Public sector conference 2019

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 is the place to be.

Event Details

Location and date:
Ottawa October 28-29, 2019

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

With the theme of Lead.Innovate.Connect., this year's conference agenda promises cutting edge ideas, best practices and thought leadership, along with the regular technical and regulatory updates. Our featured keynote speakers this year include:

Connect with peers and hear about some of the top challenges facing today’s public sector finance professionals from every level of government. Stay up-to-date on emerging professional trends as you explore the leadership and accounting topics that matter most to you.

Optional post-conference workshops on October 30, 2019:

Workshop fee: $395 plus applicable taxes. Conference attendance is not required to register for the workshop.

Please note that post-conference workshops will not be live-streamed.

View the agenda

Special offers/promotions

Group discounts (virtual only) available. Please contact our customer service team to book groups. This discount cannot be combined with other offers.

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

In-person $1,095; Virtual $895; Post-conference workshop $395

17 CPD hour(s)
Pricing & registration

Topics include:

  • important PSAB updates
  • innovative best practices
  • ethics and AI
  • government financial management and reporting
  • technology trends for the public sector
  • leadership development

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

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.

More Details:

Session Descriptions

Opening Keynote: Leading with Influence
Speaker: Heath Slawner, Expert on Trust-Based Leadership, Influence and Performance

In one word, leadership is influence. Unfortunately, it is a skill that most leaders don’t have the time, or the opportunity, to learn. Today, the pressure on public sector finance leaders has never been greater. In this era of disruption, more is being asked of you than ever before.

• How adept are you at helping next-generation employees reach their full potential?
• How well do you manage through, and inspire, change?
• How can you create a workplace environment that enhances trust, cooperation and innovation?

Ultimately, it is your "soft power" — your ability to positively influence people and situations — that determines your success. In this session, Heath Slawner demonstrates the power of scientifically-proven leadership principles so that you and your teams can thrive even in the most complex and demanding conditions. At a high-level, this session will help you become a more influential leader that others willingly choose to follow.
Join Heath to learn how to:
1) Foster teamwork and cooperation, even among diverse, multi-generational group of employees
2) Unleash employee potential and align everyone to deliver exceptional results
3) Infuse your workplace with a clear sense of trust and purpose.

Counterintuively, leaders actually serve the led, and not the other way around. Indeed, true leaders understand that their duty is to positively influence the people that follow them. This enables you to create the right environment where people make an impact by showing up everyday to do their best work.

Heath Slawner

Address by the Comptroller General of Canada
Speaker: Roch Huppé, Comptroller General of Canada
Hear from Mr. Roch Huppé, the Comptroller General of Canada who will share his thoughts on leadership in the public sector.

Roch Huppé, CPA, CGA

Building Infrastructure to Meet Canada’s Needs: The Past, Present, and Possible Future of Public Private Partnerships in Canada
Speaker: Nicholas Hann, Infrastructure Consultant

Investment in infrastructure is a great interest to all levels of government and the public. This session will explore the evolution of infrastructure construction and deployment across Canada and lessons learned from other countries.

Join Nick Hann, a leading infrastructure consultant, to learn about key policy instruments all governments and stakeholders are considering in their strategy to build and deploy Canadian infrastructure to meet the needs of Canada and enable greater economic prosperity.

Nicholas Hann

PSAB International Strategic Update
Speakers: Charles-Antoine St-Jean, Chair, Public Sector Accounting Board; Michael Puskaric, Director Public Sector Accounting, CPA Canada;

The upcoming decision on the Public Sector Accounting Board’s (PSAB) international strategy is scheduled for March 2020. What could this mean for Canada if International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are adopted? What experiences have other jurisdictions that adopted IPSAS had? This session will explain what the options are when it comes to IPSAS as well as the initial findings from the final consultation paper, giving participants firsthand information on what could impact Canada’s public sector accounting landscape for years to come.
Charles-Antoine St-Jean ; Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA

A New Fiscal Relationship: A Case for Change
Speaker: Scott Munro,
Director, Standards and Certification
First Nations Financial Management Board
Michael McIntyre, Director, First Nations Financial Management Board and CFO, Membertou First Nation

Scott Munro, CPA, CA, CAFM ; Michael McIntyre, PhD, CPA, CA

A Risk Management Approach to Cyber Security
Richard Leest, Director of Information Technology Services, York Region
Jason Li, Director, Controllership Office and Deputy Treasurer at York Region

When considering whether to adopt a new technology, business leaders need to consider whether the benefits brought by the technology will be worth the risk. But how can leaders balance business needs with cybersecurity if they do not understand the risks?

Business leaders need to clearly understand the risks associated with technologies so they can:
• Decide which risks are acceptable
• Decide how much risk is acceptable
• Work with their risk, legal, privacy, information management, data or information technology teams to find appropriate risk mitigations

To solve this problem, York Region has created a framework for risk assessment which can be uniformly applied to all technology adoptions. Built by a cross functional team of professionals from risk management, legal, information technology, and privacy, the framework and tools are automated and used to evaluate the risks involved when procuring, implementing, changing and removing technology-based tools.

The framework and related tools will contain clear, easy to understand graphical information to allow the business owner to understand the risks associated with a given technology.

The speakers will take the audience through case studies where these tools have shown to be effective, and the lessons learned from this journey.

Richard Leest ; Jason Li

Choose one of the following sessions:

A Real-world Example of How Blockchain can Modernize Public Sector Financial Management: Lessons from the City of Toronto
Moderator: Abhishek Sinha, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Heather Taylor , CFO, City of Toronto
Mark MacDonald, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Join us for a discussion highlighting the modernization and transformation efforts taking place at the City of Toronto around budget process modernization through blockchain technology. In this session, you will learn through first-hand experience how the power of new technology can help overcome long-standing challenges to efficient management. Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of how emerging technologies have been used to enable financial transformation in real-life situations.

Mark MacDonald ; Abhishek Sinha ; Heather Taylor

Emerging Issues in Accounting
Speaker: Martin Boucher, Partner, National Accounting Consulting Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

We often focus on the new accounting standards. And yet the public sector’s increasingly complex environment results in questions over accounting standards that have been applied for years. This session will cover new twists on long-standing accounting standards such as cloud computing arrangements, investments in green infrastructure, contingent liabilities in a context of more frequent settlements as well as accounting for participation in a shared asset. While this session will not give you all the answers, the objective is to raise awareness over application challenges of fundamental questions as applied to these emerging issues: Is there an asset? Is there a liability? Is there a need for a new accounting policy altogether?

Martin Boucher, CPA, CA

Ethics: Building Trust in Artificial Intelligence
Speaker: Cathy Cobey, Global Trusted AI Advisory Leader, Ernst & Young LLP

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to drive 95% of all customer interactions by 2025 but a lack of trust is the #1 barrier to its development. Without mature risk awareness that encompasses broader ethical and social considerations, AI capabilities will be slow to evolve. Join Cathy Cobey, EY’s Global Trusted AI Advisory Leader in a session to explore what your organization can do to gain trust in AI, including techniques to evaluate the maturity of your AI governance and ethical practices, measure the risk of an AI agent and build the control mechanisms to build and operate trustworthy AI.

Cathy Cobey

PSAB Strategic Updates
Speakers: Michael Puskaric, Director Public Sector Accounting, CPA Canada; Bailey Church, Partner, KPMG

Description to follow
Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA ; Bailey J. Church, CPA, CA

The New Generation of CPAs: Opportunities and Perspectives
Jennifer Gerves-Keen, Executive Coach
Alan Kerr, VP Corporate Services and CFO, Impact Assessment Agency of Canada

Panelists to date:
James Sabourin, Financial Services Coordinator, City of Ottawa
Diana Fink, Financial Analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance
Sarah Bergeron, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

In today’s work environment, it is not uncommon to be working with individuals from 4 different generations. Connecting and understanding people from different generations will produce new ideas and create opportunities for innovative initiatives.

Learn about what defines a generation and the different perspectives by joining this engaging panel to hear from a number of early career Chartered Professional Accountants. What do they enjoy about their jobs and what opportunities do they see for technological advancements in the field of financial management? Three early career panelists will share their perspectives on these matters and what drives them to success.

Jennifer Gervès-Keen ; Alan Kerr ; James Sabourin

Asset Retirement Obligations - Implementation
Bailey Church, KPMG LLP

Tomas Kelly, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and John Mauti, CFO and Senior Vice President Finance, Ontario Power Generation

The Asset Retirement Obligation session will provide perspectives on section implementation issues, drawing from the experiences of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and Ontario Power Generation in accounting for their respective decommissioning obligations. What were some of their challenges, best practices and lessons learned, and how can that be applied for public sector entities implementing PS3280?

Bailey J. Church, CPA, CA ; John Mauti ; Tomas Kelly

Keynote Address: Innovation (And Disruption)
Speaker: Max Valiquette, Innovation, Transformation and Marketing Expert

Innovation has famously been called “the most important and the most overused” word right now. We’re hearing it, reading it, seeing it more than ever — along with its sister term, disruption. But the innovation conversation tends to be dominated by the private sector - we speak of entire industries being disrupted and new brands and businesses far more often than we think about what this means for the public sector. But the need for innovation exists everywhere - consumers are citizens first, remember - and the lessons of innovation are just as applicable to Government as to business; just as relevant to the public sector as to the private.
This presentation makes innovation and disruption simple. Using easy-to-understand principles and actionable strategies that you can take away and implement immediately, plus a fun, entertaining presentation style that has people laughing and learning at the same time, Max Valiquette demystifies innovation.
In this presentation, you’ll learn why innovation is more important than ever (and why it’s also more confusing), how innovation is much easier for most us than we think it is, and the few key things you can do right now to foster a culture of innovation - and some specific implications for the public sector and those who are affected by it. Innovation has never been as valued as it is right now – but that doesn’t mean we know how to get value from innovation. “Innovation (and Disruption)” will leave you knowing how to make innovation have value for you.

Max Valiquette

How Accountants Can Bridge the Global Infrastructure Gap
Speakers: Davinder Valeri , Director, Strategy, Risk and Performancce, CPA Canada and Alex Metcalfe , Head of Public Sector Policy, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Infrastructure is critical for economic and social development across the world. Transport infrastructure allows people to travel to work and transport goods to different markets. The power and utility systems provide us with the energy and services that we need to survive. We all rely on infrastructure systems to ensure that our basic human needs are met.
Join Davinder Valeri and Alex Metcalfe, the report’s authors, as they demonstrate the critical role accountants play in bridging the global infrastructure gap by improving the planning and selection, financing and delivery of infrastructure projects. They will also talk about the 20 recommendations found in the report, derived from international good practice, to help close the infrastructure gap.

Davinder Valeri ; Alex Metcalfe

Innovative Ways to Deploy Programs
Speaker: Arun Thangaraj, Assistant Deputy Minister and CFO, Global Affairs Canada

Embrace innovation in transfer payments by coming to this impactful session on innovative ways programs are deployed with grants and contributions at the federal government. Join Arun Thangaraj as he walks you through the evolution of financial instruments (social impact bonds, loss guarantees and outcome and performance arrangements), giving you the tools to influence innovative program delivery in your organization.
Arun Thangaraj

Quantifying Risk Transference: Using Data Analytics to Manage Risk in Procurement
Speaker: Peter J. Braxton, Subject Matter Expert, Technomics, Inc.

Information is power and with procurement modernization being a key initiative for many, the use of data analytics within procurement provides undeniable value. Join Peter J. Braxton, Subject Matter Expert from Technomics, to learn about quantifying risk transference in procurement and how to use data analytics to decide on a risk transference strategy.

Disruptive Technologies
Speaker: Jason Reynar, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Innisfil
Jason Reynar

Natural Asset Management and Canada’s Accounting Framework: The Emerging Evidence
Isabel V. Gordon, Treasurer, Municipal Natural Resources Initiative and Director of Financial Services, District of West Vancouver
Michelle Molnar, Technical Director, Municipal Natural Resources Initiative and Environmental, Economist & Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation

Canadian local governments are starting to account for and manage natural assets such as forests, wetlands and foreshores to provide cost-effective and reliable service delivery. Municipal natural asset management is becoming ever more important as climate change, population growth and land intensification pressure Canada’s aging stock of engineered assets. But what does this mean from a financial planning and reporting perspective given the challenges in thinking about nature as an ‘asset’ from an accounting perspective? This session will explain recent developments and challenges.

Michelle Molnar

Using Cross-Functional Collaboration as an Innovative Resource
Speaker: Jennifer Gervés-Keen, Master Corporate Executive Coach, JGK Consulting

Cross-functional collaboration is a key element in strengthening organizations from the inside out, as well as being a catalyst for innovation and connection across (often) siloed departments and functions. Join Master Corporate Executive Coach Jennifer Gervés-Keen as she walks you through the value of and framework of peer learning triads and teaming agreements and how they can add agility and creativity to your workforce. Jennifer will share real-life examples of organizational impact; concrete tools and frameworks on how to set these structures up within your own organization will be provided

Jennifer Gervès-Keen

IFRS Update
Speaker: Linda Mezon, Chair, Accounting Standards Board of Canada
Linda Mezon, FCPA, FCA, CPA (MI), CGMA

Pension Plans Update
Speaker: Lucy Durocher, partner, PwC Canada

Changes in public sector pension plans have accelerated significantly over the past decade; few plans now are simply defined benefit or defined contribution. The current PSAS pension standard was developed more than two decades ago and the accounting implications for many innovative plan features were not specifically considered in the development of the current standard.

This session will provide an update on the Public Sector Accounting Board's employment benefits project, including what potential changes are being considered and the implications of those changes for organizations in the public sector.

Lucy Durocher, CPA, CA

Post Conference Workshop # 1: Enhancing Public Sector Program and Service Delivery through Improved Operational Costing
Facilitator: Mike Haley, President, Landmark Decisions Inc.

Public sector organizations are continually challenged in understanding the true costs of their operations in support of the programs and services they provide to Canadians. In addition, continual changes to funding and/or cost recovery formulae as well as ever-increasing resource constraints, make it difficult to maintain effective costing models for both current and forecast service delivery.
Using a case study, this workshop walks you through a structured multi-step approach to implementing improved operational costing in your organization. The concepts that you will learn are based on the Consortium for Advanced Management – International’s (CAM-I) “Closed Loop” methodology which supports an integrated resource management approach to developing predictive business models. Key to this approach is understanding and improving operational business processes, increasing efficiencies and, as a result, optimizing resources, while retaining the quality of an organization’s programs and services.
Key Learning Objectives:
• Appreciate the benefits of a structured methodology for implementing better costing across the organization
• Develop “hands-on” experience in understanding resource management and operational costing
• Gain insights into developing realistic service fees and/or other cost recovery strategies
• Understand the value of collaborative scenario-playing with operational cost models that support “future state” business processes

Mike Haley

Post Conference Workshop #2: GST/HST Issues and Opportunities for the Public Sector
Facilitators: James Capobianco, Partner and Annie Gosselin, Director, Indirect Tax, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

GST/HST compliance for Public Sector Bodies (PSBs) is evolving. Examine issues and decisions faced by PSBs using a practical and hands-on approach, including effects of making various elections; Input Tax Credit allocation challenges; changes in entity status; best practices for process and documentation; and other current and emerging issues. The workshop’s highly interactive environment allows participants to work through realistic scenarios, while workshop leaders share their experiences and tips on tracking information, evaluating election impacts and identifying recovery opportunities.
James Capobianco

Post Conference Workshop # 3: How to Design a Sustainable Analytics Program to Audit the Phoenix Payroll and other Systems
Facilitator: Brian Element, Industry Strategist (Solutions Lead) with CaseWare

This workshop will look at how to use the resources available on how to design a sustainable analytics program and will discuss best practices in auditing the Phoenix payroll as well as other financial areas like Accounts Payable and Purchase Card Expenses.

Participants will learn:
● How to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse
● Steps to linking data from different systems (Finance, Phoenix pay files)
● Looking for duplicate and fraudulent transactions
● Using data analytics to identify high-risk transactions,
● Examining common techniques and methods involving exceptions and anomalies

Brian Element

Thank you to our 2019 advisory committee members
Sandra Anselmo, Principal Professional Programs (Public Sector), CPA Canada
Jane Borland, Director, Financial Management, Provincial Comptroller’s Office, Saskatchewan Finance
Sonia Brennan, Deputy Auditor General, City of Ottawa
Matthew Coley, Partner, Deloitte LLP
Suzanne Gignac, Partner, Ernst and Young 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
Sandra Anselmo ; Jane Borland ; Sonia Brennan ; Matt Coley ; Suzanne Gignac ; Michael Lionais ; Diane Peressini, CPA, CA ; Michael Puskaric, MBA, CPA, CMA ; Claude Rochette ; Charles-Antoine St-Jean ; Juliet Woodfield, CPA, CA

Venue[s] and Accommodation[s]


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


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

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 7, 2019, 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 72-hour cancellation policy, should you wish to cancel your reservation.

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; 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.


Sponsors & Exhibitors




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