Agenda at a Glance

Join the social conversation, use #iabccanwest21, follow us on Twitter @iabc_cwr or on Facebook.

Recordings included in your registration!


Tracks: CS = Communication Skills; L&S = Leadership & Strategy; M&B = Marketing & Branding; R = Reputation; E = Engagement

Monday October 25, 2021

9:30 – 9:45 a.m.    Tradeshow & Networking

9:45 – 10:10 a.m.  Welcome/Opening Remarks

10:10 – 10:50 a.m.  Opening keynote –  Officentricity is Over: How Shopify is Building a Digital by Design Future (R)

A Fireside Chat with Cath Hughes, Director, Internal Communications at Shopify & Shauna Lowry, ABC, Director Transformation Communications and Engagement at Suncor

On May 21, 2020, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke tweeted “officentricity is over”, ushering in a new ‘digital by default’ way of working in response to the global pandemic. In a company known for its unique culture and thoughtfully designed physical spaces, this was a massive shift. How would the team respond and adapt? Flash forward to today and Shopify is fully embracing the opportunities of working Digital by Design. Learn how this digital first way of working is helping to shape the company’s culture, leadership, and experience of belonging in a rapidly changing environment. Discover how Shopify’s mission and commitment to human-centred design are key to building the future of work.

10:50 – 11:10 a.m. Networking/Tradeshow Break

11:10 – 11:55 a.m.  Breakout Sessions
A. Hidden Robots: How Automation, Chatbots and AI Enhance Engagement (CS, E)
B. The Pandemic Pivot: How COVID-19 Sped up the Shift to Online Engagement (E)

11:55 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.  Chair Yoga

12:05 – 12:25 p.m.  Lunch/Networking/Tradeshow Break

12:25 – 1:10 p.m.    General session – Crossing the AI Bridge: Four Trends Transforming Marcomm

Martin Waxman, President, Martin Waxman Communications

1:15 – 2:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
A. Has Media Relations Changed for Communicators? (R)
B. Inclusive Leadership to Build an Inclusive Culture (L&S)

2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Wellness Break

2:15 – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Sessions
A. Five Ways to Use Thought Leadership to Drive Brands (M&B)
B. Breaking Through the Noise (CS, R)

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. Keynote session – The Key to Inclusion; my Personal Journey

Michèle Newton, Speaker. Expert. Advocate. 

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Optional session

  1. Presented by McMaster-Syracuse MCM Program – Have you hit the mid career wall? What competencies/skills do you need to become a CCO 
  2. Elevate Your Communication Career with Global Certification


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

9:30 – 10:00 a.m.  Tradeshow & Networking

10:00 – 10:10 a.m.   Welcome/Opening Remarks

10:10 – 10:50 a.m.  Keynote – Ipsos Insights: What Does the Future Hold? (S)

Darrell Bricker, CEO, IPSOS Canadian Public Affairs

How does Canada- and world-wide research about COVID impacts, economic recovery, the future of travel and returning to brick-and-mortar workplaces help our individual organizations prepare for the next 3, 6 and 12 months of ongoing changes? Hear insights into the latest research into vaccine uptake and resistance, what the results of the recent federal election mean for the economy and recovery, and predicting the future at the local level. Understand how communicators can lead the use of research to help leaders and employees adapt to the known and unknown.

10:50 – 11:10 a.m.  Networking/Tradeshow Break

11:10 – 11:55 a.m. General Session

Leading the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Communications: Challenges & Lessons Learned (S)

Cathy Allison, A/Associate ADM, Communications and Public Affairs Branch, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada

The Government of Canada was – and is – the lead on communicating the country’s response to the COVID-19 response, both to Canadians directly and to the federal government’s partners, such as provinces and international agencies.

The pandemic has challenged Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada like no other incident in recent history. Just as organizations and companies across the country had to adapt and respond in real time, so did the public sector, but they had to do it first and fast to help Canadians prepare. More…

11:55 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. Chair Yoga

12:05 – 12:25 p.m.  Lunch/Networking/Tradeshow Break

12:25 – 1:10 p.m.  Breakout Sessions
A. Keeping You Safe: The Invisible Work of Cybersecurity Communications (E, CS)
B. A Facebook Faux Pas  (R)

1:10 – 1:30 p.m.   Networking/Tradeshow Break

1:30 – 2:15 p.m.  Breakout Sessions
A. How to Leverage Micro-Influencers Efficiently (M&B)
B. The Communicator’s Roles in Indigenous EDI (CS, L&S)

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.  Wellness Break

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.   Closing Keynote – Edelman Trust Barometer 2021 (R)

Megan Spoore, National Practice Lead, Corporate, and General Manager, Edelman Calgary

After a year of unprecedented disaster and turbulence—the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the global outcry over systemic racism and political instability—the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world. Adding to this is a failing trust ecosystem unable to confront the rampant infodemic, leaving the four institutions—business, government, NGOs and media—in an environment of information bankruptcy and a mandate to rebuild trust and chart a new path forward. This presentation will do a deep-dive into the Canadian Trust data and explore how companies in Canada can leverage the report to create a path forward.

3:15 p.m.   Closing Remarks


Wednesday, October 27, 2021


10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Workshops

Workshop A: Equity Sequence™: A practical tool for increasing equity and inclusion in your everyday work (CS, L&S)

Dr. Kristen Liesch, Co-Founder, Co-CEO, Tidal Equality

Harshita Sandhu, Strategy, Policy, and Program Analyst, Intern Associate, Tidal Equality

Workshop B: Use data visualization to transform communications performance (CS, L&S)

Sylvia Link, MC ABC APR, Director, Marketing and Communications, RTOERO

Sid Ali, Communications / Managing Director, RAE Consult

1:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Workshops

Workshop C: Fostering Indigenous inclusion in the workplace (L&S, E)

Juli Holloway, Director, Communications and Engagement, BC First Nations Justice Council

Davis McKenzie, Owner, Toxw oxw (Becoming Clear) Communications

The conference, keynote and breakouts sessions will take place ONLINE.

Conference Day 1
Post Conference Workshops
Conference Day 2
Contact Us

We look forward to seeing you online!