The CPA Order calls for a better safety net to prevent financial abuse

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Montreal, September 28, 2021 – Today, the Quebec CPA Order defended its proposals before the parliamentarians studying Bill 101. Quebec CPA Order President and CEO Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, stated: “Despite the government’s clear intention to intensify the fight against material and financial abuse and the advances proposed by the bill, the legislative framework that has been put forward is incomplete. We will not be able to eliminate this scourge until we have legislation that allows this kind of abuse to be reported more easily by those most likely to detect it.”

Concrete, adapted solutions to financial abuse

The accounting profession has long been concerned about material and financial abuse. Following numerous interventions in recent years, the CPA Order has proposed concrete solutions that are adapted to this kind of abuse and respect the legal framework for professional privilege and personal information.

  • Clearly authorize the lifting of professional privilege for all professionals
    The protection of a vulnerable person who is a victim of abuse is a matter of public order that justifies professional privilege being lifted in a controlled and limited manner. This holds true whether the abuse causes physical, psychological, sexual, material or financial harm. In this context, the lifting of professional privilege must be authorized so that any professionals, including lawyers and notaries, can report a situation of abuse involving a client who is in a vulnerable situation but whose incapacity has not yet been established when these professionals believe that the client’s capacity to consent to the lifting of professional privilege is compromised by his or her situation.

    The Order also recommends that all professionals, without exception, carry an obligation to report any situation of abuse experienced by an incapacitated client.

    Ms. Mottard stated before the parliamentarians: “It is completely unjust that Quebec society allows certain professionals to turn a blind eye and not report a situation where a client is a victim of abuse when this client is unable to take the step of sounding the alarm.”
  • Financial sector stakeholders: key players
    Financial planners, financial advisors and employees of financial institutions regulated by the AMF regularly witness situations of material and financial abuse and must be part of the solution. They should therefore, like all professionals, bear an obligation to report cases of abuse of incapacitated individuals.

    In addition, the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector should be amended to allow financial sector stakeholders to disclose information in order to protect a vulnerable customer who is a victim of financial abuse, as Canadian law provides for in certain circumstances.

The spokesperson for the Order stated in conclusion: “Everyone who is in a vulnerable situation should benefit from the same safety net, whether or not they have been deemed incapacitated and whether they live at home or in the health and social services network. We must take advantage of the bill being studied to close loopholes in reporting mechanisms and stand in the way of abusers.”

Read the brief prepared by the Order [in French only]

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.

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Ginette Bourbonnais
Director, Institutional
Quebec CPA Order
T. 514 288-3256 [3022]  1 800 363-4688

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