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Friday News Roundup 21.04.16: Watch out! Covid accounting inspectors! Plus (no) tax deadline extensions, and more!

Wrapping up the odds and ends in this week’s Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

TORONTO, April 16, 2021 – A tough tax season just got a whole lot tougher. With a third wave of COVID-19 swamping Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced tougher social restrictions today, including increased inspections of … accounting firms. 

The province is mobilizing a team of more than 200 workplace inspectors and provincial offences officers starting April 16 to inspect hundreds of construction sites and workplaces. Inspectors will be visiting accounting firms, law offices and other businesses in the coming weeks to ensure that only essential workers are inside or on-site. “Employers and employees take note: this is your final warning,” Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton said. 

With roughly 60 per cent of CPAs living in Ontario, this is just another headache that tax practitioners don’t need right now. Among other odds and ends in news from Canadian accounting: 

You! No tax deadline extension for you!

So far, there is no sign that the Canada Revenue Agency will extend the deadline, despite the province of Quebec announcing an extension. CPA Canada continues to advocate for an extension and media outlets such as the CBC have reported on the challenges facing accountants. Canadian Accountant first raised the issue back on March 22nd (!) in “7 service problems accountants say the CRA could fix for tax preparers” and mentioned the issue to the new Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson. 

Globe and Mail critical of CPAB secrecy

In “Canada’s accounting-firm problem child remains a mystery,” Globe and Mail institutional investment reporter David Milstead is critical of the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB), and its annual reports on significant findings in the audit work of the Big Four. The problem, according to Milstead, is the problem child: “Canada’s robust system for inspecting the work of accounting firms stops short of making the results public.” 

This is an issue first raised by Canadian Accountant back in 2019 and ridiculed by reporters outside Canada. In an otherwise perceptive column, Milstead unfortunately missed the fact that, in the United States, not only does the PCAOB name specific audit firms — you can actually read their reports on specific audits online! That’s a level of transparency in self-regulation that simply does not exist in Canada. 

CPA Saskatchewan criticized by bad accountant’s former firm

Rarely do you see an accounting firm airing its dirty laundry in public, but Bill Thompson, senior partner at Kemp Thompson Brown in Prince Albert, Sask., is critical of the discipline recently meted out to a former partner. The problem? Too lenient! 

Reid Joseph McLeod worked at the firm for 40 years and resigned from the profession in 2018. The former partner, reported Prince Albert Now (PAnow): “Thompson added the sad part is his profession is supposed to protect the public and this didn’t happen. He figures his ex-partner should have been given a larger sanction.” 

Accountant dismissed from Ottawa Police Service

What’s in the water up there in Ottawa? Local politics sure gets nasty. Last month it was a nasty fight with a former City of Ottawa auditor general. This month, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Ottawa Police Service, Jeff Letourneau, CPA, CMA, got the boot for allegedly using a police fleet vehicle inappropriately and not paying the taxes on it, according to the CBC and Ottawa Citizen

According to the Ottawa Citizen, “Letourneau had appeared frequently before the board as a leading executive in preparing the force’s annual budget, now in excess of $370 million.” Doesn’t hold a candle to Toronto’s billion dollar police budget. 

And a couple more quick hits …

The Globe and Mail published an excellent investigative journalism report on alleged construction kickbacks at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Well worth reading. 

Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks wrote “If you don’t have $20 million, relax. A wealth tax won’t touch you,” in the Toronto Star. 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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