Conference for audit committees 2017

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 November 30 - December 1, 2017

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 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 November 29: 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

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)
Pricing & registration

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

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Registration and Continental breakfast

Opening Keynote Address: A View from the Future
Speaker: Edie Weiner, President & CEO, The Future Hunters

We are going through two fundamental transformations at once. We are not only full speed into the “Metaspace” economy, but at the same time we are transitioning to Civilzation Alpha. Understanding what these are gives us a view of the future that helps make sense of the dozens of changes confronting us personally, politically and professionally today.
Edie Weiner

Accounting update and the implication on audit
Speaker: Linda Mezon, Chair, Accounting Standards Board

An update from the Chair of the Accounting Standards Board on major changes in accounting standards taking effect soon. The session will focus on items and issues relevant to audit committees, including key questions audit committee members may consider asking the organization’s management and auditors during the upcoming annual financial statement audit.
Linda Mezon, FCPA, FCA, CPA (MI), CGMA

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) & XBRL – The Race Toward Reliable Metrics
Speakers: Richard Talbot, Board of Directors, CFA Society Toronto; Stefan Mihailovich, Principal, Corporate Oversight and Governance, Research, Guidance and Support, CPA Canada; Axel Thesberg, Finance and Audit Committee Chair, Kingston General Hospital; Rob Lando, Partner, Corporate, Osler

This session will provide audit committee members with a deeper understanding of how they can enhance selection and disclosure practices around key performance indicators (KPIs), and the benefits and limitations of XBRL.

The panelists will provide audit committee and investor perspectives on both topics, while highlighting the important role audit committees can play in approving reliable, comparable and transparent metrics.
Specifically, the we will explore the practical aspects of CPA Canada’s “KPI Tool” and then separately explain the changing landscape around XBRL, such as the new requirements for inter-listed securities, risks of relying on data aggregators, and the growing need for quickly accessible, comparable and reliable financial data for investors.
Richard E. Talbot, CPA, CA, CFA, MBA ; Axel Thesberg, FCPA, FCA

Networking break

From defensive to proactive investor perspective
Speaker: Rakhi Kumar, Managing Director, Head of ESG Investments and Asset Stewardship, State Street Global Advisors

Moderator: Catherine Jackson, Founder, Jackson Principled Governance

An investor’s perspective on the Audit Committee’s role in:
• Overseeing sustainability
• Earning investor confidence
• The engagement process

In this session, Rakhi will present her views on how Audit Committees can help to facilitate investor confidence in the board as a whole. She will also discuss how State Street Global Advisors evaluates their engagements with companies and their boards, which issues are of concern to a responsible investor such as State Street, and other matters particular to the Canadian market.
Rakhi Kumar

Networking lunch

Demystifying blockchain, bitcoin, disruptive technologies
Moderator: Michael Calyniuk, President, MEC Dynamics Inc.

Panelists: Abhishek Sinha, Partner, Financial Services Advisory, Ernst & Young LLP; Stéphane Bilodeau, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, BDC

Over the last few years, Bitcoin has taken centre-stage in the collective consciousness of technologists & futurists world over. It is a means to exchange value in the form of cryptocurrency; however, the underlying trust mechanism it is built on has further reaching implications – that technology is blockchain.

Blockchain has the potential to transform our world. By eliminating duplicative efforts and redundant processes, and guaranteeing greater integrity of data, this technology has the promise to bring about more efficient and secure ways of exchanging information and therefore doing business.

The global economy is a complex interconnected web of businesses that exchange massive amounts of data. Information such as transactions and contracts are defining structures of our socio-economic system that underpin exchange of goods, services and value. It governs interactions among nations, organizations, communities, and individuals.

Join us as we deconstruct and answer some of your questions.

The session will:

• Deconstruct the blockchain phenomena separating myth from reality.
• Highlight opportunities and some of the key challenges organizations need to address.
• What industries and specific processes that may benefit.
• As board members provide you with further insight in how these disruptive technologies my impact the companies you are involved with today and in the future.

Climate change doesn’t care about your balance sheet or income statement
Moderator: Catherine Jackson, Founder, Jackson Principled Governance

Panelists: Alec Hay, Founding Principal, Southern Harbour; Diane Larsen, Assurance Partner, Global Professional Practice, Assurance Services, Ernst & Young LLP

In this session, Diane will discuss her journey in coming to understand the impact of climate change on business, and will provide a high level overview of the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate Related Disclosures. Alec will explain why climate-related crises are closer to home than most people realize, and how operational audits are integral to understanding financial risks.
Diane Larsen

Networking break

There’s Been a Cyber-Security Breach. Now What Happens?
Speaker: Nathan Spitse, Partner, Risk Advisory and Nick Galletto, Global, Americas & Canada Cyber Risk Leader, Deloitte

A simulated example of a cyber hack where your corporate systems have been compromised. As Board members you will be briefed on the situation, asked to discuss how you propose to initially deal with it and further developments as they are presented throughout the session.

The situation would evolve to explore different issues and outcomes.

Nathan Spitse

Networking reception

Continental breakfast

Keynote address - Economic outlook: Extending the winning streak
Speaker: Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist, BDC

How long will the current period of economic growth continue? After seven years of expansion, are we nearing the end of the cycle? BDC Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux will look at where are in the world economy and where we’re headed, with a focus on the situation in United States. He will go beyond the headlines to discuss a troubling slowdown in productivity growth. And he will look at Canada’s economy. How do we stack up with the rest of the world?
Pierre Cleroux

3 leaders, 3 stories, many lessons
Moderator: Richard Fontaine, Professor, Department of Accounting Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal

Panelists: Patricia Meredith, Chair, Canada’s Task Force for the Payment System Review; Nicholas Kirton, Chair, Essential Energy Services; Chris Clark, Audit Committee Chair, Loblaw Companies Limited and Air Canada

Change is the only constant and it seems businesses today are seeing that change at an accelerated pace. Technology will significantly impact audit and compliance, in addition; political, economic, social and environmental factors continue to be key drivers of change in business and society. With the Audit Committee seen as a leader in effective corporate governance, it is essential to remain aware and informed on these key drivers. Past and present Audit Committee Chairs will share their experiences and discuss the importance of proactive dialogue and strategic foresight to conduct more effective oversight.
Nick Kirton ; Chris Clark, FCPA, FCA

Networking break

The Audit Committee Chair – The Key to Navigating the Triangle of Trust
Moderator: Sheila Smigarowski, Past Chair, Canadian Board, Institute of Internal Auditors

Panelists: Aileen Madden, Head of Corporate Audit & Advisory, Air Canada; Sean Byrne, CFO, Brick Brewing Co.; Paula Smith, Assurance Partner, Ernst & Young LLP; Mike Garvey, Audit Committee Chair, Executive Chair and CEO, Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc.

The Audit Committee Chair holds the key to navigating the critical triangle between the Audit Committee, the CFO and the auditors, both internal and external. The Chair must rise to the challenge of drawing out the facts from all parties, nurturing these critical relationships, building trust and ensuring the governance is such that all parties are protected and these roles are respected, valued and honored. Some of the current issues the Committee may be restling with include cyber, reputational issues, complex financial transactions and disruption. What does it take to rise to this challenge? Listen to members of this triangle share their wisdom on what has set them up for success in these roles.
Sheila Smigarowski, CPA, CA ; Aileen Madden, CPA, CA

Networking lunch

Artificial Intelligence – As a Board member are you and your company ready?
Moderator: Michael Calyniuk, President, MEC Dynamics Inc.

Panelists: Andrew Hanff, Partner, Roland Berger Montreal; Eli Fathi, CEO, MindBridge; Stefano Lucarelli, Chief Audit Executive, BDC

The dawn of artificial intelligence is here – As a board member are you ensuring that your company has awaken?

“Artificial intelligence – and specifically machine learning – is poised to be one of history’s greatest platform technologies” [Globe & Mail October 25, 2017]

The rapid advances in artificial intelligence and cognitive machine learning using data analytics is already making it possible for Enhanced AI to augment human intelligence. In the near future it may encroach upon and in some cases exceed human capabilities.

As such, directors need to understand the impact which Enhanced AI is starting to have on industries, governments and society in general, as well as the opportunities and risks it creates for their organizations.

Our panelists will provide further insight into the fast moving world of Enhanced AI including:
• The current state of artificial intelligence, data analytics and cognitive machine learning
• Advances in Enhanced AI, and how these are being leveraged by industries and companies to enhance their competiveness, such as via increased ability to understand market demand, build customer loyalty, lower risk and drive down operating costs
• Ways in which companies are integrating Enhanced AI into their diverse business processes
• Early opportunities which companies can take advantage of dimensions for assessing whether your organization is well positioned to leverage Enhanced AI
• Specific opportunities related to enhancing the performance of both internal and external audit processes?
• Manners in which Audit Committee members can promote the adoption of Enhanced AI by within their organizations by both internal and external auditors.

Audit committee performance evaluations
Speaker: Brad Kelly, Partner, Global Governance Advisors

It is important that an audit committee assess its own effectiveness in order to identify potential gap areas in performance and opportunities for further development. This session will equip you with the tools needed to conduct a successful evaluation by communicating the characteristics of an effective audit committee demonstrated through case studies. We will also examine toolkits for the audit committee (self-assessment) and external auditor and discuss when to conduct an external assessment as opposed to self-assessment.

Conference wrap up
Speakers: Michael Calyniuk, President, MEC Dynamics Inc.; Mike Garvey, Audit Committee Chair, Executive Chair and CEO, Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc.
Mike Garvey

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


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: Elliott Jacobson, Audit Committee Chair

• Skills and expertise needed (financial expertise alone is not enough)
• Reporting and Legal requirements
• Dealing with the unexpected
Elliott Jacobson, MBA, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

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

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


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


Westin Harbour Castle
1 Harbour Sq., Toronto, ON M5J 1A6

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 2017 Conference for Audit Committees to qualify for the special rate. Westin Harbour Castle Hotel:

  • $239/night
  • rate available until November 15, 2017 or until room block is full
  • reservation link
Rates are available three days prior and three days post-conference, subject to availability.



Please contact:

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

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