Patients and their families:

Key partners in NHLC

The National Health Leadership Conference (NHLC) is dedicated to involving patients and families. The presence and participation of patients is critical to the success of the conference. At its heart, the conference aspires to improve the Canadian health system – and we can’t do this without including patients in the conversations and solutions. We all benefit from their experience to drive improvements in healthcare. 


To this end, NHLC continues to put in place elements that incorporate the patients’ voice in the design and delivery of the conference, keeping with the five criteria of the Patients Included Charter. The criteria and how the conference meets them are outlined as follows:

1) Patients or caregivers with experience relevant to the conference's central theme actively participate in the design and planning of the event, including the selection of themes, topics, and speakers.

• Patient representatives sit on NHLC’s program and policy advisory committee. These voices are integral in shaping the program themes, selecting speakers and advising on other matters.

• “Patient and family involvement” is included in the list of criteria used to select the concurrent sessions.  

2) Patients or caregivers with experience of the issues addressed by the event participate in its delivery and appear in its physical audience.

• Patients will be actively participating in a number of sessions, including one of the main plenary and several concurrent sessions.  All presenters are strongly encouraged to involve patients in their presentations. Patient speakers are invited to stay for the duration of the conference and attend any session they choose.

3) Travel and accommodation expenses for patients or caregivers participating in the travel and accommodation expenses for patients or caregivers participating in the advertised program are paid in full, in advance. Scholarships are provided by the conference organizers to allow patients or caregivers affected by the relevant issues to attend as delegates.

• Free registration, travel and accommodations have been awarded to multiple patients – from across Canada – as part of a new recognition program (Excellence in Patient Engagement for Patient Safety) that aims to identify, celebrate and disseminate leading practices in patient engagement for patient safety from health organizations. 

• With support from the conference’s title sponsor Sodexo, NHLC is pleased to offer at least three travel awards to a maximum of $1500 to enable additional patient representative attendance at this year’s conference by covering travel, accommodations and associated incidental costs. Further information is available here. 

• Depending on the number of travel award applications received, NHLC may be able to offer complimentary registrations (which include meals and incidentals) to patient and family representatives from local patient advisory councils.  

• In addition, a reduced rate in conference registration fees is provided for patients who are not part of the advertised program and who do not receive a scholarship. 

• NHLC strongly encourages partners who include patients representatives in their presentations also provide for their travel and accommodations.


4) The disability requirements of participants are accommodated. All applicable sessions, breakouts, ancillary meetings, and other program elements are open to patient delegates.

• Each year, the venue chosen accommodates all disability requirements. 

5) Access for virtual participants is facilitated, with free streaming video provided online wherever possible.

• NHLC will make some of its plenaries accessible through free livestreaming accessible online.  The Twitter hashtag  will be actively promoted prior to and during the events so that participants, including virtual patient participants, can join the conversation and discuss presentations, key learnings, etc. The conference will obtain many presentation slides from speakers, and host them on our website for free viewing and downloading.


NHLC will evaluate the success of these elements and look for further ways to improve and include patients and their families in future conferences. NHLC recognizes and endorses the essential contribution of patients and families in the development of the conference. We welcome your questions and ideas on how we can further our commitment. Please contact us at info@nhlc-cnls.ca.

Visit the Patients Included website for more information.