Session Descriptions

The New Board Landscape - Canadian Competitiveness in a Time of Shifting Trade and Geopolitics

Global changes in trade, economic power, political leadership and popular sentiment are challenging Canada’s economic and competitive position. How can Directors best encourage organizations to be a force for change through the right policies and ideas to improve competitiveness and Canada’s global position?

  • How can Boards best encourage organizations to be a force for change through the right policies and ideas to improve competitiveness?
  • What should Directors be thinking about as new threats quickly emerge and opportunities are presented for boardrooms across the public, private and not-for-profit landscape?
  • What can Boards do to ensure their organizations are a beacon for global talent?



    Peter Armstrong, Senior Business Correspondent, CBC/Radio Canada


    Kevin Lynch, P.C., O.C., Ph.D, LL.D, Chair, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group, Director, CN

    Kirsten Hillman, Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Canada to the United States

    Brooke Unger, Americas Editor, The Economist

Board Oversight of Strategy During Uncertain Times

No organization is immune from external disruption -- and no board can remove itself from the strategic conversations of how changes in economics, geopolitics and technology have the power to disrupt business models. As we enter what the World Economic Forum calls a Fourth Industrial Revolution, how can directors remain best informed about the challenges, and opportunities, facing their organizations? And how can they engage in strategic conversations in an environment of disruption and uncertainty?

  • How do Boards oversee and approve a strategy that occurs in a dynamic environment while ensuring the direction they are headed in is correct?
  • How do Directors identify opportunities in uncertain environments and provide the proper strategic support and guidance to management?
  • What can Directors do to ensure their organization takes the needed risks in unpredictable business climates?
  • How do Boards enable a culture of innovation?



    John StackhouseSenior Vice President, Office of the CEO at RBC


    John M. Cassaday, C.M., Chair, Manulife Financial Corporation, Director, Sysco Corporation, Sleep Country Canada and Irving Oil Ltd.

    Michael Wilson, Corporate Director

    Kathleen O’Neill, ICD.D, FCPA, FCA, Director, Finning International, ARC Resources Ltd, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan

Luncheon Keynote Address:
The New Washington: What Canadian Leaders Need to Know

           Luiza Ch. Savage, Executive Director of Cross-Platform Content, POLITICO and POLITICO Pro Canada

Breakout Sessions

Concurrent interactive sessions on top-of-mind issues affecting boardroom leaders.

Session 1 - How Technology is Driving and Changing the Director’s Role

New technologies and the evolution of existing ones are transforming how business is conducted. Boards will need to ensure they have the right structure, framework and skill sets in place to allow them to compete and thrive in a digital world. How has tech changed the Director’s role and increased risk for effective Board oversight?

  • How has tech changed the role of the Director and what skill sets does a director/board need to have?
  • Should risk oversight be assessed and overseen by a separate committee?
  • How is the increase in automation and other newer technologies impacting the race for talent and challenging existing skill sets and functions in their organization?
  • How do board members keep up to speed with the technological race and its impact on their organizations’ business model and eco-systems?
  • What technologies should be on the Director’s radar screen for 2019?



    Estelle Métayer, President, Competia, Independent Board Member, BRP, (Bombardier Recreational Products) Inc., Audemars-Piguet, Advisory Board Member, Ricardo Media and Groupe Sélection


    Chris Clark, FCA, FCAP Director, Loblaw Companies Limited, Air Canada, Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

    Deepak Chopra, FCPA, FCGA, Director, Celestica Inc, The Northwest Company

    Kalpana Raina, Director, Yellow Media Group, Information Services Group

Session 2 - Board-Stakeholder Engagement in the Era of the Activist Agenda

Engaging stakeholders effectively can help manage unforeseen risks and provide an organization with a competitive advantage. Performance is now measured beyond shareholder returns as issues such as diversity and sustainability are now viewed by stakeholders as core attributes for organizational success. What is the role of the Director in this new era of activism?

  • How has activism changed from five years ago and what does this mean for the Director’s oversight role?
  • Can an organization use strategic engagement as a competitive advantage?
  • What is the proper role of a Director in this new environment of activism?



    Bruce Drysdale, Principal, Longview Communications & Public Affairs


    Mark Machin, President & Chief Executive Officer, CPP Investment Board (CPPIB)

    Nancy H.O. Lockhart, O.ONT, ICD.D, Chair, Gluskin Sheff + Associates Director, Loblaw Companies Limited, Atrium Mortgage Investment Corporation

    Hon. Brian V. Tobin, P.C., O.C., ICD.D, Chairman, New Flyer Group Inc., Vice Chair, BMO Financial Group


The Dynamics of Good Board-Management Relationships

The relationship between the Board and management is fundamental to the success of an organization. Developing, strengthening and maturing this relationship is a centrally important challenge. What are some of the key elements and takeaways to help manage and build a successful and collaborative relationship? We ask two current chairs who have each served as CEOs for their advice.

  • What helps make a better Chair/CEO and how can they add value to the organization?
  • How do you get boards and management to work better together? What are some of the practical illustrations and lessons Directors need to know and can draw upon?
  • How do you manage and resolve tension between the board and management?
  • When you are grooming a CEO, how do you groom them to be high impacting?



    Hugh J. Arnold, Ph.D Adjunct Professor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


    Katie Taylor, C.M., F.ICD, Chair, Royal Bank of Canada, SickKids Foundation, Vice Chair, Adecco Group, Director, Air Canada, CPPIB

    J. Robert S. Prichard, O.C., O.ONT, FRSC, F.ICD, Chairman, Torys LLP and BMO Financial Group