Canadian Benefits Certificate Program

Date and Time

Starts:09/21/2021 9:30 AM

Ends:09/29/2021 4:00 PM

Registration Closes:

Event Type: Certificate Program

23 CPD Hour(s)

Partner's Virtual Platform


HRPA Members:
$1,650 + Taxes
$2,060 + Taxes
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Additional Information

To determine if your company qualifies to have the costs of this program covered through a grant, click here.

Event Sponsor






The Key to Attract and Retain Key Talent!

Gain a clear understanding of Canadian Group Benefits. Benefits form an important part of an employee's compensation program and play a valuable role in attracting and retaining key talent. Now you can get a comprehensive overview of benefit programs in Canada with this course.

What will I learn?

After completing the certificate program, participants will have the skills and information required to:

  • Understand the basics and develop better strategies
  • Manage your programs more effectively
  • Keep escalating costs under control


Complete all 8 modules and receive your Benefits Program Certificate. Each day builds on the knowledge and skills of the previous level.

Module 1 – Key Elements of Canadian Benefit Programs

  • Overview of the public and private benefits in Canada
  • Overview of plan design types (traditional, flexible benefit plans)
  • Administration options

Module 2 – Group Plan Communications Strategies  

  •  Employee communication options
  • Member support beyond enrollment
  • Making sure the participants understand the true value of the plan

Module 3 – Pricing and renewal overview  

  • Review of funding options
  • Pricing and renewal calculation breakdown
  • Risk mitigation approaches

Module 4 – Trends & Qualitative Optimizations

  • Leading health and dental cost drivers
  • Common oversights
  • Managing potential waste

Module 5 – Drug Plan Management

  • Review of spend
  • Drug plan trends and pipeline
  • Adherence and overall management tips

Module 6 – Disability & Wellness Management

  • Trends & Challenges
  • Workplace Culture
  • Return to Work
  • Benchmarking for success
  • Looking beyond disability program

Module 7 – Fraud Prevention

  • How fraud happens
  • Who commits fraud
  • Effective anti-fraud strategies

Module 8 – Employment Law & Contracts

  • Managing group insured benefit risks
  • Employment law considerations
  • Legal framework for employers

WHAT you will gain:

Attendees can offer immediate value-add and ROI to the organization after earning certification in the following ways:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the many components of Canadian Group Benefits
  • Insight into public and private benefits programs and individual benefit types to better formulate plans and strategies.
  • Eight levels of knowledge sharing to help manage programs better and minimize costs.


Who should attend?

HR Professionals tasked with hiring, retaining talent in the organization. C-Suite executives who wish to understand Group benefits programs.

What is the course format? 

This certificate program combines live virtual instruction with hands-on experiential learning through case studies, scenarios, group work/break out discussions and simulations.

Live Virtual Sessions: There will be online instructor-led modules, during which practical examples and experiences will be shared.
Materials: Participants will be provided with session workbooks to follow along with the content covered in each module and to take notes, as well as additional pre-session and post-session assignments to prepare for the simulations.
Peer Learning and Group Work: Participants will have the opportunity to learn from each other while answering questions and sharing experiences and observations during the modules, as well as through practical, hands-on exercises and simulations based on real-world labour relations events and processes.
Time Commitment:  This four-day certificate program will be delivered in eight modules. Participants will spend four (4.5) hours each day participating in the virtual sessions and accompanying exercises and simulation activities. Over the duration of the course, participants can expect to spend an additional five (5) hours completing work outside of the daily sessions, either in break out groups with peers or individually preparing for case study debriefs or simulation participation. The in-class virtual modules will be held as follows:

Intro/Welcome – Tuesday, September 21rd, 2021 (9:30 am – 10:00am)

Module 1 - Tuesday, September 21rd, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Module 2 - Tuesday, September 21rd, 2021 (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

Module 3 –Thursday, September 23th, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Module 4 - Thursday, September 23th, 2021 (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

Module 5 – Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Module 6 - Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

Module 7 – Thursday, September 29th, 2021 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm)

Module 8 - Thursday, September 29th, 2021 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

NOTE: This program will not be recorded. This is an intact program in which attendees must attend all of the sessions in order to qualify for the certificate.

Speaker bio(s)
Gisela Carere, President and Managing Partner, Benchmark Benefit Solutions

At Benchmark Benefit Solutions, Gisela Carere wears many hats, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. An organized multi-tasker, Gisela thrives on the challenge of designing group benefit programs that are both affordable and sustainable while providing a level of service that her clients routinely describe as "above and beyond". When it comes to getting things done, clients know they can count on her. Relationships are what matters to Gisela, and she ensures the interests of her clients, and their employees are always looked after. As President and Managing Partner, she works directly with clients to develop and maintain group benefit plans that further their organizational goals. With insight into how experience affects pricing, Gisela will pro-actively outline strategies for containing benefit costs at renewal. And thanks to long-established connections with the major carriers, she can negotiate the best possible price on behalf of clients and advocate for their employees. Gisela developed her in-depth knowledge of group benefits and honed her professional skills through more than 20 years of industry experience in areas as varied as group underwriting, benefit plan analysis, sales, training and benefit plan communications. She keeps her knowledge current through ongoing education as part of the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) program. And when she is not looking after her clients, Gisela, along with her husband Adam, is taking care of their school-age children, Vanessa and Luca, traveling and enjoying family life.

Kimberly Ferris, Organizational Health Consultant Toronto Group Sales - Consultant, Group Customer CANADA LIFE

With over 20 years in the insurance industry, Kimberly Ferris, Organizational Health Consultant at Canada Life specializes in disability management and organizational health and wellness. As an Organizational Health Consultant, Kimberly focuses on understanding the unique health needs and absence risk areas of an organization and delivering services tailored to control rising health costs and absenteeism trends. The Organizational Health Consultant plays an integral role within the Canada Life team to support the financial, physical and mental well-being of millions of Canadians. Kimberly has a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, in Kinesiology and Health Science, Group Benefit Administration Certification through International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans and recently completed certification for Mindful Leadership offered through Mindful Employer Canada.

Giorgio Follegati, Senior Consultant

Prior to joining Benchmark Benefit Solutions in 2016, Giorgio worked as both a Technical Underwriter and Sales Representative at one of Canada’s largest Third-Party Benefit Administrators. In 2015, Giorgio was recognized as a “Top Young Gun” under 35, by Insurance Business Canada magazine. Giorgio sits on the Ontario Council of the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute and is also an organizer of Disrupt HR Vaughan, an annual event bringing together HR professionals and business leaders to inspire innovation and advancements in the world of work.

Chris Lee, Vice President, Employee Communication Practice, Gallagher

Chris Lee is Vice President, Employee Communications Practice within Gallagher’s Employee Benefits Consulting Division in Canada. In this role he helpss Gallagher clients develop strategic internal communications plans to ensure organizations implement successful employee experience programs.

Chris has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including his leadership of Corporate Brand & Marketing at one of Canada’s largest insurance companies.

Chris has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Toronto Area Rewards Association as Vice President, Communications.

Chris has published articles in Canadian HR Reporter, Plans & Trusts Magazine, and has been featured as a speaker at various conferences, including HRPA, CPBI, WorldatWork Total Rewards, IFEBP, Benefits Breakfast Club, GTA Rewards Association, CUHR, Presidents of Enterprising Organizations, and Conference Board of Canada.

Barbara Martinez, Practice Leader, Drug Solutions Toronto Consultant, Group Customer Canada Life

As the National Practice Leader, Drug Solutions in Canada Life’s Toronto Office, Barbara A. Martinez supports sales offices across Canada on prescription drug management initiatives. She plays a key role in supporting advisors and their clients, including designing and managing drug benefit plans with Canada Life Drug Solutions programs.

Barbara joined Canada Life in 2012 after 10 years at Mercer, where she led the Canadian drug benefits consulting team. She’s a regular speaker at industry forums and a frequent commentator on employer drug programs. Her past experience also includes 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry, where she worked in sales and marketing as well as government and professional affairs.

Lisa Stam, Founder, Springlaw

Lisa Stam is the founder of Springlaw​, a virtual law firm advising exclusively on workplace legal issues for employers and executives. She practices all aspects of employment, labour, privacy, and human rights law, with a particular interest in legal issues arising from technology in the workplace. Lisa’s practice includes a wide range of entrepreneurs in the tech space, as well as global companies with smaller operations in Canada. In addition to the day to day workplace issues from hiring to firing, Lisa frequently blogs and speaks on both the impact, risks and opportunities of social media and technology issues in (and out of) the workplace, as well as the novel ways in which changing expectations of privacy continues to evolve employment law. Lisa spent 3 years in union-side boutiques, 7 years at the global law firm Baker McKenzie advising global employers, was a co-founding partner of an employment law boutique in 2014, and launched Spring Law in 2017. She continues to represent both employers and executives. Lisa graduated from Dalhousie Law School, after completing an undergraduate degree in medieval history at the University of Toronto.

Patrick Hill, Associate Vice President, Gallagher Benefit Services

Patrick is a Benefits & Health Consultant at Gallagher Benefit Services. He provides critical advice and support for a wide range of plan design, financial management, and administrative services, such as communications support, employee meetings, disability management and wellness plans for all sized organizations. Patrick has been working in the benefits industry for over 17 years on both the insurance carrier and the consulting side of business. Before joining Gallagher Benefit Services, he was a Senior Group Underwriter at one of Canada’s major insurance providers.