Bear Pit 1: The Challenges of the Canadian Health Care System. A view from three National Health Leaders

Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Glenn Brimacombe

President and CEO

Canadian Psychiatric Association


Marcel Saulnier

Associate Assistant Deputy Minister

Health Policy, Health Canada


Chris Power

President and CEO

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute



The Canadian Health Care System has been described as the most decentralized of any other national health system. There has been a dynamic tension on the roles in health care among the various levels of government. This has culminated in key milestones in its history such as Medicare, the Canada Health Act and various Health Accords. With a New Federal Government and the prospect of a new Health Accord, it is very timely to address this topic. What are the issues? What are the challenges and opportunities? To help us address this important topic, we have assembled a panel of national health leaders who are integrally involved in this agenda



Glenn Brimacombe

Mr. Brimacombe joined the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) as Chief Executive Officer in August 2013. As the national voice of the profession, he is responsible for the management and execution of the organization’s strategic plan which is focused on the public policy conversation about the future of mental health and the role of psychiatry, and meeting the continuing professional development needs of members.

Glenn recently stepped down as Co-Chair of the Health Action Lobby (HEAL), a position he held since 2009. HEAL is a coalition of 39 national health organizations focused on the role of the federal government in health and health care. He was a significant contributor to HEAL’s consensus statement The Canadian Way…Accelerating Innovation and Improving Health System Performance, released in December 2015.

From 2002-2013, Glenn was President & CEO of the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO), now HealthCareCan, where he created a national voice and presence for the country’s research hospitals and academic health sciences centres. He was also Chair of the Science Media Centre of Canada from 2010-2012, and a founding member of the Canadian Health Leadership Network in 2009.

Glenn worked at the Canadian Medical Association as Director of Health Economics (1991-2000), was a visiting senior policy analyst at Health Canada (1997-98), Director of Health Programs at the Conference Board of Canada (2000-01), and began as an economist with the Ontario Medical Association in 1988.

Throughout his career, much of Glenn’s focus has been on the management of strategic policy issues related to the organization, financing and delivery of health care, and the federal role in research, innovation and commercialization. In different capacities, he has focused on the identification, development and nurturing of a number of strategic alliances. He has also supported medical profession-government negotiations in several provinces. Of the 28 years in the health sector, he has spent close to 25 of them working for national health associations. Glenn has an Honour’s (1986) and Master’s Degree (1988) in Economics from the University of Ottawa. In his spare time, Glenn enjoys time with his family, keeping active through sport and playing music in a local band.


Marcel Saulnier

Marcel Saulnier is Associate ADM of the Strategic Policy Branch at Health Canada, where he is overseeing work toward the development of a new health accord. He has held other senior positions at Health Canada, including as Director General of Health Care Strategies, and Director General of Policy Coordination and Planning. He played a key role in supporting the work of the federal Advisory Panel on Healthcare Innovation which released its report in June 2015. Marcel’s career has included policy leadership positions at the Canadian Medical Association, the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Canada, the National Forum on Health, and Health and Welfare Canada. Marcel has a master’s degree in Economics from l’Université de Montreal, and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Ottawa.


Chris Power

What began as a desire to help those in need 35 years ago has evolved into a mission to improve the quality of healthcare for all Canadians.

Chris Power's journey in healthcare began at the bedside as a front-line nurse. Since then, she has grown into one of the preeminent healthcare executives in Canada. Her experiences, her success, and her values have led her to the position of CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. 

Previously, Chris served for eight years as president and CEO of Capital Health, Nova Scotia. Under Chris's leadership Capital Health achieved Accreditation with Exemplary Status in 2014 with recognition for 10 Leading Practices.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Masters in Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University. She is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Service Executives, and holds a Fellowship in Management for Executive Nurses from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In 2003, she received the Award for Excellence and Innovation from the Canadian College of Health Services Executives and in 2007 received an Award of Excellence from the Halifax Progress Club. She was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the Public Sector Category three years in a row from 2007-2009 and in 2010 was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was named one of the Top 50 CEO's in Atlantic Canada four times and in 2013 was inducted into the Top 50 CEOs Hall of Fame. In 2013 Chris received an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from St. Mary's University.

Chris holds significant governance roles including incoming Chair of the Canadian Association for Health Services & Policy Research, member of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council and Board member of Colleges & Institutes of Canada.  She is past Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and past Co-Chair of HealthCareCAN.

Most recently Chris participated as a member of the federal advisory panel on healthcare innovation and through this role has gained even greater insight into the many pan-Canadian organizations that will be beneficial in forming partnerships, leveraging expertise and advancing the goals of CPSI.

With all of the accolades and responsibilities, Chris has maintained her strong sense of self and credits her love of family, faith and her gift of singing for keeping her grounded.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Telfer School of Management
Desmarais Building
DMS 4101
55 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
View on Google Maps
RSVP deadline:
Sunday, September 10, 2017, 5:00 p.m.

Register for this event

Unfortunately, the RSVP deadline has passed for this event, and you will not be able to register.

Contact Information

Alexis Cawadias-McGeadie
613-562-5800 ext. 7131

Important notice regarding photography