Public sector conference 2018

If you’re a 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 is the place to be.

Event Details

Location and date:
Ottawa October 22-23, 2018

The role of public sector financial professionals is continually evolving. At this year’s conference, you will have the opportunity to upgrade your skills and enhance the value you bring to your work with a variety of innovative sessions, captivating keynote speakers and thought-provoking panels.

Connect with peers, hear about some of the top challenges facing today’s public sector finance professionals, and stay up to date on emerging trends as you explore the leadership and accounting topics that matter most to you.

New this year, the event features half-day post-conference workshops on:

  • data analytics – the three most powerful and least understood tools in Excel
  • effective operational planning and cost modeling
  • HST/GST for public sector bodies

Please note: Workshops will not be live streamed.

Conference fees:

  • in-person attendees: $1,095 plus applicable taxes
  • virtual attendees: $895 plus applicable taxes
  • post-conference workshops: $395 plus applicable taxes per workshop

View the agenda


The 2017 public sector conference included:

  • a special address by Roch Huppe, comptroller general of Canada
  • a highly anticipated CFO panel discussion with personal experiences and viewpoints
  • two engaging keynotes who shared insights on how transformative leadership can help people and organizations thrive

Special offers/promotions

Group discount (virtual conference only) available. Please contact our customer service team to book groups.

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

In-person: $1,095; Virtual: $895

17 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

You will learn about:

  • important Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) updates
  • innovative best practices
  • public sector accounting
  • government financial management and reporting
  • technology trends for the public sector
  • leadership development

Virtual conference option

Can’t make it to Ottawa? Attend virtually. Listen to speakers and see the conference, 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.

Topics include:

  • important PSAB, IFRS and IPSAS updates
  • Comptroller General and Auditor General panels
  • big data, data analytics, blockchain and cybersecurity
  • public sector accounting and much more

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: Empty Planet: Coping with the impact of global population decline
Speaker: John Ibbitson, Award Winning Political Journalist and Writer-at-large, The Globe and Mail

United Nations population models predict the planet’s human population will grow from seven billion today to eleven billion by 2100. Unless humankind defuses this population bomb, experts warn, we face a future of increasing poverty, food shortages, conflict and environmental degradation. These predictions are wrong.
The great defining event of the twentieth century — one of the great defining events in human history — will occur in three decades, give or take, when the global population starts to decline. Once that decline begins, it will never end. We do not face the challenge of a population bomb but of a population bust — a relentless, generation-after-generation culling of the human herd. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
- Joel K. Bourne Jr., The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World, (New York: Norton, 2015), Introduction

John Ibbitson

PSAB strategic overview
Speaker: Charles-Antoine St-Jean, Chair, Public Sector Accounting Board

Charles Antoine St-Jean, the Chair of the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) will provide an overview of PSAB’s strategic direction. He will discuss some of the key strategies in the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, namely the:
• Proposed new Conceptual Framework and Reporting Framework
• PSAB’s approach to International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and
• Not-for-profit sector consultation to shape the future strategy

Charles-Antoine St-Jean

Concurrent Sessions:

Cannabis Legislation: Ready or Not, Here It Comes
Speaker: Dale Tesarowski, Executive Director, Corporate Initiatives, Performance and Planning, Saskatchewan Department of Justice

With cannabis legalization coming into effect October 17, 2018, we are seeing social transformation in virtually live time. This session will concentrate on what is meant by legalization and how the federal, provincial and territorial governments are implementing it. Age limits, possession amounts, retail and online sales, taxation, production and processing are amongst the areas where changes are being made. How these changes may impact workplaces, communities and society will also be discussed.

Dale Tesarowski

A Proposed New Conceptual Framework and Reporting Model for the Canadian Public Sector
Speakers: Clyde MacLellan, Assistant Auditor General of Canada and Nicola Young, Professor, St. Mary’s University

On May 28, 2018 the Public Sector Accounting Board published proposals (link below) for a revised conceptual framework and reporting model for the Canadian public sector that would significantly affect the future of public sector financial reporting and standard setting. For those involved in public sector accounting and financial reporting they represent a once in a generation chance to influence the future of public sector financial reporting in Canada.
You still have time to provide your input and this session can help. Responses to the proposals are due to PSAB on November 28, 2018.
Find out about some of the key proposals for a revised conceptual framework and reporting model and how they might impact you!
Link to proposals:
Clyde MacLellan, FCPA, FCA ; Nicola (Nickie) M. Young, FCPA, FCA

Beyond the CFO Role
Moderator: Suzanne Gignac, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
Kelly Gillis, Deputy Minister, Infrastructure Canada
Mary Wilson Trider, President & CEO, Almonte General Hospital and Carleton Place District Memorial Hospital
Michel Tremblay, CMHC SVP, Policy, Research and Public Affairs, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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 from CPAs who have moved beyond the role of the CFO to Deputy Minister/President/Senior VP roles.
What do they wish they had done differently? What information do they seek from their Finance functions? How can the CFO be a better strategic partner? What guidance would you give to those in finance roles who want to diversify their experience outside the finance function?
Our panel of senior leaders will discuss their perspectives as they have moved beyond the finance function. They will share common challenges and solutions that will provide participants with the insight needed to better serve their senior management teams and personal insight on competencies to develop for those wanting to reach beyond the CFO role.

Suzanne Gignac ; Kelly Gillis ; Mary Wilson Trider ; Michel Tremblay

Concurrent Sessions:

Driving social impact: The enhanced opportunity for the public sector and not for profit organizations
Moderator: Bailey Church, Partner, KPMG
Panelists to date: Catherine Scott, Director General, Community Development and Homelessness Partnerships Directorate, Employment and Social Development Canada; Ajmal Sataar, President, Inspire Nunavut

A federal Steering Group comprised of experts from across the country was appointed to co-create a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy for Canada. In June 2018, the Steering Group released its recommendations that have significant implications for the public sector and not for profit organizations. Ultimately, the vision is to create an enhanced ecosystem resulting in more socially and economically inclusive communities across our country. Learn how the recommendations and the broader trends they represent will impact your organization.
Bailey J. Church, CPA, CA ; Catherine Scott

Concurrent Sessions:

Let's talk diversity: Women in leadership
Moderator: Linda Schweitzer, Interim Dean and Associate Professor, Sprott School of Business at Carleton University
Janice Baker, City Manager and CAO, City of Mississauga
Clare Isman, President and CEO of Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority
Kami Ramcharan, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Commissioner, Finance and Administration, Canada Revenue Agency

The women on this panel are seasoned senior leaders in their organizations. These women will share their insights and answer questions on a number of topics such as:
• The impact of having women in key leadership roles
• How as leaders they have an effect on their organization
• How they identify talent in younger women

Linda Schweitzer ; Janice M. Baker, FCPA, FCA ; Clare Isman ; Kami Ramcharan

National Shipbuilding Strategy: Interdepartmental Collaboration and Cost Estimates
Speaker: Michael Lionais, Executive Director, Costing and Transfer Payments, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Whether implementing a project or program, successful initiatives require accurate cost estimates. What happens when the project is unparalleled? The National Shipbuilding Strategy is a long-term, multi-billion dollar commitment to renewing Canada's federal fleet. In this session we will look at how The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat worked in collaboration with multiple departments to develop a cost estimate for this project. A venture of this magnitude necessitates innovative practices, join Michael Lionais as he also discusses the lessons learned from piloting the use of future oriented cost estimates, information to consider when building projects of your own.
Michael Lionais, CPA, CMA

Auditor-General Panel: Guarding the Public Trust and Auditing for Integrity
Moderator: Carol Devenny, Office Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada
Carol Bellringer, Auditor General of British Columbia
Ken Hughes, Auditor General of City of Ottawa

This panel will look at the role auditors play in guarding the public trust and the types issues they see today that create challenges to ensuring government and public administration is accountable, transparent, ethical and of high integrity.

Carol Devenny ; Michael Ferguson ; Carol Bellringer FCPA, FCA ; Kenneth J. Hughes, CPA, CMA, CFF

Closing Plenary
Speaker: Peter Wallace, Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Peter Wallace

Next generation of CPAs
Claude Rochette, CFO Department of National Defense
Juliet Woodfield, Vice-President, Finance & HR, and CFO, Defence Construction Canada

Panelists to date:
Ryan Kelso, Acting Controller, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
David Lao, Financial Analyst, Department of National Defense
Aman Srivastava, title TBA, Office of the Comptroller General of Canada

This session will feature 3 professional accountants who are within their first five years of their career within the public sector or not for profit sector. Why not join us for an Early Bird Session on October 23, 2018 to hear from them on a number of topics including: what they are looking for from their leader, the type of work they are hoping to do, and their ideas on how the public sector and not for profit employers can continue to recruit and retain new early career talent.

Claude Rochette ; Juliet Woodfield, CPA, CA ; Ryan M. Kelso, CPA, CA ; David (Chun Yu) Lao ; Aman Srivastava

Keynote: The Improbable is the New Normal - How to Win in a Chaotic Era
Speaker: Shawn Kanungo, Strategist and General Partner, Queen and Rook

For decades, we have designed our finance organizations and governments to be operationally excellent. Today, the game has changed - the improbable is the new normal. We are now looking beyond efficiency, and focusing on evolution.

Shawn Kanungo provides a bold roadmap for the future. From artificial intelligence to blockchain to voice technology, he will help to make sense of the rapidly changing demographic and technological trends shaping the future of government and finance professionals. He also discusses how well his team predicted the future of government and finance professionals in 2020. Kanungo’s Deloitte team launched the Gov2020 website in 2014, and he’ll discuss what they ultimately got right, wrong and the lessons learned.
Shawn Kanungo

Financial Executives Panel: Challenges, Change and the Future
Moderator: Roxanne Anderson, CEO, March Advisory Inc.
Roch Huppé, Comptroller General of Canada
Jennifer Camelon, Interim President and CEO, Royal Canadian Mint
Laura Mirabella, Commissioner of Finance and Regional Treasurer, Regional Municipality of York

Our seasoned finance executives including the Comptroller General of Canada, and others from different levels of government will share their thoughts around the big issues and ideas they are facing in today's ever-changing environment. The panel will discuss how leaders are managing emerging initiatives as they strive to advance and mature their respective operations.

Roxanne Anderson ; Roch Huppé ; Jennifer Camelon

The Future of cyber security – from an Audit Committee, Finance and Internal Control perspective
Speaker: MIchael Abbott, Partner, Deloitte

This session will provide a business perspective on cyber security and provide the following elements:
• Overview of a cyber-attack
• Defending against new cyber-attacks and emerging threats
• Cyber Security Risk Management
• The evolving control framework
• Role of Cyber insurance

Michael Abbott

International Public Sector Accounting Standards - an Update
Moderator: John Stanford, Technical Director International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board
Panelists: Rod Monette, Board Member and Paul Mason, Principal, International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board

Former Comptroller-General of Canada and Former Chair of PSAB, Rod Monette, an IPSASB Board member since January 2015 discusses projected trends in the global adoption and implementation of accrual financial reporting, and the development of the IPSASB’s 2019-2023 Strategy and Work Plan.

IPSASB Principal, Paul Mason, will discuss IPSASB’s current work plan and particularly focus on IPSASB’s projects on Social Benefits, Non-Exchange Expenses, Revenue and Leases.

The session will be moderated by IPSASB Technical Director, John Stanford

John Stanford ; Rod Monette, FCPA, FCA ; Paul Mason

Imagining Chief Data Officers
Speaker: Michael Patrick Moran, Vice President Research, Gartner Inc.

CDOs are the newest executive level role within organizations. Their mandate: enterprise data and analytics at a time when organizations are facing significant challenges and ever-increasing rate of change. Digitalization offers the promise of transforming organizations through placing data and analytics at their center. However, does such a role and mandate pose a threat or opportunity for other members of the C-suite — particularly CIOs and CFOs? Opening with the “art of the possible” we set the stage to explore data and analytics and those vested with responsibility for them through a view from Gartner’s perspective, best practices and enabling data and analytics at scale.

International Financial Reporting Standards Update
Speaker: Linda Mezon, Chair Canadian Accounting Standards Board

The Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) has recently endorsed and made available for use in Canada a number of large and complex IFRS® Standards including financial instruments, revenue, leases and insurance. Together, these Standards rival the transition to IFRS itself in terms of the adoption effort. Learn about the new requirements and the International Accounting Standards Board’s major projects. Hear how the AcSB influences the development of IFRS Standards and supports their implementation in Canada, including their application to emerging topics like cannabis accounting, cloud computing and cryptocurrencies. This session will also outline other key initiatives of the AcSB, including its new research program and a draft Framework for Reporting Performance Measures.
Linda Mezon, FCPA, FCA, CPA (MI), CGMA

Enabling more effective public financial management: Application of Blockchain solutions
Moderator: Abhishek Sinha, Partner, Toronto, Ernst & Young LLP
Panelists to date:
Mark MacDonald, Partner - Government & Public Sector, Ernst & Young LLP
Natalia Ameline, Co-Founder, CryptoChicks
Gerardo Amaya, Executive Digital Advisor, Microsoft Canada

Blockchain is taking centre stage and is moving out of the R&D phase and into real-world applications! We have assembled a panel of experts who will explain how Blockchain will enable a more decentralized economy, eliminating the need for centralized institutions such as banks or governments to facilitate trade. It promises to radically speed up transactions and cut costs by establishing trust and the transfer of value without the involvement of traditional intermediaries. Learn about real-world examples of how organizations are using Blockchain to enable a distributed, transparent, autonomous system to exchange value.
Mark MacDonald ; Natalia Ameline ; Gerardo Amaya

PSAB Update on Standards
Speaker: Michael Puskaric, Director, Public Sector Accounting Board

The Public Sector Accounting Board Director, Michael Puskaric discusses the current PSAB work plan and standards coming into effect. He will provide insight into the following projects currently under development:
- Employment Benefits,
- Government Not-For-Profit Strategy,
- Financial Instruments, and
- Public Private Partnerships.

Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA

Building a Board Career
Speaker: Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director and Founder and CEO, Women Get On Board

Interested in building a career on a board of directors? Be sure to join Deborah Rosati as she walks us through how to build a board career, focusing how we can leverage our CPA public sector and not for profit experience.

Deborah Rosati, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D

Open Government and Transparency in Financial Reporting
Speaker: Melanie Robert, Executive Director, Open Government & Services, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Open Government is a global movement that has been embraced by more than 75 countries. Around the world, government reformers and civil society leaders are transforming how governments are operating to increase transparency, accountability and citizen participation. Join us on a session which will explore the evolution of open government in Canada and worldwide, look at latest trends in transparency of financial reporting, and help you prepare for an open future.

Resilient organizations
Speaker: Jennifer Gervès-Keen, Leadership Coach

Long term strength and agility. Capacity to not only survive change, but to thrive in change. Adaptability, growth and sustainability. Throughout both public and private sectors, 'resilience' is the new buzz word, and the benchmark to see if you are in fact able to change. In order to create resilient organizations, we first need resilient individuals, particularly when it comes to our leaders. Join Jennifer Gervès Keen, award winning master executive coach as she provides insight on how to build resilience in your organization from the inside out, through building and sustaining resilient teams.

Jennifer Gervès-Keen

Thank you to our 2018 advisory committee members
Sandra Anselmo, Principal Professional Programs (Public Sector), CPA Canada
Kelly Barr, Senior Advisor, Secretariat of the Canadian Council of Comptrollers
Jane Borland, Director, Financial Management, Provincial Comptroller’s Office, Saskatchewan Finance
Sonia Brennan, Deputy Auditor General, City of Ottawa
Suzanne Gignac, Partner, Ernst and Young LLP
Paula Jesty, Partner, Deloitte LLP
Michael Lionais, Executive Director, Costing and Transfer Payments, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Diane Peressini, Executive Director, Government Accounting Policy & Reporting from the Office of the Comptroller General
Michael Puskaric, Director, Public Sector Accounting, CPA Canada
Claude Rochette, Assistant Deputy Minister (Finance) / Chief Financial Officer, Department of National Defence
Charles-Antoine St-Jean, Chair, Public Sector Accounting Board
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
Sandra Anselmo ; Kelly Barr ; Jane Borland ; Sonia Brennan ; Suzanne Gignac ; Paula Jesty ; Michael Lionais, CPA, CMA ; Diane Peressini, CPA, CA ; Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA ; Claude Rochette ; Charles-Antoine St-Jean ; Juliet Woodfield, CPA, CA ; Gary Wuschnakowski

Effective Operational Planning and Cost Modelling
Facilitator: Mike Haley, Performance Architect, Landmark Decisions Inc.

Effective operational planning and budgeting continues to be one of the biggest management obstacles facing today’s public sector. In addition, accurate program and service costing to support decision-making also remains a challenge for most organizations. This half-day workshop presents tips and techniques for enhanced operational and financial planning and improved resource management in the public sector by guiding you through a case study and group discussions on the right tools and strategies to use when planning, budgeting, and/or costing business operations. This workshop will help you increase the long-term sustainability of your organization’s programs and services while improving your overall planning skills.
Key Learning Objectives:
• Develop “hands-on” experience in building meaningful resource management and operational planning and costing models
• Understand the role and value of Excel and other innovative business process modeling technology to support effective scenario playing to forecast operational impacts on meeting program or organizational outcomes
• Gain insights into “Performance Budgeting” by recognizing key linkages between the performance objectives of strategic plans and operational and financial planning

Mike Haley

Data Analytics – the three most powerful and least understood tools in Excel
Facilitator: Carlo Lisi, Senior Audit Manager, TD Canada Trust

The purpose of this workshop is to help participants understand the power of excel and learn to utilize some of its most useful and powerful tools. This will be a practical workshop where you will have an opportunity to practice the excel tools presented to you.
By attending the workshop, you will:
• Be Data Smart by using MS Excel to transform data into insight
• Learn everything about spreadsheets you were afraid to ask
• Be the MS Excel Superhero of your team
Specific topics covered - Excel Tips and Tricks, Pivot Tables, Fuzzy Lookup and comparing workbooks using the Inquire Add-in

Carlo Lisi

HST/GST Issues for Public Sector Bodies
Facilitators: Michael Matthews, Partner, and Trevor Pope, Senior Manager, Deloitte

The application of indirect tax to the public sector is surprisingly complex. From the determination of tax liability on revenues, to trying to decode the rules around recovering tax paid, to completing GST/HST returns. Indirect tax can be a minefield of potential problems demand additional compliance time and often resulting in additional tax costs.

This half-day workshop provides you with an insight from the practitioner’s perspective that will guide you through the process of dealing with GST/HST on a day to day basis. The presentation includes discussion on some of the more complex areas of the application of the federal legislation to your sector. Whether you are in the municipal, healthcare, education or charity sector, there is something in this workshop for you.

Our team of indirect tax experts will cover a number of topics, including, registration, completing GST/HST returns, determining tax status of supplies, input tax credits and rebates, real property, special accounting methods and dealing with the CRA auditor.

Key Learning Objectives

- Develop a greater understanding of how the federal tax applies to your situation.
- Understand what the CRA is looking for when it audits, and how to prepare and deal with government officials.

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


Ottawa Shaw Centre
55 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1N 9J2


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

Frequently asked questions:

What equipment do I need to join the virtual conference?

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, and keyboard to submit any questions to the speakers.

How do I use the available discounts?

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

Booking accommodations at the Novotel:

A block of guestrooms has been reserved at the Novotel Ottawa Hotel at a guaranteed rate of $189 plus applicable taxes. This rate is available until October 1, 2018, or until our room block is filled.

Contact the hotel to book (refer to CPA Canada's Public Sector Conference to get the conference rate), or reserve your room online.

The Novotel Ottawa Hotel
33 Nicholas Street, Ottawa, ON
t. 613-230-3033

Note, the hotel has a 48-hour cancellation policy, should you wish to cancel your reservation.

Sponsors & Exhibitors


EY TD Insurance



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