Bill 18: The Quebec CPA Order puts the financial abuse of vulnerable persons back on the agenda
Montreal, September 17, 2019 – As the Committee on Citizen Relations of the Quebec National Assembly begins its hearings on Bill 18, which amends various acts and provisions as regards the protection of persons, the Quebec CPA Order is once again shining a spotlight on protecting vulnerable persons from financial abuse.
“Financial abuse is the most frequently reported type of maltreatment. We have a duty to do everything we can to strengthen the safety net for vulnerable persons who may be at risk,” said Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Order.
- The Order welcomes many of the proposals in the bill, particularly lawmakers’ clear commitment to recognize that the loss of cognitive function is progressive, and respect the autonomy of persons who are, or are in the process of becoming, incapable.
- In this regard, acknowledging assistants to persons of full age and considering the latter’s “wishes and preferences” are positive developments in the application of protective supervision.
- For a person experiencing a loss of autonomy to fully benefit from a trusted person’s assistance, the assistant must be able to interact with third parties without being denied access to the personal information of the assisted person of full age.
- To this end, the bill should additionally provide for the release of professionals and other financial practitioners from their obligation of professional secrecy or their duty of confidentiality when interacting with an assistant to a person of full age.
- The CPA Order offers to help the Public Curator review the guide for preparing a protection mandate and develop an accountability report form, which would be made available to the mandatary and the person designated to receive the account on a secure cloud platform.
Beyond the scope of the bill under consideration, the Order wishes to draw parliamentarians’ attention to the flaws in the current abuse reporting system available to professionals, which only offers limited protection to seniors and victims of financial abuse.
- While Quebec’s professional system often sets an example for the rest of Canada when it comes to protecting the public, it is high time that Quebec professionals be authorized to report both the abusive behaviour of an incapacitated person’s legal representative and a client’s suspected incapacity to a family member or the Public Curator.
- Lastly, the Order recommends that situations of abuse be reported to a single entity, and that the Public Curator take on this role and have the budget to do so.
About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 40,000 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, including financial reporting, management accounting, strategy and governance, audit and assurance, finance and taxation.
Director, Public Affairs
Quebec CPA Order
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