Cannabis in Canada –
Panel Discussion – 4:00pm Friday April 12 – Auditorium
Cannabis in Canada – Where we are and where we are heading
This is to be a must see panel to end our Day 1 activities. What are the realities regarding the cannabis industry in Canada – past, present and future. Including the political context, what it is like to operate as a producer in Canada, offer the small business lens and how the global market is emerging.
Lead by Ivan Ross Vrana
Ryan Greer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Senior Director, Transportation and Infrastructure Policy
Ryan has been with the Chamber since February 2016. Prior to the Chamber, he spent nearly a
decade with the federal government, most recently as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister
of Public Works and Government Services. He also held positions in the Prime Minister’s Office,
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Industry Canada.
Sarah Bain, Vice-President, External Affairs, Nesta Holding Co. and Auxly Cannabis Group.
Sarah has almost 20 years experience in politics, stakeholder relations and public engagement in Canada. She has provided advice to cabinet ministers, the Liberal Party of Canada, federal, territorial and municipal governments, as well as corporations and associations.
Prior to joining Nesta and Auxly, Sarah was Vice President, Public and Corporate Affairs at Hill+Knowlton Ottawa where she provided strategic advice regarding medical cannabis and the emerging regime of legalized cannabis in Canada. She was registered to lobby the government regarding policies and regulations relating to the distribution of cannabis, and helped her clients understand Health Canada guidelines and the legislative process as Canada moves towards implementation of the Cannabis Act.
Jackie Choquette –Vice President + Group Leader, Public Affairs
Jackie is a seasoned public affairs professional with extensive experience working in both government and the private sector. She currently leads the Public Affairs team in Ottawa, while continuing to provide strategic advice and support on federal public policy issues for clients.
Jackie has over a decade of experience working in politics at the federal and provincial levels. She provides valuable advice and insights to clients on the complex environment in which decision makers must now operate. Her current files focus on federal public policy issues in the energy, fuels, transportation, innovation, science and finance sectors, though she also has a strong background in public safety and justice. She has worked closely with clients on issues related to autonomous vehicles, public transit and road safety. Her extensive legislative experience gives her expert knowledge of how to navigate the legislative process, both in terms of legal and procedural mechanisms, but also in the politics and relationships that influence legislators every step of the way. Jackie understands both the politics and the procedure in government, giving her the insights and knowledge to build integrated public affairs strategies that help clients achieve real results.
Prior to joining H+K, Jackie spent ten years working in government in various roles, most recently as the Chief of Staff to the Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services where she helped lead the development of several key initiatives, including a comprehensive strategy to end human trafficking, the transformation of corrections and the modernization of police services through the Strategy for a Safer Ontario. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Government House Leader where she developed and executed the government’s legislative agenda, oversaw the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment and the development of Ontario’s first ever e-petition policy for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Jackie holds a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University where she specialized in Communication and Information Technology Policy and minored in Political Science. She sits on the Executive Council for the Ontario Liberal Party and the Board of Directors for the Carlington Community Health Centre.
Michelle McLean- Vice-President and National Sector Leader, Health+Wellness
An experienced lawyer, public affairs and communications professional in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, Michelle provides strategic counsel and support to a wide array of communications and public affairs clients. She takes a leading role in developing corporate communications, stakeholder engagement and government relations strategies and campaigns.
Michelle’s background includes a decade of public affairs and communications experience, including almost three years as vice-president of public affairs at the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). During her time there, Michelle managed several national, large-scale projects, including a multi-year public relations and government relations campaign for the MHCC’s homelessness project and the launch of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada — a campaign that was recognized by leading medical journal The Lancet as having achieved remarkable success for a public mental health program.
Michelle has led and managed other national, large-scale campaigns, including a campaign to fund the Cancer Control Strategy for Canada. This national campaign, which relied on grassroots mobilization, traditional media relations and advocacy, resulted in a commitment by the federal government of $260 million over five years — a record at the time. She has twice been named as a Top 100 Lobbyist in Ottawa. Some of Michelle’s past and current clients include CADTH, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Partners for Mental Health, TRIUMF, CSL Behring Canada, Hoffmann-La Roche, Pfizer, Abbott, Ovarian Cancer Canada, Ontario Hospital Association, Research Canada, Cochrane Canada, the Alliance for the Canadian Arthritis Program and ALS Canada.
Michelle completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University and her law degree at the University of Western Ontario. She spent four years as a litigation associate at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP.