Public sector conference 2017

If you’re a senior financial professional in the public sector or work for a not-for-profit that follows PSAB standards, this annual event in the nation’s capital (live-streamed across Canada) is the place to be.

Event Details

Location and date:
Ottawa October 23-24, 2017

The role of government financial professionals continues to expand at a fast pace. This year’s Public Sector Conference will help you refine your skills and enhance the value you bring to your work with cutting-edge technical sessions, engaging keynote speakers and thought-provoking panels.

Hear about important issues facing public sector financial professionals today, stay up-to-date on emerging trends and explore the leadership, business and accounting topics that matter most to you.

Read CPA Canada’s Q&A with Don Drummond on increasing public services efficiency.

View the agenda

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


14 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

Topics include:

  • important PSAB updates
  • innovative practices in government financial management and reporting, including:
    • innovation and risk management
    • open data and transparency
    • evidence-based decision making and data analytics
    • adaptability and resiliency

Virtual conference option

Can’t make it to Ottawa? Attend this conference virtually. Listen to and see the speakers, follow PowerPoint presentations and ask questions live in real time. All you need is a desktop computer, laptop or tablet plus speakers and high-speed internet.

Who should attend?

  • senior financial professionals with controller, treasury or budget functions
  • public accountants, auditors and other professionals
  • financial analysts and other financial statement users

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Opening keynote address: Slower economic growth will force greater efficiency in public services
Speaker: Don Drummond, Adjunct Professor and Stauffer-Dunning Fellow, Queen’s University

Due to demographics and Canada's lacklustre productivity performance, Canada is headed into a long period of only modest economic growth. Answers will be sought on how to bolster that growth. But the realization will sink in that the public services Canadians want can only be delivered if they are made more effective and efficient. This will put pressure on better policy design and more rigorous policy evaluation. The question is whether policy authorities will respond quickly enough.
Read CPA Canada's recent Q&A with Mr. Drummond:
Don Drummond

Next generation of finance professionals
Speaker: Joy Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer, CPA Canada
Joy Thomas

Address from the incoming Comptroller General of Canada

Mr. Roch Huppé, the incoming Comptroller General of Canada, takes office on October 23 and will share some of his thoughts as he starts his new role.
Roch Huppé

CFOs: Navigating in changing times
Moderator : Diane Peressini, Executive Director, Government Accounting Policy & Reporting from the Office of the Comptroller General
Panelists: Claude Rochette, ADM and CFO, National Defence; Roch Huppé, CFO and Assistant Commissioner, Canada Revenue Agency/incoming Comptroller General of Canada, and Arun Thangaraj – ADM and CFO, Global Affairs Canada

The skills required as a CFO in the Public Sector are evolving. The CFO is no longer seen as a traditional accountant but a well-rounded individual with a varied business skillset. To be effective leaders, CFO’s are increasingly having to develop proficiencies and think critically beyond just accounting performance in areas such as strategy, risk, operations, IT and overall leadership skills to grow and sustain their organization. This session will provide insight on how you can foster a relationship with your senior team and develop the skills needed to become a go-to advisor.

Our panel of CFOs will cover the most significant business issues that they encountered in their work. They will share common challenges and solutions. This session will provide participants with some "take aways" that can be carried back to their respective area.
Roch Huppé ; Diane Peressini, CPA, CA ; Claude Rochette ; Arun Thangaraj

Asset retirement obligations: Stakeholder feedback on the proposed standard and next steps
Speakers: Kim MacPherson, Auditor General of New Brunswick and Martin Boucher, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Public sector entities utilize a variety of tangible capital assets, which may require retirement. Examples include landfills, buildings containing asbestos, x-ray machines or wastewater treatment facilities. The Public Sector Accounting Board recently received responses to its proposed standard on asset retirement obligations. Find out what senior governments, municipalities, government not-for-profit organizations and other public sector entities need in an asset retirement obligations standard and what the next steps on this project will be.
Kim MacPherson, CPA, CA ; Martin Boucher, CPA, CA

Public private partnerships: how are they structured and being currently accounted for
Speakers: Teresa Florizone, VP of Corporate Services and CFO, SaskBuilds and Jane Borland, Director, Financial Reporting, Saskatchewan Finance

In recent years, public sector entities across Canada are increasingly using various forms of public private partnership arrangements for the provision of assets and delivery of services. As a result, PSAB has undertaken a project to develop authoritative guidance specific to public private partnerships. In the meantime though, entities have to account for projects that are already underway using the existing framework and standards. So, what do you need to understand and what should you consider when faced with accounting for a P3? Is it your asset? How should the various payment streams be accounted for? What should you consider disclosing? We are excited to have with us Teresa Florizone, VP of Corporate Services and CFO, SaskBuilds and Jane Borland, Director, Financial Reporting, Saskatchewan Finance to discuss the specifics of projects currently underway in Saskatchewan, including how the projects were structured and how they are being accounted for. Please join us to gain insights and specifics related to P3 projects in Canada.
Teresa Florizone ; Jane Borland

Government financial statements: Why doesn’t anyone pay attention?
Speaker: Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada

Governments spend a lot of time and effort preparing financial statements and other financial information. The Public Sector Accounting Board spends a lot of time fretting the details of accounting standards. But it seems like no one pays attention – why is there so little interest in this financial information, even from parliamentarians?
Michael Ferguson

Transformational leadership in the public sector
Speaker: Jocelyn Bérard, Senior Vice President Organizational Psychology, Optimum Talent

Transformational Leadership - is this the latest buzzword in the leadership space or just another theory? In fact, it is real, with some serious research behind it. Transformational Leadership encompasses many effective leadership practices and behaviours we already know, but requires they be better integrated to make the theory more applicable.
In this session, we are going to demystify this highly critical aspect of leadership and, through concrete examples, illustrate why it is such a differentiator at the executive level. The session will touch on presence, personal brand, leading with purpose and vision, social intelligence, and growing others on your team.
Jocelyn Bérard

Improve financial literacy in your community
Optional Early Bird Session
Speaker: Doretta Thompson, Director, Corporate Citizenship, CPA Canada

This year, CPA Canada’s financial literacy volunteers will help more than 50,000 Canadians all across the country improve their money management skills. We partner with businesses, governments and community groups to provide children, adults, small business owners, new Canadians, people struggling with debt and job loss, and many others with straightforward, objective, plain language lessons that address their immediate concerns.

You can be part of our internationally award winning program.

Learn how CPA Canada can help you in making a difference in your community. We provide
• hands on training
• more than 35 proven programs, designed to be delivered in one hour, complete with presentation slides and speakers notes, on a wide range of topics
• online opportunity match service connecting you with community groups and employers looking for speakers and sessions
• web-based downloadable tools and ebooks

Join us to learn more about how you can share your knowledge and expertise as a CPA to enhance financial literacy in your community.
Doretta Thompson

Keynote session: Open data, open government, and the future of regulation
Speaker: Jesse Hirsh, Futurist and Digital Strategist

Open Government is an exciting innovation in public service, however on its own it will not achieve the transparency or renewal that it promises. Rather it requires a larger culture within the public service, and a focus on literacy within the broader public, but also specifically among the political class (politicians, lobbyists, journalists, and public servants). We are now in the era of algorithms, headed to an era of artificial intelligence, and Open Government is arguably the last and best hope for democracy.

For example Uber should be regarded not as a transportation company, but a data company, currently active in the transportation sector, but destined to have a hand across society, especially public policy and even public service. They represent the kind of power emerging in the private sector, and emphasize the need for a strong public sector data and proficiency. In Britain, the Labour Party under Corbyn has proposed an ambitious digital democracy initiative that offers us a glimpse of how Open Government is part of a larger process of democratic innovation and public sector renewal. What will Canada need to thrive and survive the challenges ahead? Open Government is the right approach, but it needs a broader culture to truly succeed.
Jesse Hirsh

International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Update
Speakers: Ian Carruthers, Chair and John Stanford, Technical Director, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board

Join us to hear important updates from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board.
Ian Carruthers ; John Stanford

Technology and leadership in times of change
Speaker: Warren Tomlin, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Update
Speaker: Allison McManus, Partner, Accounting Advisory and Department of Professional Practice, and Bailey Church, Partner Advisory Accounting, KPMG

With another wave of IFRS standards to be implemented between now and 2021 (most, sooner), many public sector entities are facing transition challenges that may rival those of the first implementation phase in 2011. It's critical that they do not underestimate the scope and complexity of the impending IFRS initiative, as some did in 2011. This session will provide an overview of key upcoming changes, and discuss some practical implementation tips from ongoing implementation projects.
Allison McManus ; Bailey J. Church, CPA, CA

Risk is not the Bermuda Triangle of innovation
Speakers: Andrew Graham, Professor, School of Policy Studies, Queens University; Gary Wuschnakowski, Director of Financial Management and Control Policy, Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat

Traditional views of risk and innovation are that they are like oil and water. A robust understanding of the ideas of what risk and innovation actually are and how they actually occur will show that this is quite the opposite. In complex government environments, risk mitigation depends on innovations, small and large. Financial advisors occupy a special place in making this happen. Professor Graham will discuss the research evidence behind these ideas, share his own experiences and other real-life examples of risk/innovation synergy.
Andrew Graham ; Gary Wuschnakowski

PSAB Projects Update
Speaker: Michael Puskaric, Director Public Sector Accounting, CPA Canada

Michael Puskaric, PSAB’s director will provide a glimpse of what is coming next at PSAB as he provides an overview of the projects currently under development. He will discuss the status of projects including: Employment Benefits, Public Private Partnerships, Revenue, Asset Retirement Obligations and Not-for-Profits.
Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA

Best practices for cyber incident preparation and response
Speaker: Imran Ahmad, Partner, Miller Thomson LLP

This session will provide an overview of common cyber threats and what organizations should be doing from a breach preparation and response standpoint. The session will include several case studies, identifying best practices and common pitfalls.
Imran Ahmad

Diversity and inclusion in 2017
Speaker: Laraine Kaminsky, CEO, Global LK

2017 in Canada has a changing workplace and workforce. Leaders need to be intentionally inclusive, culturally agile and aware of their biases. Unintentional exclusion can lead to disengagement and decreased productivity. This session will address all the intersections and dimensions of diversity. Laraine will provide an engaging plenary which will include best practices and strategies for leading and managing an increasingly diverse workforce.
Laraine Kaminsky

Employment benefits: Project update and preview of the invitation to comment
Speaker: Robert Lefrançois, Chair, Public Sector Accounting Board’s (PSAB) Employment Benefits Task Force

The Chair of PSAB’s Employment Benefits Task Force will provide an update on the Employment Benefits project’s recent activities; and a preview of the upcoming document for comment on discount rate guidance, expected to be published in late fall 2017. This document will consider if the current guidance – which is not specific on which discount rates should be used – is sufficient and if the current discount rates applied in practice are appropriate.
Robert Lefrançois, FCPA, FCA

Evidence-based decision making
Speaker: Michael Lionais, Executive Director, Costing and Transfer Payments, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Costing Centre of Expertise

Have you ever thought, ‘Why didn’t they listen to me? The evidence speaks for itself.’ Rather than becoming frustrated, let’s explore why the evidence may not have been considered and how you can improve your chances in the future.
Michael Lionais, CPA, CMA

From overwhelmed to flourishing: How to leverage your different “brains” to thrive
Speaker: Dr. Carlos Davidovich, Vice President Executive Coaching and NeuroManagement Expert, Optimum Talent

Stress is part of our life, how to keep it under control? This session will provide an understanding of what happens to our multiple brains when we are overwhelmed and the implications for our working life; and how to recognize the overwhelmed state in time. Using real life examples and concrete situations, Dr. Davidovich will present the seven steps to flourishing and thriving; creating a perfect set of take aways for participants as they return to work after this 2 day conference.
Carlos Davidovich, MD, MBA

Thank you to our 2017 advisory committee members
Kelly Barr, Senior Advisor, Secretariat of the Canadian Council of Comptrollers

Jane Borland, Director, Financial Management, Provincial Comptroller’s Office, Saskatchewan Finance

Suzie Gignac, Partner, Ernst and Young LLP

Paula Jesty, Partner, Deloitte LLP

Geneviève Grenier, Senior Principal, Performance Management, Reporting and Public Sector, CPA Canada

Michael Puskaric, Director, Public Sector Accounting, CPA Canada

Charles-Antoine St-Jean, Chair, Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB)

Juliet Woodfield, VP Finance &HR and CFO, Defence Construction Canada

Gary Wuschnakowski, Director, Financial Management and Control Policy Branch, Treasury Board Secretariat, Ontario Ministry of Finance
Kelly Barr ; Jane Borland ; Paula Jesty ; Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA ; Charles-Antoine St-Jean ; Juliet Woodfield, CPA, CA ; Gary Wuschnakowski

Jesse Hirsh

Jesse Hirsh

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Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Shaw Centre
55 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J2
t.:613-563-1984 or 1-800-450-0077

Venue Direction and Parking



The Novotel Hotel
33 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 9M7


CPA Canada's room block at the Novotel hotel is now full. Additional room blocks have not been arranged, however here are some hotels in the vicinity:


Frequently asked questions:

Virtual conference attendance

For a smooth virtual conference experience, ensure that you have:

  1. The most current operating system and browser on the device you will use to connect to the virtual conference platform.
  2. Access to high speed/broadband internet (or 4G/LTE services for mobile/tablet devices). If you are not on high-speed Internet, your video may become patchy at times.
  3. Speakers/headphones to hear the conference speakers, and keyboard to submit any questions to the speakers.

Group Discounts

Group discounts are available for virtual conference attendees if you wish to host a local group in your area, or attend the virtual conference with other colleagues. Once registration is open, contact CPA Canada for your group discount options.

Sponsors & Exhibitors


Cuso International logo


Cuso International logo

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Please contact:

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

Diya Gill, manager, Professional Learning and Development
Tel: 416-204-3496

Sandra Anselmo, principal, Public Sector, Professional Learning and Development
Tel: 416-204-2959

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