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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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About Inside Internal Controls

Inside Internal Controls invites subject matter experts, financial advisors, accountants, IT and business professionals/consultants as well as lawyers to express their views on internal control and risk management issues in Canada. As a publisher of ready-to-use internal control policies and procedures, First Reference strives to provide Canadian businesses with the most straightforward, authoritative and cost-effective resources.

Our audience is primarily small to medium size businesses, not for profits, legal professionals, information technology professionals and those in finance and accounting. As ever, our aim is to share knowledge, offer suggestions and recommendations, and provoke discussions and comments. But please note: we do not offer legal or other professional advice.

We have a list of regular contributors (see below) and we hope you enjoy our posts and find them useful. We love to hear from our readers, so please submit your comments to our blog entries. However, we do not respond to legal questions specific to a case or situation in this space.

If you are a subject matter expert and would like to become a regular guest blogger or occasional blogger, please contact Yosie Saint-Cyr at

About the Inside Internal Controls blog authors

Table of contents:
In-house bloggers
Regular guest bloggers
Past blog authors

In-house bloggers

Yosie Saint-Cyr
Adam Gorley
Fred Stewart

 Yosie Saint Cyr Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., was called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practised business, employment and labour law until 1999. For 16 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, The Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro published by First Reference Inc. She regularly contributes content to these publications, newsletters and the First Reference Talks and Inside Internal Controls blogs. She also contributes to Slaw, CanLII Connect and the Canadian Payroll Association online member newsletter eSource or the Dialogue Magazine. She managed the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) of Ontario’s monthly member e-newsletter ELAW from 2003 to 2015. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour law including health and safety and human rights, payroll and accessibility standards across the country. You can learn more about Yosie here.
 adam-gorley Adam Gorley is a copywriter, editor and researcher at First Reference. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks, Inside Internal Controls and other First Reference publications. He writes about general HR issues, accessibility, privacy, technology in the workplace, accommodation, violence and harassment, internal controls and more. Find out more about Adam on LinkedIn.
 Fred-Blog Fred Stewart, BBA, is a copywriter and researcher at First Reference. He is a contributor to Inside Internal Controls and First Reference Talks. One of the topics Fred covers is the Not-For-Profit sector, a sector he has previously worked in. Some of the other areas he writes on include internal controls, employment law and accessibility.

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Regular guest bloggers

Apolone Gentles
Drache Aptowitzer LLP
Norman Marks
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Navex Global®
Sandy Boucher, Senior Investigator at Grant Thornton LLP

 Apolone Gentles Apolone Gentles, JD, CPA,CGA, FCCA, Bsc (Hons), Apolone is a CPA,CGA and Ontario lawyer with over 20 years of business experience. She has held senior leadership roles in non-profit organizations, leading finance, human resources, information technology and facilities teams. She has also held senior roles in audit and assurance services at a “Big Four” audit firm. Apolone has also lectured in Auditing, Economics and Business at post-secondary schools. You can learn more about Apolone here.
Drache Aptowitzer LLP, Adam Aptowitzer LLB., is a lawyer practicing in the areas of charity and tax law. He is a member of both the bars of Alberta and Ontario. He has been speaking and writing on the topic of charity law for several years and been published in numerous publications including the Canadian Taxpayer, the Canadian Fundraiser and the Not-for-Profit News and has been cited as an expert in many publications including the National Post. He recently published a widely circulated paper on the regulation of charities in Canada with the C.D. Howe Institute. As a speaker he has presented to the C.D. Howe Institute, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, the Ottawa Estate Planning Council and has given expert opinion testimony at a Parliamentary Roundtable. He has also appeared at the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal. Adam co-hosts the popular A to Z of charity law in Canada with and is an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Charity and Not-for-Profit Law section. Drache may have other employees blog on their behalf from time to time. Adam can be reached at: Further information about Adam, his services and his firm can be obtained at
Norman Marks is an Author, Evangelist and Mentor for Better Run Business, as well as an OCEG Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management. Mr. Marks has been a practitioner and thought leader in internal audit, risk management, and governance for a long time. He has led large and small internal audit departments, been a Chief Risk Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, and managed IT Security and governance functions.For more information on Mr. Marks, visit his website here.
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, is a Canadian law firm that delivers integrated business law, litigation services, tax law, real property law, labour and employment law nationally and globally through offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, as well as London, UK. They apply their collective knowledge and in-depth experience to deliver integrated legal solutions to complex business issues. McCarthy publishes a series of blogs to share information with companies to help them comply and manage their businesses. On the Inside Internal Controls blog we will share some of those blog posts sharing their expertise among others, in the areas of Competition/Anti-trust, Corporate and Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Privacy, Environmental Law, Technology and Litigation. Learn more about their firm here.
Ethics &Compliance Matters ™, Navex Global ®, as a GRC company, they support Ethics and Compliance Programs. Their mission is to help organizations protect and defend their people, reputation and bottom line—and help them maintain a resilient, ethical organizational culture that helps repel risk. Navex Global has a full suite of proven software, services and expertise to help you ensure that your E&C program is proactive, thorough and effective. Ethics & Compliance Matters™ is the official blog of NAVEX Global®. All articles posted on the Inside Internal Controls blog originally appeared on NAVEX Global’s Ethics and Compliance Matters Blog. The blog leverage the news, insights and best practices you find here to stay ahead of GRC trends, and take your compliance program to the next level. Learn more about their firm here.
  Sandy Boucher, Senior Investigator at Grant Thornton LLP , Sandy Boucher is a seasoned investigator with 35 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Starting his career with the Royal Hong Kong Police, where he worked for 12 ½ years attaining the rank of Superintendent, Sandy specialized in Asian organized crime, narcotics and money laundering investigations. During his time with the force, Sandy received both Commissioners and Commanding Officer’s commendations for his work, as well as commendations from eight overseas police forces. He managed and conducted a broad range of high level investigations including a number which involved corruption during this period. Sandy came to Canada and the private sector in 1995 and is a specialist in fraud and corruption investigations, background due diligence enquiries, asset tracing and recovery, managing major investigations and fraud and corruption compliance. Sandy now works on detecting and preventing fraud and corruption and divides his time between investigating such cases and advising organizations on how to prevent them from occurring. He has led and conducted a wide range of investigations including a number of high level corruption probes and has testified around the globe in both civil & criminal courts. Since 2009, he was worked in the forensic group of Grant Thornton LLP where he heads the national investigative research, and anti-corruption practices, and also plays a leadership role in our digital forensic and cyber security practice, he has conducted investigations, traced fraudsters, corrupt officials and assets around the world. Sandy is a frequent and accomplished speaker on issues relating to his practice and experience, particularly whistleblower systems and anti- corruption work. Sandy was sought out to be the Vice Chair of the Canadian Standards Association working group developing a guideline for organizations wishing to develop a whistleblowing system. He was instrumental in the formation of the project and was a significant leader and contributor throughout the process. In early 2017, Sandy was invited to become a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University. He is one of the founding members of the center’s Whistleblower Initiative and is working with that group to advocate for whistleblowers and improve protections for Canadian whistleblowers. Learn more about Sanday here and Grant Thornton LLP here.

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Past Regular Guest Bloggers

Colin Braithwaite
Lauren Bride
Ron Richard
Nikoleta & Associates
Jeffrey D. Sherman
Maanit Zemel
Cristina Lavecchia

 Colin Braithwaite Colin Braithwaite is an experienced editor, writer and publishing professional with more than 25 years experience. From 2004–2010, Colin was the Managing Editor responsible for the products in the Internal Control Library at First Reference Inc. He now works as a freelance editor and writer at Colin Braithwaite Editorial Services.
Lauren Bride Lauren Bride, B.A. (English Literature / Philosophy) is a writer, copywriter, and editor, working in both fiction and nonfiction. She has done extensive writing and editing for commercial, private, and government clients, as well as story editing and fiction publication. Lauren also volunteers with the not for profit group NABORS (Toronto). Lauren blogged for the Inside Internal Controls and First Reference Talks blogs on disability awareness and peer support around inclusion for people with disabilities, among other business related topics with a focus on not for profits. Her services include, though are not limited to, story editing and consultation, unique copy, brainstorming, speech writing, corporate document composition, copy and line editing, proofreading, and research. You can learn more about Lauren here.
Ron Richard Ron Richard, Quality Information Technology and Enterprise Risk Management specialist has held positions at most any level of an organization, and acquired more than 30 years of relevant experience including related work done at the College of the North Atlantic. Ron is the author of Inherent Quality Simplicity and the Inside Internal Control newsletter Modern Quality Management series. He provides consulting services related to the management of quality, governance, change, risk and ICT. You can learn more about Ron here
Venn is a digital design development agency based out of Toronto that creates interaction rich mobile and web applications. Specializing in applications that are data aware means that Venn’s applications can undercover hidden patterns and save users from “busy work” that plague most modern work environments. Zach Aysan will be blogging on behalf of Venn. Zack is a Waterloo Engineer that heads up Venn’s machine learning and data analysis arm. While his work generally centres around helping people figure out their data or how to make their web applications and internal tools smarter – there is more to him than first meets the eye. In addition to being a number cruncher, he’s also a fervent photographer, which comes in extra handy at Venn, where expert designs and stunning photos go together like Bonnie and Clyde.
Nikoleta & Associates provides executive coaching, leadership development and change management services with an attitude that encourages growth. They offer leadership and change consulting and coaching services for clients in multiple industries including construction, consumer packaged goods, professional services, technology, financial services and health care. Nikoleta Vlamis BA, MBA, is the founder and & CEO of Nikoleta & Associates. Nikoleta is consummate leader who believes in being of service, Nikoleta’s counsel is the catalyst for real and lasting change that promotes significant and sustainable business results. Executives, entrepreneurs, organizations and individuals have all benefitted from her signature approach to executive coaching and leadership development. Nikoleta’s diverse private sector experience encompasses senior HR, Marketing and Operations roles across a number of different industries including biotechnology, retail, shipping and technology. Through their blog posts, the dynamic team at Nikoleta & Associates will provides practical and useful advice to organizations on effective executive coaching, leadership development and change management that aligns to respective business strategies. For more about Nikoleta & Associates visit their website. You can reach Nikoleta at
j-sherman Jeffrey D. Sherman, BComm, MBA, CIM, FCA, is a director or CFO of several public companies and has had over 20 years of executive management experience. His interests include corporate governance, risk management, accounting and finance, restructuring and start-up enterprises. Mr. Sherman has lectured and conducted seminars for many organizations, and was an adjunct professor at York University for 15 years. He is a popular course director and course author for many organizations, including the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants and other provincial institutes of chartered accountants, and he is the author of Finance and Accounting PolicyPro, Not-for-Profit PolicyPro and Information Technology PolicyPro (guides to governance, procedures and internal control, all published by First Reference and the CPA). You can learn more about Jeffrey here.

Maanit Zemel
Maanit Zemel, lawyer in Toronto. Maanit has over 10 years of experience practicing commercial and civil litigation in a broad range of legal issues including Internet and social media law, defamation, privacy, cyber bullying, cyber-fraud and cyber-security, cross-border disputes, injunctions and recovery of proceeds of fraud and competition law. Maanit has been called to the bars of Ontario and New York. She has a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and a B.A. from McGill University in Montreal. Maanit has represented clients before all levels of courts and administrative tribunals, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She contributed regularly to First Reference Talks on topics related to internal controls, corporate governance, Internet law and information technology. You can learn more about Maanit here.
 Cristina Cristina Lavecchia is an editor and researcher at First Reference. She is a licensed paralegal and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, Political Science major at York University. During Cristina’s paralegal and undergraduate studies she studied employment standards, occupational health and safety, and workplace safety and insurance. She is also cultured in various issues in relation to human resources management, including, human resources planning, recruitment, selection, performance appraisal, as well as training and development.
  Miralaw, since 2013 has been building the worlds first natural language processing system for the law. At present, they have launched two products leveraging our core technology – Compass and Thistoo. The goal is to change the way people interact with the legal system and helping all stakeholders reduce their costs. If you think you or your organization could benefit from Miralaw technology, they would love to hear from you. Learn more about their firm here.

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