Not-for-profit executive forum 2017

Gain practical organizational insights and learn from industry experts at this annual event for not-for-profit financial leaders.

Event Details

Location and date:
Toronto March 1-2, 2017

In today's not-for-profit (NFP) environment, executives are mission-critical. Success comes from being a strategic leader who can add value to your business and drive performance.

At the forum, you will explore the most current insights on organizational and leadership development in the NFP environment and get a snapshot of where the industry is headed in key areas such as regulatory changes, compliance and fundraising. With an interactive blend of sessions and speakers, attendees will address the important financial challenges facing NFP executives today.

This forum is also an ideal opportunity to develop high-level technical expertise and practical soft skills.

Can’t make it to Toronto? Attend online instead. A virtual conference option is available for this event.

New this year: Post-conference workshop

Accounting and Taxation Issues

  • Full-day workshop
  • March 3, 2017
  • Metro Toronto Convention Centre

View the agenda


Last year’s Not-for-Profit Financial Forum provided a valuable networking experience for NFP executives and launched a new virtual conference option that was attended by professionals across Canada.

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


14 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

Topics include:

  • not-for-profit strategy and leadership
  • key updates from the Accounting Standards Board
  • performance measurement
  • auditing, compliance and tax updates
  • technology and industry disruptors
  • trending topics such as shared services and alternative revenue sources
  • fundraising
  • and many more

Who should attend?

  • not-for-profit chief financial officers
  • not-for-profit financial managers
  • board members of not-for-profit organizations
  • other senior NFP executives, both financial and non-financial

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Registration - Continental breakfast

Opening keynote: How disruptive innovation is changing the not-for-profit world
Speaker: Jim Harris, principal, Strategic Advantage

World and technology is changing faster than ever before. How can not for profit leaders keep up and keep their organizations relevant?
For instance, the smartphone is eating the world. If your organization is not optimized for the mobile web – you are losing donors, volunteers and opportunities.
An example is the ALS bucket challenge – putting time into to figuring out an interesting, novel way to engage people on social media went viral and raised millions of dollars.
Not for profit leaders need to reach millennials as the next donor generation and they don’t do email, they don’t answer the phone. You need to use social media or text them to engage them.
Join Jim Harris, world renowned author, consultant and speaker and learn to leverage innovation for your not-for-profit and stay ahead of industry disruptors to keep your organization thriving.

Choose one of the following:

Strategic planning in a disruptive world
Speaker: Daniel A. Marquez, Strategy, consulting executive at Accenture Canada; Chairman and CEO of University Consulting Group

In today's rapidly evolving landscape, the one constant is that organizational shelf-life is falling - even those thriving today may be gone in a matter of years. Compounding this, growing operational complexity is driving leaders to focus an increasing share of their time on urgent short term challenges. Not-for-profits must renew their investments in strategic planning, to ensure that valuable capacity is directed towards pursuits that position them for long term viability and success. This session will establish a clear delineation between strategic and tactical planning, and explore methods Not-for-profit organizations can use to prepare themselves for an uncertain future.

What is happening in the sector: Three perspectives from three different vantage points
Moderator: Susan Manwaring, partner, Miller Thomson

Panelists: Hilary Pearson, president and CEO, Philanthropic Foundations Canada; Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO, Imagine Canada; Tony Manconi, director general, Canada Revenue Agency

The environment around us is changing. There has also been considerable discussion as to what this will mean and look like for the charity and not-for-profit sector. Our panelists will share their perspectives of where they think we are headed and discuss their reactions to the changing environment.

Networking break

Choose one of the following:

Mergers and acquisitions: Lived experiences
Moderator: Cheryl Swallow, vice-president, Finance and Administration, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division

Panelists: Michael Herrera, vice-president, Finance and Administration, United Way Toronto and York Region; Andy Wnek, chief financial officer, Canadian Cancer Society; Sara Oates, chief finance and operations officer, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

With the recent merger announcement of the Canadian Cancer Society and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and the merger of the United Way in Toronto and York Regions a couple of years ago, this session will focus on the experiences of these three organizations at these different stages. Some specific areas of focus would be:

• initial barriers and how they were overcome
• the biggest opportunities
• due diligence highlights
• combining systems and processes
• brand integration
• cultural integration
• program integration
• practical issues – combining offices, procedures etc.
• shared services and how the process has helped or will help the organizations prepare for the merger between them

Building resilience
Speaker: Heather Maitland, organizational change management consultant

No matter which way we turn in our workplaces, we face change. Be it staff turnover, the introduction of new technology or shifting funding agreements, we must deal with change. The ability to cope with and bounce back from such change – or to be resilient – is a crucial skill for successful leaders. Luckily, resiliency is a skill that can be developed by all of us. This interactive session applies the fundamentals of resiliency and change management to the real world with practical tips and strategies that will help you build resiliency in yourself, your team and your organization.

Choose one of the following:

Accounting standards update
Speaker: Paul Hargreaves, chair of the Accounting Standards Board Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee

Attend this session to learn about the numerous activities underway with the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) with regards to the evolution of accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations.

Alternative revenue sources: Succeeding beyond the box
Speaker: Andrew Valentine, partner, Miller Thomson

Charities can accomplish their missions, and move past their funding constraints by thinking outside the box and creatively employing multiple legal structures. The challenges in doing so are daunting; however, the rewards of success are astounding. Miller Thomson, one of Canada’s leading law firms in the charity sector, will present examples of organizations which have accomplished this goal.


Choose one of the following:

Shared services
Moderator: Grant Mosby, director, Finance, YMCA of Greater Vancouver

Panellists: Steve Butz, CEO, YMCA of Greater Vancouver; Ray Lavitt, general manager, Saint Elizabeth Health Care

As organizations continue to operate under tight budgetary constraints, creativity regarding back office shared service models are becoming a necessity. Whether or not you are considering a model to work with a third party or organize an internal sharing model, you should be aware there are different options available. Please join us to hear about creative options, what has worked for others, and what pitfalls to avoid at all costs.

Public accountability and transparency: In whose opinion?
Moderator: Bobbi White, partner and national industry leader, Not-for-Profit Organizations, KPMG LLP

Panelists: Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO, Imagine Canada; Greg Thomson, director of research, Charity Intelligence

In this session, speakers from two prestigious national organizations – Imagine Canada and Charities Intelligence – address your questions related to public perception of key performance indicators, best practices regarding public accountability, transparency and more. Join us to hear different perspectives on information the public requires to make decisions about your charity.

Choose one of the following:

NFPO reporting: Should you choose the deferral or restricted fund method? Which is best?
Moderator: Paul Hargreaves, chair of the Accounting Standards Board Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee

Panelists: Deryck Williams, national leader - Charities and Not-for-Profit Organizations Team, Grant Thornton; Brian Szabo, partner - local government audit practice, KPMG

Panel discussion on the pros and cons of the Deferral Method and Restricted Fund Method for recognizing revenue from contributions.

Measuring impact: Indicators of what works in the age of accountability
Moderator: Tania Carnegie, leader, Impact Ventures and National Executive Director, Community Leadership, KPMG

Panelists: Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation; Andrea Nemtin, CEO, Inspirit Foundation; Roxanne Joyal, CEO, Me to We

Not-for-profit organizations and philanthropists are motivated by the common goal of driving positive change, with more emphasis on assessing outcomes achieved than inputs used to deliver programming. The absence of a generally accepted approach to measure and report impact is a key barrier to clearly understanding what works, and can have unintended consequences including confusion and duplication of effort. This session will feature the experience of Canadian charities and funders in their quest to fulfill their mission, and remain transparent and accountable to their key stakeholders. This discussion will also highlight efforts in Canada to establish a uniform approach to impact measurement.

Networking break

Managing people and personalities: Overcoming challenges in the NFP world
Speaker: Jennifer Gervès-Keen, professional facilitator, speaker and coach

Managing and working with people with a variety of personality profiles can be a challenging task in any organization. This session will address ways to develop better working relationships as management and with colleagues, by gaining a better understanding of personality types through increasing your own emotional intelligence and awareness of bias as well as using behavioural assessment tools.

Registration – Continental breakfast

Economic outlook: Organizational sustainability and smart growth
Speaker: Brian Emmett, chief economist, Canada’s charitable and not-for-profit sector, Imagine Canada

Canada’s NFP sector has experienced high growth over the past 20 years. Moving forward however, we may be faced with a social deficit. This session will explore what the future economy is likely to look like for the Charitable and NFP sector, the importance of the sector to the Canadian economy and also look at strategies to minimize the risk a social deficit in your organization.

Choose one of the following:

Fundraising in a disruptive world: The old way isn’t working anymore
Speaker: Paul Nazareth, vice-president of Community Engagement, CanadaHelps

Most charities rely on events, mail, and traditional tactics that are rapidly failing to sustain funding and adapt to a changing level of support from donors and government. Disruption is taking many forms in the world of philanthropy; form, function, timing, technology and strategy. Our speaker has experience in fundraising from many of these angles and brings insight into asset based giving from working in a bank as a ‘philanthropic advisor’ as well as working in charities large and small for 17 years. Currently working for Canada’s largest digital charity we will look into trends in online giving and how it is now integrated into all streams of fundraising. Most importantly we will identify and discuss disruption - the trends and threats to fundraising for leaders in the social-profit sector to consider in 2017 and beyond.

GST: Are you sure you are getting it right?
Speaker: Christina Zurowski, partner, Grant Thornton

While GST has now been a part of our lives for a number of years, it is surprising how often issues arise. In this session, we will talk about some of the most common issues we see in both the charity and not-for-profit sector and some of the steps you can take as an organization to protect yourself.

Networking break

Choose one of the following:

2017 Workplace trends
Speaker: Ilana Stern, senior HR consultant, MaxPeople

The modern workforce is fluid, dynamic and ever changing. The influences which shape it are also in constant flux and the status of the workforce in 2016 certainly demonstrated this.
This session will provide participants with the workplace trends which will impact Human Resources in 2017 considering generations at work, the impact of technology, flexible work arrangements and other trends.

Six-minute lawyer: A whirlwind tour through several topics
Speaker: Victoria Prince, partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

This session will provide a brief overview of some hot topics:
• Where are we on CASL?
• What employment updates should organizations know about?
• What is happening with restructuring of associations?
• What is the CRA saying?
• What new laws are out there that matter to you?

Attendees will receive an update on these and other topics, increase their legal knowledge, be able to identify some risk areas and learn how to address them.

Fraud in the not-for-profit sector: How to protect your organization
Speaker: Anna Maria Cicirello, risk consulting, Forensics, KPMG LLP

If you think it’s not happening in your organization – then this is the most critical session that you will attend over the course of the conference. We will discuss how to recognize warning signs, what types of frauds are occurring in the sector, setting up your first line of defence and overall protection for your organization from the risks associated with fraud.


Choose one of the following:

How to develop your employees with limited resources
Speaker: Jennifer Gervès-Keen, professional facilitator, speaker and coach

In this dynamic session, Jennifer Gervès-Keen, MA, PCC, CMC will talk about the challenges NFP are facing today in the development of their employees, and the impact it can have on staff retention and recruitment. Creating a sustainable learning culture with limited means can be done - and is more critical than ever in the competition for talent and the future of your organization. Learn about the shifts happening in the learning and development field that actually support NFP environments and how you can curate available resources to create inexpensive learning and development programs.

Measuring results with limited resources
Speaker: Jac Van Beek, ‎chief executive officer, Canadian Association of Management Consultants

Many small to medium sized not-for-profit organizations struggle with the question, how are we doing? This session will provide insight into choosing good key performance indicators as well as communicating those results to stakeholders.

Choose one of the following:

Knowing when you are in trouble
Speaker: Deryck Williams, national leader - Charities and Not-for-Profit Organizations Team, Grant Thornton

Unfortunately, the not-for-profit landscape is strewn with the bones of charities and not-for-profits that bit the dust, seldom in a planned exit. How could this happen to intelligent and well-meaning professionals? In this session, Deryck will share stories of unwitting demise, and near misses. From them he will draw lessons that you can use to make sure this never happens to you!

Cyber security risks for today's not-for-profit
Speaker: Marc MacKinnon, partner, Cyber Risk Services, Deloitte

Due to limited resources, cyber security for not-for-profits is often overlooked. As more and more transactions are now completed online and in the cloud, today's not-for-profit needs to address the risks to their organizations of a security breach. This session addresses cyber security risks and looks at some practical tips and tools that can be implemented with limited resources.

Networking break

Poll the CFOs
Moderator: Michael Herrera, vice-president, Finance and Administration, United Way Toronto and York Region

Panellists: Lois Fine, director, Finance and Information Technology, YWCA Toronto; Cheryl Swallow, vice-president, Finance and Administration, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division; R. Paul Goodyear, financial secretary, The Salvation Army, Canada & Bermuda

This interactive facilitated session will use results of a survey completed by conference participants about the issues facing the not-for-profit sector. Our panel of CFOs will cover the most significant issues raised through the survey to generate group discussions that allow participants to share common challenges and solutions and learn from each other. This session will provide participants with some "take aways" that can be carried back to their respective nonprofit organizations.

Accounting and taxation issues workshop
Speakers: Stella Penner, partner, Calvista LLP and Paul Nazareth, vice-president, Community Engagement, CanadaHelps

Registration and Continental breakfast

Accounting standards overview
• key differences with NFPs and for profit entities
• updates (proposed future changes to revenue recognition standards)

Taxation overview for NFPs and registered charities
• Canadian tax rules that may lead to loss of tax-exempt status; planning techniques to minimize risk:
o political purposes (interpretation and compliance)
o disbursement quota
o operating related/unrelated businesses
o revenue generation and the impact of the structure within which you earn revenue; ownership of for-profit corporations
o any legislative updates

• NFP rules
o Section 149(1)(l)
o earning a profit; planning for surpluses
o reserves


Gifting and other unique considerations
• overview of different type of gifts, taxation implications and receipting (new bequest receipting rules, securities, in-kind, insurance, online, third-party and more):
o taxation, administration and other issues to look out for with different types of gifts
o receipting different types of gifts (CRA receipting guidelines and examples of different receipting types)

• unique consideration around different types of organizations with regards to funding and trends:
o healthcare and events, education and endowments, faith-based collections, social service crowdfunding, in-kind giving and more

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Metro Toronto Convention Centre
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.


InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel
225 Front Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2X3

Frequently asked questions:


Hotel reservations are the responsibility of the participant. CPA has arranged for a special conference rate of $219.00 (plus applicable taxes) at the Intercontinental Toronto Centre Hotel. This rate is available until February 7, 2017, or until our room block is full. Early reservations are recommended. The CPA rate of $219/night is available three days prior and three days post conference, subject to availability.

Contact the hotel directly and identify yourself as a participant of CPA Canada's 2017 Not-for-Profit Financial Executive Forum to qualify for the special conference rate:
Tel: 1-800-235-4670
Online reservations

Venue directions and parking

Directions to Metro Toronto Convention Centre: The North Building can be accessed through the main entrance doors on Front Street, or from the east via the Skywalk, a glass-enclosed access-way from Union Station and mass transit.


Advisory committee

Marie-Josée Fontaine, finance and administration director, Oxfam-Québec

R. Paul Goodyear, financial secretary, The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda

Geneviève Grenier, senior principal, Finance, Management and Reporting, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

Michael Herrera, vice-president, Finance and Administration, United Way Toronto and York Region

Jeanette Hill, principal, Continuing Education

Grant Mosby, director, Finance, YMCA of Greater Vancouver

Cheryl Swallow, vice-president, Finance and Administration, Canadian Cancer Society, British Columbia and Yukon Division

Dale Varney, partner, Grant Thornton LLP

Bobbi White, partner and national industry leader, Not-for-Profit Organizations, KPMG LLP

Sponsors & Exhibitors


Carters Logo Deluxe PAYweb logo JMG Logo


Please contact:

Jeanette Hill, principal, Professional Learning and Development
Tel: 604-605-5065

Julia Chernin, program manager, Professional Learning and Development
Tel: 416-204-3415

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