2018 conference for audit committees

Opportunity lies in times of rapid change. Environments with constant disruption require skilled and diverse audit committee members. Industry experts discuss strategies to help you anticipate change to benefit your board and organization.

Event Details

Location and date:
Toronto December 6-7, 2018

Join this event to strengthen your foresight on the factors that drive change globally—technical, political, economic, environment and social—and how your participation on a board can make a difference.

Enormous challenges face members of audit committees for Canadian organizations. This critically acclaimed annual conference is a must-attend for audit committee members and CFOs who work with boards of directors. It also provides a unique opportunity to network with the experts and your peers.

Optional pre-conference workshop on December 5: Fundamentals of audit committee membership.

Learn about the essentials you need to know as an effective audit committee member. This includes the responsibilities of boards and audit committees, risk management strategies, finding the right organization to work with and what skills you can bring to the table.

View the agenda

Special offers/promotions

Early bird rate:

  • $1,495 until September 28th
Fundamentals of audit committee membership optional pre-conference workshop:
  • Purchase the workshop with the conference and save $200 (discounted price $495).

Additional options and pricing may be available. See pricing and registration for more details.


14 CPD hour(s)

Who should attend?

  • chairs and current audit committee members who want to broaden their knowledge
  • CFOs, CEOs and other senior executives who work with their audit committees
  • CPAs, lawyers, technology/cybersecurity, and other professionals who advise audit committees
  • prospective audit committee members who want to understand more about the role

Call for proposals

As we begin work on the conference agenda, CPA Canada is seeking proposals for presentations and/or panel sessions for the Conference Advisory Committee’s consideration.

If you are interested in presenting a session or participating on a panel, view the Call for Proposals to see topics we are considering, and next steps.

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Registration and continental breakfast

Opening Keynote Address: Canadian Business Competitiveness in the Age of Trump: What Can We Do to ‘Mind the Gap’?
Speaker: Laura Dawson, Director, Canada Institute

The election of President Donald Trump in 2016 unleashed a tempest of trade and investment instability across North America. To be sure, actions such as national security tariffs have had a demonstrably negative effect on Canadian production and investment but the Trump presidency is also forcing to evaluate entrenched economic policies to try to understand whether they are good business or merely good politics. Whether the administration continues for another two or another six years, Canadian policy makers must plan for the economy as it is, not as they wish it could be. This session will examine the key elements of the growing competitiveness gap between the United States and Canada from imported problems, such as global trade instability and U.S. tax reform, to home-grown problems caused by regulatory inefficiencies, rising business costs and policy incoherence in vital areas such as climate and immigration.
Laura Dawson

Data Privacy in today's Cloud Based Service environment
Moderator: Michael Calyniuk, President, MEC Dynamics Inc

Panelists: Joseph Leuwer, Chief Information Officer, FIRMA Foreign Exchange; Julie Bernier, Assistant Vice President, Compliance and Information Management, BDC

Cloud Based Services continue to gain acceptance and popularity. Many organizations now believe that the adoption of cloud based business processes/solutions are the best way to accelerate and/or enhance their business competitiveness.

However, what is not always addressed by companies is the risk in using 3rd party cloud based service providers. It is critical to assess the ability of these providers to strictly meet the data privacy regulations and further, respond to any potential security breach of private information to ensure your organization is not violating the necessary regulatory reporting requirements.

We will explore the risks cloud based service organizations raise and zero in on steps you can take to manage and mitigate the risks.

Joseph Leuwer ; Julie Bernier ; Michael Calyniuk

Networking Break

Financial Media, Political Advocates and Proxy Advisory Firms as influencers of auditors, audit committees and regulators
Moderator: Gigi Dawe, Director, Research, Guidance and Support, CPA Canada

Panelists: Russell Goodman, Corporate Director, public, private and not-for-profit sectors; Janet McFarland, Reporter, Globe and Mail, Report on Business; Jeremy Justin, Chief Risk Officer and Vice President, Strategy, Canadian Public Accountability Board

The financial media and political advocates are increasingly accusing auditors of shabby work. This strident criticism extends to audit committees, who they allege too often simply tick the boxes, while blindly following minimal procedures, without effectively engaging either management or the auditors.

Equally, Proxy Advisory Firms, who recommend a vote to institutional investors for or against both auditors and directors, have increasing expectations for the audit committee's oversight of the auditor, based on the proxy firm's own standards of good governance. If proxy advisory firms seize upon the trend toward being more critical of auditors and audit committees, we would undoubtedly see more negative auditor and director recommendations.
- Could proxy advisory firms then influence the determination of effective governance practices by audit committees?
- Will this influence the regulation of auditors, reporting issuers and audit committee governance practices?

This session will review the burgeoning issues associated with media, political advocacy and proxy advisory influencers and show how this might impact audit committees, auditors and regulatory responses.

Gigi Dawe, BASc., LLM ; Russell Goodman ; Janet McFarland ; Jeremy Justin, CPA, CA

Networking Lunch

Choose one of the following:

Does Board Diversity Really Add Value?
Moderator: Deborah Rosati, Founder & CEO, Women Get on Board Inc.

Panelists: Daryl Yeo, Corporate Director; Cathy Logue, Global Leader CFO and Financial Executives Practice Group Managing Director, Stanton Chase

Join our expert panel as we explore and share some strategies on how Boards might achieve the optimal mix of talent. How does diversity of thought and skills impact decision making, corporate performance and overall board effectiveness?

Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D ; Daryl Yeo ; Cathy Logue

Audit Quality Indicators: How good is your audit?
Moderator: Jeremy Justin, Chief Risk Officer and Vice President, Strategy, Canadian Public Accountability Board

Panelists: Kathleen O’Neill, Corporate Director, Finning International Inc., ARC Resources Limited, Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Invesco Canada; Bill MacKinnon, Board Member; Chris Clark, Audit Committee Chair, Loblaw Companies Limited and Air Canada

Audit quality is a challenge for audit committees to measure and evaluate, but Audit Quality Indicators (AQI) can help with that. This session will educate the audience on how to properly implement AQIs and the positive influence they can have on audit quality.

This session will highlight the learnings from the Canadian Public Accountability Board’s (CPAB’s) multi-year pilot project on AQIs, while also hearing directly from experienced audit committee members representing a mix of Canadian companies.

When you leave this session, you will be able to:
1. Understand the benefits and challenges of using AQIs.
2. Identify and implement relevant AQIs for your company.
3. Access CPA Canada, ICD and CPAB’s AQI Guide and other AQI resources

Jeremy Justin, CPA, CA ; Kathleen O’Neill, FCPA, FCA ; William A. MacKinnon, FCPA, FCA ; Chris Clark, FCPA, FCA

Choose one of the following:

Digitization Agenda: Advanced Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation - Enterprise Risks
Moderator: Asif Qayyum, Managing Director, Technology Assurance Practice, PwC

Panelists: Andrew Hanff, Partner, Roland Berger; Robin Grosset, CTO, Mindbridge

Companies across all industries are facing pressure to adopt advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to remain competitive, enhance productivity etc. This "Digitization Agenda" has a dramatic impact on an organization's business processes, people and its customers. What do Boards, and more specifically Audit Committee’s need to understand to effectively oversee the financial, operational and reputational risks to the organization as companies attempt to embrace digitization.

Asif Qayyum ; Andrew Hanff ; Robin Grosset

Stakeholder Demands for Transparency: The Value of Ethics and Whistleblower Programs
Moderator: Sheila Smigarowski, Founder, Sheila Smigarowski Consulting and Coaching

Panelists: Christa Wessel, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel, Clearview Strategic Partners; Christine Tabbert, Deputy Director-Operations, Enforcement Branch, Ontario Securities Commission

This session will focus on the following:

• The importance of having an internal whistleblower program and how it can serve organizations in managing reputational risk, fraud detection and issues of misconduct,
• The Ontario Securities Commission’s Whistleblower Program and the importance of whistleblowers as a valuable source of information,
• Key elements of a well-designed Ethics and Whistleblower Program,
• Role of the Audit Committee and its Chair within these programs,
• What Audit Committee members expect to receive in terms of reporting on the operations and effectiveness of the program,
• In the era of #MeToo, how can well designed Whistleblower Programs respond to this reputational risk facing all private and public sector organizations and how the Audit Committee can deal with harassment,
• What Audit Committee members need to know about “whistleblowers”
• Key trends and insights on Ethics and Whistleblower programs, and
• Common pitfalls or gaps

Sheila Smigarowski, CPA, CA ; Christa Wessel ; Christine Tabbert

Networking break

Governance and Leadership in a Crisis: An Expert View on Scandal Response and Reform
Speaker: Jose Hernandez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ortus

This session will explore the high-stakes world of crisis response and remediation. Jose Hernandez will present good governance lessons from his upcoming book Broken Business: Seven Steps to Reform Good Companies Gone Bad. This will be complemented with an update of global law enforcement trends and engage in dialogue on key choices and issues facing directors today.

A dawn raid. Websites screaming "corruption" and "bribery." A massacre on the stock market. And amid all the chaos, a carefully managed international brand lying in tatters.

When this sort of corporate nightmare hits, José Hernandez can often expect a frantic call for advice. Hernandez, a Canadian CPA and principal of the Zurich-based consultancy Ortus Strategies, has carved out a unique niche in the high-stakes world of scandal response and remediation. With two decades of experience advising multinational organizations such as Daimler, SNC-Lavalin, Siemens and FIFA, he helps companies recover from crises and ensure such things never happen again. These lessons are captured in his upcoming book, Broken Business: Seven Steps to Reform Good Companies Gone Bad, to be published this fall.

José Hernandez

Networking Reception

Continental breakfast

Keynote Address: You Say You Want an Evolution: What’s Ahead for CPAs and Audit Committees
Speaker: Richard Worzel, Futurist, Business Consultant and Best Selling Author

Not only is the pace of change accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things, among others, are radically reshaping the business world. Beyond that, climate change, the shifting geopolitical landscape, and social reactions to an unsettling world are all making the job of audit committees more complicated. Futurist Richard Worzel, C.F.A., provides a roadmap to the future landscape committees will need to navigate, and offers tools and insights to help make the job more manageable.
Richard Worzel

Risk Oversight – Insights and Optimization
Moderator: Carmen Abela, Managing Director, Windreach Consulting and Board member, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd

Panelists: Frank D’Andrea, Vice President Regulatory Affairs and Chief Risk Officer, Hydro One; Vito Culmone, CFO Element Fleet Management, Board member EPCOR, former CFO Westjet

In this session we will provide participants with valuable insight and information to optimize their oversight of ERM, transforming it from an administrative exercise to one that is integrated throughout the organization and truly linked with strategy development and execution. We will focus on the importance of ERM to remain competitive in a global economy and the need to make it agile versus overly complex and cumbersome. Through a panel discussion, conference participants will gain practical tips and insight while weaving in linkages to the geopolitical environment companies operate within disruption and other themes of the day.

Carmen Abela, C.Dir, CIA ; Frank D’Andrea ; Vito Culmone

Networking Break

Getting Equipped for the New Non-GAAP Rule (Proposed NI 52-112)
Moderator: Stefan Mihailovich, Principal, Corporate Oversight & Governance, Research, Guidance and Support, CPA Canada

Panelists: Mark Pinch, Associate Chief Accountant, Ontario Securities Commission; Heather Cheeseman, Partner, Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG; Jan Babiak, Chair of the Audit Committee, Bank of Montreal and Walgreens

This panel will give the audience an inside look at the newly proposed NI 52-112: Non-GAAP and Other Financial Measures Disclosure, while also providing practical commentary on the impact to your company’s reporting, and tips on how to manage the transition.

Mark Pinch, Associate Chief Accountant at the O.S.C. will first explain the inner workings of the new Non-GAAP proposal, including which issuers are captured, what measures it applies to, and changes from staff notice 52-306.

Then, Jan Babiak (Audit Committee Chair) and Heather Cheeseman (Audit Partner) will spark a discussion around how the proposal compares with our international counterparts, what companies can do to avoid an implementation disaster when the rule goes into force, and reflections around what the board can do from an oversight capacity.

When you leave this session you’ll:
1) Be familiar with the newly proposed Non-GAAP Disclosure Rules and how they differ from staff notice 52-306
2) Understand how it will impact your company’s reporting
3) Understand similar developments internationally as well as the related implications for organizations operating globally
4) Get tips on how to manage the transition, and
5) Learn what the audit committee can do to get comfort on how Non-GAAP measures are selected and calculated.

Heather J. Cheeseman, CPA, CA ; Jan Babiak ; Stefan Mihailovich ; Mark Pinch

Networking Lunch

Audit Committee Effectiveness – Beyond the Numbers
Moderator: Laurel Murray, President, Murray Management Consulting

Panelists: Chris Clark, Audit Committee Chair, Loblaw Companies Limited and Air Canada; Michael Rousseau, Executive Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer, Air Canada

In this session our expert panelists will draw on and share their personal experiences in how to ensure the effectiveness of the audit committee, far beyond the numbers. They will discuss the operation of audit committees both in Canada and internationally. This will include sharing insights into the importance of building trust with management and the auditors; ensuring effective linkages with the full board to leveraging the unique insight audit committee members have that should be leveraged in discussions on strategy; insights into the determination of the AC chair.

Laurel Murray, CPA, CA ; Chris Clark, FCPA, FCA ; Michael Rousseau

Choose one of the following:

What Board Members Should Understand About Executive and Cyber Risk Insurance Issues
Speakers: Alexandra Kindbom Managing Director and Catherine Evans, Senior Vice President, National Cyber Practice Leader, Marsh

This session will cover the following topics:
• How to protect against personal liability
• Changing liability and claims environment for directors and officers
• Current hot topics such as cannabis, cryptocurrency, #metoo, foreign corrupt practices
• How to quantify your cyber risk
• GDPR (general data protection regulation) and the evolving legal and regulatory landscape regarding cyber and privacy
• How to implement best practices in cyber preparedness and incident response

Alexandra Kindbom ; Catherine Evans

The Emerging Role of Internal Audit to Support the Audit Committee
Moderator: Richard Arthurs, Partner, MNP and Canada Board Chair, IIA

Panelists: Nancy Russell Chief Audit Executive, Great West Life; Chris McGinley, Audit Committee Chair, Alberta Blue Cross & DIRT

Canadian Audit Committees have seen their responsibilities and exposure to risk increase continuously over the last decade. This has been driven by things such as disruption, cyber security, reliance on new technology, government intervention and regulation, changing demographics, climate change and terrorism, and more. Who can the Audit Committee place independent reliance on for support? Leading practice Audit Committees often rely greatly on leading practice Chief Audit Executives and their Internal Audit teams to provide much needed support and act as a “Trusted Advisor”. The Institute of Internal Auditors is responding to these demands by offering many new types of professional development, such as IT governance and data analytics skills. Richard Arthurs, who is a Partner at MNP and the Chair of the IIA Canada Board will facilitate this discussion while referencing the CPA Canada document “20 Questions Directors Should Ask About Internal Audit”. He will also utilize the panel of Nancy Russell, the VP of Audit and Risk from Great West Life, and Chris McGinley who is the Chair of the Audit Committee for both Alberta Blue Cross and DIRT. This vibrant discussion will showcase insights on how leading practice internal audit groups operate as well as emphasize the importance of the relationship between the Audit Committee Chair and the Chief Audit Executive.

Richard Arthurs ; Nancy Russell

Networking break

Evolution of Blockchain
Moderator: Douglas Heintzman, Blockchain and Disruptive Technologies Practice Lead, Burnie Group

Panelists: Patrick Mandic, CEO, Mavennet; Brian Beveridge, Partner, MNP

This session will provide an overview of the current state of Block Chain, how it is being utilized, and the potential impact this could have on disrupting business models. This session will explore the various ways this new innovation could impact the way companies need to be governed by audit committees. The panel will give various perspectives on the questions that audit committees should be asking leadership teams. Also the panel will explore a range of possibilities as to how various industries will see products and services delivered differently in the future. Lastly, the panel will provide insight on the risk related to block chain and what boards must think about to mitigate this risk.
Douglas Heintzman ; Dan Giurescu ; Brian Beveridge

Registration and continental breakfast

Welcome – What’s new in the Audit Committee world?
Speaker: Mike Garvey, Audit Committee Chair, Executive Chair and CEO, Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc.
Mike Garvey

Governance Fundamentals: What You Need to Know
Speaker: Wendy Kei, Corporate Director, Ontario Power Generation, Audit Committee Chair, Guyana Goldfields, Inc.

• Roles and responsibilities of Audit Committee members
• Relationship of Audit Committees to the Board
• Creating the right environment for quality auditing
• Risks associated and how to address them, including differences in NFP versus public sector
Wendy Kei


Getting on a Board: How to Get Asked
Speaker: Salvatore Badali, Partner, Odgers Berndtson LLP

• Myths and realities
• Finding the right match
Salvatore M. Badali

Diving into the Details: What to Look For
Speaker: Byron Sonberg, Managing Director, Goodmans LLP

• Skills and expertise needed (financial expertise alone is not enough)
• Reporting and Legal requirements
• Dealing with the unexpected

Network Mapping Your Way onto A Board
Speaker: Deborah Rosati, Founder & CEO, Women Get On Board Inc.

• Using your network to map how you might be connected to members of the Board
Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

Concluding Remarks
Speaker: Mike Garvey, Audit Committee Chair, Executive Chair and CEO, Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc.
Mike Garvey

Thank you to our advisory committee members
Richard Arthurs, Partner, National Leader Governance, Risk Management and Data Analytics, Enterprise Risk Services, MNP LLP

Michael Calyniuk, President, MEC Dynamics Inc.

Gigi Dawe, Director, Research, Guidance and Support, CPA Canada

Richard Fontaine, Professor, Department of Accounting Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal

Mike Garvey, Chairman and CEO, Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc.

Wendy Kei, Corporate Director, Ontario Power Generation

Jim Medeiros, Lead Principal, Financial Reporting, Audit and Assurance, CPA Canada

Laurel Murray, President, Murray Management Consulting

Sheila Smigarowski, Founder, Sheila Smigarowski Consulting and Coaching

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Metro Toronto Convention Centre - South Building
222 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9

The award-winning Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is Canada’s largest and one of North America’s leading convention centres. Its three-year, $29 million modernization project is complete. The project features a new design, functionality and upgraded finishes. The MTCC is known for its top-of-class service, first-class venue, in a world-class city. And yes, it’s the only facility that has hosted both a G20 and a G7 Summit. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, plenty of dining, great hotels, shopping and fun things to do are all within easy walking distance. The MTCC certainly has it all.



75 Lower Simcoe Street, Toronto, ON M5J 3A6

Hotel reservations are the responsibility of the participant. CPA Canada has arranged for special conference rates at the following hotel. Contact the hotel directly and identify yourself as a participant of CPA Canada’s 2018 Conference for Audit Committees to qualify for the special rate.

Delta Hotel Toronto:
  • $240/night
  • rate available until November 15, 2018 or until room block is full

Rates are available three days prior and three days post-conference, subject to availability.

Sponsors & Exhibitors



Please contact:

Member Development and Support
Tel: 1-800-268-3793
Email: [email protected]