Commodity tax symposium

Stay up-to-date on critical commodity tax issues and network with peers from government, industry and practice at Canada’s largest and longest-running indirect tax event.

Event Details

Location and date:
Toronto October 24-25, 2016

Keep your tax team up-to-date on the latest issues and the strategies to deal with indirect tax changes in Canada. Learn from Canadian experts and maximize your investment by networking with other commodity tax professionals at this popular event, back for the 36th year in a row.

The 2016 program consists of deep technical sessions, practical issue identification and topic analysis, plus engaging keynote speakers with relevant insights and interpretations to provoke discussion and debate about policy direction and its impact on your business.

Two post-symposium workshops available on October 26

Select one of two concurrent post-symposium workshops (in-person only):

  • “Preparing a Persuasive Administrative Appeal: Maximize Your Chances of Winning”
  • “The W5 on Rebates”

Virtual conference option

Can’t make it to Toronto? Attend this conference live from your desktop, laptop or tablet. Listen to and see the presenters, follow the PowerPoint presentation and ask questions of the presenters. All you need is a desktop computer, laptop or tablet, speakers and high-speed Internet!

View the agenda

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


20 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

Topics include:

  • risk management related to commodity taxation issues
  • solving the corporate reorganization puzzle
  • the expanding frontier of insurance, warranties and maintenance
  • ITC requirements and holding companies
  • influential case law and jurisprudence from the last year
  • issues in financial services, customs, environmental fees and more

Who should attend?

  • accounting professionals
  • lawyers
  • consultants
  • academics
  • senior executives
  • professionals who lead internal commodity tax groups for industry and NFP
  • CRA, Department of Finance and provincial ministries of finance representatives charged with policy and compliance initiatives relating to sales taxes and other indirect taxes

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Early bird registration & welcome reception
Sponsored by DMA

Registration and Continental breakfast
Sponsored by KPMG Canada

Welcome remarks and keynote address: Amber MacArthur “The Internet of Things”
Is your company taking advantage of disruptive new technologies? From the C-Suite and marketing to customer service and beyond, a newly adaptive corporate culture, defined by digital technology and bold leadership, is fundamentally changing business. Amber talks about the relentless adaptation and the accelerating pace of corporate culture in the digital economy. As a professional at the forefront of the digital revolution, she will share insights about the Internet of Things, from marketing to customer service and beyond.
Amber MacArthur

Canadian digital economy suppliers: Are you ready for more tax compliance from outside Canada?
Moderator: Richard Taylor, Rogers Communications Inc.
Panelists: Randy Schwartz, Imke Gerdes (E.U), Jan Snel (AS) and Matt Mock (U.S), Baker & McKenzie LLP

There has been a lot of discussion over the past two years about forcing ecommerce non-residents to register for purposes of the GST/HST. The same debate has been raging in Europe, Australia, Japan and many other jurisdictions. What does this mean for a Canadian company involved in the supply of digital products around the world on their own or through agents? This panel discussion help you navigate an uncertain future and include topics such as:
• What is the threshold for registration?
• Does the use of agency trigger the need to register?
• Does your company need to post a security if required to register?
• And will the VAT regimes outside Canada mean you will be burdened with filing requirements?
• And much more

Randy Schwartz ; Imke Gerdes ; Matt Mock ; Jan Snel

Coffee break – Exhibits open

Navigating the corporate reorganization maze
The Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) is a pervasive tax that is important to understand when dealing with acquisitions, wind-ups and business reorganizations. It can also help mitigate adverse sales tax implications on expected returns or and reduce unexpected cash flow burdens. Provincial Sales Tax (PST) can also impact transactions with unexpected results. Learn more about GST/HST/PST implications for the purchase and sale of assets, the purchase and sale of shares and corporate reorganizations. A mix of sources such as interpretation bulletins, jurisprudence and memorandums will be covered to demonstrate the application of legislation and consider different scenarios.

Andrew Azmudeh, B.Sc., MBA, LLB

Fintech, the sharing economy and the ETA: When worlds collide
This session will review new business models emerging from the Fintech sector and , explore the impact of these new businesses on various ETA concepts and definitions, including:
•‘financial service’ and ‘financial institution’
• the meaning of ‘consideration’ and ‘payment’
• the concept of ‘carrying on a business’
• and registration requirements for ecommerce in light of BEPS Action 1

Broader policy implications and possible areas of reform will also be covered, along with the regulatory framework for financial services and their GST/GST characterization.

Speaker: Simon Proulx, KPMG

Networking lunch
Presentation of the Normand Guérin Award, by Deloitte

Pension plans and master trusts: What’s changing
This session will provide an analysis of Finance Canada’s new legislative proposals relating to pension plans, master trusts and the consultation paper on treatment of investment plans. It will also explain the practical impact to your clients, and your business.

Robert Demers

How to maximize chances of a settlement
Having a trial to resolve a GST/HST dispute is a costly and time consuming exercise. Everyone wants to avoid it, including the Canada Revenue Agency and the Tax Court. There are many possible opportunities to settle a tax dispute throughout the various stages in the process. The speakers will discuss what you need to know to improve your chances of settling your dispute and avoiding a trial, such as:

• identifying settlement opportunities at the audit, appeals, and litigation stages
• understanding settlement options and limitations in commodity tax
• best ways to communicate your position at the various stages and to the different players
• working with the auditor and the appeals officer to reach resolution
• practical tips for achieving settlement with the Department of Justice

Speaker: Paul Casuccio and Jenny Mboutsiadis, Fasken Martineau
Jenny Mboutsiadis

Session change break

All aspects of leasing, including securitization
The purpose of the paper is to consider various GST/HST/PST sales tax implications of various facets of leasing transactions including but not limited to different between operating and capital lease, lease back, trade in, securitization, lease to a registrant versus non registrant, provincial levies, volume bonus and more.

Katherine Xilinas

Inside/out on fuel taxes, from the oil company to the business consumer
Fuel tax laws contain complex collection and reimbursement mechanisms. Everybody knows that fuel taxes are being paid at the pump, but how these taxes are being administered, collected and remitted to tax authorities is less clear. This session will provide an overview of federal and provincial fuel taxes, from oil companies to business consumers, along with several situations where reimbursements and rebates are available for specific persons or usage.

Stéphane Marcassa, Barsalou Lawson Rheault; Stephanie Tremblay, Suncor

Stéphane Marcassa

Coffee break – Exhibits open

Annual case law update
Craig McDougall and Andrew Bateman, Felesky Flynn LLP

This session will review and discuss recent and noteworthy developments in GST/HST and other commodity tax jurisprudence from all levels of the court system decided since last year, including administrative matters specific to the commodity tax area and on-going cases to monitor. Symposium attendees will gain a greater understanding of new, affirmed, and pending jurisprudence on fundamental issues as well as the practical implications and potential future applications of developments emerging from these cases.

Craig McDougall ; Andrew Bateman

Networking reception
Sponsored by Deloitte

Early bird session: Update on CRA e-Services for business
In this digital age, online services are increasingly replacing traditional communication and service delivery channels. This session will review some recent and upcoming CRA initiatives in electronic services for businesses, including changes to the process for authorizing representatives and registration for Business Numbers. Participants wanting to plan how best to incorporate these new and updated services into their own systems will find value in this summary of "coming attractions" in electronic services for businesses.

James Stewart

Continental breakfast available

What we know about ITC requirements & how to defend CRA’s denial of ITCs on audit
A distillation and review of important ITC documentation principles and other ITC requirements to date, including invoices of convenience and the Quebec experience. Discussion to follow, focusing on the strategies available for resisting the CRA’s attempts to deny ITCs on Audit.
Robert Kreklewetz

Session change break

Warranty, insurance, and maintenance contracts: Get ready for more tax
Insurance products are supposed to be financial services and tax exempt, but legislators across Canada are looking to extract more taxes (e.g. insurance premium taxes, retail sales taxes and VAT) on these services. This session examines how constructive tax authorities have been in their attempt to find a way to tax warranty or maintenance products, what the courts have said and the potential for what’s next.

Speaker: Dalton Albrecht, EY Law LLP
Stephen Rukavina ; Dalton Albrecht

Allocation methods: What is fair and reasonable?
Taxpayers who earn both exempt and taxable supplies are required to determine which purchases are eligible for ITCs and to what extent. This can be a simple exercise, but for more involved cases taxpayers must develop an allocation methodology that is fair and reasonable. Based on jurisprudence, where there is more than one “fair and reasonable” allocation methodology, the CRA cannot impose one that they believe is more “fair and reasonable” than the taxpayer’s.

This session reviews legislation, important court cases and the CRA’s administrative policies to provide guidance on evaluating or developing an allocation methodology.

Jan Pedder

Networking coffee break – Exhibits open

The Quebec runaway bride: Reflections on the Canadian indirect tax harmonization process
Despite the harmonization process, there are distinctions to be made when you are doing business in Québec, whether from a legislative standpoint Despite the harmonization process, there are still distinctions to be made when doing business in Québec, whether from a legislative standpoint or from your dealings with Revenu Quebec (RQ) on GST/QST matters. But are these distinctions desirable? What are the implications when a registrant is based outside Quebec and only dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)? How can you reconcile a discrepancy between the French and English versions of the ETA?

This session intends to explore the key differences between the application of QST and GST/HST in terms of their concepts, their definitions and the approaches taken by the CRA and RQ when administering the relevant legislation. We will also discuss the audit and appeal approaches taken by RQ and CRA, which differ markedly in a tax dispute context.

Angelo Gentile ; Etienne Gadbois

Holding companies & ITCs
The primary aim of the session will be to address the ability of Canadian resident holding corporations to claim input tax credits pursuant to section 186 of the ETA. The session discuss the conditions which must be satisfied to rely on section 186, the CRA's administrative policy in interpreting section 186 and relevant jurisprudence which confirms that the CRA's narrow interpretation is not justified including the decision in Perfection Dairy, Miedzi Copper and Stantec. The session will also explore some alternative structures including the possibility to claim ITCs on the basis of resupplying services to underlying operating business and some practical limitations.
Brent Murray

Networking lunch and presentation: Working towards better service from the CRA

Legislative amendments and drop shipments: Where we stand today
The purpose of the paper is to explain the recently proposed legislative amendments to the drop shipment rules, while discussing the practical implications to your clients and business.

Eric Paton

BC PST update: Key differences from the old PST regime
In 2013 B.C. switched back to a provincial sales tax. When the PSTA was first implemented it was largely touted by the B.C. government as effectively the same as the old SSTA regime. However, now that a few years have passed, not surprisingly the SSTA is no longer being used as a reference point for interpreting the new Act. As a result the extent of the differences between the old SSTA and the PSTA are becoming clearer. The focus of this session will be to look at the key areas where the PSTA varies from the SSTA, including a few areas where despite the similar wording in the old and new Acts, the provincial authorities have adopted a divergent interpretation.

speaker: Janice Roper and Lisa Zajko, Deloitte
Janice Roper, FCPA, FCA

Session change break

Single vs. multiple supplies: Common sense in the courts
In the past four years, there have been seven cases in the courts where the decision relied on whether a transaction involved one or more supplies. In making this determination, the court considers whether the elements supplied are intertwined and interdependent enough to be considered one compound supply. This presentation will discuss each of the seven decisions, noting in particular the application of “common sense” by the court to resolve these matters. The session will also look at recent rulings issued by the Canada Revenue Agency in light of these decisions and consider whether common sense is commonly applied.

Beverly Gilbert

Trade & customs: Compliance, efficiency and growth in cross border trade
In a highly competitive environment of global sourcing, business leaders need fast, efficient and accurate trade data. This session will analyze recent customs developments and analytic techniques that can affect your business, such as:
• data analytics and trade technology
• how trade & customs data can improve your competitive advantage
• CBSA update on trade compliance verification and priorities
• key compliance risks and duty-saving opportunities
• new issues regarding CBSA’s valuation policies
• Canada/EU and TPP trade agreements and other tariff changes

Angelos Xilinas

Networking coffee break – Exhibits open

The latest from the Canada Revenue Agency and Department of Finance
Speakers: Danielle Laflèche and Harry Gill, Canada Revenue Agency and and Pierre Mercille, Department of Finance
Danielle Laflèche ; Sean Keenan

Conference adjourns

Workshop registration & Continental breakfast

Preparing a persuasive notice of objection: Maximize the chances of winning your assessment challenge
This workshop will focus on the practical aspects of appealing assessments at the first level of recourse – the administrative appeal. It will include an overview of the formal rules and requirements associated with the administrative appeals process in provincial tax and GST/HST assessments. The session will also address how to write powerfully and persuasively for the target audience. Practical tips and illustrations will be included to identify problems and provide solutions to make written arguments clear and persuasive. In addition strategies on how and when to prepare documentary evidence to accompany the objection will also be explored.

At the end of the workshop participants should know how to draft a more effective and persuasive notice of objection.

Patrick Lindsay ; Brandon Siegal

The W5 on rebates
Input tax credits are not the only way to recover GST/HST, as rebate provisions under the ETA can apply to many different circumstances. Rebates allow registrants and non-registrants to recover a considerable amount of taxes paid whether in error or when properly invoiced.

This session will examine how and when rebates apply, the appropriate time frame to file for them and when to use them instead of tax returns to claim back taxes. It will also address how section 296 affects your rebates.

Speaker: Jim Day, Irene Belvedere and Jeffrey Shaw, Ryan ULC
Jim Day. CPA, CA ; Irene Belvedere ; Jeffrey Shaw

Option workshops adjourn

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Metro Toronto Convention Centre – North Building
255 Front St. West , Toronto, ON M5V 2W6

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.

Frequently asked questions:


Conference participants can enjoy a rate of $209 (plus applicable taxes) based on single or double occupancy.


Note: Guaranteed Rate available until September 9, 2016 (or when room block is sold out). Book early to avoid disappointment.

Directions to InterContinental:

Directions to Metro Toronto Convention Centre: 


Sponsors & Exhibitors


Deloitte DMA KPMG Ryan Thomson Reuters


Please contact:

Member Development and Support
Tel: 1-800-268-3793

Stefan Mihailovich, principal, Corporate Oversight & Governance, Research, Guidance & Support
Tel: 416-204-3477