Download the complete agenda

Clinical trials ontario conference agenda 2019


Day 1 Morning

Registration, Breakfast and Networking

Conference Welcome

  • Susan Marlin, President and CEO, Clinical Trials Ontario
  • Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein, Board Chair, Clinical Trials Ontario; President and CEO, MaRS Innovation

Opening Remarks

  • Giles Gherson, Deputy Minister, Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, Cabinet Office

Three Decades of Transforming Care through Clinical Trials

Keynote: Dr. Frances A. Shepherd, Cancer Clinical Research Unit, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Over the past three decades, Dr. Shepherd has designed and led more than 100 paradigm-shifting clinical trials that have changed treatment and improved outcomes for patients with lung cancer around the world. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for her global leadership in oncology. Dr. Shepherd shares her experiences with clinical trials, what has inspired her, and the critical role of clinical trials in advancing health care options for patients

Clinical Trials: What the Future Holds

Keynote: Jesse Hirsh, Futurist and Digital Strategist

Living with a chronic disease, Futurist, Digital Strategist and frequent CBC contributor Jesse Hirsh has a personal stake in advancing health research. In his keynote address, Jesse will share what the future holds for our clinical trials environment and how new technology can strengthen its economic value and empower patients and the public to move the science further, faster.

Morning Break and Networking

Health Science: Our Greatest Economic Opportunity? 

Our health research and life sciences sector has significant economic value, but can we do more to unlock its potential? Are we sufficiently leveraging existing assets, investments and emerging technologies? Does our policy and regulatory environment help us or hinder us? Hear from leaders in a moderated panel discussion, following a brief presentation by Jason Field on the current economic impact of Ontario’s life sciences sector.


  • Nina Tangri, MPP Mississauga-Streetsville


  • Jennifer Chan, Vice President, Policy and External Affairs, Merck Canada
  • Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO, Ontario Genomics
  • Michael Israels, Chief Financial Officer, CCRM
  • Frank Naus, Chief Operating Officer, Allphase Clinical Research
  • Alison Symington, Strategic Life Consultant


  • Jason Field, President and CEO, Life Sciences Ontario

Lunch Break and Networking

Day 1 Afternoon

Institutional Transformations to Support Clinical Trials 

Healthcare institutions are tasked with all of the demands associated with conducting high-quality research in addition to providing medical care. Hospital and research institute leaders share their experience implementing large and small-scale transformations to better support clinical research – and what’s needed to promote broader improvements. Presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion.

Improving Clinical Trials Operations to Support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
Drew Memmott, Senior Vice President, Research Administration, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Streamlined Study Approvals and a Structured Competency Framework: Clinical Research Innovations at The Hospital for Sick Children
Lisa Goos, Director of Clinical Research Services, The Hospital for Sick Children

Clinical Research in Community Hospitals: Opportunities and Challenges
Patrick Clifford, Director of Research and Innovation, Research Institute, Southlake Regional Health Centre
Anne Mullin, Engagement Leader, Director of Team Development and Performance, Shift Health

Andy Smith, President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Regulatory Changes and Clinical Trials in Canada: Plans and Possibilities 

Learn about Health Canada’s recent regulatory changes and plans for the future, followed by updates from the Life-Saving Therapies Network and how regulatory measures governing clinical trials conduct could support timely patient access to life-saving therapies.

Health Canada’s Current Activities and Direction for Clinical Trials Involving Drugs
Carole Légaré, BSc, MD, CCFP, Cert PE & PV, Director, Office of Clinical Trials, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada

Regulatory Reform and Patient-Led Clinical Trials
John-Peter Bradford, Life Saving Therapies Network

Afternoon Break and Networking

Keeping the Science Ahead of Me: Perspectives on Clinical Trials

Health research isn’t a luxury. For many, it’s a necessity. A patient, an advocate and a scientist share their unique perspectives on the critical need for ongoing clinical research and how we, as a clinical trials community, can best support the development of, and access to, better therapies for patients. Presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion.

More Lifeboats Please
John Adams, Board Chair, Best Medicines Coalition (presenter/moderator)

Lessons from Entering the Clinical Trials Era in Huntington’s Disease
Ray Truant, Professor, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University

The Role of People Living with HIV in the Evolution of Clinical Trials, Drug Approval and Treatment Access
Patrick Cupido, Past Chair, CATIE (Canadian Aids Treatment Information Exchange)

Clinical Trials: A Lifeline for Patients with Rare Diseases
Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and CEO, Canadian Organization for Rare Disease

Day One Closing Remarks

Networking Reception

Day 2 Morning 

Breakfast and Networking

Day Two Welcome Remarks

  • Susan Marlin, President and CEO, Clinical Trials Ontario

Think Big: Applying Emerging Technologies to Improve Public Health Outcomes

Keynote: Michael Jackson, Leader, Public Health and US Elections, Amazon Web Services

Data and digital technology hold great promise for our health care system. But Michael Jackson, Leader of Public Health at Amazon Web Services, encourages us to think even bigger. In his keynote address, Michael will share how new collaborations between corporations, innovators and governments are leveraging emerging technologies to target the social determinants of health and drive deep, lasting improvements for public health outcomes.

The Data Revolution: How AI, Technology and Real-World Evidence are Transforming Clinical Trials 

How are emerging technologies and data capabilities changing traditional clinical trials? What does the future hold for understanding, preventing and treating disease? Digital health pioneers and AI experts share perspectives on the clinical trials of tomorrow, and how we can start moving forward today. Presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion.

How Microsoft Azure and AI Tools Can Improve Outcomes
Peter Jones, Industry Lead, Healthcare, Microsoft Canada

Examples of Innovation in Real World Evidence
Brad Millson, Senior Principal, Health Access and Outcomes, IQVIA Canada

Facts and Fictions: How AI can augment and disrupt clinical trial methodologies today and tomorrow
Eric Gildenhuys, Vice-President of Business Development, Deep 6 AI

Michael Jackson, Leader, Public Health and US Elections, Amazon Web Services

Morning Break and Networking

Ethics Issues with Pragmatic Clinical Trials  

Cluster randomization is an increasingly important design in the pragmatic clinical trials agenda. However, cluster randomized trials raise important methodological and ethical considerations which challenge researchers and research ethics committees. In this session, a bioethicist, statistician, and pragmatic clinical trial expert will review these challenges in the context of real-world pragmatic cluster randomized trials in orthopaedic trauma.

Methodological Considerations in Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Trials
Monica Taljaard, Senior Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Ethical Considerations in Pragmatic Cluster Randomized Trials
Charles Weijer, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University

PREP-IT: A Program of Randomized trials to Evaluate Pre-operative antiseptic skin solutions In orthopaedic Trauma
Sheila Sprague, Assistant Professor Department of Surgery, McMaster University

Lunch Break and Networking

Day 2 Afternoon

Borrowing from Ethics: The Evolution of Privacy in Research

Keynote: Kris Klein, Partner, nNovation LLP

Privacy is not a barrier. Kris Klein, Partner at nNovation LLP will share how adhering to fundamental privacy principles will enable ethical research, sharing case studies that involve exploring ethical research using personal health information. Privacy itself is learning from the REB world and there are many parallels to be drawn. The future of privacy will borrow heavily from the REB world so that privacy continues to be an enabler – not a barrier

Mind the App: Ethical and Legal Issues in mHealth Applications for Research and the Clinic

Ma’n H. Zawati (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. (DCL)), Executive Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University

Wearable and mobile devices that record and organize personal health information are increasingly popular. While this kind of information promises to empower consumers, it also raises legal and ethical questions about data management, privacy, and how we make decisions about our health. Ma’n Zawati, Executive Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University will use the Canadian legal landscape to outline the issues and describe how new technology may be harnessed in ways that empower patients and society.

Afternoon Break and Networking

Collaboration as a Foundation for Stronger Clinical Trials 

Collaboration is a key enabler of more efficient trials, better methods for patient and public engagement, and ultimately, greater impact. In this session, researchers and community partners share their approach to collaboration and its central role in advancing clinical trials and research.

Family engagement in research: Authentically and meaningfully partnering with families in the pediatric disability research context

  • Sharon Gabison, PhD, Holland Bloorview Family Leader and Co-Chair, Research Family Engagement Committee
  • Beth Dangerfield, BA, BEd, OCT, Family Partnership Specialist, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Nadia Tanel, MEd, Director, Research Operations, Bloorview Research Institute

The Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) Program: Using Collaboration to Change the Face of Oncology Trials in Canada
Dr. Mark Clemons, Clinical Investigator, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Day Two Closing Remarks