and management strategies, risk assessment, pricing and financing.
  • He has responsibility for managing a number of client relationships and consulting projects involving benefit design and management strategies, vendor searches, mergers and acquisitions and general consulting services.
  • Brian has also acquired significant experience working with clients to find solutions to address local and global benefit needs. While most of his experience is in Canada, he has also worked in the U.S. and China.
  • Brian is a science graduate from the University of Guelph and has his Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) designation from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and Dalhousie University.

Michele Madore

  • Michele started her career in the health care field as a pharmacy technician and is also educated in Management Studies. In 1996, Michele joined Green Shield Canada and quickly moved into the Drug Special Authorization Department where her passion for auditing claims was first ignited.
  • In 2003, she took a position as an Analyst in the Benefit Utilization Analysis Department where her responsibilities were to recognize misuse, abuse and fraudulent activity amongst the benefit plans and to develop risk management strategies.
  • Michele was promoted to a Supervisory role within the Benefit Utilization Analysis Department in 2010. Currently, Michele holds a Board position with the CHCAA (Canadian Health Care Anti-Fraud Association) and strives to educate and create awareness in the fight against health care fraud.

Tamar Pilavdjian

  • Tamar is a senior technical benefits analyst with over 15 years of experience in the Group Insurance industry. She brings a wide range of experience in all facets of group benefits, with special expertise in financing, underwriting, risk management and pricing strategies.
  • Prior to joining Eckler Ltd, Tamar was a Senior Group Underwriter at a major insurance company. She has extensive experience in the financial management and underwriting of large and complex group benefit plans.
  • She has applied her expertise in work for major plan sponsors in the public and private sectors, and has played an important role in the development and pricing of traditional and flexible benefit programs.

Laura Pratt, B.A., C.I.M., H.I.A.A., I.C.A. , National Practice Leader, Organizational Health

  • Laura has worked in the Insurance Industry for over 25 years, beginning her career with London Life, now Great-West Life.  The majority of that time has been spent specializing in disability management and organizational health. 
  • Laura began her involvement in this field by working as a Case Manager.  She then spent several years supervising a team of over 20 Case Managers who managed claims for large national clients. 
  • For the last 17 years, Laura has focused on identifying and addressing the disability and wellness needs of some of Great-West Life's largest clients.  This has included developing a team of 8 Organizational Health Consultants across Canada. 
  • Laura has a degree in English from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She has a Certificate in Human Resources from Fanshawe College, and completed the Canadian Institute of Management (CIM) designation through studies at the University of Western Ontario (Western University).   She has also attained industry designations from the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and the International Claims Association (ICA).

Andora St.Rose-Prince

  • Andora is a Senior Health Solutions Consultant for Morneau Shepell's Ontario Health & Benefits Consulting practice. In this role, she is responsible for providing guidance in the evaluation and development of absence and disability case management principles, practices, and programs for clients in the private and public sectors.
  • Andora has been in the insurance industry for over 20 years and is a recognized expert in Disability Management and Quality Management. Prior to joining Morneau Shepell, she held various positions including Disability Supervisor, Project Management, Client Consultant Abilities Management, and Portfolio Business Expert (managing issues of governance) with financial corporations.
  • Andora has conducted numerous Disability Management Audits to ensure that best practices are consistently applied in case management. In her position of Disability Supervisor, she managed and provided support to a team of 20 individuals which included STD and LTD Case Managers and Administrative staff. She was also the designated individual to review and address Ombudsman's Complaints for a large Financial Organization.
  • Andora's background is in Social Sciences, Human Resources Management and Business Management.  Andora has completed numerous insurance industry programs and obtained her FLMI (Fellow Life Management Institute) designation as well as ALHC, AIAA, and ACS insurance certifications. Andora is a licensed Life Agent through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Riza Sychango

  • Riza is a Partner in Morneau Shepell's Ontario Health & Benefits Solutions Consulting practice. As a Client Relationship Leader, she is responsible for the delivery of strategic and tactical benefits consulting services to clients. She is also the National Chief Underwriter and currently serves as Ontario's representative in the National Benefits & Health Solutions Committee.
  • Riza is a frequent speaker at industry forums and client education seminars on group benefits, most notably the International Federation of Employee Benefits Plans, the first Canadian Benefits Summit, and the Prescription Drug Seminar Series.
  • She is the author of numerous published articles and is the editor of the original "Canadian Group Insurance Benefits: A Practitioner's Guide & Reference Manual," a textbook used for the Certified Employee Benefits Program.
  • Riza has more than 25 years of experience in the design, marketing, implementation, and underwriting of employer-sponsored benefits plans. Prior to joining Morneau Shepell, she was a Vice-President in the Health & Benefits Consulting practice of another major Canadian consulting firm and Chief Underwriter for a major Canadian insurance company, responsible for the profitability of their book of business and over 40 members of underwriting staff.
  • A University of Toronto BA alumna, Riza earned her Group HIAA designation with honours and has a specialty in group insurance from LOMA. She is also a licensed Life Agent in Ontario through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Susan Brown

  • Susan is a Principal and Central Region leader for Mercer’s Health and Productivity Team.  Her responsibilities include working with health and benefit consultants to develop and expand the business by helping clients develop strategies to contain/prevent absence and illness, review and /or develop disability management policies, practices and procedures, negotiate with providers and report outcomes for cost containment, employee engagement and productivity.  Susan has over 25 years of experience in the health and productivity field.  Prior to joining Mercer, Susan worked in private and public sector organizations such as Sun Life Financial, University Health Network, Connex Health Consulting, Excellence Canada (formerly National Quality Institute), Nortel Networks and Centennial College.  Her responsibilities at these organizations included strategic planning and coordination of occupational and non-occupational health and disability services, return to work, off-shore travel preparations and health and wellness programs.
  • Recently, in anticipation of the January 2013 release of the Psychological Health & Safety Standard (PHSS), Susan worked on behalf of Mercer to establish a relationship with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) to provide in depth training for business leaders on the PHSS.  The training is designed to provide leaders with an understanding of the Standard and their responsibilities to assess and address the psychological risks in their workplace.  After the training, Mercer’s Health & productivity team works with the business leaders to establish a PHSS system and a mental health strategy to meet the Standard.

Lidia Pawlikowski

  • Lidia is a Senior Health Solutions Consultant with Morneau Shepell.  She is an accomplished wellness professional with more than 10 years of industry experience.  Lidia has successfully worked with many national organizations of all sizes and representing all industry sectors to implement best practice wellness programs that helped form the foundation for continuous improvement and maintenance for employers and employees alike. 
  • Prior to coming to Morneau Shepell, Lidia worked with a major Canadian insurance company as a Client Accounts Manager in the Health & Wellness space, where she led the Operations Team in designing, implementing and evaluating strategic health-related programs in the workplace.
  • She also teaches at Centennial College in the Post-Diploma Workplace Wellness & Health Promotion Program in Scarborough, ON (Course Title - Business Foundations in Workplace Wellness).

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Level 1: April 23, 2014
Level 2: May 21, 2014
Level 3: June 24, 2014
Breakfast and Registration:
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8:30 am - 4:30 pm (each day)
Domain (Primary)
Performance & Rewards
Event Type
Certificate Program
Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development 

21 Hrs
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