Opening Keynote 

THE BIG SHIFT - The Battle between Old and New Canada  
Darrell Bricker,  CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs  

Leading pollster with Ipsos Global, Darrell Bricker has his pulse on public opinion, anticipating how it will affect the future of consumers and business organizations. 

Canada, once one of the world’s most consensual countries, is polarizing; with the west versus the east, suburban versus urban, immigrants versus old school, coffee drinkers versus consumers of energy drinks. The winners—in politics, in business, in life—will figure out where the people are and go there too.

Dr. Darrell Bricker is the world-travelling CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, a division of the world’s second largest market research firm with offices in 25 countries. He is a frequent guest as a media commentator on political, social and business issues. On the speaking circuit, he’s popular at industry, government and academic conferences.

Based in Toronto, Dr. Bricker is also an acclaimed researcher, having being director of public opinion research in the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister. Dr. Bricker holds a Ph.D. in political science and a B.A. and an M.A. from Canadian universities.

Dr. Bricker is an active member of the American Association of Public Opinion research, ESOMAR, and Canada’s MRIA.

He is a prolific author of best-selling books, including Canuckology, with John Wright, and most recently, The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business and Culture and What It Means For Our Future, co-authored by John Ibbitson, in which they argue that Canada is becoming polarized with East vs. West, Suburban vs. Urban, Immigrants vs. Old School, and more.

A fervent supporter of Canada’s military, Dr. Bricker serves, by ministerial appointment, as the honorary colonel of the historic Queen’s York Rangers.

Ron Friedman

Tuesday Keynote


In his highly-acclaimed new book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman surveyed the world’s most successful organizations, identifying key practices that position them to thrive.

In this engaging keynote, Dr. Friedman reveals the highlights, offering a surprising look at the emerging science of workplace excellence. You’ll discover why great workplaces reward failure, how turning colleagues into close friends can bolster your bottom line, and why smart managers aim to complicate rather than simplify their employees’ lives. You’ll learn why Dreamworks pays employees to decorate their desks, why the Boston Consulting Group flags analysts who don’t take paid time off (PTO), and why Radio Flyer provides mileage reimbursement for employees who ride their bikes.

By the end of this presentation, not only will you and your team think differently about your workplace, you’re bound to come away with a variety of actionable insights that you can immediately put to use.

Ron Friedman, , Ph.D.   Award-winning social psychologist who specializes in human motivation.


His new book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, has been described as “stunning,” “eye-opening,” and “a contemporary classic,” and praised by best-selling authors Daniel Pink, David Allen, Marshall Goldsmith, Susan Cain, and Adam Grant.

Dr. Friedman has served on the faculty of the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, political leaders, and the world’s leading non-profits. Popular accounts of his research have appeared on NPR and in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, as well as magazines such as Men’s Health, Shape, and Allure.

He is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, CNN, Forbes, Fast Company, and Psychology Today.

Don Coxe

Keynote Session : Capital Markets and Economic Trends Impacting Canadian Plan Sponsors

Canadian plan sponsors are operating in the most challenging environment since the financial crisis.

On his keynote address, Don Coxe will provide a summary of key capital market and economic trends, with a focus on domestic and international developments.

  • Biggest Question Now: Can Canadian Public Policy balance Climate Change and the urgent need for pipelines?
  • Today's global markets and political risk, and how they will affect the capital markets
  • Could the Commodity Triple Waterfall Crash end with a sudden new boom in the book-end commodities: Gold and Oil?
  • Understanding the key challenges impeding global growth.
  • Has Canada ceased to be in the North American sweet spot; sound public policies, natural resource growth without inflation, and rising real estate prices without imperiling the strength of the capital markets?
  • US politics are suddenly more radical than Canadians have had to contemplate since the Depression. How would this affect Canadian public policy and the risk attitude of Canadian pension fund committees?

Don Coxe, Chairman, Coxe Avisors LLC 


Don Coxe has four decades of institutional investment experience in Canada and the US. As a strategist and investor, he has been engaged at the senior level in global capital markets through every recession and boom since the onset of stagflation in 1972. He has worked on the buy side and the sell side in many capacities and has managed both bond and equity portfolios, and served as CEO, CIO and Research Director.

He now distributes his views and recommendations on the global capital markets to institutional clients through The Coxe Strategy Journal, and a weekly conference call review.

He continues to be advisor to the Coxe Commodity Strategy Fund and the Coxe Global Agribusiness Income Fund—two closed-end investment funds traded on the Toronto Stock

As Strategy Advisor for BMO Financial Group from 1992 until 2012, he was frequently named as a top portfolio strategist by Brendan Wood International; in 2011, he was awarded a lifetime achievement award; he was ranked number one in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 surveys. He also received the lifetime achievement award from Canada's Financial Post.

As CEO of a firm managing both bonds and stocks, he was consistently ranked among the top managers in Canada over the years from 1972 to 1983, when he moved from Waterloo, Ontario to Bay Street as Strategist and Research Director, and then to Wall Street and ultimately LaSalle Street as Global Strategist.

Mr. Coxe has a broad background in public policy related to pension funds including serving on a Canadian Royal Commission and on the committee that advises on the Canada Pension Plan and has acted as expert witness before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on the operations of the Social Security Trust Fund. Mr. Coxe has a B.A. degree in modern history from the University of Toronto and earned his LL.B. degree from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Don served six years on the Canadian Pension Plan Advisory Committee. He is proud of the fact that he analyzed why the CPP Fund was earning miserable interest yields on its loans to the provinces, and showed that the original rules set up in 1966 fixed yields on each tranche of issues based on “long-term Government of Canada bond yields.” But an informal agreement with the provinces in 1966 took the federal government out of the issuance of long-term bonds, so by 1974 the only outstanding long-term bond was a 3% Perpetual issued during the Depression. When the impact of this anomaly was reported, federal government  immediately announced it would no longer be bound by the old arrangements, and began issuing torrents of long bonds, driving up yields on all new loans from the CPP to the provinces. Result: the CPP Fund’s financial strength was extended for many years.

He also formed a committee to analyze the inequitable way CPP benefits were  being distributed on divorce, and, after much political maneuvering, the government announced that CPP credits would be automatically split on divorce. This dramatic social policy change has been emulated in social programs in many other countries. 

In 1976 he resigned from the CPP committee to join the Advisory Committee on the Status of Pensions in Ontario, which published an 11-volume report in 1981. Its core recommendation was a mandatory modest contributory pension program. The report was quickly shelved, partly because the section on the financial outlook to which Don contributed  predicted a coming fall in both inflation and interest rates, and some unions found this anathema.

Target Benefit Plans and innovation in Pensions- Janna Steele, 
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