CPA Ontario's Corporate Finance and Controllers Conference

MAR 22 - Mar 23, 2023

The International Centre, Mississauga


MAR 22 - MAR 23



8:00 AM - 5:00 PM




14 Hours


0 Hours


Registration closed on

Mar 15, 2023


Join other financial Controllers for this two-day, in person conference, designed to help you balance profit, people and priorities. Stay up to date on the latest trends, requirements and insights impacting Controllers. Collaborate with financial professionals across various industries and learn how to incorporate best practices into your role immediately.

Topics Include:

  • Tackling global issues with a Canadian outlook
  • Prospects for economic growth
  • Retaining top talent
  • Payroll efficiencies
  • Hybrid workplace
  • Implementing ESG for career growth
  • Building and embedding EDI strategy in your business


CPA Ontario Controllers, March 22 - DAY 1
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.Welcome Breakfast & Networking
9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.Opening Remarks by CPA Ontario

Craig Smith, Executive Vice-President, Member & Student Services

9:10 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.Conference Host Opening Remarks

Abdul-Aziz Garuba, CPA, CMA

9:20 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.Opening Keynote

Leslie Preston, Managing Director, Senior Economist at TD

Topic: 2023 Economic Overview

Description: A look into the prospects for economic growth and the job market in Canada and the US as well as associated risks such as escalating geopolitical tensions, inflation and rising interest rates. Good news is bad news - the economy has been more resilient than expected to start the year, raising the risk of more interest rate increases, and potentially more painful adjustment down the road. Central banks have raised interest rates aggressively to bring inflation back to target by reducing growth pressures in the economy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Considerations on how inflation has started to turn the corner, but there is a long way to go, and more economic slowdown ahead
  • Effects of dramatic interest rate increases on different parts of the economy
  • Impacts on the housing markets and the expected turning point, but other areas are yet to slow and the job market has been resilient thus far
10:20 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.Break
10:40 a.m. – 11:25 p.m.Julie Ruben Rodney, M.Ed., CHRL, Founder and CEO, MaxPeople

Topic: Elevating the Employee Experience with Impactful HR

Description: We are living through one of the greatest workplace disruptions in years, with the level of instability expected to persist. The talent landscape continues to be turbulent as companies contend with evolving employee needs and demands. To overcome these hurdles, businesses must go beyond the traditional playbook and work to elevate the employee experience to retain their employees. This session will provide business leaders with best practices and strategies to effectively address the challenges of engaging and retaining talent.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the new realities of engaging and retaining talent
  • Strategies to increase your overall engagement and retention across the employee lifecycle
  • Ways to invest in your employees’ well being and wellness
11:25 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.Victor Rampaderat, CEO at Discourse Agency

Topic: EDI as a Business Strategy

Description: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is growing in adoption across much of corporate Canada. Victor will walk you through the importance of making EDI a business priority so you can build resilience for the modern era and future of work. Leave with a leadership perspective on unlocking business potential through stakeholder capitalism.

Key Takeaways:

  • The connection between EDI and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)
  • A simple framework to embed EDI into your business strategy
  • Your role in creating a culture shift
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.Fahad Meer, CPA, CA, Director at PwC

Topic: New World. New Skills. Upskilling your Workforce Today to Prepare for Tomorrow's Challenges.

Description: The private sector continues to be the driving force of the Canadian economy. To sustain this growth and success, now more than ever, companies are required to invest and continue to leverage their greatest asset: their workforce. From small to large private companies, an increased focus is being placed on retaining and upskilling talent. Although this may come at a cost to organizations, the benefits of an upskilled and engaged workforce far outweigh costs if implemented, executed and monitored effectively.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the correlation between an engaged / upskilled workforce and higher output / quality
  • Ways to upskill your workforce
  • How to define and measure "workforce success"
2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Mark Petznick, MCR, EVP and Partner, Encor Advisors

Topic: Costs and Risks within Leases that Every CPA Needs to Be Aware Of

Description: Any employee who has financial or operational responsibility within a company should be aware of the risks and costs that can be embedded within an office or industrial lease. The session offers practical guidance from advisors who work with some of Canada’s top employers. Learn specific areas that can create significant costs and liabilities and how you can protect your firm.

Key Takeaways:

  • Risk management techniques for lease negotiations
  • Trends relating to making real estate decisions/lease commitments
  • Case studies with real life examples
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.Break
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Jordan Rodney, VP of Human Resources & Legal Services, MaxPeople

Topic: 2023 Employment Law Highlights and Q&A Hot Seat

Description: Ensuring that your organization achieves optimal outcomes while mitigating your legal risks is essential to surviving and thriving. This past year, there has been significant legislative updates that impact organizations on a wide scale. In this session, Jordan Rodney will review the Employment Law highlights of 2022 - 2023, including electronic monitoring policies, the right to disconnect policies, prohibition of non-Compete Agreements, exemptions for business and information technology consultants, and an update on employment law case law. Jordan will answer your burning questions on how to implement changes in your workplace.

Key Takeaways:

  • Accommodation requirements in hybrid work environment
  • Managing time-theft and overtime for work-from-home employees
  • The legal implications of quiet quitting and quiet firing
  • Changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Closing Keynote

Nicole Verkindt, Entrepreneur, Investor, and CEO

Topic:  Canadian Competitiveness and the Future of ESG

Description: As the co-chair of the Business Council of Canada’s Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future, Nicole Verkindt was tasked with determining the key elements required to make Canada more competitive in the global market. Drawing on the Task Force’s findings, she will explore how de-regulation, tax policy changes, embracing innovation and more are key to Canada’s economic future.

Nicole will help you understand why ESG matters, the varying needs of stakeholders who reference ESGs, and how technology is going to play a growing part in the rating process. As the founder of OMX, an online supply chain data analytics business, Verkindt has watched firsthand as ESG has grown in prominence and complexity over the past decade. She leveraged OMX with one of the biggest ESG rating organizations in the world, Sustainalytics. With her experience and expertise, Verkindt guides a through this increasingly important component of modern business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consider strategies to drive sustainable growth
  • How financial leaders can inspire hope in turbulent times
  • Ways that Canada can be more competitive in the global market
5:00 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.Closing remarks for Day 1

Abdul-Aziz Garuba

5:10 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.Networking & Cocktail hour
CPA Ontario Controllers, March 23 - DAY 2
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.Welcome Breakfast & Networking
9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m.Conference Host Opening Remarks

Abdul-Aziz Garuba, CPA, CMA

9:10 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.Opening Keynote

Barbara Palmegiani, FCPA, FCMA, Partner and National CFO Services Leader at BDO Canada

Topic: ESG is Not a TBD It's an ASAP: Climate Change Risk – What CPAs need to know to better future proof their companies and careers.

Description: Focused on the finance function of the future, Barbara will make a fundamental case for sustainability, and provide insights about why controllers need to pay more attention to this topic because Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is not going away. As a Partner and National Leader of CFO and Controllership Services with BDO Canada, as well as an author and facilitator for CPA Ontario’s Master Controller and CFO Programs, Barbara knows first-hand that no matter the size, industry or sector in which you work, the role of the finance function is expanding. ESG is a core pillar of value creation and pursing impactful ESG outcomes with effective programs will be on the agenda of forward-looking finance leaders. Controllers are well positioned to identify ESG risk and opportunities that organizations face today, and can help lead the planning and preparation for what lies ahead.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the main reasons ESG matters to controllers as the role expands to focus on purpose and value
  • Become more aware of the shifts in stakeholder expectations about ESG and climate change risks
  • Learn what aspects of ESG you may already be doing and start tracking and reporting them/li>
10:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.Break
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.Jennifer Hall, Partner at LIDD Supply Chain Intelligence

Topic: Capital is precious: How to invest intelligently in your supply chain 

Description: A look at the latest trends in supply chain and how they are influencing investment decisions. From labour challenges to a push towards Operative Expenses (OPEX), shifts in the industry are making automation more financially justifiable. Jennifer will present real world examples of how companies are adapting their financial decision making in the 2023 landscape. 

Key Takeaways:

  • The rise of labour as the fourth dimension of capacity
  • How subscription pricing models are shifting costs from Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) to OPEX
  • Practical advice to adapt supply chains in the current economy
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.Keith Richards, Inclusion Leader, Discourse Agency

Topic: Embedding EDI in your business strategy part two: The art and impact of language; the importance of pronouns.

Description: Keith Richards will take you on a journey of experiential learning. During the presentation members will learn the nuance of inclusive language through an introduction to implicit bias, speaking with intent versus impact, the significance of pronouns, as well as common passive aggressive phrases we should avoid in the workplace. Keith will touch on common vernacular that could be misinterpreted as discriminatory in today’s society. This thought-provoking presentation will leave you with a renewed perspective on inclusion in the corporate world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand phrases that may no longer be suitable in corporate Canada
  • Communication pitfalls to avoid and insights into your own bias
  • Improved competence and confidence regarding language in the workplace
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.Lunch
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.Alex Garber, CPA, CA, MTax

Topic: 2023 Corporate Tax Update

Description: This session will provide an overview of recent changes in the area of income taxation for corporations. The topics will be geared towards small and medium enterprises.

Key Takeaways:

  • Considerations about existing rules and changes when completing 2022 income tax returns
  • Expanded reporting requirements for Trusts
  • COVID-19 benefit payments and business benefits
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Erin Kelly, CPA, CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc.

Topic: ChatGPT and other AI-powered chatbots for budgeting and forecasting.

Description: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all the rage and there is no question it is going to have a profound, and positive, impact on the accounting and financial industries sector. The best time to get involved and learn about AI is now, as today’s early adopters are tomorrow’s experts. Join Erin Kelly, CPA, and CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc. (ASI) as she unveils the “black box” behind all AI and helps you understand what to look and what to ask vendors when evaluating new AI technology. Learn how to start using AI today to prepare for rapid sales forecasting with leading indicators only accessible through AI.

Key Takeaways:

  • What is a good first project for a controller?
  • Staging your project: start small, early success, scale
  • The role of an accountant as team lead of a matrixed team
3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.Break
3:20 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.Peter Icely, EVP - Corporate Services at Encor Advisors

Topic: How to create a successful back to work strategy in an age of hybrid workplace models.

Description: The future of hybrid work and the tools to support it are still largely unknown. Companies and managers are facing multiple issues and trying to manage trade offs between what employees want and what companies need to be successful going forward into a new model of work. This session presents examples of what’s working and what’s not and provides a road map for what companies need to focus on to successfully integrate new ways of working into their business practices.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to create an environment that brings people back together
  • Nurture an office culture that lures staff back into physical spaces and connects them
  • Develop office layouts that enable and promote collaboration
3:50 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.Closing keynote

Chris Turner, Sustainability & Global Cleantech Expert

Topic: How to Be A Climate Optimist: Tracking the global energy transition before and after the pandemic: A Canadian business outlook.


Description: Drawing on 15 years of reporting on the challenge of climate change and the global wave of innovation that has emerged to solve it, Chris Turner will provide an overview of the transition to low-carbon energy worldwide, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic lockdown on the pace of this transition, and the prospects for an accelerating transition into the next decade.

Key Takeaways:

  • How countries are planning to increase renewable energy into their energy mix
  • Energy demand and how carbon emissions declined but may rebound
  • The need to invest in green technologies and infrastructure
4:50 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Closing remarks

Abdul-Aziz Garuba



$849.00 Personal Passport

$849.00 Organization Passport

$899.00 Member

$899.00 Student

$1079.00 Public

Status: Registration closed on Mar 15, 2023


The International Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga, Ontario, L4V 1E8



Portrait of Aziz GarubaAbdul-Aziz Garuba Jr., CPA, CMA, is a seasoned finance professional and inspirational leader. He has a passion for community and is the host and creator of the podcast Made to Lead, which tells the personal and professional stories of amazing leaders of African descent.


Portrait of Leslie PrestonLeslie Preston is Managing Director, Senior Economist at TD. She joined the TD Economics department in January 2011 and has over twelve years’ experience as an economist. In her current role Leslie works on macroeconomic forecasts and current analysis for the US economy. At TD, she has worked on subjects including public policy issues, the monthly financial markets Dollars & Sense publication and the Canadian macroeconomic forecast.

Portrait of Nicole VerkindtSerial entrepreneur Nicole Verkindt has a knack for finding industry gaps and building innovative companies to fill them. As the founder of OMX, she built one of the largest supplier tech platforms specializing in ESG metrics. In 2022, she sold the innovative platform to Sustainalytics, owned by Morningstar. As CEO of Buggy, she is transforming Canada’s grocery industry for today’s evolving consumer market with a focus on technology, leadership, and disruptive thinking.

Portrait of Chris TurnerChris Turner is one of Canada’s leading voices on climate change solutions and the global energy transition. He draws on his reporting of the state of the art in renewable change, cleantech, and urban design to paint a vivid portrait of a new, sustainable world order that will allow individuals and businesses alike to thrive in the twenty-first century economy.

Portrait of Victor Rampaderat Victor Rampaderat is Chief Executive Officer of Discourse Agency. He has been a strategic advisor for senior executives, two Chiefs of Police and board members. As a serial entrepreneur, he’s led business operations in Canada, the United States and Asia. As a recognized community leader, Victor has been called upon for his Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) perspective, emceed town halls and delivered public addresses to audiences of all sizes.

Portrait of Erin KellyErin Kelly, CPA, CMA, is President and CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc., a global company that uses AI for market research, communications, ad tracking and sales prediction. With over 20 years of experience as a marketing executive, she is the author of two books on technology and marketing and is a sought-after speaker on the subject.

Portrait of Fahad MeerFahad Meer, CPA, CA, is Director at PwC and is part of the firm's National Strategy & Operations team where he develops and manages the firm's transformational initiatives. He began in the Assurance practice of the firm, and obtained his designation while serving as a trusted business advisor to private and public clients. Fahad was part of the firm’s national faculty instructor program and is actively involved in the firm's recruiting process. He is a 2x TEDx speaker and a CPA Ontario Emerging Leader.

Portrait of Barb PalmegianiBarbara A. Palmegiani, FCPA, FCMA, is a Partner and National CFO & Controllership Services Leader for BDO Canada. She is a former VP, Finance and CFO with broad industry experience in consumer and customer focused businesses from real estate to retail, health and wellness to private equity. Barbara is a top-rated instructor for the CPA Program as well as CPA Executive Professional Development programs.


Portrait of Julie Ruden-RodneyJulie Ruben Rodney, M.Ed., CHRL is the Founder and CEO of MaxPeople, a consulting firm specializing in HR Services, Training, Recruitment and Employment Law.

Portrait of Keith RichardsKeith Richards is Chief Learning Officer of Discourse Agency. He retired after 31 years with Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) where he was the inaugural Diversity Officer circa 2006, and chair of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police EDI Committee.

Portrait of Alex GarberAlex Garber, CPA, CA, MTax, has been working in public practice since 2004, focused on income taxation for Canadian owner-managed businesses and their shareholders.

Portrait of Mark Petznik Mark Petznick is Executive Vice President, Partner and Sales Representative at Encor Advisors. He helps companies analyze their real estate options through an unbiased process, and solve complex real estate challenges.

Portrait of Jennifer HallJennifer Hall is Partner at LIDD Supply Chain Intelligence where she advises boards and executives on supply chain transformation, including strategies for network expansion, market entry, and the selection and implementation of new technologies and automation.

Portrait of Peter IcelyPeter Icely is Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Corporate Services and Sales at Encor Advisors. He is a real estate professional with Fortune 500 experience in Corporate Real Estate.

Portrait of Jordan RodneyJordan Rodney is the VP of Human Resources & Legal Services of MaxPeople and Founder of Rodney Employment Law.