Event (Upcoming)


September 2021

Fall 2021 National Healthcare Innovation Summit (Complimentary Event)

7:45am-1:45pm | EDT - Free Digital Event Purchase Tickets


This national healthcare summit will serve as a follow up to ECC’s spring conference, featuring industry executives, policy makers and key government officials in conversation to provide an in-depth look at the healthcare landscape in Canada and its links to economic recovery and future growth, innovation and national wellbeing.

This event will consist of 3 in-depth conversations, and two fireside chats with Tracey Ramsay of AbbVie and Zayna Khayat of SE Health, and networking opportunities.


7:45am - 8:00am: Opening Remarks by Merck

8:00am - 9:00am: Panel #1 (Rebalancing Healthcare Systems: COVID’s “Long-Haul” Effects on Access to Medical Services and Next Steps for the Recovery)

9:00am - 10:00am: Fireside Chat #1 (Leadership in Uncertain Times: Lessons Learned During a Global Pandemic)

10:00am - 11:00am: Panel #2 (The Price is (or is not) Right: The Politics and Policy Dynamics of Pharmacare and Access to Medicines in Canada)

11:00am - 12:00pm: Panel #3 (Build Canada Back Better: Healing Our Workforce, Health, and Societal Systems Through and Beyond the Pandemic)

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Fireside Chat #2 (Smashing Barriers to Innovation: The Future of Healthcare & The New Economy)

1:00pm - 1:45pm: Digital Networking and VIP Receptions


-This event is FREE to attend, however registration is required.
-A unique link will be sent to each individual attendee 2 days prior to the event date. You will be required to enter the email address you registered with to enter the digital event.
-If you have any questions, please contact info@economicclub.ca

* The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent. *

Fall 2021 National Healthcare Innovation Summit (Complimentary Event)

Alex Boyd

Toronto Star

Alex Boyd

Alex Boyd is a national reporter for the Toronto Star who is writing a lot about COVID vaccines these days. She’s also a co-recipient of the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship for 2021 and working on a project about inequalities in the global vaccine roll out.

Bill VanGorder

Chief Policy Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Bill VanGorder

Bill VanGorder is Chief Policy Officer and Chief Operating Officer for C.A.R.P - A New Vision of Aging for Canada and was the Founding Chair (2007)

He is the immediate Past Chair of the Nova Scotia Advisory Committee on Seniors’ Issues to the Provincial Government (The Group of Nine) on which he has served for the past 14 years; Chair of the Serving Seniors Alliance Cooperative and longtime Board Member of the Theatre Arts Guild.

From 1991 to 2007, Bill was the President and CEO of The Lung Association of Nova Scotia. Previously to that he spent 28 years with the YMCA, for the final 12 years as the Atlantic Area Director for the YMCA.

Bill is a graduate of Sir Wilfred Laurier University with a degree in Politics & Public Administration and is both a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE ).

Bill and his wife Esther live in Halifax Nova Scotia. They have two daughters and two grandchildren. And they have two cats Calli and Skye who run the house.

Durhane Wong-Rieger, Ph.D.

President & CEO
Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders

Durhane Wong-Rieger, Ph.D.

Durhane Wong-Rieger has served on numerous health policy advisory committees and panels and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Genetics and the Patient Liaison Forum for the Canadian Drugs and Technologies in Health. Durhane is immediate Past-Chair of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations, and Board Member representing patient interests at DIA International Association. She has a PhD in psychology from McGill University.

Fred Horne

Senior Advisor, 3Sixty Public Affairs
Former Alberta Health Minister

Fred Horne

Fred Horne is a Canadian health policy consultant and served as Alberta’s Minister of Health from 2011-2014. A frequent speaker and panelist on health system issues, he is currently Principal of Horne and Associates, Health Policy Consultants; Chair of Mohawk Medbuy Corporation, a national health sector supply chain management organization; and Senior Advisor to Ottawa-based 3Sixty Public Affairs. He was appointed Adjunct Professor in the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health in 2015.

Horne’s career in health policy spans over thirty years. Current areas of focus include value-based health care, seniors care, health system governance and pharmaceutical policy.

Horne also serves on the boards of the Canadian Frailty Network (National Centre of Excellence) and Providence Living, and on the Health Policy Council of Canada’s C.D. Howe Institute.

Honourable Christine Elliott

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

Honourable Christine Elliott

As a mother, lawyer, businesswoman, and entrepreneur, Christine Elliott knows how to bring people together. She knows the importance of balancing a family budget and how to manage a successful business.

Christine graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Laws degree. She then built a successful career in business and law, working first as an auditor at one of Canada’s largest banks. Christine later co-founded a law firm with her late husband Jim Flaherty, where she specialized in real estate, corporate law, and estate law. Christine has worked tirelessly to help businesses across the province expand and thrive.

Christine also used her business and legal expertise to pursue her commitment to public service. Her pro bono legal work for charitable organizations gained her the recognition as a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award with Rotary. As well, Christine is a co-founder of the Abilities Centre in Whitby, a facility built with the vision of celebrating all people, regardless of ability. The centre has become a hub of its community, hosting various Parapan Am Games events in 2015.

In 2006, Christine was elected MPP. She has won five elections, and for nine years has served the people of Ontario at Queen’s Park, including six years as Deputy Leader of the PC Party.

In 2016, Christine became Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman, where she fought for better access to health care for all. She currently serves as the Deputy Premier of Ontario, Minister of Health, and is the MPP for Newmarket-Aurora.

Christine has triplet sons, John, Galen and Quinn

Jane Taber

Vice President Public Affairs
National Newspaper

Jane Taber

Jane Taber is a former political print and broadcast journalist who covered Parliament Hill for more than 25 years. She has worked as a consultant and most recently served as the director of communications to the Premier of Nova.

Jason Field, Ph.D.

President & CEO
Life Sciences Ontario

Jason Field, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason Field is the President and CEO of Life Sciences Ontario (LSO), the industry voice for the life sciences sector in Ontario. LSO is a member-driven organization that represents and promotes the province's vibrant and diverse life sciences sector. LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry and other life science organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout this diverse sector. Jason obtained his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts and his undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo. Following graduate school, Jason returned to Ontario and worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a research scientist developing scalable manufacturing processes of active pharmaceutical ingredients. In 2007, he joined the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) where he led a team of senior advisors dedicated to growing Ontario's life sciences and information and communication technologies (ICT) sectors. During his time at MEDT, Jason was integral to the development of a number of strategic policy initiatives and spearheaded negotiations with several major ICT and life sciences companies that resulted in significant new investments in the province. Jason joined LSO as Executive Director in October, 2011 and was appointed as President and CEO in April, 2014.

Jennifer Chan

Executive Director, Policy and Goverment Affairs
Merck Canada Inc.

Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan is Executive Director, Policy and Government Affairs, at Merck Canada Inc. and is responsible for the company’s team of government relations and public affairs specialists. Prior to this role, she held the position of Vice President, Policy and Communications at Merck Canada since December 2011. A native of Montreal, Jennifer began her career in academic research before joining Schering-Plough in 1993 as a Clinical Research Associate.

Jennifer is a member of the Board of Directors of the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery and the Montreal Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a Merck for Mothers ambassador in Canada since the program was launched in 2011. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physiology and a Master of Science degree in pharmacology and therapeutics, both from McGill University in Montreal.

Joe Blomeley

Executive Vice President, Individual, Public Sector & Mental Health
Green Shield Canada

Joe Blomeley

Joe Blomeley is GSC’s Executive Vice President, Individual, Public Sector & Mental Health. In this role, Joe identifies future needs and trends to strengthen partnerships and operational excellence for our individual and public sector clients. He is also responsible for building out GSC’s mental health strategy which will focus on addressing mental health issues with affordable, on demand and clinically-validated digital mental health services. His extensive career spans public and private sector organizations, including leadership positions with the Business Council of Canada, and most recently, at Morneau Shepell as Senior Vice President, Ontario Region Leader and Public Sector. Mr. Blomeley has an impressive track record as a thought leader who also rolls up his sleeves to put vision into action. He holds a Master of Arts, International Affairs from Carleton University and Bachelor of Arts, Honours Political Science from Western University.

Juggy Sihota

Consumer Health, TELUS

Juggy Sihota

A telecom executive with more than 25 years of leadership experience, Juggy has enjoyed a fulfilling and rewarding career with TELUS leading many emerging technology businesses and operations. She has a well-established reputation for building and leading high performing teams with some of the highest engagement scores and engagement transformations across the company. Juggy is known for her unrelenting focus on quality and efficiency combined with a genuine concern and commitment for all who work with her. Juggy has led ground-breaking service development initiatives and diverse portfolios, and gained invaluable experience in strategy, marketing and operations management at TELUS overseeing many different portfolios throughout her tenure.

Currently, as the Vice President of Consumer Health, Juggy is responsible for the national strategy, execution and operation of the Consumer Health business unit for TELUS Health. Juggy believes in empowering Canadians with the right tools, information and support so they can live happier and healthier lives. She is revolutionising access to healthcare in Canada with important products she has launched such as Canada’s fastest growing and highest customer rated virtual care service Babylon by TELUS Health, curated health content in the TELUS Healthy Living Network, personal emergency response systems for vulnerable seniors (largest Canadian-owned provider in Canada), personal health records and more. She was also the executive producer for the critical documentary “PainKiller” on the opioid crisis
ravaging our country with the intent to build awareness and to end the stigma around addiction.

TELUS Health transforms information into better health outcomes by ensuring valuable medical information is in the right hands at the right time. TELUS Health is also the largest healthcare IT company in Canada. TELUS is the leading provider of virtual care, electronic medical records, pharmacy management software, remote patient monitoring and health benefits claims management in Canada.

Community leadership is a critical component of Juggy’s leadership story. Juggy is the Vice Chair for the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation Board, she is a Director for the Vancouver International Airport Authority (YVR), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. Juggy also currently serves as an advisor to the City of Vancouver on racial and social justice issues. She previously served as a director on the Justice Institute of British Columbia, the Vancouver Community Board, and the Vancouver Board of
Trade’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Juggy is the recipient of the Diversity Champion Award at TELUS. This award recognises leaders who are champions of all diversity and celebrates those who leverage diversity of thought to help advance business strategy. Juggy received the
Leadership Excellence Trailblazer Award by Canadian Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) as well as the Forty Under 40 award in BC by Business in Vancouver for her business achievements, inspirational leadership and community contributions. In 2019, Vancouver Magazine recognized her as one of the most powerful 50 people in BC. In 2021 she also received the Influential Women in Business Award by BIV and the WeQual Business Transformation Leadership Award for the Americas.

Juggy holds an MBA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She has also completed Executive Development programs at Harvard and INSEAD.

Kim Furlong

Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA)

Kim Furlong

Kim Furlong is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
She joined the CVCA in January 2019 after a decade in the corporate world, leading external affairs for Amgen Canada; a world-leading biotechnology company. Prior to Amgen, she held the position of Vice President Federal Government Relations for the Retail Council of Canada.

Ms. Furlong has an expansive background in the public sector and held the position of Director of Communications to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew. Prior to joining Minister Pettigrew's office, Ms. Furlong was an advisor for the Honorable James. S. Peterson, Canadian International Trade Minister on trade policy issues such as aerospace, intellectual property, and emerging markets.
A strong believer in solid public policy dialogue, Ms. Furlong is a member of the Canada 2020 Advisory Council, a nonpartisan progressive think tank and is a member of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan action committee devoted to the idea that more women must be elected to every level of government in Canada. She also sits on the Advisory Council of Ivey Centre for Health Innovation.

Ms. Furlong is also the former President of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Alumni Association where she received a Masters degree in Trade Policy and Global Finance. She is also an alumnus of McGill University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in American history.
A Quebec native, Furlong was born and raised in the picturesque town of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula. She currently lives in Toronto with her husband Howie and her twin boys, commonly known as the peanuts.

Marwan Akar

President & Managing Director
Merck Canada Inc.

Marwan Akar

Marwan Akar is the President & Managing Director of Merck Canada.

Marwan joined Merck in 1997 and previously served as Managing Director for Egypt and, most recently, for Russia and Eurasia. Marwan began his career at Merck in Manufacturing and leading multiple technology transfer projects across the globe. He later transitioned to business development with a focus on Emerging Markets.

Marwan has worked and/or lived in the in the United States, Europe, Middle East, Africa & Russia. His diverse career and international experience have given him a broad view of the world’s healthcare systems and the role the pharmaceutical industry plays within them. This experience provides him with the enterprise leadership skills to drive true transformational change.

Marwan holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Imperial College, London.

Paul Grootendorst

Associate Professor
University of Toronto

Paul Grootendorst

Associate professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, and the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto.

Adjunct associate professor in the Department of Economics, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.

Associate editor of Health Economics.

Past President, Canadian Health Economics Association.

Fellow, WHO Collaborating Centre for Governance, Transparency & Accountability in the Pharmaceutical Sector. http://www.pharmacy.utoronto.ca/whocc

Faculty Associate, Canadian Centre for Health Economics. https://www.canadiancentreforhealtheconomics.ca

Director of the Division of Social and Administrative Pharmacy in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, 2008-2015.

Tracey Ramsay

Vice President and General Manager, Canada

Tracey Ramsay

Tracey Ramsay is Vice-President and General Manager of AbbVie Canada. AbbVie Canada ranks 2nd amongst the research-based biopharmaceutical companies and is the fastest growing among the top 10 companies. AbbVie Canada has consistently ranked in the top 50 Great Places to Work in Canada.

Tracey has held a variety of leadership roles spanning general management, commercial operations and business development spanning consumer health, pharmaceutical and biotech industries with experience working in Europe, Canada and the US. Prior to Allergan, Tracey joined Sanofi in 2014 where she held roles of increasing responsibility including General Manager, General Medicine, Established Products and Consumer Healthcare Canada and as the Head of the General Medicines & Established Products Business Unit for North America based in the United States.

Tracey is an active Board member of Innovations Medicines Canada and BIOTECanada.

Tracey holds a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University in Halifax and an Honors Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada

Trish Barbato

President and CEO
Arthritis Society

Trish Barbato

Trish Barbato brings more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in the fields of health and senior living. She has built an impressive reputation as a leader skilled at driving organizational change, guiding organizations to innovate, harnessing technology and inspiring people to achieve clear strategic objectives.

Prior to joining the Arthritis Society in 2020, Trish served with senior living provider Revera Inc. for over a decade in a variety of roles, most recently as Senior Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships. She was previously President & CEO of COTA Health, a rehabilitation, mental health and support services organization.

Trish has held various executive positions, including Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer at Providence Healthcare, a 671-bed hospital and long-term care facility, Managing Director at Bayshore Healthcare, Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Partner with MacNeill, Edmundson. A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Trish is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant.

Volunteerism has played a large role in Trish’s life and career, with more than 30 years dedicated to various causes and organizations including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, where she also served for several years as chair. In 2012, Trish received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award for her commitment to this charity.

Trish has also served as Board Director, Quality Healthcare Network; founder and Director of Community Meditation; Vice Chair, Seneca College; Chair, Academic Committee, Seneca College; United Way Investment Committee member; CIBC Spirit of Leadership committee member; Advisory Member, Closing the Gap; President, Stevenson's Children's Camp; United Way Allocation committee member and Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards due diligence committee member.

Trish is a published author and international speaker on topics such as design thinking, innovation and leadership. In her spare time, Trish is a certified fitness instructor, certified meditation instructor and holds a black belt in Kung Fu kickboxing.

Zayna Khayat, Ph.D.

Future Strategist
SE Health

Zayna Khayat, Ph.D.

An unprecedented amount of change is coming to our largely analog and institution-centered health systems in this era of democratization and digitization. Dr. Khayat explores key forces that are accelerating the shift towards the future of health(care), legacy business models that are being shed, and new business models that are emerging.

A key driver of the future of health is the disequilibrium between the demand for health services [by a population that’s growing in size, staying alive longer and accumulating illness and disease] and a system that was not designed for that volume, scale nor complexity of demand. Therefore, our health systems face a crux when demand exceeds supply, which creates the perfect breeding ground to do things differently.

Another driver of the future of health is emerging exponential technologies [such as AI, sensors, VR, autonomous vehicles, etc.] that are taking a lot of friction and cost out of current healthcare business models, and opening up new possibilities for organizing, delivering and paying for care that could not be imagined before.

The final key driver of the future of health is the power shift occurring – from the healthcare provider to ‘people-powered health care.’ In this ‘patient revolution’, patients are taking more matters into their own hands & communities, now that they have more information as well as the means of production. Employers are also starting to become healthcare organizations, rather than waiting for or trying to fix the current healthcare system.

Zayna is a futurist that’s sought after by many global companies, boards and conferences that want to get ahead in the new health economy and innovation. Her work and research have collaboratively urged her audiences to demand more in their health care and from health systems that govern care. Dr. Khayat was previously the lead of health system innovation at MaRS Discovery District, a health innovation hub in Toronto, Canada. Currently, she is the Future Strategist with SE Health (formerly, Saint Elizabeth Health Care) a health and social impact enterprise with a major focus on creating a better future for aging adults in their homes and communities.

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