The HRPA hosted its 2021 Annual Conference virtually from January 26-29, 2021 – and it did not disappoint.

Forced online due to COVID-19, organizers of Canada’s largest HR Conference were determined to overcome challenges and deliver an immersive and interactive learning and networking experience for HR leaders.

“Things looked and felt quite a bit different this year as we took our marquee event online,” said HRPA CEO, Louise Taylor Green.  “We did so with an unwavering commitment to deliver the same robust learning experience and engaging networking opportunities that our members and past attendees have come to expect.”

“We are just thrilled at the result. The program was filled with leading experts talking about the biggest issues facing Ontario workplaces today, such as diversity, inclusion, mental-health and so much more. It really seems to have resonated with our members and with HR professionals across the province. I am incredibly proud of the HRPA team for working so hard to successfully pivot the Annual Conference and Trade Show.”

The event drew over 2,400 attendees including delegates, speakers, trade show exhibitors, and entertainers.

Emcee, Keynote Speaker and best-selling author Ron Tite.


Inspiring Keynotes

Over the course of four days, attendees had the opportunity to watch impactful sessions and live workshops led by over 70 top speakers.

The event kicked off with a timely speech from Melissa Agnes, Crisis-Management Strategist, who talked about strategies for managing issues within an organization before they become catastrophic.

On Day 2 of the Conference, Alex Sheen, the founder of “because I said I would,” delivered a moving speech on the importance of keeping promises for a more purpose-driven life. Through the example of an organ donor named Amber, we learned about understanding the environmental factors that shape our values, and that fulfilling promises often requires courage to accept the consequences.

Alex Sheen and Amber

In the afternoon, attendees listened in on a meaningful discussion around creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces from a panel led by CityLine host, Tracy Moore.

Top: Tracy Moore. From left: Karen Fleshman, Karlyn Percil, Lily Zheng.

On Day 3, Ron Tite (also the Conference emcee) explored what true leadership looks like right now. Canadian Football Hall-of-Famer and General Manager of CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, Michael “Pinball” Clemons, was up next reminding audiences that they could do anything they set their minds to in his powerful session. He also inspired us to “rise by lifting others.

Michael “Pinball” Clemons

Dubbed by Forbes Magazine as “one of the best virtual keynote speakers,” Shawn Kanungo wrapped up Day 4 with one of the most memorable and enlightening talks, performing from an empty theatre.
He challenged leaders to develop the courage to drop old business practices so that they could step into new territories of growth, change and innovation.

Shawn Kanungo performs from an empty theatre


Trade Show Rocks

The Virtual Trade Show checked off plenty of boxes for those looking for the latest and greatest innovations in HR. The virtual venue also allowed for attendees to interact with over 50 knowledgeable exhibitors and experts. Attendees had the chance to win prizes and were entertained by Juno Award Winning, “America’s Got Talent” finalist, Stacey Kay, who performed live in the Desjardins VIP Lounge.

“America’s Got Talent” finalist, Stacey Kay

Entertaining and Interactive

Other features included the chance for attendees to relax and rejuvenate with yoga and meditation sessions, a healthy start food demonstration and have fun with Second City’s comedians in their improv show: Comedy From Your Couch.

Yoga to You

Staying Connected from a Distance

Sprinkled throughout the event were countless opportunities for attendees to communicate in real-time through the Engagement Hub, the ultimate remote networking platform.

Replay Available

Most sessions were recorded and are available for attendees to view for up to four months. The videos feature closed captioning and can be accessed here.

Thanks to our Sponsors

The HRPA would like to thank all of our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and volunteers who all played a vital role in delivering its high-quality production.