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Financial sector oversight: The CPA Order urges the government not to isolate Quebec

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Montreal, January 17, 2018 – Before the Committee on Public Finance, which is holding hearings on Bill 141, the Quebec CPA Order today strongly expressed its disappointment that it was not consulted on the provisions affecting the very foundations of the CPA profession.
  

“The legislator has lost sight of the nature and extent of CPAs’ contribution to upholding public confidence in financial reporting and sound corporate governance,” said Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Order, before the committee members. 

  • The Order was dismayed to discover by chance the provisions of the bill that would affect the very foundations of the accounting profession and misrepresent the role of CPAs. 

  • Other than creating confusion and imposing a double standard for Quebec CPAs, there is nothing to be gained by rewriting — instead of simply referencing in the laws — the generally accepted auditing standards to which CPA auditors are subject and that meet international standards adhered to by 130 countries, including Canada.

  • The bill goes in the wrong direction by proposing to universally lift CPAs’ obligation to preserve professional secrecy for any breach by a company of a law administered by the AMF, without regard for the severity of the breach or harm caused.

  • To avoid weakening the position of companies subject to the AMF’s supervision, CPA disclosure to an outside authority should be limited to significant breaches liable to have an impact on the financial statements, create a going concern issue or seriously prejudice investors. 

  • To avoid arbitrary disclosures and ensure their merit, the government must:
    • adhere to the rules of governance and respect the fundamental role of a company’s board of directors, as required by the IGOPP and the ICD;
    • not bypass or take the place of international auditing standards; 
    • define the process to be followed by whistleblowers by encouraging initial disclosure through internal channels; 
    • define the severity of breaches that must be disclosed externally by overriding CPAs’ obligation of professional secrecy.
"Bill 141 proposes an essential update to financial sector oversight that will enable Quebec to adapt to the digital age and the new realities of an ever-changing economy. However, in doing so, it must not deviate from dominant global trends, at the risk of allowing our economy to suffer due to a lack of legislative alignment with other markets where major Canadian and international corporations are listed," concluded Ms. Mottard. 

About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 39,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third-largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession: assurance, financial accounting, management and management accounting, finance and taxation. 

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Read the brief submitted by the Order (in French only) >

Information:

Jean-Louis Laplante
Manager, Public Affairs
Quebec CPA Order
T. 514 288.3256 [3024]  1 800 363.4688
jllaplante@cpaquebec.ca

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