top of page

Event Details


Canadian Association of Optometrists

Event type 

Biennial Congress


1000 attendees, 80 Exhibitors and 15 Sponsors


Ottawa, Ontario 

CanPlan Team 

Patricia Pearson, CMP

Ann Clemensen, CMM

2017 CAO Biennial Congress

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) is the national voice of optometry in Canada, representing 85% of doctors of optometry (ODs). In June of 2017, the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) held its 35th Biennial Congress in Ottawa and brought on CanPlan to manage all logistical requirements for the Congress. 


Responsibilities include but were not limited to:  Overall conference planning; venue management, hospitality, sourcing and contracting for 3rd party audio-visual requirements, meeting planning and coordination of materials, logistical support, accommodations, food and beverage, hospitality, entertainment, trade show and sponsorship development and management, data management for the event app, management of online and print collateral, scheduling and run of show scenarios, risk management and emergency preparedness plans,  onsite registration, preparation and distribution of kits and on-site management of a registration desk for a period of 4 days.



Sponsor and Exhibitor activation was handled extremely well and visitation to the Optofair was extremely successful. The positive remarks and experiences that the Sponsors shared have initiated financial commitments for the 2019 Congress.

Management of room block and venue space was renegotiated after CanPlan came on board. Too much space was being held and early release of space reduced the guarantee cost that CAO would have committed to.

Working with a 3rd Party Audio Visual Supplier that was not the Shaw Centre in-house supplier, we ensured there were no extra fees associated with this scenario in order to keep costs down.



Hotel room blocks were a challenge to manage given that they pre-ceded Canada Day in Ottawa; to manage the challenge of having gaps in our pick-up, a 3 night policy was implemented.

On the night of the pinnacle event, The Gala, a power outage occurred for 3 hours and a contingency plan was put in action. In order to keep guests entertained and happy, the guests received an appetizer and desert and when the power resumed dinner was served and to the delight of all the music and dancing played until midnight, crisis averted.


CAO first used CanPlan to help us with our 2017 biennial continuing education event, attended by nearly 1000 people from across the country. We received positive reviews about CanPlan’s work from our sponsors and exhibitors, but we also received compliments about the event from our members, a definite bonus.  Professional, creative, and possessing the innate ability to make us feel like we were the most important client they had, CanPlan made sure that our event met their professional standard.   We were so pleased with their efforts, that we are using CanPlan again for our 2019 event and have also used them to help us with smaller events we host in-year.

Rhona Lahey
Director of Communications and Marketing
Canadian Association of Optometrists

—  Name, Title

bottom of page