Event Speakers

Vassy Kapelos


CTV News Chief Political Correspondent


Born in Toronto, Kapelos is a two-time Canadian Screen Award winner, having been recognized for Best Live Production Social Media (2020), for CBC’s coverage of the B.C. by-election that saw Jagmeet Singh win his seat in Parliament, and Best Talk Program or Series (2021), for POWER & POLITICS. She also received the 2021 Leitch Lecture Award from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary’s Faculties of Law after delivering a lecture on the political effect of the COVID-19 health crisis in Canada.

Kapelos has extensive experience covering federal and provincial politics in Canada. Prior to joining CTV News, Kapelos was host of CBC’s POWER & POLITICS. Previously, she was Global News’ Ottawa Bureau Chief and host of THE WEST BLOCK. Before working in Ottawa, Kapelos covered provincial politics in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Kapelos graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then from Dalhousie University with a Master of Arts.

She speaks English.

Brendon Bernard


Senior Economist, Indeed.com


Brendon Bernard is a Senior Economist at Indeed.com, based in Toronto. He has been the Canadian lead of the Indeed Hiring Lab since 2018, combining publicly available data with the wealth of information internal to the Indeed hiring platform to make sense of the Canadian labour market. Brendon was previously an economist with Finance Canada, analyzing the U.S. economy, and developing Canadian financial sector policy. He holds a Master’s in Economics from the Vancouver School of Economics at University of British Columbia.

Dawn Desjardins


Chief Economist, Deloitte Canada


Dawn Desjardins is an economist and executive with experience in researching economic and policy issues. Over her career she has communicated complex issues to clients, decision-makers and media audiences. She was RBC’s Deputy Chief Economist, a reporter for Bloomberg Financial News in Canada and a bond strategist at JP Morgan Canada. At RBC, Dawn managed a team of economists who were responsible for the economic and financial market forecasts for Canada and the US. A passionate advocate of women’s labour market engagement, in recent years, Dawn used her research to start conversations, drive policy discussions and effect change.

Benjamin Tal


Managing Director and Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC Capital Markets


Benjamin is a member of the CIBC economic team that is responsible for analyzing macro economic developments and their implications for fixed income, equity, foreign exchange and commodities markets. He also acts in an advisory capacity to bank officers on issues related to wealth management, household credit and risk, and corporate credit and risk.

Well-known for his ground-breaking published research on topics such as labour market dynamics, real estate, credit markets, international trade and business economic conditions, Benjamin not only contributes to the conversation but also frequently sets the agenda.

Benjamin has close to 20 years of experience in the private sector advising clients, industry leaders, corporate boards, trade associations and governments on economic and financial issues. He is also a regular commentator in the media.

Benjamin is a member of the Economic Committee of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Committee of the Toronto Board of Trade. He is also a board member for the Governors of Junior Achievement of Central Ontario and Toronto Financial International.

Stephen Tapp


Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce


Stephen Tapp is the Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he is a key member of the Chamber’s executive leadership team, responsible for the operations of the Business Data Lab as well as economic analysis and research.

Stephen is the Vice President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics and a member of the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council.

He has more than 20 years of diverse experiences at many of Canada’s top economic organizations including at: Export Development Canada as the Deputy Chief Economist, the Bank of Canada, Parliamentary Budget Office, Finance Canada, think tanks as well as academia.

Stephen’s research was awarded the Purvis prize for Canadian economic policy. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Queen’s University and an Honors B.A from Western. During his undergrad, he studied in the Netherlands and was the owner-operator of a student painting company.