CAFE Canada

The Family Business FORUM

On October 4, 2016, The Family Business FORUM will be held at the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, Ontario. This is the ultimate gathering for family enterprise in Central Ontario and represents a unique opportunity for your organization to connect and network with owners, founders, management executives, academics and advisors of family businesses from across Ontario as they meet to learn, share experiences and celebrate their success! 

The Family Business FORUM is a half day conference, featuring speakers delivering short, 20 minute ‘Talks’ on trends, best practices and issues of particular relevance to Family Business. The theme for this year's FORUM will be Protecting Your Family Business: Reputation, Relationships and Assets. 

Networking is an integral part of The Family Business FORUM experience therefore we have ½ hour networking break scheduled so delegates and speakers can engage in open dialogue. Distractions will be minimal and interactions maximized.  It’s a fast paced, engaging way to learn, connect and network!


Learn and Earn!

The Family Business FORUM is pre-approved by IFEA for Continuing Education (CE) credits. IFEA grants 1 CE credit for every educational hour. FORUM offers 2 solid hours of educational learning that will enhance, improve and expand FEA designates’ skills, knowledge and abilities in the field of family enterprise advising - attend FORUM to learn and earn 2 CE credits! Please note: Attending the optional panel discussion at the end of FORUM will entitle FEA designates to an additional credit.



8:00 a.m.: Registration, Continental Breakfast and Networking

8:30 a.m.: Opening Remarks

8:35 a.m.: Family Business Story-  Maria Galipo, Sicilian Ice Cream

8:55 a.m.: Joel Clark, KJ Harrison

9:15 a.m.: Family Business Story- Paul Attia, Attia Quarry

9:35 a.m.: Break and Networking

10:05 a.m.: Caroline Abela and Marie-Andrée Vermette, WeirFoulds LLP

10:25 a.m: Nathalie Boutet, Boutet Family Law

10:45 a.m.: Family Business Story- the Bosc Family, Château des Charmes

11:05 a.m.: Rachel Gervais and Giselle Bodkin, BDO Canada LLP

11:25 a.m.: Susan Fulford, Dynamic Legacy

11:45 a.m.: Closing Remarks

12:00 p.m.: Event End

NEW! Optional panel discussion 12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.


Maria Galipo

From Soft News to Hard News In the Blink of an Eye: Protecting the Family Business When Crisis Hits

On June 18, 2012, Maria Galipo, CEO of Sicilian Ice Cream, found herself facing a crisis that she never would have imagined: a shooting at her family’s ice cream parlour, The Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe,  in Toronto’s Little Italy. In the immediate aftermath, Maria and her family dealt with frightened employees, the closure of the business as officials launched investigations, and intense media attention.

Maria will take you through how she and her family navigated this terrible event, determined to protect the family business’s reputation, relationships with each other, staff, patrons and the community, and their company’s bottom line. Her talk will touch on the vital importance of having a crisis communications plan, and to be prepared when disaster strikes. No one is immune from tragedy, but a solid plan can help you emerge not only intact, but stronger and more committed than ever to serving your customers and community.

To view Maria's bio, click here.

Paul Attia

Love, Loyalty and Legacy: Protecting the Family Business That Helped Build a New Life in Canada

Building a family business from scratch is challenging. Building it from scratch as a new immigrant to Canada is even tougher. As the son of Egyptian immigrants, Paul Attia, Vice-President of Attia Quarry, has witnessed first-hand the struggles, hard work and dedication it takes to start a family business. His father, Eid Attia, arrived in Canada in 1964 with $300 in his pocket and a fierce resolve to “build a better life in Canada for my family for this generation and the next.”

Eid succeeded in building a strong base for his family in Canada, first as a restaurant owner and later as the founder of the quarry business in Ramara, Ontario. He and his wife raised three children including Paul, who went on to launch a successful career as a criminal prosecutor with the Crown Attorney’s Office. In 2013 however, Paul made a critical decision to leave law to join his father in running the family business.

What led to his decision?

A love for his family, a vision for the future, and a strong desire to protect his family and the foundation created by his parents for the life their lives in Canada.   Paul will discuss the factors that led to his decision, what motivates and drives him, and how he balances running the family business while also maintaining a successful law practise, raising a family of four children and being actively involved as an advocate for new Canadians, a speaker and writer.

To view Paul's bio, click here.


The Bosc Family

Rumours, Relationships and Reputation: The Importance of Building a Strong Family Business Brand       

“Making wine is not what we do, it’s who we are.” This quote appears on all of Château des Charmes’ marketing materials but it’s not just a catchy tag line. Family is at the core of their brand, with a winegrowing tradition that started seven generations ago in France. On the very morning that the Boscs were preparing to host the first event in their new barrel cellar, they were confronted with an inaccurate newspaper story that said they had sold the winery. This triggered immediate inquiries from anxious employees, suppliers and consumers. Since family business owners are never really off the clock, including in this case on Saturday mornings, Paul and Michèle Bosc began leveraging existing relationships in conventional and social media to reassure everyone that the Bosc family were still the owners and operators of Château des Charmes. Reputation is important in business, especially in the wine business where word of mouth can make or break your brand. Paul and Michèle will discuss how having a strong brand (built around the family business story), robust social media and marketing presence and excellent relationships with employees, customers and community partners, can help mitigate potential harm to the family business.

To view their bio, click here.

Joel Clark

How to Control and Protect Your Family's Financial Future

Wealth transition is an inevitable part of the family business lifecycle.  However the transition occurs, whether through retirement or through the sale of a business, living off a portfolio requires a shift in thinking. In this session, join Joel Clark  from  KJ Harrison as he highlights steps which can be taken to help your family control and protect their financial future. Using real life examples, he will walk you through strategies to help preserve your family legacy and gain some perspective on the potential risks which could impact your business. Joel will also share wisdom and insights from some of history’s great investment minds and discuss how their past experiences and observations can provide many valuable lessons for your family in the current financial environment.

To view Joel's bio, click here.


Caroline Abela

Marie-Andrée Vermette

Disgruntled and Dismissed: How to Prevent and Deal with Damage to Your Business Reputation and Assets 

Disgruntled or dismissed employees can cause harm to your business operations and reputation. Caroline Abela and Marie-Andrée Vermette, partners at WeirFoulds LLP, will discuss how certain legal and practical tools can be used in order to prevent or remedy damage such as:

  • defamation (including Internet defamation);
  • wrongful taking or use of confidential and proprietary information;
  • theft and fraud; and
  • solicitation of clients and other employees.

The presentation will also touch on strategies for promoting harmony and equality among family and non-family employees, to reduce the risk for harmful actions against the business.

To view Caroline's bio, click here. To view Marie-Andrée's, click here.

Nathalie Boutet

Divorce: Protecting the Family Member and the Family Business When a Marital Breakdown Occurs

Families who devote their lives nurturing their business often are ill-prepared for marital breakdowns that pose risks to the well-being of individuals and businesses. Find out why being the first to act when the divorce is announced may save the family and the business from a path of destruction.

Nathalie Boutet, experienced Family Law lawyer, Accredited Mediator and certified Family Enterprise Advisor™, offers unique strategies and out-of-court results to the complex human, legal and financial matters related to separation or divorce within businesses and family enterprises. In this session, Nathalie will focus on:

  • Top 10 list of what people do at the initial stages of divorce and explanation of whether it is beneficial or hurtful in the short and long term
  • Top 5 risks to a family business if the marital dispute is not contained
  • Best strategies to try to gain control over the process    
  • Why being the first to act when the divorce is announced may save the family and business from going down the wrong road

To view Nathalie's bio, click here.

Rachel Gervais

Giselle Bodkin

Expect the Unexpected: Lead Your Business into a Bright Future and Avoid Tax Traps

Your business is a very valuable asset. You have invested heavily in time and financial resources in order to build it from the ground up. You have a business plan, you might have the beginnings of a succession plan and a transition plan. But do you have a plan “B” to protect you and your business from unforeseen circumstances? Do you know how to understand the value of your business and how you can protect what you have worked so hard to earn? This session, presented by Rachel Gervais, CPA and Tax Partner, and Giselle Bodkin, Partner, Accounting and Auditing, BDO Canada LLP,  will draw your attention to major valuation risk areas and tax traps that can affect your transition:

  • Wills that misalign with shareholder’s agreements
  • Powers of attorney
  • Tax  and valuation issues
  • Broader estate planning issues
  • Use of insurance as a risk management and funding vehicle
  • Use of trusts

We want you to be aware of various tax traps and what you can do to fix or avoid them altogether so you can continue your success into the future.

To view Rachel's bio, click here. To view Giselle's, click here.

Susan Fulford

Lessons Learned from a Catastrophic Family Business Sale: Protecting your Family, Business, Assets and Legacy

Transitioning the family business, whether by preparing it for sale to an outside buyer, transferring ownership within the company to a non-family member or keeping it within the family, is a complex procedure involving not only legal and financial matters but also matters of the heart. Susan Fulford, founder of Dynamic Legacy Inc., knows that all too well. Sharing lessons learned from the catastrophic sale of her family’s business, Susan will walk you through the Business Contingency Plan (Crisis Management) for family businesses that will help ensure the preservation of your relationships, business and wealth.

To view Susan's bio, click here.



FORUM Sponsors












New! Vendor Expo

On October 4, be sure to check out the relevant products or services from these participating organizations. Expo area  will be set up in the lobby of the Living Arts Centre.





CAFE will take photographs and some video at the Family Business FORUM, and may use them in CAFE news or promotional materials whether in print, electronic or other media, including the CAFE website. By participating in this event, you grant CAFE  the right to use your name and photograph for such purpose