Monday, November 4th, 2019

Stephane Grenier

Stéphane Grenier

Mental Health Innovator

9:30am – 10:30am

Leveraging the World’s Largest Untapped Mental Health Resource: People

In today’s modern workplace, mental health problems have become the leading cause of disability claims, accounting for 70% of workplace disability management costs in Canada. Stéphane knows the toll mental health problems can take on individuals and workplaces firsthand.

Traditionally, mental health difficulties in the workplaces have been principally viewed through two lenses: the performance lens and the clinical one. Clinicians treat symptoms and leaders manage behaviours. However, Stéphane has been colouring outside the lines for close to 20 years now by reframing how mental illness is perceived and how those affected are being supported.

Anchored in decades of experience in improving the way large public- and private-sector organizations support their employees, Stéphane offers his audiences pragmatic advice designed to support workplaces in developing corporate cultures of open, non-stigmatizing approaches to mental health and well-being.

Blending lived accounts, riveting corporate case studies, leading-edge research and passionate arguments that the status quo is no longer acceptable in the field of workplace mental health, Stéphane makes us ask ourselves, how did we miss the obvious? How did we miss our people?

Stéphane Grenier was recently appointed to the Order of Canada and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Guelph and Humber College for his contributions to the field of workplace mental health.

Stéphane’s riveting keynotes are not only thought-provoking, but also lead to tangible action and sustainable change for those leaders who are prepared to rethink how they support their people.

His autobiography, After the War: Surviving PTSD and Changing Mental Health Culture, tells his story from the day he landed in the midst of the Rwandan genocide, through his journey of changing mental health culture in the Canadian military, developing national Guidelines for Peer Support with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, all the way to creating Mental Health Innovations (MHI); a consultancy that leads innovative and sustainable change in organizations to enhance the mental health of their people.

Today, he and his business partners, along with countless associates, develop non-clinical mental health interventions as a compliment to traditional clinical care for private and public sector organizations, as well as for provincial healthcare systems.

Stéphane’s vision is a world where people no longer face barriers to good mental health.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

Jonathan Rudin

Program Director, Aboriginal Legal Services

9:00am – 10:00am

The TRC and the MMIWG – How Can We Work for Justice for Indigenous People in the Justice System?

Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) highlighted the fact that the Canadian justice system (criminal, family and civil) continues to perpetuate injustice towards Indigenous people.  The justice system is made up of many different actors – some who play larger roles than others – but all of whom have a responsibility to work to meet the challenges set by the TRC and the MMIWG. 

Continuing on the present path is unacceptable – what does it mean to really do things differently? Jonathan Rudin shares his perspective on how we can fulfill these responsibilities based on his experiences at Aboriginal Legal Services.

Jonathan Rudin received his LL.B. and LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.  In 1990 he was hired to establish Aboriginal Legal Services and has been with ALS ever since.  Currently he is the Program Director.  Mr. Rudin has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada representing ALS in R v. Ipeelee (among other cases).

At ALS he helped establish the Community Council – the first urban Aboriginal justice program in Canada in 1992, and in 2001 helped establish the Gladue (Aboriginal Persons) Court at the Old City Hall Courts in Toronto. 

Mr. Rudin has written and spoken widely on issues of Aboriginal justice.  His book, Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System was released by Emond Publishing in 2018. 

Mr. Rudin also teaches on a part-time basis in the Department of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University.  Last but not least, he plays the mandolin and sings with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, a group that plays regularly in Toronto and has a number of videos on YouTube.


Phil Borges

Documentary Film Maker

3:30pm – 5:00pm

CRAZYWISE Film and Workshop

Crazy…or wise?  The traditional wisdom of indigenous cultures often contradicts modern views about a mental health crisis. Is it a ‘calling’ to grow or just a ‘broken brain’?  The documentary CRAZYWISE explores what can be learned from people around the world who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience.

Our post-modern societies are currently experiencing a mental health crisis–especially in our youth.  Depression is now the leading cause of disability in the world and suicide rates in the US have increased 24% in the last 15 years.

Join Phil Borges in a discussion to explore what could be causing this negative shift in our societies’ mental health and what could help us meet and support our mental and emotional needs.

For nearly thirty years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books have been published in five languages.


Phil’s Documentary, CRAZYWISE reveals a paradigm shift that’s changing the way Western culture defines and treats “mental illness”. The film highlights a survivor-led movement demanding more choices from a mental health care system in crisis.

Phil has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for Discovery and National Geographic channels.  He regularly lectures at universities and conferences worldwide and has spoken at multiple TED events.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Michael Bryant

Michael Bryant

Former Attorney General | Bestselling Author of 28 Seconds

10:45am – 11:45am 

28 Seconds

A night that began with a dinner to celebrate his 12th wedding anniversary ended in a jail cell for Michael Bryant. He was charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. Ironically, he had helped write the legal test for the same charges sixteen years earlier. The charges were eventually dropped, but nothing could undo what had happened to cyclist Darcy Sheppard – or Michael Bryant.

In this gripping presentation, Bryant chronicles the fateful aftermath of that late summer evening in August 2009, an evening when everything changed for the Harvard-educated lawyer, politician, and CEO. Bryant speaks publicly for the first time of personal challenges and his own battle with some of the very demons shared by Darcy Sheppard. Michael Bryant is the ultimate insider, and his perspective is a fascinating assessment of what happens on both sides of the law.

The Justice System: From Pedestal to Pillory

Never before has a Canadian Attorney General faced criminal charges in the death of man been so utterly failed by that very same justice system.  And never before has someone been willing to share such a unique perspective of a system most of us take for granted — until we’re in it involuntarily.  Bryant provides a searingly honest account of the legal system’s tragic — and sometimes unforgivable – shortcoming.

Crisis Management From the Inside-Out

Michael Bryant shares a very different take on crisis management and communications, drawing from his political experience spanning over a decade, and his own crisis of a lifetime.

Michael Bryant tells a story of success, failure and surrender.  His talks challenge audiences to uncover, discover and discard their old ideas, including the hidden biases and stigma that unknowingly stand in the way of helping others.   

Bryant has gone from the penthouse to the basement of Canada’s largest criminal justice system.  He was the 35th Attorney General of Ontario.  Then he was criminally charged.  Then he ended up as a public defender and legal aid lawyer to the indigent, indigenous and unwell.  

He is today the 4th Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, a 55 year old national human rights organization.  In 2019, Canadian Lawyer magazine named Bryant among Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers.  

Educated at Harvard, Osgoode Hall and UBC, Bryant clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada, taught at King’s College, London (UK) and U of T, and practiced law in multinational law firms and as a solo practitioner and public defender.  

Bryant was the Chief Negotiator for Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point, for the historic 2015 Ipperwash Settlement Agreement.  He was the Crown’s Negotiator for the multi-billion dollar Ontario-First Nations 2008 gaming agreement.  Bryant served as Ontario’s 2nd Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.  

He authored a #1 Globe Bestseller, “28 Seconds,” published by Viking Press.  Last year Bryant authored “ Mere Addiction” — an insiders perspective on the fundamentals of alcoholism and addiction. “After reading Mere Addiction, I felt that my 20+ years in the field of Addiction Medicine were for naught. Its realism and humility will resonate with all who live, love and work with people who are substance dependent. However, Michael’s words demand that what really needs to be done is to become better listeners, not enablers.”: Thea Weisdorf, MD U of T

Justice Jonathan C. George (Superior Court of Justice, Ontario) notes: “Michael, humbly, challenges you to view addiction, and the addicted, in the way it (and they) should be. Stigma free, without condemnation, and worthy of the attention we provide others in crisis.” Dr. Ray Baker (Addiction Medicine, UBC) refers to Mere Addiction as, “a deceptively simple masterpiece of perceptive analysis…”.