26th Annual Conference Recap

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This year’s Conference was back in Niagara Falls and we had an amazing time! Topics ranged from workplace and organizational matters to personal and emotional health. For those who attended, we hope you enjoyed being together and learning from all of the presenters. 

First up, Co-Founder Geordie Watson got us all up out of our seats for a little bit of fun with a sing along and some indoor beach ball. Then Co-Founder Ilija Parojcic and the WP Team went through important updates and some fun WP history trivia, followed by an overview of pension reporting, and changes to the Canadian Dental Care Plan and weight loss drugs. There will be more updates to come regarding this program and these drugs over the next few years. 

Lindsey Slater from our partner organization Life Benefit Solutions also spoke to us about Individual Financial Services, and how LBS can help with retirement projections, pension consolidation, and life insurance, as well as personalized investment advice. Join us for an upcoming Investment Basics Workshop to learn more.

Next, we heard from Graham McWaters, Founder of the Indigenous Hockey Equipment Drive (IHED). This amazing initiative has so far collected and distributed over 1,100 bags of hockey equipment to Indigenous communities around Ontario, and beyond. If you’re looking for more information about the drive and how you can be a part of it, contact Graham

After a relaxing lunch, we dove into the Emotional Effects of Retirement with Rick Hansen from Homewood Health. Rick gave a thoughtful and heartfelt overview of what to expect in retirement, the importance of value-based planning, and tips for living your best life in retirement. As many of us closely associate our sense of purpose with our job, it’s important to consider what we’ll need to do to adjust, both practically and psychologically, when work is no longer a central focus. For more support, consider Homewood’s EFAP with 24/7 confidential counselling. 

We were then joined by Dana Bridgeman Cross and Lauren Williams from governWise Alliance (formerly the First Nations Financial Capacity Development Initiative). They reviewed their FREE services, available to any of the 133 First Nations in Ontario wanting to strengthen governance, build capacity, and take control of their financial management and accountability systems. We know that building capacity increases transparency and accountability amongst leadership, staff, and communities. Connect with their team and check out their free resource bank to learn more. 

To finish day one, Kristy Cork from WSPS gave an engaging and impactful presentation about psychological safety and well-being, and its importance to good leadership. There are a variety of factors that impact psychological safety in the workplace that require careful consideration to prevent mental harm, decrease excess stress, and reduce the costs associated with an unhealthy workplace. With mentally supportive leadership, employees can be more resilient, adapting in difficult situations both physically and psychologically. Connect with Kristy and WSPS for free tools like the WSPS Mental Harm Prevention Roadmap.

On day two, we heard from Sheryl Johnson, partner at Sullivan Mahoney, about Income Replacement Benefits during Medical Leaves of Absence. Employers need to plan for how to deal with employee absences due to non-work-related illness or injury, and to be aware of the different options available. Begin with creating a policy and considering an insurance benefit plan. This could bridge the gap if necessary to other government benefit programs, such as Long-Term Disability or Employment Insurance.

And to finish off the event, Dr. Liz Scott, CEO of Organizational Solutions Inc., conveyed best practices for Disability Benefits and Management. Trends in chronic illness, an aging population, and a crisis in wait times for diagnostic imaging and surgeries are all impacting disability durations and cost. From claim initiation and management to return to work, having a policy and action plan in place will help everyone. And throughout, mindset matters – keep the focus on ability, not disability. 

The 2024 WP Conference was another insightful and impactful event, supportive of Indigenous employer and employee well-being. We’re truly proud to represent you, and we’re grateful we’ve been welcomed as guests in your communities. We were pleased to host you and look forward to seeing you again soon. 

If you have any questions or would like more information about the material covered, please contact us

Congrats to all our prize wheel winners, IHED hockey stick winner, and the winners of our social media and conference feedback survey draws!

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge that we live, work, and volunteer on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. Burlington, as we know it today, is mutually covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, the Ojibway and other allied Nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.

From the Anishinaabeg to the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis – Indigenous Peoples who are our leaders, neighbours, and co-workers – WP Pensions + Benefits offers gratitude and respect. Our work is not possible without the generations of Indigenous people who came before us and continue on this shared journey towards truth and reconciliation.

WP Pensions + Benefits works to hold brave space where everyone feels welcomed, included, and heard.