Established in 1903, the Empire Club of Canada, is recognized as one of Canada’s oldest, largest, more important speaker’s forum. Our membership and speakers are comprised of some of Canada’s most influential leaders from the professions, business, labour, education, government, and cultural organizations. Over our history, the Speaker’s Podium at the ECC has hosted over 3500 prominent Canadian and international leaders, women and men who have distinguished themselves in many fields of endeavor.
Our luncheon meetings attract audiences of 200 to 1200 people, usually on Thursdays at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, September through June. The speeches area also broadcast across Canada on Rogers Cable and on occasion are also webcast, live.
Virtual Event: The Role of the Aviation Sector on Toronto’s Economic Recovery
Please join us for a virtual discussion focusing on the critical economic impact of the Toronto Island airport to the successful restart of Ontario’s urban visitor economy.
The event will feature Neil Pakey, CEO of Nieuport Aviation, owner and operator of the passenger terminal at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; John Thomas, CEO of Connect Airlines, a planned new airline entrant to Canada via the Toronto City Airport; and Scott Beck, President and CEO of Destination Toronto. Farah Mohamed, long time community resident, business leader, and social profit entrepreneur will be the moderator.
The panel will explore the critical role of this airport in the urban visitor economy, its unique role in connecting Canada’s financial sector with our largest global trading partner, the United States, and discuss how strategic infrastructure investments are necessary for it to continue to evolve as a key urban gateway and tourism hub. They will also explore why U.S. carrier Connect Airlines has its eyes on Toronto City Airport as a new hub offering travelers more choice to key American cities.
Farah Mohamed, Social Entrepreneur and Former CEO, Malala Fund
A social profit entrepreneur, Farah Mohamed knows how to grab hold of a challenging current issue and ensure action and momentum for results towards a better world. She most recently served as the CEO of the Malala Fund, inspired by Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for going to school and became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She’s also founder of Girls20, which galvanizes the world’s greatest resource, girls and women, and cultivates a new generation of leaders through education, entrepreneurship and global experiences.
Farah is a compelling storyteller and presenter who shares powerful stories of humanity and change from around the world. She has a relaxed presentation style which puts audiences instantly at ease with her down to earth pragmatism and relatable storytelling style. Through compelling personal experience and lessons learned, Farah inspires audiences to cultivate a better future by showing passionate leadership, empowering young people, and seeing the value of a social profit entrepreneurship mindset. Her well researched presentations frame data in a way that brings numbers to life as she connects the dots in a convincing manner and get your audience excited for the possibilities of change.
In her role as Malala Fund CEO, inspired by Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban for going to school and became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, she’s involved in advocating for resources and policy change needed to give all girls a secondary education, investing in developing country educators and activists, and amplifying the voices of girls fighting for change. Her fund invests in the future of girls and women with more than $8.6 million towards girls’ education programmes.
Previously, as Founder of Girls20, Farah Mohamed designed the organization G20 style; a cool take on the G20, which puts girls and women at the very heart of the issues. This internationally active organization brings together one delegate girl from each G20 country concluding in a global Summit that generates ideas that are presented to the G20 Leaders, global mentorships and the creation of delegate led initiatives. Girls20 is a globally active social enterprise that cultivates a new generation of female leaders through education, entrepreneurship and global experiences and provides advice to G20 Leaders on how to increase female labour force participation as it is key to economic growth. The program involves skills building, entrepreneurship, business planning, communications, technology navigation, leadership, and more. Girls20 also provides advi
Virtual Event: The Future of Elder Care in Canada
COVID 19 is forcing us to question how many of the current structures in society function, and the values that underpin them. How we care for elders is a striking case in point.
The Empire Club is proud to welcome Linda Knight CEO, CarePartners, and Dr Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System. In a panel moderated by Globe and Mail health columnist André Picard, they will discuss how the healthcare system needs to be to redesigned to improve the lives of Canada’s elders.
André Picard, Health Columnist, The Globe and Mail
André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail and author of six books, including the current bestseller, Neglected No More: The Urgent Need To Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders.
He has received much acclaim for his writing, including being named Canada’s top newspaper columnist at the 2020 National Newspaper Awards. He has also won the prestigious Michener Prize for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Centennial Prize of the Pan American Health Organization, awarded to the top health reporter in the 17 countries of the Americas.
André is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University and has received honorary doctorates from seven universities, including the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.
He also has a star on the Walk of Fame, not in Hollywood, but in his hometown of North Bay.
Linda Knight, CEO, CarePartners
Linda has a long history in the Ontario Home Health Care Sector, starting as a visiting RN in 1978 and gaining experience as a Home Care Case Manager. In 1983, Linda started a home health care agency from her kitchen table, hiring two nurses and covering rural Huron County, providing 3500 visits a year. The company grew quickly and started to provide services in surrounding regions, concentrating on delivering high quality nursing care with a small team approach. The company’s growth exploded when a competitive bidding process was started in the Home Care sector in 1996. This previously rural based company started to provide services in areas like Mississauga, Kitchener Waterloo, Woodstock, Oshawa, and St Catharines.
Linda continued to grow CarePartners, offering new services to round out the home health care patient experience. In 2009, she purchased Dynamic Therapy Solutions to provide professional therapy services, and in 2012, CarePartners merged with the PSW Ontario division of Red Cross. In October 2014, Linda assumed responsibility for the combined PSW, Nursing and Therapy program.
Since then, her commitment to providing exceptional patient and family centered care has not faltered. In 2012, CarePartners was awarded with a, Best Practice Spotlight Organization, designation from RNAO. In 2016, CarePartners’ new eShift program was awarded with the Minister’s Medal to Honour Excellence in Health Quality and Safety. And in 2018, CarePartners earned Accreditation with Exemplary status.
Linda and CarePartners continue to innovate and adapt. When the pandemic hit in 2020, Linda’s team accelerated their development for a robust virtual care offering and rolled out their CarePartners Connect app and services much earlier than planned. To protect frontline health care providers, CarePartners also self funded full PPE, offered temporary nursing and therapist wage subsidies and provided financial assistance to employees who experienced pay gaps due to quarantine conditions.
CarePartners currently delivers nearly 6 million hours of service per year covering all of Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Windsor. Employing nearly 5000 nurses, PSW and therapists, CarePartners’ staff is on the road 24 7 to meet patients’ needs.
Linda is a well known, seasoned CEO in the sector, leading a team of exceptional home health care executives to ensure future growth and st
Virtual Event: Building Better in 2021
As Canadians begin their long awaited summer, they have much to cherish, much to mourn and much to confront and reflect upon. Over the past year, those living in Canada have come together across the land and around the world to survive the first waves of the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic that has killed and harmed too many, but brought out the best in so many in different ways. As we honour their lives and our frontline health heroes, we highlight the contributions of those behind the scenes who have had our backs during the crisis and are leading our current effort to build better as we create the many opportunities that await. Yet we equally must address the many inequalities that the pandemic has intensified, the tragedies from our past that have now come to light, and the other shortcomings we still must repair. Inspired by over a century of hard won success in overcoming costly pandemics, economic recessions and foreign conflicts, we draw strength from the committed, creative contemporaries from the First Nations, academic and other communities who now lead the way in building a better, fairer, more inclusive and just community at home and abroad.
The Hon. Jean Augustine, First Black Woman elected to the Parliament of Canada and Former Cabinet Minister of Multiculturalism and Status of Women
Jean Augustine made history as the first Black Woman elected to Canada’s Parliament and served from 1993 to 2006.
Her tenure included distinguished service as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women; Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Her legislative successes include the historic Black History Month Motion; and the ground breaking Famous Five Motion, which authorized the first and still the only statues on Parliament Hill depicting women, other than Queen Elizabeth.
From 2007 to 2015, she served as Ontario’s first ever Fairness Commissioner.
In 2008, the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora was launched at York University to help advance education, equity and inclusiveness.
Also in her name are a Girls' Leadership Academy in Scarborough; a Centre for Young Women's Empowerment and a municipal park in Etobicoke; a Secondary School in Brampton, and a multi purpose complex and district park in Vaughan.
A member of the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario and Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Jean Augustine holds honourary doctorates from the universities of McGill, Toronto, York, Windsor, Guelph, Trent and Ryerson; is a senior fellow at Centennial and Massey College; and supports scholarships at George Brown, Centennial and Humber College.
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Perry Bellegarde was elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He holds a wealth of leadership experience, having spent the past three decades putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. At the community, national and international levels, Chief Bellegarde is recognized for sound fiscal management and skillfully navigating highly complex policy, political and legal matters to achieve meaningful change, while strengthening relationships along the way.
Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory, Chief Bellegarde served as Tribal Council Representative for the Touchwood File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, AFN, as well as Chief and Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation. In 2014, the Chiefs in Assembly elected Perry as National
Virtual Event: Getting back to normal: What does it mean and what will it take?
With millions of Canadians getting vaccinated, and provinces slowly unrolling reopening plans across the country, when does Canada return to normal? What does the new normal look like for everyday Canadians and Canadian companies?
Join our panelists as they discuss the challenges we face in continuing to protect Canadians from COVID 19 while getting our economy back to pre-pandemic levels.
Our panel will discuss the challenges facing Canada with achieving herd immunity, issuing vaccine passports and looking at the challenges Canadian businesses will face getting back to normal.
How will we build back better? When do we get back to normal? What is the new normal?
Mike Kessel, President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic Canada
Mike Kessel is the President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic Canada and is responsible for the growth of the Canadian facilities, strategic partnerships and enterprise value creation. During his tenure, the organization has implemented a unique public, private hybrid strategy that has led to formal partnerships with Canadian healthcare ecosystem community stakeholders such as SickKids, Sunnybrook, Mt. Sinai and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has also led partnership efforts with the Ontario Ministry of Health, where there have been several important firsts for in country and cross border patient care in bariatric surgery and bone marrow transplants. Mr. Kessel led the acquisition of the Sports Medicine Specialists, the highest volume sports medicine and rehab clinic in Canada and the first international acquisition in Cleveland Clinic’s 100 year history. Over the last few years, Mr. Kessel’s focus has been the creation of a healthcare subscription model, ie. Netflix, for some of the clinic’s services in Canada, medical directorships, virtual care across Canada and remotely focused longitudinal care services. Most importantly, under his leadership, patient experience and employee engagement scores have reached record highs during his tenure. His career has been fueled by a passion for healthcare and over 25 years of experience in strategy, finance, organizational behaviour, operations and entrepreneurial ventures.
Mr. Kessel is active in the Toronto community as a former board member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. His involvement was recognized with a Tony Graham Outstanding Board Member Award in 2016. Mr. Kessel created the largest corporate philanthropic table tennis tournament in Canada, which currently takes place in 3 cities, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and raises $300k annually for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He also holds board member positions at Unyte, a Toronto based brain health company; Biomendics, an Ohio-based wound care organization; VIQ, a Toronto based audiovisual capture company; and Solve.care, a health tech company leveraging blockchain to reduce administrative costs; Ontario Brain Institute, a not for profit organization accelerating discovery and innovation; Mr. Kessel is a former committee member of the Conference Board of Canada. He is an active member of Young Presidents Organization and serves on the Maple Leaf chapter’s New Member Committee. Mr. Kessel is a guest lecturer at Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Canada in 2009, Mr. Kessel was Co founder and Vice President of Business Development and Finance for the Center for Partnership Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Trio Health in Chicago. In this role, Mr. Kessel was instrumental in the development of a network of executive health and wellness programs with leading medical centers throughout the United States. He successfully secured 39 of the 42 Fortune 500 companies based in Chicago as clients. The program was ranked as one of the top programs in the country by both Forbes and Fortune magazines.
Mr. Kessel g
Virtual Event: Back to the Ballot Box
Please join us for a virtual discussion focusing on the next Canadian federal election. The event will feature a distinguished panel of professionals including political insiders, the private sector and media.
How do the political leaders, Prime Minister Trudeau, Erin O'Toole and Jagmeet Singh, stack up on critical issues related to pandemic response, economic growth, and climate change? How will recent developments, from the COVID 19 pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown, impact the outcome of this election? What are the paths to victory for each major party and when will the election be called? The upcoming federal election is shaping up to be a highly contested race with major implications for Canada.
The Empire Club of Canada federal election forecast will cover all the scenarios and issues in the race for Prime Minister.
David Coletto from Abacus will kick off the event with a presentation of the findings from his most recent poll, which will be followed by a moderated panel discussion.
Polling Presentation By:
David Coletto, CEO and Founding Partner, Abacus Data
David Coletto is CEO and a founding partner of Abacus Data a full service market research and strategy firm based in Ottawa. With over a decade of experience in the industry, David and his partners founded Abacus over 8 years ago, and since then it has grown into one of Canada's most respected market research firms.
David has worked with a range of organizations including the Shaw Communication, the Canadian Bankers Association, the Bank of Canada, Food and Consumer Products Canada, the CBC, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Equal Voice, and the Dairy Farmers of Canada. He’s also one of Canada’s leading experts on generational change and millennials regularly invited to speak to groups across Canada.
He’s a foodie, a Gentle Explorer, and a political junkie who loves exploring why people think and act they way they do.
He earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Calgary in 2010 and has a BPAPM and MA from Carleton University. He is also an adjunct professor at Carleton University.
Marieke Walsh, Political Reporter, The Globe and Mail
Marieke Walsh is a political reporter with The Globe and Mail in Ottawa. Before joining The Globe, she covered the Ontario legislature for iPolitics and the Nova Scotia legislature for Global News. She started her journalism career on Parliament Hill producing political TV shows for CBC and Global News.
Jason Lietaer, President, Enterprise Canada
Jason’s strong chops in branding, crisis response, issues management, and strategic communications help him execute winning strategies that help our clients succeed. He’s helped by extensive experience in senior government roles and inside campaign war rooms during federal and provincial elections.
He also gets how technology is changing the public affairs and communications landscape. So he stays up to speed on cutting edge tools that didn’t exist even a decade ago, such as influencer outreach, digital activations, and geo targeting.
Former executive director of the Conservative Resource Group, reporting to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and providing cutting edge research, marketing and communications tools to the Conservative caucus.
Experience on Parliament Hill in the Prime Minister’s Office; and at Queen’s Park, including senior roles in Premier Mike Harris’s office.
Leading strategy roles in federal and provincial election campaigns.
Regular commentator in several media outlets including CBC, CTV, Macleans, and The National Post.
Amanda Alvaro, President, Pomp and Circumstance
Amanda Alvaro is the President of award-winning creative agency, Pomp and Circumstance. A veteran communicator, Amanda has led global campaigns across virtually all categories fr
Virtual Event: The Future is Electric
Having delivered one of the world’s single largest climate change actions by closing its coal stations, OPG now looks to the future by investing in new technologies that will drive the clean economy. The company has released its Climate Change Plan, with a commitment to achieving net zero by 2040 and helping the markets in which it operates achieve net zero by 2050. Learn why Ontario’s largest clean power generator is emphasizing electrification of everything and an “all hands on deck” approach to generating technology.
Ken Hartwick, President and CEO, Ontario Power Generation
Ken Hartwick is OPG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, CEO. Ken joined OPG in March 2016 as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Finance, where he led all operations under Finance, Business Development, Strategy, and Risk. In that role, Ken also led the launch of Canada’s first utility green bond as well as OPG’s expansion to the United States through the acquisition of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC. Ken was appointed OPG President and CEO on April 1, 2019.
Ken joined OPG from Wellspring Financial Corporation, where he was CFO and Treasurer. He was also interim President and CEO at Atlantic Power Corporation, a generating company that does business in Canada and the United States. For ten years prior, Ken was the CFO and CEO of Just Energy Corporation, a Canadian based energy retailer. In addition, he held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Hydro One between 2001 and 2004. He also held senior positions at Capgemini and was a partner at Ernst and Young LLP.
Ken is a Chartered Professional Accountant with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He serves on a number of boards of directors.
Originally from Norwood, Ontario, near Peterborough, Ken now lives in Milton with his wife. He has three grown children.
Anita Sharma, National News Anchor, CTV News Channel
Anita Sharma is a national television news anchor with CTV News Channel, hosting the prime time program, seen nationally from coast to coast to coast.
The live newscast focuses on issues of the day including politics, business, current affairs and the pandemic.
Anita started her career with Bell Media in 2016, working for all of their news networks: CTV, CTV News Channel and CP24. At BNN Bloomberg, Anita hosted Canada’s most popular business news program, Market Call Tonight, a daily deep dive into the stocks/companies making headlines in the world of finance.
Anita started her journalism career in 2001 as a national network news anchor for CBC Television, hosting business news on the national, network morning news program. She also anchored the provincial newscast in New Brunswick on behalf of CBC Television. Anita has interviewed news makers from around the world including heads of state, finance ministers and global business leaders.
Community is very important to Anita. Her parents immigrated to Canada from Punjab, India, instilling in Anita a deep sense of pride for her parents’ homeland and the way of life they created for Anita and her siblings in Toronto.
Anita speaks fluent Punjabi and conversational French. She attended York University, majoring in political science and languages.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, cycling and travelling, when allowed to do so!