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Apr 25

US Tax Reform and Canadian Competitiveness

Toronto ON, C.D. Howe Institute, 67 Yonge Street, Suite 300

Roundtable Luncheon with Dawn Desjardins, Brian Ernewein, Quyen Huynh, and Peter van Dijk

US Tax Reform has converted Canada’s tax system from an advantage into a disadvantage. Many business leaders are extremely concerned about the negative impact of US Tax Reform on Canada’s short, medium and long-term investment climate. Some well-known economists have expressed the view that the impact of US Tax Reform on the Canadian investment climate can even be bigger than a potential demise of NAFTA. This is an urgent issue – already impacting investment decisions – that needs to be addressed immediately, especially since business investment and foreign direct investment in Canada have been trending downward even without US Tax Reform.

Business and government are in this together – to protect the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs, business and government need to collaborate to formulate an effective response to the threat of US Tax Reform. This fireside chat and round-table discussion is intended to contribute to formulating Canada’s response to US Tax Reform.

Dawn Desjardins, Vice President, Deputy Chief Economist, RBC

Dawn Desjardins joined the RBC Economics team in January 2006. She is a key contributor to the macroeconomic forecasts for Canada and the U.S. and is part of a team that is responsible for the interest rate forecasts for both countries. Dawn delivers economic analysis to RBC’s clients through a variety of publications and presentations. She is often interviewed by media from across North America to discuss developments in the economy and financial markets.

Prior to joining RBC, Dawn worked as a reporter for Bloomberg Financial News in Toronto covering the Canadian bond and currency markets and was the Canadian bond market strategist for a major U.S. bank for ten years. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto.


Brian Ernewein, General Director, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance Canada

Brian Ernewein pursued both his undergraduate studies and his legal education at University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, obtaining his law degree from Western in 1983.  He joined the Tax Policy Branch in the Canadian Government’s Department of Finance in 1985, following his call to the Ontario Bar.  Brian was the Chief of the Corporate and International section of Finance Canada’s Tax Legislation Division between 1990 and 1997, was made Senior Chief of the Division in 1997, Director in 1998, and General Director of the Tax Policy Branch in 2006. 

Brian has been Canada’s representative to the OECD’s Committee for Fiscal Affairs for several years. He was elected to the CFA’s Bureau in 2014 and as Vice-Chair of the Bureau in 2016; he is also a member of the Inclusive Framework Steering Group.


Quyen Huynh, Principal, WNTS International Tax Services, PwC

Quyen is based out of Washington, DC and supports PwC’s national tax practice on a variety of international tax matters with a focus on inbound investment. Quyen has extensive experience in the development of US international tax policy and administrative guidance impacting foreign investment in the United States.  For the last four years, she was in Treasury's International Tax Counsel's office where she worked on the development of treaties, administrative guidance and proposed legislation.  

Prior to her Treasury role, Quyen spent ten years in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel (International), where she supported the IRS in controversy, drafted administrative guidance and provided technical guidance on difficult issues to the IRS and taxpayers.  Her government experience has covered a broad range of inbound matters, including treaties and withholding.  She also participated as a US delegate to the OECD’s working parties that focus on tax treaties and exchange of information and tax compliance. 

Quyen is a frequent speaker and has served as an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Quyen received her BA, from Mount Holyoke College, a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law and an LLM in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.


Peter van Dijk, Partner, National Tax Policy, Banking Tax & Tax Innovation Leader , PwC

Prior to joining PwC, Peter was Senior Vice President, Tax, at TD Bank Group and led the tax function of TD Bank Group. Previous positions held by Peter include Senior Vice President, Tax, at Sun Life Financial and International Tax Partner at EY in Toronto.

After graduating from law school in the Netherlands, Peter worked as an international tax consultant – gradually progressing to the partner level – for over 15 years in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the US and Canada for both law and accounting firms.  His main technical area of expertise is international corporate tax planning, including cross border financing structures, leasing transactions, holding structures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property structures and tax effective supply chain management.  Following his career as an international tax consultant, Peter spent over 12 years leading large tax functions for two leading Canadian financial institutions, TD Bank Group and Sun Life Financial.

During his time in industry, Peter has developed deep expertise in building, leading, inspiring and managing corporate tax teams.  He has also acquired extensive knowledge of and experience in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax reporting and compliance functions through process improvement and automation.  Other key focus areas while leading the tax functions at TD Bank Group and Sun Life Financial were tax governance, risk management and partnering with the business.

Peter is the National Tax Policy Leader of PwC in Canada.  Throughout his career, Peter has built strong relationships with tax policy and revenue authorities in many countries, including Canada, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Singapore.  In 2010, Peter received the HMRC’s External Engagement Award for Advancing Transparency in Tax.  Also, Peter has developed strong relationships with the OECD through his active participation in the OECD’s BEPS initiative.

Peter has a Dutch and a Canadian Master of Laws degree (University of Leiden Law School and Osgoode Hall Law School, respectively) as well as a Canadian Master of Business Administration degree (Richard Ivey School of Business).

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
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  • US Tax Reform and Canadian Competitiveness
  • US Tax Reform and Canadian Competitiveness
  • US Tax Reform and Canadian Competitiveness

C.D. Howe Institute events are open to members and their guests. Members can register by contacting events@cdhowe.org.