Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards


PSWA – Mental Health Conference Agenda

2 p.m. – Opening Remarks
Speaker: Therese Castillo, Associate Editor, Talent Canada & OHS Canada

2:05 p.m. – 3 p.m. Secrets from Psychologically Safe Workplaces

We’ve gathered senior leaders from 3 of the organizations that won the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards last year. In this panel discussion, you will get the inside scoop on some of the best real-world workplace mental health practices in the country.

Moderator: Therese Castillo, Associate Editor, Talent Canada & OHS Canada


  • Erika Santarossa-Harris, EHS and Responsible Care Specialist, BASF Canada
  • Dave Upper, Fire Chief, St. Catharine’s Fire Department
  • Christine Vigna, Chief People Officer, Dejero

3 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Networking Break

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. The Transformative Power of HOPE: Exploring the Science of the Positive Framework

The Science of the Positive is the study of how positive factors impact culture and experience. This transformational leadership framework focuses on how to measure and grow ‘The Positive’ and has been successfully applied for decades.  The Science of the Positive is also the foundation of HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) – a newly emerging framework which is revolutionizing the science and practices of preventing trauma and it deleterious effects.  In this engaging keynote, Dr. Linkenbach will guide participants through the Cycle of Transformation and the four domains of Spirit, Science, Action, and Return. Key takeaways will focus on how workplace leaders can apply this emerging prevention science, as well as restore our passion for the vital work that we all do, so that we may support psychological safety, mental health, and well-being in our workplaces.

Speaker: Jeff Linkenbach, Ed. D., Director and Research Scientist at The Montana Institute.

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Networking Break

4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Fireside Chat with Dr. Bill Howatt

Dr. Bill Howatt digs deep into the Mental Fitness Index (MFI) assessment tool and reveals some of the most important trends impacting workplace mental health.

Speaker:  Dr. Bill Howatt, Founder of Howatt HR and co-founder of the Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards

5:15 p.m. Closing Remarks

BONUS – Stick around for the cocktail reception and gala dinner celebration as we unveil the winners of the 2023 Psychologically Safe Workplace Awards and celebrate the winners of OHS Honours. Get your discounted ticket today!

Speaker Bios

Erika Harris is an Occupational Safety and Industrial Hygiene (OSIH) Specialist within BASF Canada Inc, Global Business Services. Her responsibilities include providing Occupational Safety and Industrial Hygiene (OSIH) Support to all sites and employees within the Canadian organization. She is also the Responsible Care Coordinator for BASF Canada ensuring their Responsible Care Management System meets both internal and external expectations and works to drive continuous improvement through the Canadian organization in the areas of environment, health, safety, security and sustainability. Most recently, Erika has accepted the chair role in the newly formed Psychological Health & Safety Committee (PHSC) that is working to end the stigma around mental health and enhance internal management systems by adapting to aspects of the CSA Z1003 Standard.

Harris holds a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Windsor, in which she specialized in Ergonomics and Human Factors.

Outside of work, Harris is a mother of 2 young children, who likes to take every opportunity to get outside and explore the world around her with her family.

As Chief People Officer, Christine is responsible for the creation and execution of programs and services that deliver on Dejero’s people strategy – to provide an exceptional employee experience and continue to grow and develop its corporate culture. Prior to joining Dejero, Christine held a diverse range of roles in human resources, as advisor, and project management-focused roles in the not-for-profit, regulatory body, and technology sectors. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management from Conestoga College, and she is a Certified Human Resources Leader. Christine is active in the Waterloo Region community. She serves as President on the Board of Directors of a local charitable organization and she also mentors HR professionals in the early stages of their career.

Dr. Jeff Linkenbach is Director and Chief Research Scientist at The Montana Institute and has developed national award-winning programs to change social norms. He pioneered development of the Science of the Positive process and the Positive Community Norms framework, which are being utilized by tribal, federal, state and local organizations to achieve positive change and transformation around issues including child maltreatment, substance abuse, suicide, and traffic safety. Dr. Linkenbach holds a doctorate of education and a master’s degree in counseling, and has over 30 years of experience in the field of public health leadership. He lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, Cindy, and their two children who bring joy and meaning to his work and life.

Dr. Bill’s resilience has been challenged time and again, yet he’s managed to achieve success in the academic and professional worlds. Through adversity and setbacks, he has learned nothing comes easily. For example, Bill took four years to become a starter at Acadia University, where he won “Most Improved Player.”

His challenges ranged from adoption, failing the 2nd grade, and navigating life with ADHD, Dyslexia, Trauma, and Anxiety. Bill understands the daily struggle of being a human being.

Bill’s life experiences have shaped his approach to working with employees, leaders, and employers to improve psychological health and safety in the workplace. He has a deep passion for evidence-based outcomes and applies a Plan – Do – Check – Act approach to all his work.

Dr. Bill has over 30 years of clinical experience in the mental health field—especially workplace mental health—and addictive disorders. These last 30 years, he’s earned credentials and achieved career milestones that position him as an expert in workplace mental health solutions.