Commodity tax symposium 2018

Stay up-to-date on critical indirect tax issues and network with other indirect tax professionals at Canada’s largest and longest-running indirect tax event.

Event Details

Location and date:
Ottawa October 15-16, 2018

Keep your tax team up-to-date on the latest strategies to deal with 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 38th year in a row.

The 2018 CTS program will consist of in-depth technical sessions, practical issue identification and topic analysis, plus engaging keynote speakers who will share relevant insights about the impact of policy and legislation on your practice.

Virtual conference option

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

View the agenda


2017 Normand Guérin Award

Congratulations to Andrew Azmudeh, the winner of the 2017 Normand Guérin award. The award is presented by Deloitte LLP for an outstanding contribution to the advancement of commodity tax studies.

Special offers/promotions

Early bird discount available. Register before August 15, 2018 to receive $250 off the conference price. Please note that this discount cannot be combined with other offers. See FAQs below.

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


12 (18 with the workshop) CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

Topics include:

  • technology and its impact on the management of indirect taxes
  • changes to VDP, investment limited partnership, and drop shipment rules
  • PST essentials
  • recent case law update on indirect taxes
  • updates from the Canada Revenue Agency and the Department of Finance

Who should attend?

  • accounting professionals
  • lawyers
  • consultants
  • academics
  • senior executives
  • professionals who lead internal commodity tax groups for industry or not-for-profit organizations
  • representatives from the CRA, the Department of Finance, and provincial ministries of finance charged with policy and compliance initiatives regarding sales taxes and other indirect taxes

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Early Bird Registration and Welcome Reception
Confederation Foyer

Registration and Continental Breakfast
Confederation Foyer

Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address
Room: Confederation 2&3
Chantal Hébert, National Affairs Columnist for the Toronto Star
Chantal Hébert

Presentation of the Normand Guérin Award, Presented by Deloitte
Room: Confederation 2&3

A View From The Top – Indirect Tax Perspectives From Industry Heads of Tax
Room: Confederation 2&3
Moderator: Sania Ilahi, EY
Panelists: Pier Fiorino, Telus Corporation, Olaf Sheikh, Bank of Montreal

Coffee Break - Exhibits Open
Confederation Foyer

Choose one of the following:

Post Quill – The New Era of U.S. State and Local Taxation
Maria Eberle and Lindsay LaCava, Baker & McKenzie LLP

Just What Is a Cryptocurrency Anyway?
Maryse Janelle and Ugo Cloutier, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

Maryse Janelle ; Ugo Cloutier

Investment Vehicles – Which One to Choose?
Jadys Bourdelais, EY Law LLP

Networking Lunch
Room: Confederation 1

Choose one of the following:

New Rules Affecting Investment Limited Partnerships – Welcome to the Club!
Danny Cisterna, Deloitte

Places of Supply and Where to Find Them
Sabina Han, Fasken Martineau

If You Build It, Tax May Come - PST on Real Property Contracts
Tracey Osmond, Grant Thornton

Are you responsible for PST reporting for your organization?

In recent years, there have been a number of changes to how provincial sales taxes in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba apply to services performed by real property contractors. Mistakes can be costly and these types of services are routinely audited by PST auditors. This presentation will help participants clearly understand the current regulations related to these services and work though examples such as using out of province service providers.

Session Break

Choose one of the following:

Beverly Gilbert, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Beverly Gilbert

Of Course It’s Commercial! (Isn’t It?)
Christina Zurowski and Grace Caputo, Grant Thornton
Grace Caputo ; Christina Zurowski, CPA, CA

Next Stop: Canada?
Eric Paton, PwC

Coffee Break - Exhibits Open
Confederation Foyer

Case Law Update
Room: Confederation 2&3
Neil Bass and Angelo Gentile, Aird & Berlis LLP

Networking Reception
Confederation I

Continental Breakfast
Confederation Foyer

Fireside Chat with the Department of Finance
Room: Confederation 2&3
Moderator: Danny Cisterna, Deloitte
Speakers: Brian Ernewein and Phil King, Department of Finance

Session Change Break

Choose one of the following:

Agency and Trust Issues
Elena Balkos, KPMG

Analysis and Critique of the New GST/HST Voluntary Disclosure Policy
W. Jack Millar, Millar Kreklewetz LLP

Networking Coffee Break - Exhibits Open
Confederation Foyer

Fireside Chat with CRA
Room: Confederation 2&3

Networking Lunch
Room: Confederation 1
GST Leaders Update

Choose one of the following:

Canadian Sales Tax Registration Requirements
David D. Robertson, EY Law LLP and Stephen J. Rukavina, Clark Wilson LLP

This paper and presentation will comprehensively cover Canadian sales tax registration requirements.

The GST/HST and QST registration requirements will be reviewed in-depth, focusing on the carrying on business test relevant to non-residents. An overview of jurisprudence and CRA administrative policy will be provided. Unique situations will be examined such as non-residents engaged in consignment and leasing transactions. Quebec’s proposed changes to expand the QST registration requirements to certain businesses without any physical or significant presence in Quebec will be discussed.

Registration requirements for BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba sales taxes will also be examined in-depth, including recent legislative changes.
David Robertson ; Stephen Rukavina

CRAs Priority Rights for Unremitted Amounts
Maurice Chiasson, Stewart McKelvey and Jeremy Scott, BDO

Tax Authorities around the world are increasingly vigilant in taking steps to protect their tax bases and taking additional steps to enforce the collection of taxes owing. The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) is no exception.
In recent years, the CRA has been more aggressive in its collection efforts, particularly in relation to funds collected by a taxpayer from third parties for remittance to the CRA. The CRA considers such collected funds to be trust funds. As a result, tax legislation contains special provisions designed to assist the CRA to recover such amounts. The Excise Tax Act (the “ETA”) is no exception to this rule as it contains specific provisions designed to safeguard these trust funds.
The enforcement of these provisions is not without controversy particularly when the rights of other creditors of a tax debtor are taken into consideration. The CRA’s rights in relation to certain such creditors will soon be considered by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Calladus case.
This session will examine the deemed trust provisions contained in the ETA and the issues surrounding its enforcement. Particular emphasis will be placed on the facts in the Calladus case and how the Supreme Court may rule in this matter. We will also review other recent decisions involving the CRA’s defence of its collection powers in relation to the GST/HST.

Choose one of the following:

The Drop Shipment Rules - Now That We Have Royal Assent, How Do They Work?
Randy Schwartz and Dan Weland, PwC

Randy Schwartz

Key Developments in Global Trade
KPMG Representative

Networking Coffee Break - Exhibits Open
Confederation Foyer

Technology Table Stakes – Falling Behind Is Not An Option
Room: Confederation 2&3
Susie Cooke, Deloitte

Conference Adjourns

Provincial Sales Tax Essentials – All You Need to Know
Room: Provinces 2
Katherine Xilinas EY Law LLP, Jennifer Muirhead KPMG and Erin Jensen KPMG
Katherine Xilinas ; Jennifer Muirhead ; Erin Jensen, CPA, CA, CPA (IL)

Workshop Registration and Continental Breakfast
Provinces 2 Foyer

Introduction to PST in BC, SK and MB

PST on Tangible Personal Property and Real Property

Coffee Break
Provinces 2 Foyer

PST on Services, Software and Intangibles


Manufacturing Exemptions

PST Registration and Compliance Requirements

Coffee Break
Provinces 2 Foyer

PST Audits, Penalties, Refunds and Appeals

Workshop Adjourns

Thank You to Our Advisory Committee
Richard Taylor (Chair)
Rogers Communications

Wendy Brousseau
McCarthy Tétrault

Danny Cisterna
CPA Canada Commodity Tax Committee

Michèle Clermont
TELUS Communications Inc.

Erin Jensen

Shashi Fernando
BMO Financial Group

Simon Thang
Thang Tax Law

Danny Cisterna, CPA, CA ; Shashi Fernando-Eden ; Simon Thang

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


The Westin Ottawa Hotel
11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4


The Westin Ottawa Hotel
11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4
t.: 613-560-7000

Hotel reservations are the responsibility of the participant. CPA Canada has arranged for special conference rates at the Westin Ottawa.

Traditional Room (single/double)    $259/night
Deluxe Room (single/double)          $309/night
Suites (single/double)                     $384/night
Additional Person                            $40/night

Book online at

Rates available until September 21, 2018, or until the room block is full.

Rates are available three days prior and three days post-conference, subject to availability.

Frequently asked questions:


Calling recent graduates of In-Depth HST/GST!

Have you recently taken CPA Canada’s In-Depth HST/GST Course and need to stay up to date on the changes in indirect tax? Commodity Tax Symposium is for you and you can attend for just $1,095! To qualify for the discount, you must have taken the In-Depth HST/GST course in 2016, 2017 or 2018 as a beginner or with some experience, and have never attended CTS or CTS West in the past. For details and to register, contact Reshma Oza .

Refer a friend for a chance to win a weekend getaway!

Refer a friend or colleague who is new* to the Commodity Tax Symposium and be entered for a chance to each win a $650 gift card that you can use to treat yourself to a weekend getaway! For each friend you refer, you will receive a ballot in the draw, which will take place at CTS’s Monday night networking reception. You or your friend must be present at the time of the draw to claim your prize. To be entered, ask your friend to enter your name when registering.

* Friend/colleague has never attended CTS or CTS West in the past.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Welcome reception: Begin the conference with an opportunity to network with attendees prior to the symposium. The welcome reception will take place in the Confederation Foyer (4th floor) of The Westin Ottawa from 4.30pm – 7.30pm.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Networking reception: Following the day’s sessions, join attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors for the CTS networking reception. Enjoy a beverage or two while visiting conference exhibitors and meeting fellow attendees.


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

  • the most current operating system and browser on the device you will use to connect to the virtual conference platform
  • 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
  • speakers/headphones to hear the conference speakers

You may also be interested in:

This comprehensive two-part course delivers the latest indirect tax resources, techniques and business tools to help you succeed.

This course explores the ever-changing GST/HST legislation and guidance for financial institutions and services, including pensions. Get the practical insights and solutions you need to successfully apply your knowledge in real-life transaction and compliance situations.


Please contact:

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