FamiliesConnect through Online Workshops

If you or a loved one are affected by a work-related tragedy, FamiliesConnect Online Workshops offer a chance to learn healthy coping skills, alongside others who’ve been through a similar experience. 

Each workshop session is led by a grief counsellor, Threads of Life staff member or skilled volunteer. There will be practical tips and information specifically tailored for those dealing with a life-altering workplace injury, occupational disease, or workplace fatality. Participants are free to share as much or as little of their own experience as they feel comfortable doing. 

Workshops are offered at no charge, thanks to the support of Threads of Life’s partners and funders. 

Registration is first-come, first-served. Seats at each workshop are limited, so if you register and find you cannot attend, please notify us. 

If you have questions or need assistance, please call 1-888-567-9490 or email [email protected]

Upcoming workshop sessions you don’t want to miss…

Getting Unstuck: How to make Friends with your Grief & Trauma with Roy Ellis - June 17

June 17, 2021  6-8 p.m. EDT (convert for my time zone)

Grief, loss and trauma can enter our lives with force or as a slow steady trickle but either way, some of us will end up stuck in our pain. Getting bogged down in our trauma or grief can make us feel powerless and anxious.

Luckily getting unstuck from our pain is possible, but it demands a willingness to face our losses with self-awareness, gentleness and perseverance. In this session, participants will learn practical steps to helping themselves and their loved-ones take small but decisive steps out of stuckness and into a more flexible and responsive life.

To descend into hell is easy. But to return—what work, what a labour it is! –Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC)

Roy Ellis is a therapist, author and speaker in Nova Scotia. Roy brings 30 years of practice working with grief, trauma, sudden loss, He provides frontline support for private, government and community organizations which have experienced an unexpected death, tragedy or workplace disaster. He is the Bereavement Coordinator with the Integrated Palliative Care Service of the Nova Scotia Health Authority where he meets the psycho-spiritual needs of the dying and grieving. He is a Certified Spiritual Care Practitioner (CSCP) with The Canadian Association for Spiritual Care, and received his Masters of Divinity from Queen’s University. Roy has worked extensively with many organizations including Threads of Life, facilitating sessions at family forums, volunteer training, and contributing articles. Learn more at Royfellis.com.


Moving Through the Storm: From Surge Capacity to Self-Care with Emma Morris - July 15

July 15, 2021  6-8 p.m. EDT (convert for my time zone)

Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems that allow us to “keep going” for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations. But after a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease, your body and mind may continue to rely on those systems, long after your surge capacity has been depleted. In this session, explore what your surge capacity systems are, learn how to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself, and make a plan to build your self-care bank account.

Emma is a digital storyteller, self-care researcher, and experienced nonprofit communicator. She is currently the Marketing and Communications Manager at Women in Communications and Technology (previously: Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support, Healthbridge Foundation of Canada, and Nobel Women’s Initiative). Emma holds a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University where her research focused on communicating self-care in feminist non-profit organizations. She is the winner of the Associate Dean’s Scholarly, Research, and Creative Award for Best Major Research Paper (Professional Communication, 2018).


Listen from your Heart, Not your Ears - August 18

August 18, 2021  3-5 p.m. EDT (convert for my time zone)

We have intimate wisdom to improve our most important relationships and make genuine connections with people through the art of listening. By avoiding letting anger, anxiety, and fear of being hurt impede our ability to listen, we can transform what is inside our heart and within the space around us.

Kelley was born and raised in London, Ontario where she lives with her husband and two children and works as an Administrative Assistant at the Threads of Life London office. She is the friendly voice on the other end of the phone when you call! Kelley has a background in retail management and training and in her spare time actively volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada and the Salvation Army Christmas Hamper program in London.

Shirley Hickman never expected to be leading a national organization dedicated to helping people affected by tragedies in the workplace. Trained as a nurse, she was happily married and raising a family in the late 1990s. That is when tragedy struck, and Shirley’s life, along with her family’s, were changed forever. Since that time, she has focused on making a difference in workplace health and safety. In 2003, Shirley co-founded Threads of Life and is currently the Executive Director. Shirley is also the proud grandma of two amazing young girls.


The Breaking Point - September 16

September 16, 2021  6-8 p.m. EDT (convert for my time zone)

When the world we know profoundly changes, travelling the long road that lies ahead can be difficult. Grief, loss, hope & healing are themes all families relate to; and are just as significant for those families learning to cope through life altering injuries & living with an occupational disease.

On February 9, 2000, Karen’s family suffered from a traumatic workplace tragedy. Karen has been part of Threads of Life for many years and is currently the organization’s family support manager working directly with families. She is also an active Family Guide and member of the Speaker’s Bureau. Threads of Life helps families heal after they are affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. It is currently working with more than 2,700 family members from across Canada. Threads of Life promotes public awareness and accountability for workplace health and safety. Its mission is to lead and inspire a culture shift where work-related injuries and illnesses are morally, socially and economically unacceptable. Many things have changed in Karen’s family’s life since that fateful day.