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 November 13-14, 2017

Post-symposium workshop available on November 15

  • Import and Export Programs - Customs Risk Mitigation Workshop (Canada)
  • The Auditor is Coming! – How to Manage Sales Tax Audits and Assessments

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!

Keynote address

Peter Jensen, Building Resilience

Learn how to stay resilient under pressure – and recover quickly from setbacks

When you are performing under pressure, there is an additional layer of skills required to be effective. Over the long term, success in high pressure situations hinges not just on your skills and knowledge, but also on your ability to recover, remain focused, stay energized, and show up motivated every day; in other words, your ability to be resilient.

Resilience skills can be learned, practised and mastered. High performers in both business and sport know this, and apply this knowledge on a daily basis.

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 37th year in a row.

View the agenda

Special offers/promotions

Early Bird register now through September 15, 2017 to receive $250 off conference price! Enter coupon code: EB-CTS at the ‘confirm order’ screen as you register. Discount cannot be combined with other offers.

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


14 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

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


Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address
Dr. Peter Jensen “Building Resilience”

When you are performing under pressure, there is an additional layer of skills required to be effective. Over the long term, success in high pressure situations hinges not just on your skills and knowledge, but also on your ability to recover, remain focused, stay energized, and show up motivated every day; in other words, your ability to be resilient. Resilience skills can be learned, practiced and mastered. High performers in both business and sport know this, and apply this knowledge on a daily basis.
Peter Jensen

Tax Function of the Future
John Gotts and Chris White, PwC

To remain relevant to the business, tax functions must chart a course for continuous transformation that is immediate, holistic and practical. Successful change will require re-engineering ‘end-to-end’ processes, not just the final outputs. Companies are now required to focus on the quality and availability of data and to focus on the use of technology to improve efficiency. This should involve an assessment of the current capabilities of the tax function against a tax maturity model, followed by the development of a clear vision of the desired future state.

In this session we will consider the current challenges facing tax, predictions for the tax function of the future and how the current tax function will have to adapt to support and keep pace with the wider business.

John Gotts ; Chris White

The Others: Current Issues in Land Transfer Tax and Property Tax across Canada
Elena Balkos, KPMG

This session will examine the current landscape of land transfer tax and property tax in various jurisdictions across Canada. It will be applicable to property owners and tenants and will deal with planning opportunities, tips and traps, dispute resolution issues and a recent case law/policy update.

Elena Balkos

The Normand Guérin Award Presented by Deloitte (12:40 – 1:10)

Concurrent Sessions

Going Green: Carbon Tax and Cap & Trade in Canada: Update and Overview
Alex Dhanjal, KPMG

This session will provide an overview and discuss developments in the implementation of the Carbon Tax and Cap and Trade systems for pricing carbon in Canada.
Attendees will gain an overview of the global economy moving towards carbon reduction goals and pricing strategies on carbon.
The presentation will start with discussion on international carbon agreements and Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement in 2015. A brief synoptic on global carbon emissions and various other nation’s responses.
The presentation will focus on Canada’s carbon regimes:
• The federal government’s framework on carbon pricing and how each province will integrate its existing or proposed carbon pricing model into the federal framework;
• The two main systems present in Canada’s carbon pricing: Cap & Trade, and Carbon Tax (Levy) will be described on a province by province basis.
• Finally, the session will provide an update on how provinces who currently do not have a fully integrated system, is planning on carbon pricing that is consistent with the federal government framework.

Transfer Pricing and Commodity Tax - Avoiding the Traps
Sania Ilahi, Tom Tsiopoulos, EY, and Rekha Kukreja, Scotiabank

This panel will discuss the GST/HST issues to consider when considering transfer pricing arrangements such as cost-plus, residual profit split and similar methodologies. Given the significant changes to the rules dealing with imported services, the session will focus on cross border transactions undertaken by financial institutions.
Sania Ilahi


Audit Issues and Other selected matters
Jennifer Muirhead, KPMG LLP, Shelley Smith, BDO Canada LLP and Christina Zurowski, Grant Thornton
Shelley Smith ; Christina Zurowski, CPA, CA


Annual Case Law Update
John Bassindale and Robert G. Kreklewetz, Millar Kreklewetz, LLP

A review and discussion of important GST/HST and commodity tax cases from across Canada in the past year. Attendees will hear practitioners discuss and debate significant new developments, confirmations, and clarifications coming from these cases. Whether you are just starting out in your career, or a commodity tax veteran, this annual session will have something for everyone to help your practice keep pace with the world of commodity tax.
Robert Kreklewetz


Continental Breakfast

Transparency and Accountability – What Tax Authorities Can and Cannot Ask For
Dominic Belley, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and Al-Nawaz Nanji, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

The speakers will present a description of the Canada Revenue Agency’s powers to compel disclosure of tax information in the context of an audit carried out pursuant to the Excise Tax Act, including requests made directly to the taxpayers/agents and requests made to third parties. The limits and safeguards contained in the Act and those recognized by case law will be discussed, including solicitor-client privilege and the inherent confidential nature of certain types of documents (e.g. working papers). Finally, the session will address the extent to which the taxpayer/agent/third party has to co-operate with the tax authorities and the best practices that should be adopted by tax professionals and tax auditors.


Concurrent Sessions

The taxing nature of provincial insurance premium taxation: A guide to taxation of insurance premiums in Canada
Thomas Brook, EY Law LLP

The taxation of insurance premiums in Canada creates a complex array of obligations imposed by each provincial government. This complexity and the increasing use of unlicensed insurance products has created significant compliance costs and exposure to unanticipated liability for insured persons across Canada. The recent expansion of insurance premium taxation in Newfoundland and Saskatchewan together with the increase of audits targeted at insured persons, most notably in Alberta, has added to this compliance burden.

This session will offer a comprehensive guide to assist agents, brokers and insured persons in navigating the obligations imposed under provincial legislation in respect of the sale and acquisition of both licensed and unlicensed insurance. This guide will include an overview of the basis for insurance premium taxation in each Canadian provincial jurisdiction and will also assist attendees in creating a compliance roadmap to address the risks inherent to the acquisition of insurance products for their particular businesses.

Provincial Indirect Tax Updates
Jordan Goss, BC Ministry of Finance; Brian Warbey, Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance

Update on GST Leaders’ Forum with Robert Demers, Deloitte (12:40 – 1:10)

Concurrent Sessions

Financial Services: the ins and the outs as determined by the courts
Brent Murray and Sarah Noftell, PwC
Brent Murray ; Sarah Noftell, CPA, CA

Hot Customs and Global Trade Issues Facing Canadian Business in 2017/18: NAFTA Under Trump, Provisional Implementation Of CETA, Audit Priorities and Other Developments
Lisa Zajko, Deloitte

Importers and exporters are facing dramatic changes in the global trade environment. Understanding and identifying these changes early on can help companies seize opportunities, deal with challenges effectively, and be prepared to make key decisions. This session will offer insights on how your business can plan for the future. Topics will include: the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under the Trump administration, issues and opportunities under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Free Trade Agreement (CETA), customs verification priorities and related issues and developments.

Lisa Zajko


Characterization of Complex Transactions

The Latest from the Canada Revenue Agency and Department of Finance
Danielle Laflèche, Canada Revenue Agency and Pierre Mercille, Department of Finance
Danielle Laflèche, CPA, CA ; Pierre Mercille, M.Sc, LLB

Conference Adjourns


Import and Export Programs - Customs Risk Mitigation Workshop (Canada)
Jaime Seidner, PwC
In this workshop, tax practitioners, both direct and indirect, will review core customs competencies and recent customs developments with a view to assist participants in risk mitigation techniques in the Customs function. This session will cover most Customs requirements and specifically deal with intersection of finance, tax and accounting with the Customs import and export function. Topics covered will include: value for duty, country of origin considerations and preferences, admissibility, tariff classification, export reporting, audits and post-importation correction considerations, rulings and disputes

The Auditor is Coming! How to Manage Sales Tax Audits and Assessments
Jeffrey Shaw and Irene Belvedere, Ryan ULC

Did your last audit remind you of the opera? Was it conducted in a language you didn’t understand and end in tragedy? It doesn’t have to be that way. This workshop has been designed to help organizations avoid potential issues and minimize the inconvenience of sales tax audits by providing practical advice on how to prepare for and manage the audit and assessment process. In addition, the options available to taxpayers who wish to dispute an assessment and the steps that should be taken to avoid future audit exposures will be discussed. At the end of this workshop, participants will walk away with an audit strategy, which can be tailored to any organization - large or small - that will lead to less intimidating and burdensome audits, with fewer audit issues and the potential for smaller assessments. Key topics to be addressed include:
• Why audits go wrong?;
• Pre-audit preparation;
• Establishing audit rules;
• Responding to information requests;
• Dealing with issues raised by an auditor;
• Reviewing the assessment;
• Preventing future assessments;
• Audit time periods; and
• Objections and appeals.

Jeffrey Shaw ; Irene Belvedere


Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Westin Harbour Castle
1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON M5J 1A6
t.:(416) 869-1600


Please contact:

Member Development and Support
Tel: 1-888-337-3242

Daniela Profiti, principal, Conferences and Courses, Professional Learning and Development
Tel: 416-204-3335

Sheri Price, program manager, Member Development and Support
Tel: 416-204-3425

Alexandra Garant, contact for Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities
Tel: 416-204-3397