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Thursday, May 9, 2019
11:45 AM
 - 1:30 PM

Canadian Leadership in Medical Cannabis

Peter Aceto (CannTrust), Dr. Siân Bevan (Arthritis Society), Dr. Karen Lee (MS Society of Canada) and Monica Kocsmaros (The Lung Association), moderated by Blaine Pearson (Business of Cannabis)
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Leading the Way on Medical Cannabis Research

Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001 and over 350,000 Canadians are medical cannabis patients. Legalization of recreational cannabis in late 2018 has driven down stigma considerably, driving more and more patients to seek therapy through medical cannabis. Canada is fast becoming a leader in medical cannabis research as forward-thinking companies and advocacy groups seek new solutions.

Join Canadian Club Toronto to hear from leaders from the Arthritis Society, the MS Society, Lung Association-Ontario as well as a keynote address from Peter Aceto, CEO of CannTrust, about what the future holds for Canadian leadership in medical cannabis. 

Peter Aceto

CEO, CannTrust

Peter Aceto is a globally recognized and respected business leader, author and speaker. He is the Chief Executive Officer of CannTrust, a Federally licensed and regulated global cannabis market leader.

Prior to joining CannTrust, Peter was the President and CEO of Tangerine (formerly ING DIRECT). His leadership proved particularly instrumental in the 2012 $3.1 billion acquisition of ING DIRECT by Scotiabank. Peter was one of the founding members of ING DIRECT, and held the posts of Chief Risk Officer, Chief of Staff and Chief Lending Officer at ING DIRECT in the US where he worked for nearly eight years.

Peter is the co-founder of eQuo and serves as mentor and advisor to several Canadian startups within the financial technology space, including TribalScale’s Fintech Venture Studio, NestReady,, Every Financial and others.

Peter is a globally sought out public speaker on transformative leadership. He is the author of The Globe and Mail’s bestseller book WEOLOGY: How everybody wins when we comes before me. He is also a social media leader and a blogger. Peter is frequently featured in The Globe and Mail, Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Huffington Post.

Peter is a Board member of the Sinai Health System Foundation and actively participates on several hospital committees. He is a Board and Committee member for UNITY Charity, and a member of the Council of Governors of iCanada dedicated to helping Canada become a world leading “intelligent nation.”

Peter has been awarded for his leadership in HR, design, communication and business, as well as his contribution to Canada and his community.

Dr. Siân Bevan, Ph.D.

Chief Science Officer, Arthritis Society

Dr. Siân Bevan is the Arthritis Society’s Chief Science Officer responsible for driving the scientific research, advocacy, public policy and programs and services agenda to maximize reach and impact. Siân completed her Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, after her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at McGill University.

Before joining the Arthritis Society, she held progressively senior roles at the Canadian Cancer Society where she was most recently the Vice-President of Research, providing scientific leadership and financial stewardship for the Cancer Society’s $40 million research program. In this role, Siân worked closely with the research community, promoted evidence-based public policy, program and information development, oversaw cancer surveillance efforts, identified and leveraged partnerships with medical, scientific and academic communities and worked closely with revenue development and communications teams. Before joining the Cancer Society she led the research programs team at the Ontario Genomics Institute working with the scientific community, federal and provincial research funders, academic institutions and hospitals to cultivate large scale genomics projects.

Dr. Karen Lee

Vice-President of Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Karen Lee is the current Vice-President of Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, where she oversees day-to-day research operations and provides leadership to a broad range of initiatives set in motion to find the cure for MS and improve the quality of life for people who are affected by MS. Through this effort, Karen works closely with and provides support to an exceptional community of clinicians, scientists, health charities and private industry stakeholders both in Canada and internationally. In addition to this role, Karen serves as the Managing Director for the endMS Research and Training Network, where she provides leadership to regional training centres across the country and ensures effective implementation of programs to attract and retain MS researchers.

Karen completed an Honours B.Sc. at the University of Western Ontario, followed by a Ph.D. in Cellular Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa. Karen possessed a strong interest in understanding the cellular mechanisms in multiple sclerosis and devoted much of her research to understanding repair mechanisms in MS.

Monica Kocsmaros

Director of Marketing and Communications at The Lung Association-Ontario

Monica Kocsmaros is the Director of Marketing and Communications at The Lung Association – Ontario where, each day, she finds creative ways to build a healthier Ontario by promoting healthy breathing, supporting those living with lung disease and raising money to create breathing breakthroughs.

Monica firmly believes that with the ever evolving landscape of healthcare, we must be willing to adapt to new, unfamiliar territory with an open mind – all while putting patients’ voices first.

With 15 years of marketing and communications experience filled with passion, creativity and humour, Monica has played key roles in brand development – whether implementing a new one after 100 years or reimagining and revitalizing an old one – and building a rallying cry for causes to inspire patients and stakeholders alike. Her recent accomplishments include developing a series of policy forums aimed at tackling pressing issues facing the healthcare system today.

Prior to joining The Lung Association – Ontario, Monica held positions at UNICEF Canada and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation where she led communications and media efforts, integrated marketing campaigns and development initiatives.

She is proud to live the cliché of making a real difference in the lives of others.


Blaine Pearson

Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, The Business of Cannabis 

For the last two decades, Blaine has worked at the intersection of business, innovation, and creativity. In successive positions at DDB, Ogilvy and TAXI, Blaine led projects for clients including Destination Canada, IBM and Johnson & Johnson.

As Managing Director and Co-Founder of Dot Dot Dash, she has been responsible for developing marketing and creative content strategies for clients like Patagonia, Gymnastics Canada, Canada Post and Toronto Global. The studio’s work is focussed on producing world-class creative that delivers attraction by leveraging the power of creativity.

An entrepreneur at heart, Blaine also co-founded and is COO of The Business of Cannabis and is actively involved in advising several other start ups as well as the refresh of Allan Gardens.