2019 Workplace Health & Safety Conference

Conference Speakers

Robin Angel
Department of Labour and Advanced Education
Paul Angelopoulos
Manager of Practice Leadership,
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
He completed his Bachelor of Science with Honors in Forensic Psychology at Dalhousie University. He then completed his Masters in Applied Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Saint Mary’s University, due to his interest in both psychology and business. While there, his primary area of interest was risk management and organizational culture.

Paul joined the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia as a Prevention Consultant. He then worked as the Relationship Manager in Healthcare and Social Services, and then migrated to the Government and Self-Insured team at the WCB over a period of 6 years. In these roles, he worked with industry, trade and safety associations, as well as interfaced with every level of government. All in an effort to assist in knowledge sharing and the institution of best practice.

Presently, Paul is the Manager of Practice Leadership, He also oversees the administration of the several WCBs programs, which include WCB Safety Certified, the Conditional Surcharge Refund Program and the Practice Incentive Rebate Program.
Grant Aune
President and CEO
Advantage Fleet Services Inc.
The Challenge presentation is delivered by Grant Aune, President and CEO of Advantage Fleet Services Inc.(AFSI). AFSI has been in business since 2001 specializing in risk management, loss prevention and driver safety training. Grant was an RCMP officer for 24 years and specialized as a Collision Reconstructionist. He has been declared an “expert” by the courts, in the field of collision investigation, analysis and reconstruction. Grant has presented at the following conferences: CSSE Health & Safety, Safety Services NB Health & Safety, WorkSafe NB Health & Safety and Northern BC Safety. AFSI has provided a platform for Grant to improve safety standards/practices and advance safety concerns for his clients and all users of our highways. His passion for road safety makes him committed to expanding on the skills and abilities of drivers.
Alison Butler
Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist
Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - Newfoundland and Labrador
Alison is a Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist and has a Masters in Employment Relations. She has worked for the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association - Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 14 years and delivers education and training on noise awareness and hearing loss prevention to employers and the community. She is dedicated to preventing hearing loss for current employees and future generations.
Dr. Farrell Cahill
Head of Research
Horizan Occupational Health Solutions
Dr. Farrell Cahill, PhD is a recognized leader in the field of obesity, diabetes and exercise physiology in Canada. Through his expertise in human physiology, Dr. Cahill explores the etiology and management of acute and chronic health conditions to improve occupational and non-occupational performance. Along with 17 years of research experience, he has published 26 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and over 50 abstracts at national and/or international conferences. Specifically, regarding occupational health and safety Dr. Cahill and his colleagues focus their research on the development of defendable Physical Employment Standards (PES) and Bona Fide Occupational Requirements (BFORs). Dr. Cahill is the first to develop a BFOR for the offshore oil and gas industry. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Kinesiology with a PhD in Medicine and is currently the Head of Research for Horizon Occupational Health Solutions, working out of St. John's, Newfoundland.
Harold Carroll
Executive Director, Occupational Health and Safety
Dept. of Labour and Advanced Education
Jeannette Combes
Employer Advisor Nova Scotia Society
Jeannette is a RN with experience in occupational health, tertiary emergency medicine pediatric, neonatal, travel health, tropical medicine, public health, acute care hospital health and independent practice. She has worked in Canada, Great Britain, Cyprus and Australia.

Jeannette works part-time course instructor at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in the Occupational Health Nursing post graduate program.
Jeannette's post-secondary education include: a Master's Degree in Nursing, and certificates in Midwifery, Pediatrics and Intensive Care. Jeannette is a Certified Occupational Health Nurse (Canada) (COHN C), Certified Perinatal Nurse (Canada) (CPN C) and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Jeannette combines her extensive and broad work experience with business and advanced level educational preparation in a continuing commitment to ensuring workers safely return to work.
Dan Demers
CannAmm Occupational Testing Services
Dan Demers is a recognized international speaker and authority on the Canadian and international landscape of marijuana. Mr. Demers serves on the executive team as the director responsible for the sustainable future of CannAmm. His commitment to lifelong learning is rooted in science and supplemented through executive education. His international presence and commitment to best practices are demonstrated by serving on the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA) International and Government Relations Committees, and International Forum on Drug and Alcohol Testing (IFDAT) Legal Committee. Dan’s dedication to his community and the pursuit of a safer workplace is executed by serving on the board of directors, as president-elect, for SAPAA, as well as being on the board for his local community Food Bank. By providing trustworthy information, tools, and best practices for occupational testing, Dan seeks to achieve his mission of sustainably ensuring more workers make it home to their families.
Pamela Dempster BA, BScOT, CMWA, CCPE
Founder & Senior Health & Wellness specialist
Dempster Wellness
Pamela is a Certified Progressional Ergonomist and a Corporate Health & Wellness Specialist. With over 20 years
practicing and specializing in the fields of Ergonomics/Human Factors and Health and Wellness, she provides
comprehensive Corporate consulting services including Assessment, Education/Training and Program Development
to both private and public sector organizations throughout Atlantic Canada. She also holds Baccalaureate degrees in
Occupational Therapy and Psychology.
As a speaker/presenter at Health, Wellness and Safety Conferences, she truly enjoys educating and promoting the
global movement of Health, Wellness and Well-being whenever possible.
Pamela  is currently Director at Large for the Atlantic Region Executive Council for the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE).
Pamela and the Associate Team at Dempster Wellness are truly passionate about Employee Health and Wellness and its effects on workplace culture.
Brian Field
Manager, Business Intelligence
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Brian Field has been with the WCB for 25 years. He manages their Business Intelligence department, which provides statistics, data and analysis. He is the administrator of the Board’s assessment rate setting model.
Luke Freeman
Harry Freeman and Son Limited
Deanna Harnish
Manager, Manufacturing Integrated Service Team
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Debi Hartlen MacDonald
Small Business Strategist
New Life Business Solutions
Debi Hartlen MacDonald of New Life Business Solutions is a Small Business Strategist who has been working with small business owners for the last 12 years to help them increase clients, sales and their sanity!!! She helps develop focused strategic sales and marketing plans and also specializes in time management and productivity. She helps her clients reach their goals and get stuff done by developing procedures, systems, and selecting the right tools to implement the strategies and tactics. Debi also is an instructor in business development training through small business organizations and the NS Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Her no nonsense approach of “THINK IT – PLAN IT – DO IT” is for clients who want to see results! Debi also believes in giving back. She is an active member and volunteer in many local business and charitable organizations and truly believes in giving freely.
Michael Johnston
Threads of Life
Michael Johnston lives in Saint John, New Brunswick. As a young worker, he was keen to work in the emergency health services sector when a chronic workplace injury changed his life forever. Although not working in the field anymore Michael still serves in different ways, as a Coroner with the Province of New Brunswick and Director of Safety with Scene Safety company. Today, Michael is a volunteer of Threads of Life – the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support -- and its Speakers Bureau. Threads of Life helps families affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease along their journey of healing. It provides these families with referrals and a one-on-one peer support program delivered by trained Volunteer Family Guides who have also experienced a workplace tragedy. Threads of Life is currently working with more than 2,800 family members from across Canada who have been affected by a workplace tragedy.
Alvin Law CSP, HoF
Professional Speaker
Alvin’s mission is to spark a worldwide Attitude Revolution. A professional speaker for over 30 years, he uses his story to challenge and inspire people to rewrite the negative stories they tell themselves about themselves; to stop feeling like victims in their lives and get proactive; to stop making excuses and start making choices. Over 7,500 corporations, organizations and groups on five continents have used Alvin to ignite, engage and transform their people. Born with no arms as a result of the drug Thalidomide, Alvin was adopted by a family who taught him to use his feet for hands ¬ and who by doing so gave him the gift of freedom. In addition to being a professional speaker, he is a trained broadcaster, fundraiser, award-winning musician and bestselling author.
Patrick Ledwell
Master of Ceremonies
Patrick’s quick-witted comedy has brought him national recognition with regular appearances on CBC’s “The Debaters.” His signature East Coast style, accompanied with hilarious visuals, has made him a popular host for regional and national organizations. He is delighted to be the host of the 37 Annual Workplace Health & Safety Conference at Halifax Convention Centre in April 2019. He’ll be your conference comedy concierge!

Raised on PEI, Patrick Ledwell draws on his experiences growing up in an Island family and the funny trials of staying true to his roots. He successfully delayed entering the workplace with degrees in literature and technology. After six years of teaching college, he had built up enough casual days (and e-mail nights) to supply more than enough material for a comedy career. Patrick has co-created several original stage shows. He hosted and wrote all comedy material for the hit Charlottetown Festival show, “Come All Ye.” He also appeared in two productions of “The New Potato-Time Review.” Patrick has been a featured performer at the Halifax and Moncton Comedy Festivals. His book I Am an Islander was published in 2012, with a new collection released in 2015.
Greg Lynch
Emergency Response Team Superintendent, West White Rose Project
Technical Rope and Rescue Inc.,
Greg has enjoyed a lengthy career in Emergency Response and Emergency Management beginning with the Office of the Fire Commissioner NL (now Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland and Labrador). During that tenure, he was involved in an enhanced Firefighter training program, forensic fire investigations, emergency management, and emergency response. In 2012, he took on the role of Emergency Response Team Superintendent for the Hebron Project with responsibility ranging from Fire, Rescue, and Environmental response to emergency planning and inspections. Following Hebron, Greg spent 2 years as Fire Chief / Security Supervisor at North Atlantic refinery where he was also responsible for oil spill response and responder training. Greg has instructed at the annual Newfoundland and Labrador Emergency Services Training School where he teaches advanced fire and rescue training to volunteer fire departments.
Gair Maxwell
Professional Speaker
Gair didn’t follow a safe or conventional path to get where he is today… not since the day he was fired from a two-decade career, with the news plastered on the front page of his hometown paper. Few back then would have bet a plug nickel that he would rise from the unemployment line and become an internationally-recognized author, speaker and entrepreneur. His story is one of going from flat broke to flat out successful; earning national awards from high level CEO organizations and sharing conference stages with business superstars such as Richard Branson and Gene Simmons. If nothing else, Gair has the hard-earned cred from investing 10,000+ hours learning how to reinvent, recreate and blaze trails of one’s own making. A former broadcaster, Gair racked up more than 10,000 interviews and 30,000 broadcasts in a two-decade radio and television career. The son of a former pro golfer, Gair struggles to break 90, grooves on ’80s classic rock and became a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in the ’70s. Like we said, the path he follows leans sharply to the unconventional…
Mary Morris
Employer Advisor
Employer Advisor Nova Scotia Society
Mary Morris: OEA Nova Scotia Society’s first employee since 2008 and holding senior leadership positions in Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, Occupational Health Nursing and Human Resources Management, Mary Morris is Executive Director and Senior Employer Advisor with Employer Advisor, Nova Scotia Society. Mary has 35 years of experience in manufacturing, telecommunications, gaming, hotel management, aviation, construction, trucking and operating her own consulting business within unionized, non-unionized settings at the provincial and federal levels.  She has participated on Boards of Directors, committees, government legislation reviews, co-authored published articles and presented at numerous conferences. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Nursing and Peer Award of Excellence from HRANS. (HRPA).  A graduate of Dalhousie University, Mary holds certifications with the Canadian Occupational Health Nursing Association, American Board of Occupational Health Nurses, Canadian Board of Registered Safety Professionals, (CRSP) and the Human Resources Professional Association.
Matthew Munroe
Workplace Consultant
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
Matthew Munroe is a workplace consultant for the Workers’ Compensation Board on Nova Scotia. In this role, he helps Nova Scotian employers reduce the human and financial toll of workplace injuries through specific strategies aimed at influencing people, pathways and process within an organization. His role provides leadership, innovation and consultative services to organizations that will promote and evaluate effective OH&S and Return-to-Work activities and have a direct impact on the development and promotion of best practice models.

Prior to working at WCBNS, Matthew was an Occupational Health & Safety Trainer and Consultant for 4 years.
Cliff O'Brien
Calgary Police Service
Superintendent Cliff O’Brien has been a police officer with the Calgary Police Service for over 22 years. Cliff is the Superintendent in charge of criminal operations, technical support division. He has a BA from Simon Fraser University; Major in Criminology, Minor in Psychology, 1998. He also has a Diploma from Mount Royal College in Criminology, 1990. Cliff is one of the officers who started the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund, after the death of his recruit classmate and friend, Cst John Petropoulos. Cliff has delivered this safety presentation multiple times. In addition, Cliff has been integral in the push for the Calgary Police Service to investigate all life-altering or fatal OSH incidents (adjacent to the OSH investigation). This is not the norm for police services in Canada. At present, when an OHS incident occurs, it is not general practice for a police service to conduct an investigation unless it is criminal.
Yvonne O'Reilly
O'Reilly Health & Safety Consulting
Yvonne O’Reilly, the owner of O’Reilly Health & Safety Consulting, is based in Stratford, Ontario. She assists organizations to effectively implement their OHS management system by providing due diligence & awareness training, compliance audits, and JOHSC workshops. Yvonne is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), and is an instructor for the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies as part of the Human Resources and OHS certificate programs. Her professional commitment has led her to become involved in several organizations to foster and promote the OHS profession, including serving as a judge for Canada’s Safest Employer awards, chairing the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) national NAOSH Week Committee in 2016, and serving on the Governing Board of the BCSRP from 2010 to 2015. She has been a presenter at national conferences, and has chaired conferences for Bongarde Media and Lancaster House.
Diana Parks
Director of Learning
St. John Ambulance
Diana Parks has been the Director of Learning for St. John Ambulance since 2016. She has a Master of Education and experience in teaching and learning in academic and professional environments. Past experience includes instructional design work with the UBC Medical School to create learning experiences in several areas including Student Wellness and Faculty Development. Most recently, Diana is the project lead for St. John Ambulance’s national program to incorporate mental health awareness in all of SJA’s First Aid Programs.
Eric Payne
Public Speaker
Eric Payne is a 23 year Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces.  After returning from his tour at CFS Alert in 2005 he suffered limb loss due to a head on crash with his motorcycle. This would mean the end to his 23 year career. He used it as an opportunity. He became a resource to policy for the CAF for returning Injured Veteran from Afghanistan. He became a member of the Soldier On Program from its launch and has worked diligently in disabled community for parasports. Eric works in the Public Service currently. He has been recognized by parasport organizations as builder for Para Ice Hockey and has been awarded for his ongoing advocacy work for People with a disability. He has also sat on numerous provincial boards to better the day to day lives of those with a disability. He is also the current Vice President of Veterans Emergency Transition Service Canada. Eric has spoke to CFB Gagetown and CFB Halifax for their International Day for Persons with disabilities He was brought back for the launch of CFB Gagetown‘s program, Mission Ready. He has been a presenter to TEMA and in the month of December 2017 was named an Ambassador by Hockey Canada for growing the sport of Sledge Hockey on PEI. Eric is be attending Nova Scotia Community College in the Radio and TV Journalism program.
David Powers
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
Oxford Frozen Foods Limited
David is the Director of Health, Safety and Environment for Oxford Frozen Foods Limited, located in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Oxford is the world’s largest processor of wild blueberries. David received his CRSP designation in 2005, became a member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering in 2007and earned a master’s degree in occupational safety and health in 2015. He is currently the Program Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Chapter of the CSSE as well as Board Vice President of Farm Safety Nova Scotia. David has also introduced the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program to the organization where they have hosted Safety Days for Grade 4 & 5 students since 2011, totaling over 70 schools and 1500 students across Maine, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia!
Daniel Roberts
Senior Manager/Electrical Safety Consulting
Schneider Electric
Daniel Roberts is an Electrical Safety Consultant with 15 years of hands-on experience as a field service technician, an nearly 20 years of experience as an OHS practitioner.
Daniel's presentation is based on a published peer reviewed paper that appeared in the January 2019 IEEE Industry Applications magazine.
Tom Rudolph
Director of HR/OHS
Farnell Packaging
Stewart Sampson
Consultant and Educator
Safety Services Nova Scotia
Stewart Sampson has been involved in occupational health and safety for over 30 years in both heavy industry and government. Most recently, Stewart has been a consultant and educator with Safety Services Nova Scotia, having developed and delivered courses on nine different topics over the pervious two years. Stewart has written three peer-reviewed technical articles and a book on occupational health and safety due diligence. Stewart also has considerable expertise in occupational health and safety management systems, and is leading Safety Services Nova Scotia’s drive to be the first organization in Nova Scotia to be ISO 45001 registered. Stewart is a professional engineer, a registered and certified hygienist and a registered safety professional.
Geoffrey Soloway
Founder and Chief Training Director
Presenter: Geoffrey Soloway, PhD An expert in the area of mindfulness, Dr. Soloway has been innovating in the development, implementation and research of mindfulness-based solutions for the workplace over the past 15 years. He is currently Founder and Chief Training Director of MindWell U, offering bilingual online and in-person evidence-based mindfulness trainings in the workplace. Geoff has worked as an Instructor at University of Toronto, University of British Columbia and the University of Fraser Valley, and as a consultant in the area of mindfulness for diverse organizations such as WestJet, Coca-Cola, Loblaw, and the Privy Council Office. Geoff completed a PhD and Master’s of Education n the area of Mindfulness from the University of Toronto as well as a certificate in Organizational Coaching from the University of British Columbia.
Meg Soper
Motivational Humorist Speaker
Meg Soper is a leading motivational humorist speaker for organizations in North America. She has a unique perspective, combining the insights and experiences of her last thirty years spent as a Registered Nurse, stand-up comedian, and ultimately a motivational speaker. A veteran performer, she got her start at various comedy clubs across Canada, and over the years shared the stage with many leading comedy acts including Ray Romano and Ellen Degeneres. Her experiences as a staff nurse and operating room nurse in major urban teaching hospitals and regional healthcare facilities shaped her perspective. It taught her how humor can help us effectively deal with stressful situations in our personal and professional lives. It seemed natural for Meg to combine her talents, and so, she became a leading motivational humorist who helps organizations manage change and create a more positive workplace environment.
Dr. Peter Strahlendorf B.Sc., LL.B., B.E.S., LL.M., SJD, CRSP, CSP
Associate Professor
School of Occupational and Public Health, Ryerson University
Dr. Peter Strahlendorf, B.Sc., LL.B., LL.M., BES, SJD, CRSP, CSP Dr. Strahlendorf is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University in Toronto. He has been teaching at Ryerson since 1986. He has received awards for teaching in 2005 and 2010 for his courses at Ryerson. In 2011, he received an award from the Board for Canadian Registered Safety Professionals for pioneering post-secondary occupational health and safety education in Canada over the last 25 years. Peter graduated from Queen's University with biology and law degrees. He received his Master of Laws from the University of Toronto in 1987 on the subject of worker and community right to know about chemical hazards. He received his doctorate in law from the University of Toronto in 1991. Peter maintains a consulting practice in occupational health and safety. He has provided in-house training for thousands of supervisors, managers and committee members across Canada over the last twenty-five years. He is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences. He has delivered a preparatory course for candidates for the Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) exam for over 20 years.
Thomas Tenkate
Director of the School of Occupational and Public Health
Ryerson University
Thomas Tenkate is an Associate Professor and has been Director of the School of Occupational and Public Health at Ryerson University since 2011. He has worked in Australia, the USA and now in Canada in the fields of environmental health, public health and occupational health and safety. He has been in academia for 15 years, and prior to this he worked in a variety of government roles for 10 years. Originally qualified as an environmental health officer, he also gained qualifications in industrial hygiene, management, and education, including a Doctor of Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. He has been active in professional societies, including a period as national president of Environmental Health Australia. His research interests involve exposure and risk assessment in occupational settings, with an ongoing focus on risk management of occupational and public exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Sonya Tonkovich
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Sonya is Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) with over 13 years of experience in workplace health and safety and workplace wellness.

In her capacity as Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, Sonya uses her past experience in both the education and manufacturing industries to provide technical expertise and advice to employers, employees, and government officials on a variety of safety topics such as policy development, hazard assessment and control, workplace wellness, and ergonomics.

She also works on various projects at the Centre including policy and training development, and is a media spokesperson for CCOHS.

Jonathan Travis
Leaf Electrical Safety
Armed with his knowledge of electrical safety and understanding of cultural change he co-founded Leaf Electrical Safety, with the goal of helping as many people as possible understand and avoid electrical hazards in their workplace. Jon expresses his unique and sometimes controversial thoughts in a weekly blog, on social media and as a professional speaker at health & safety conferences.TBA
Dwayne Van Eerd
Institute for Work & Health
Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where he has been a researcher since 1997. He has an MSc and BSc in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in health research methodology from McMaster University, and a PhD in work and health from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Upon getting his MSc in kinesiology, Van Eerd got his start in occupational health and safety research in a clinical setting, studying musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in performing artists. Now a scientist with the Institute for Work & Health, he focuses on prevention of work-related injuries and disorders. His research projects have included evaluations of participatory organizational change programs and training interventions, as well as systematic reviews of the prevention literature. Recent projects include synthesizing practice evidence with research evidence for better practices in mental health and MSDs.
Dr. Mike Wahl
Research Fellow
Medisys Health Group & Memorial University
Dr. Wahl (Mike) is a Research Fellow with Medisys Health Group & Memorial University. He has experience delivering wellness and safety programs that have been used across Canada and around the world. Mike holds a PhD from Memorial University Newfoundland’s (MUN) Faculty of Medicine where he studied obesity in high risk demographics and is the chair of the Human Performance in Extreme Environments Program for the Faculty of Medicine. Mike also holds a Masters Degree in Applied Exercise Physiology from MUN and a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology Science from University of New Brunswick. Mike has won numerous Entrepreneur of the Year awards on provincial, national, and global scales for the wellness organization he founded in St. Johns, Newfoundland (Definitions, a subsidiary of Horizon OHS). He has also represented Canada at the G20 conference speaking on entrepreneurship and sits on many charitable and industry boards.
Andrew Walker
Manager of Safety Atlantic
David Welsh
Education and Outreach Officer, Safety Branch
Department of Labour and Advanced Education
David has worked for the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education since 2009 in the roles of Adult Education Coordinator and currently as an Education and Outreach Officer for the Safety Branch. He has B.A. and B.Ed. from Acadia University and a demonstrated commitment to life-long learning. David believes that whatever you learn can be applied to any aspect of your life and strives to point it out daily. David has received three Deputy Minister’s Awards for outstanding performance and lasting contribution to the Department and a nomination for a Minister’s Award of Excellence, but the most important recognition is the feedback he receives from those he encounters through life. He has 16 years experience as a member of JOHSCs at three distinct workplaces. Self-reliance, nature, art and music dominates David’s spare time.
David Wootten
National Prevor Product Manager
David Wootten has been in the safety industry for 25 years. David has developed extensive knowledge on why Diphoterine solution outperforms water washing David has travelled the country working with hundreds of companies to help implement these products and help reduce them eliminate and reduce injuries caused by chemical contact.