Sessions Descriptions

Session descriptions will be posted as they become available. Please visit this page regularly for updated information.  
Click on the links below to be directed to specific days: 

Saturday, April 4

Opening Plenary (09:00-10:30)

The Power of Maximizing Engagement and Energy to Avoid Burnout

Dr. Karyn Gordon, DK Leadership, Toronto, ON

Why self care and energizing strategies are a must for health care professionals to thrive in their careers and at home.

Specifically you will learn:
•    The 6 P’s of engagement
•    The difference between energy-management and time-management
•    The benefits of maximizing engagement: synergised and energized cultures
•    The costs of disengagement: burn-out and low morale
•    Effective ways to achieve high performance by becoming more fully engaged

Learn more about Karyn Gordon here:

CAPhO Awards (11:10-11:40)

Plenary (11:40-12:25)

Plant-based Cannabis Use in the Oncology Setting: Challenges and Controversies

Dr. Carlo DeAngelisSunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

Canadians have had a long standing interest in using cannabis for medical purposes. The legalization of cannabis for recreational use in October of 2018 destigmatized its use and has led to an increased interest in using cannabis for a variety of medical purposes including symptom management the oncology setting. In contrast to the widespread desire to use cannabis in the oncology setting there is a dearth of evidence to support this use. To meet this increasing demand by patients and the need for a rational approach to the use of plant based cannabis by cancer patients we have established a Pharmacist run medical cannabis consultation service at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre.  The presentation will cover the legislative framework for access to plant based cannabis in Canada, Evidence for the use of plant based cannabis in the oncology setting, rationale for offering the consultation service, principles by which the service operates, components of the service as well as challenges and lessoned learned to date. The main purpose of the Service is to provide timely and appropriate advice regarding use of and access to plant derived cannabinoids for the management of oncology-related symptoms. Patient’s reason for use is assessed; they are screened for abuse potential, and evaluated for potential cannabis drug-drug/drug-disease interactions. If cannabis use is viewed as a reasonable option the Service assists with obtaining authorization through their most responsible physician and lead the patient through the process of registration with a Health Canada approved Licenced Producer and product selection. The patient is assisted with dose titration and their response and occurrence of adverse effects is assessed. With over 100 patients referred to the Service to date we have observed an ongoing need to develop educational tools and materials to deal with myths surrounding the medical benefits/risks of cannabis and accessing cannabis through legal sources. Additional needs include an ability to evaluate product stability and consistent dose (CBD and/or THC content) delivery.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation you will be able to discuss:

  1. The legislative framework in Canada governing plant derived cannabinoids for medical and recreational use; 
  2. The evidence to support the use of plant based cannabinoids in the oncology setting;
  3. The rationale for developing a pharmacist led plant derived cannabis consultation service;
  4. Components of a pharmacist led plant derived cannabis consultation service; and
  5. The challenges and lessons learned in delivering a pharmacist led plant derived cannabis consultation service.

CAPhO Annual General Meeting (12:25-13:00)

Plenary (14:00-14:40)

Management of Cancer Medication-Related Infusion Reactions

Andrea Crespo and Dr. Leta Forbes, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, ON

Cancer medication-related infusion reactions (CMIRs) can lead to treatment delays, switching to less optimal therapy, or discontinuation. Variation in the management of CMIRs was identified as a quality and safety gap by Ontario clinicians. A clinical practice guideline and supporting resources were developed to help standardize the prevention and management of IRs across the province. The guideline is informed by best available evidence and expert consensus, and provides recommendations on assessment, prophylaxis, acute management, and re-challenge (including desensitization). This presentation summarizes content from the guideline and supporting resources, and highlights key clinical questions that led to potentially practice-changing recommendations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide an overview on CMIRs (definition, grading, and assessment);
  2. Summarize key clinical content around CMIR management (prophylaxis, acute management, and re-challenge); and
  3. Highlight select clinical questions and potentially practice-changing recommendations.

Concurrent Sessions 1 (14:45-15:25)

Common Infections in the Ambulatory Malignant Hematology Patient Population

Melissa Lo, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
Samantha Polito, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON
Patients with a hematological malignancy often present with infectious complications. During their disease trajectory, it is estimated that 80% of these patients will experience an episode of febrile neutropenia; 70-80% of these episodes will not have an identifiable source. Others are found to be caused by a multitude of different infections. Management of these patients on an outpatient basis remains a major challenge for oncology pharmacists and the multidisciplinary health care team. In this presentation, we will review febrile neutropenia as an infectious syndrome, and discuss central line infections, lower respiratory tract infections (focusing on fungal pneumonia), and CMV mucositis as infections commonly seen in this patient population.
Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify malignant hematology patients most at risk for infectious complications in the ambulatory setting;
  2. Review Febrile Neutropenia as an infectious syndrome commonly seen in malignant hematology patients;
  3. Describe the management of central line infections, lower respiratory tract infections, and CMV mucositis in the ambulatory setting; and
  4. Discuss difficulties and potential risks of infection management in the ambulatory setting.

Biomarkers – Where Did We Come From, and Where Are We Going?

Tom McFarlane, University of Waterloo / Sunnybrook Health Sciences, Toronto, ON
Oncology medicine is becoming increasingly personalized, and the mapping of the human genome has led to the uncovering of many potential targets which may allow us to direct therapeutic interventions in cancer patients. This session will define what makes a good biomarker, give historical perspective on biomarker use in cancer treatment, briefly discuss where we are in terms of the biomarkers available to us currently, and outline future directions for biomarker development and discovery.
Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand how the term biomarker is defined and the different types of biomarkers;
  2. Understand biomarkers within the context of cancer treatment and why personalized medicine is important;
  3. Identify biomarkers that have made a large clinical impact in oncology treatment; and
  4. Comprehend the directions we are taking with biomarkers and design of future clinical trials involving biomarkers.

Implementing a New Oncology Electronic Health Record – Voices of Experience

Catherine Bond-Mills, London Regional Cancer Program / Southwest Regional Cancer Program, London, ON
Lisa Rambout, Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON

In the past few years there has been an increasing drive in the oncology space towards implementing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems which will allow for Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) and which bring all patient care systems together under one roof. The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) have both adopted such systems; EPIC at TOH and Cerner Powerchart Oncology at LHSC. We aim to share our experiences and lessons learned in order to be helpful to other institutions which may be looking at similar implementations. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how EHR systems can add value to patient care in oncology settings;
  2. Understand how to prepare effectively for the changes associated with implementing a new EHR system;
  3. Understand how to survive going live; expectations versus reality during implementation; and
  4. Share lessons learned at TOH and LHSC in order to support other centres implementing EHR systems.

Designing, Planning and Renovating a Cleanroom for the Future: The Durham Regional Cancer Centre Experience

Jodi Stamp and Laura Wilcock

In November 2016 NAPRA approved its new Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Hazardous Sterile Preparations, based in part on USP 797 and 800 standards as well as the ASSTSAS standards.  To fully comply with these standards, many organizations require significant investment and renovation to their facilities to build new pharmacy sterile compounding rooms.  Renovating an existing space, while continuing to provide compounding services to patients requires careful planning.  When designing sterile compounding controlled areas, it is important to consider the capability to incorporate technologies to enhance safe, high quality, efficient chemotherapy drug compounding.  Such technologies may include automated IV compounders and IV Workflow Solution software systems.

The Durham Regional Cancer Centre at Lakeridge Health underwent a complete renovation of the oncology pharmacy from September 2018 through April 2019 to create new sterile compounding controlled areas that meet the current standards.  Staff from Durham Regional Cancer Centre at Lakeridge Health will share their experience and lessons learned in the designing, planning, and renovating of their new pharmacy. In addition, the processes around transitioning from a segregated compounding room to a state of the art sterile compounding facility that includes new workflows, implementation of new technology and the implications for human resources will be shared.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss cleanroom design considerations that to meet standards, enable technology and support workflow; 
  2. Identify useful resources for planning and designing a hazardous drug cleanroom; and
  3. List strategies to help support a successful implementation.

Concurrent Sessions 2 (16:05-16:45)

Top 5 Articles That Changed My Practice

Scott Edwards, Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, Newfoundland, NL
Oncology professionals are overwhelmed with ever-expanding volumes of new information. Despite that, only a small percentage of trials are significant enough to be practice changing. This talk will focus on 5 articles that have the potential to truly impact the practice of an oncology clinician. These articles will focus on current, evidence-based, practical information which an oncology professional can incorporate into their day-to-day practice. 
Learning Objectives:
  1. Apply takeaways from practice-changing articles of 2019-2020;
  2. Recognize some of the practical clinical issues from the recent literature; and
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how to apply this new information in daily practice.

Chemotherapy Checking for Technicians - Alberta's Journey

J. Robin Burns, Alberta Health Services, Alberta, AB
In the province of Alberta, pharmacy technicians traditionally have not performed tech check tech duties for oral and parenteral chemotherapy preparations.  As technician regulation came into force on January 1, 2016 CancerControl Alberta (CCA) Pharmacy was faced with a technician workforce that had a new expanded scope of practice and professional responsibilities.  As a result, in the spring of 2015 CCA Pharmacy began to look at workforce optimization and developed a certification program to have technicians fill the role of chemotherapy checkers in order to allow technicians to practice to their full scope while at the same time supporting pharmacists in expanding clinical roles within CCA Pharmacy.  Although technicians are the main focus of the chemotherapy checking certification program, it is also applicable to new and existing pharmacists within CCA Pharmacy.
Learning Objectives:
  1. Learn about CCA Pharmacy’s policies and procedures for Authorized Chemotherapy Checking certification;
  2. Learn about the various tools developed for becoming an Authorized Chemotherapy Checker such as embedded worksheet audits, e-learning modules, and demonstration of chemotherapy checking;
  3. Review CCA Pharmacy’s embedded worksheets and checking process; and
  4. Gain understanding of how to develop a chemotherapy checking certification program/process for pharmacy technicians (and pharmacists).

Thinking Beyond the Pharmacy Box – A Safety Framework for Operationalizing New Protocols

Tonya Ng, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC
Stephanie Woo, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC

Recent scientific advances have significantly increased the pace of introducing new oncology drug treatments. The complexity of cancer drug regimens and toxicity monitoring required, place high
demand on organizations. To safely deliver cancer treatments, clear systematic processes, with education and supports in place for patients and staff, are required to ensure clinical and operational readiness. A patient-centred, interdisciplinary team-focused planning approach, under the tenets of a strong patient safety culture is essential.

The BC Cancer Provincial Systemic Therapy Program formed an interdisciplinary subcommittee, to look at resource impact, safety and operational considerations of new protocol launches. Using a recent example, the talk aims to highlight examples of:

  • How utilizing patient-centred lens shifted the planning process
  • Operational/medication safety challenges encountered
  • Medication safety principles used in the review
  • Lessons learnt

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the importance of patient-focused care in the cancer drug treatment delivery planning process;
  2. Understand the pivotal role the pharmacy profession plays within an interdisciplinary team in the end-to-end planning and delivery of cancer drug treatments; and
  3. Understand vulnerable points in the cancer medication management process and risk mitigation strategies.

From Opioid Mythbusting to Therapeutic Psychedelics: Ten Tips from Your Palliative Oncology Pharmacist 

Chris Ralph, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Pharmacy, Calgary, AB

As palliative care moves upstream in the course of a patient’s cancer journey, oncology pharmacists are well-positioned to improve patients’ quality of life by helping manage cancer pain and symptoms as experts in the nuances of medication management. This presentation will offer ten useful and practical clinical pharmacy tips that palliative care pharmacists think all oncology pharmacists  should know for safe and effective symptom management. Close collaboration with or addition of a trained pharmacist to the palliative care team can improve clinical care for all patients.

Palliative care clinicians occasionally encounter patients with existential suffering which can prove refractory despite optimal existing treatments. Recent published studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of certain pyschedelics when administered in a medically supervised and monitored approach. This topic will be briefly discussed in this presentation as well.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the upstream movement of palliative care in a patient’s cancer journey;
  2. Provide ten useful and practical clinical pharmacy tips that palliative care pharmacists think all oncology pharmacists should know for safe and effective symptom management; and
  3. Provide an overview of the potential legitimate therapeutic use of psychedelics in the palliative oncology setting, highlighting recent publications.


Networking Sessions(16:50-17:30)

Stem Cell Transplant Networking Session

Yves Rousseau, McGill University Health Centre – Royal Victoria Hospital, Montréal, QC

The objectives of the session are to:

  1. Establish/consolidate contact information among pharmacist with stem cells transplant expertise across Canada;
  2. Share/discuss clinical practice issues;
  3. Seek the best communication platform to share/diffuse the information; and
  4. Promote the CAPhO/CTTC partnership.

Research Networking Session

Tom McFarlane, University of Waterloo / Sunnybrook Health Sciences, Toronto, ON

This session is intended to bring together research pharmacists who have agreed to be part of our new CAPhO research network, along with potential new researchers and research mentees, in order to discuss how the network can best suit participants' needs and to talk about initial projects we could potentially work on as a group. The session will be very informal with lots of opportunity for interaction. A brief agenda will be provided.

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Sunday, April 5

CAPhO Town Hall Breakfast Meeting (08:30-09:15)

Influence and contribute to the growth and development of your association by discussing what matters the most with the CAPhO Board of Directors and fellow members. A light breakfast will be offered during this session.

CAPhO Poster Award Presentations (09:15-09:45)

CAPhO Poster Awards will be presented for the best posters in Research (Clinical), Research (Non-clinical), Pharmacy Practice and Administration. Award recipients will make a short presentation summarizing the subject of their poster.

Round Table Discussions (09:45-10:30)

During the Round Table Discussions, participants will have the opportunity to discuss two of the nine available topics, each led by a different facilitator. Read below for details on the topics and facilitators for this session. Participation is limited and sign up is required during online registration. Registration for the Round Table Discussions will be available in January.

1. Practical Implementation of the NAPRA Standards for the Compounding of Sterile IV Hazardous Preparations

Alana Alyward, Peterborough Regional Health Cener, Peterborough, ON

Discussion will focus on challenges we all face with implementation of the NAPRA standards, from selecting products, to cleaning the facilities, to developing practical and theoretical training material and policies to certify compounding and environment services personnel. Participants are asked to bring your NAPRA pain points for discussion and sharing of management strategies.

2. Oral Chemo Program and the Roles of the Pharmacy Team

Alia Thawer and Susan Singh

Discussion will focus on how the pharmacy technician can spearhead initiatives to support unique clinical initiatives and how to operationalize evolving roles for pharmacy technicians to support an oral anticancer medication program.

3. Biosimilar Implementation - Sharing Similar Experiences

Ivan Tyono, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

An opportunity to share our experiences on biosimilar implementation from different parts of the country.  Learning how others may have dealt with similar challenges.

4. Talking the Talk then Walking the Walk: Sharing Inpatient-to-Ambulatory Regime Transitions using EPOCH and DHAP in Lymphoma as Examples

Mark Brown, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON

Resource pressures are forcing centres to consider moving more complex regimes into the outpatient setting.  This round table will serve to share experiences around 2 specific regimes and their possible application to other protocols.  Have an innovative or creative approach you’re excited to share? Come! Hungry to discuss the practical matters that may have been barriers in your practice setting? Come! Have a couple of dozen of freshly-baked French pastries to share? Come!

5. The Role of the Pharmacy Technician in Managing Clinical Trials

Shirley Ho, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

The role of pharmacy technicians is constantly evolving. This discussion describes the role of the clinical trials technician and how the role has developed. 

6. Creating Strategies for Maintaining a Hazardous Drug List Between Published NIOSH Lists

Nadine Badry, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC

The NIOSH review process for hazardous drugs is quite lengthy and new NIOSH HD Lists are published infrequently. To ensure ongoing staff safety between published NIOSH Lists, pharmacy professionals who handle hazardous drugs will require a systematic strategy to address the evaluation of newly marketed drugs for their workplace while waiting for the next NIOSH List to be published.

7. Repetitive Strain - Should I Be Concerned?

Judy Turner, Peterborough Regional Health Center, Peterborough, Ontario

An open informal discussion focusing on suggestions to help minimize the potential of RSI for the Technician working in Oncology.

8. Drug Access Navigation

Alan Birch, North York General Hospital, Toronto, ON

A timely discussion on oncology drug access navigation as well as the new national navigator association. How Navigators remove barriers to treatment, how Navigators reduce patient stress and ensure a timely start of therapy.

9. Practical Considerations for the Management of Antimicrobials in the Ambulatory Oncology Patient

Adrian Bagarich, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

An open, informal session where participants will be asked to share their experiences with overcoming common or even unique operational limitations or therapeutic barriers that they have encountered while managing antimicrobial therapies for their ambulatory oncology patients. Whether it be centered around drug funding, stability, safety, efficacy, etc. all stories are welcome. Come listen and see how your peers have dealt with these scenarios and hopefully implement their solutions into your own practice. 

Plenary (10:45-11:30)

Opioid Risk Mitigation Strategies for Patients with Cancer: Putting Pharmacy in the Driver’s Seat

Lauren Hutton, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS
Dr. Jenny Lau, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

The conference theme of “driving safety forward” is at the heart of this plenary session. In response to the increase in opioid-related deaths in Canada, national strategies and guidelines have been developed to help support both practitioners and patients in improving opioid use. Unfortunately, these strategies focus on opioid use for chronic non-cancer pain. During this session we will explore:

  • some of the safety concerns around opioid use in patients with cancer;
  • how pharmacy can capitalize on its unique position and high accessibility within the health care system to implement meaningful strategies to better support patients requiring opioids to manage cancer related pain; and,
  • outline current Canadian research initiatives that you can engage with to help build a more robust evidence base to better support health care professionals in keeping our uniquely vulnerable patient population safe, without compromising their pain control and quality of life. 

We hope you leave this session feeling informed and empowered to collaborate with both your patients and inter-professional health care teams to ensure patients with cancer are receiving the most effective pain control strategies and are supported and educated regarding using these strategies safely. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the current opioid crisis in Canada;
  2. Explain the role of opioids in management of cancer related pain;
  3. Compare and contrast different healthcare professions attitudes, confidences, and practices in opioid management and risk mitigation in patients cancer; identifying the unique role of the pharmacy team in the care of this patient population;
  4. Identify patients with cancer at risk of problematic opioid use, opioid use disorder, or opioid overdose based on expert consensus guidelines; and
  5. Summarize recommended opioid prescribing and monitoring practices based on expert consensus guidelines.

Plenary (11:30-12:15)

Improving Patient Safety through Adverse Event Reporting: What's Happening in Canada?

Kathy Vu, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
Thanh Vu, Health Canada, Vancouver, BC

Patient safety is a fundamental cornerstone of health care. Organizations all strive to set up systems and processes that will reduce the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs) for patients in their care.  An adverse drug event is an injury resulting from medical intervention related to a drug. This includes medication incidents, adverse drug reactions (ADRs), allergic reactions, and overdoses.1 ADEs can happen in a variety of places including hospitals, long-term care settings, and community settings.  This session will focus on two major components of ADEs: medication incidents and adverse drug reactions.
While it is estimated that ADRs account for up to two-thirds of drug-related hospital admissions and emergency department visits2, international studies estimate, on average, no more than 5% of serious ADRs detected by health care professionals are actually being reported3,4, and there is no evidence to suggest that Canadian reporting rates are higher. This suggests significant under-reporting of important therapeutic product information, which reduces Health Canada’s ability to identify, at an early stage, potential safety problems.
On December 16, 2019, new federal regulations came into effect requiring hospitals across the country to report serious adverse drug reactions and medical device incidents (MDIs) to Health Canada within 30 days of being documented within the hospital. The mandatory reporting regulations are designed to improve the reporting of a valuable source of information about the ‘real world’ experiences of patients and health care professionals using the drugs and devices on the Canadian market. Improved reporting will help Health Canada identify emerging safety issues with health products and take action when needed to protect patients. 
Under-reporting of medication incidents is also well described in Canada and globally.  This poses a significant problem for patient safety because incident learning and quality improvement initiatives are hindered by the lack of awareness and collaboration.  The Medication Safety Summit in 2014 resulted in a white paper outlining key recommendations to improve the quantity and quality of reporting.5 Since then, provinces across Canada have attempted to move these recommendations forward in different manners.  Mandatory incident reporting exists in some provinces while others have managed to develop a centralized repository for incident reporting to be analyzed provincially and shared nationally.
In oncology, most ADRs and medication incidents from systemic therapy are considered inevitable and decades of clinical expertise in oncology have allowed clinicians to effectively manage or prevent them. In this sense, the contribution of reporting has been, and continues to be, of paramount importance in recognizing the risks associated with delivering therapy. 
The importance of ADR and medication incident reporting in oncology cannot be overemphasized. Any improvements in drug safety knowledge and the process by which they flow through the medication management system will ultimately lead to improvements in safety and care, and offer patients with cancer every possible help to improve their quality of life during such a critical period of their lives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Distinguish adverse drug reactions (ADRs) from incident reporting (IR); 
  2. Explain the potential impact of ADRs and IR on population health;  
  3. Provide an overview of the mandatory reporting of serious ADRs and MDIs by hospitals requirement; 
  4. Provide an overview of incident reporting across Canada; and
  5. Discuss the challenges and opportunities of mandatory adverse drug reaction and incident reporting within the healthcare system.