More Sessions Coming! More sessions and speakers to be announced on the following themes: Genomics and Clinical Trials; Privacy, Data and Ethics; Cannabis; and Making Trials More Efficient

Get Connected! Throughout the conference, explore exciting companies and new technologies at our Innovation Showcase. And don’t miss our Networking Reception at the end of Day One! It’s a great opportunity to meet clinical trials community colleagues and generate collaborations.

DAY ONE  |  March 24


KEYNOTE: From Evidence to Action: Thinking Beyond the Clinical Setting

Dr. Samantha Nutt, Physician, Global Humanitarian, Founder of War Child, Bestselling Author

You conducted the trial. You have the evidence. Where can you go from here? In this keynote address, Dr. Samantha Nutt will expand our horizons and motivate action by drawing on her own experience as a physician and researcher turned global humanitarian. Early in her career, Samantha’s research and medical practice fueled her desire to tackle global health challenges. Today, she is the founder of War Child, a global humanitarian organization that promotes education, health and opportunities for children in communities affected by war. An award-winning storyteller, Samantha will discuss how research, evidence and collaboration are essential to tackling the most pressing health issues of our time and share how we can move that evidence forward to improve the lives of those who need it most.

Communicating Evidence: How to Get Your Science Heard

The clinical trials community plays a vital role in generating evidence, but are we doing enough to communicate it? As a credible voice in a world of fake news and misinformation, how can you make sure the new evidence you discover reaches the target audience? This panel of experts will discuss best practices for communicating evidence, public perceptions and engaging citizen scientists, and the value that it can bring to your career.

What do Canadians want and expect? Rethinking privacy and data in 2020

 Abigail Carter-Langford, VP, Governance, Risk & Compliance; Chief Privacy Officer, Canada Health Infoway

Candid Perspectives on Participating in Clinical Trials

Have you ever participated in a clinical trial or wondered what it’s like to be on the participant side of a clinical trial? Three clinical trial participants will candidly share their experiences, including: what they liked, what they didn’t like, what surprised them, and anything else they’re comfortable sharing. A moderated discussion with questions from the audience will allow exploration of the experience of being in a clinical trial.


Open Science Drug Discovery: The Path to Affordable Medicines

Dr. Aled Edwards, Director, Structural Genomics Consortium

Moving consent into the new millennium: Experiences from The Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) Program

Dr. Mark Clemons, Clinical Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Cancer Therapeutics Program); Staff Medical Oncologist (The Ottawa Hospital); Professor of Medicine (University of Ottawa)

Regulatory Updates from Health Canada

David K. Lee, Chief Regulatory Officer, Health Canada

As the science advances,  how are Canadian regulatory policies keeping up? In this session, David K. Lee, Chief Regulatory Officer for the Health Products and Food Branch, will discuss recent Health Canada initiatives that aim to update the regulation of clinical trials and facilitate innovation in advanced therapeutic products while ensuring the highest quality ethical and quality standards.

Faster, further together: Lessons in starting clinical trials more quickly

As the global clinical research environment becomes more competitive, Ontario faces increasing pressure to ensure research costs, start-up timelines and recruitment rates are where they need to be to continue attracting investment.  Innovations including the QuickSTART program are helping industry and institutions work more colloaboratively to improve budgeting, processes and start-up timelines. In this session, panelists will discuss what’s working well and what strategies we can implement to go further, faster together.

  • Paul MacPherson, Director of Research, UHN
  • George Memari, Cllinical Trials Operations, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
  • Claire McCann, Medical Director, Odette Cancer Centre Clinical Research, Trials Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Cheryl Litchfield, Manager, Grants and Contracts, Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Centre

Gene Therapies and Clinical Trials

DAY TWO  |  March 25


KEYNOTE: Clinical Trials and Canadian Policy: Where do we stand globally?

Jeffrey Simpson, Acclaimed Journalist, Former National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail

Innovations of the kind that come from clinical trials marry money, talent and science. How is Canada doing in attracting investment for research, supporting science and bringing talent from here and abroad to foster innovations in medicine? Jeffrey Simpson, former national affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail and author of an award-winning book on the Canadian health-care system, Chronic Condition, will address these and other questions that affect clinical trials in Ontario and Canada, including how we can prepare for future long-term success.

Three Big Questions: Markets, Talent, Science

For better or worse, national and foreign policies have a big impact on the evolution of our clinical trials sector. Changing market conditions, talent, training and immigration, and science policy all play a key role in shaping Canada’s role as a destination for clinical trials and health research. In this session, a diverse group of leaders sit down with Jeffrey Simpson to discuss three of the biggest questions facing the clinical trials community in Canada.

  • Jeffrey Simpson, Acclaimed Journalist, Former National Affairs Columnist for The Globe and Mail (Moderator)
  • Dr. Jason Field, President & CEO, Life Sciences Ontario
  • Dr. Brenda Brouwer, Interim Dean, Smith School of Business, Queen’s University
  • Alexis Sciuk, Director, Access and Government Relations, Ontario and Private Sector, Pfizer Canada
  • William (Bill) Mantel, Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation

Patient and Public Engagement in Clinical Trials

Our clinical trials community continues to improve our engagement efforts with patients and the public. These efforts aim to ensure we’re conducting trials in a way that best serves those who will ultimately benefit. While we’ve come a long way, we have more to learn and do. In this session, hear three presentations highlighting perceptions about clinical trials, novel approaches and community-building tactics to better engage patients, families and the public with clinical trials.

  • Jenn Gordon, Director of Operations, Canadian Breast Cancer Network
  • Michelle Quinlan, Research Family Leader Program Coordinator, CHEO
  • Dr. Manoj Lalu, Associate Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Anesthesiologist, Ottawa Hospital and Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
  • Terry Hawrysh, Patient Advocate and Volunteer, Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Canada

The Role of Health Charities in Driving Clinical Trials Forward

Health charities help drive research in their communities. They educate, collaborate with and build capacity within their communities, and help to fund studies that will generate new evidence for patients and families. In this session, hear from health charity leaders about how their communities are preparing for and supporting clinical trials in innovative ways.


KEYNOTE: COVID-19 and Clinical Trials

Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Professor of Medicine, Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

Blockchain + Clinical Trials

While big data presents enormous opportunities for advancing clinical trials, we are often hindered by our ability to access and share that data. Is blockchain the quantum leap our industry has been waiting for? In this session, hear from two groups that are using blockchain to unlock clinical trial data in ways that are safe and secure for patients.

  • Dr. David Wiljer, Executive Director, Education Technology & Innovation, University Health Network
  • Selina Brudnicki, Program Lead, Digital Patient Experience, Data and Implementation Science, University Health Network
  • Annette McKinnon, Patient Partner in Research
  • Bryan Addeman, Blockchain Market Leader, IBM
  • Dr. Baldwin Mak, Manager, Clinical Trial Portfolio Group, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Ltd

The Evolution of Cannabis Clinical Trials in Canada and Beyond

Cannabis Clinical Trials: Canada’s Opportunity

With the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2018, Canada has seen a growing interest in cannabis research and clinical trials. With our expertise and clinical trial infrastructure, Canada is in a unique position to become a world-leader in this emerging field, but other jurisdictions are quickly gaining ground. In this session, a diverse panel of experts will discuss the opportunities and hurdles in Canada’s cannabis research sector, and the steps we must take to maintain our global advantage.

  • Dr. Lauren Kelly, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, and Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
  • Gerald Major, CEO of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana
  • Dr. Amza Ali, Chief Medical Officer, Avicanna
  • Dr. Jason Busse, Associate Director, Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, MacMaster University
  • Najla Guthrie, President & CEO, KGK Science