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Friday News Roundup 21.06.25: No CRA cuffs for ultra-wealthy Canucks, ESG anger, move to Oz and more

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

Author: Canadian Accountant

TORONTO, June 25, 2021 – Let’s get right to our weekly roundup of the odds and ends from the world of Canadian accounting because there’s a fair bit to cover. 

Are you frustrated, fed up over (a lack of) ESG standards?

Funny, but we don’t get a lot of angry emails from Canadian accountants, saying they’re fed up over the lack of standardization in ESG accounting rules. Maybe that’s why we found Accountants have had enough. It’s time to develop global standards for corporate reporting on ESG issues in the Globe and Mail to be a bit of a head-scratcher. 

Yes, CPA Canada is in favour of an international sustainability standards board, which the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) says should exist alongside the International Accounting Standards Board under the IFRS Foundation. That makes sense. But no one from corporate Canada (yes, pension funds; no, corporate Canada) is quoted in the article. If you’re the CFO of a Canadian corporation and you feel differently, email us and change our minds. 

Here’s Canadian Kevin Dancey, head of IFAC, interviewed in Accounting Today

Another win for ultra-wealthy Canucks?

Very few people ever go to prison in Canada for tax evasion. In 2020, only 21 taxpayers received some form of criminal sentencing for tax evasion, according to Canadian tax lawyer and accountant David J. Rotfleisch. And now, courtesy of the CBC, we find that the CRA conducted 6,770 audits of “ultra-wealthy Canadians” over the past six years, resulting in zero prosecutions or convictions. 

“The CRA is not pursuing Canada’s largest and most egregious tax cheats,” says NDP MP Matthew Green, who asked for the data. “And yet for a small mom-and-pop shop if you don’t pay your taxes long enough — two or three years — then they will absolutely go in and garnish your wages … because they know you don’t have the ability to take it to court,” he said. 

Budget bill C-30 on its way to the Senate

Bill C-30, "An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures," passed third reading in the house on Wednesday and is headed for proclamation. Conservative Ed Fast used the Bill C-30 to criticize the Liberals for spending billions without a clear strategy and, oddly for a conservative, implied that the one per cent tax on foreign owners of vacant real estate was not high enough. Gabriel Ste-Marie of the Bloc Québécois had more technical analysis of the Bill, which the BQ largely supports, warning the government that Quebec would not stand by while the Liberals gave more power to a centralized national securities regulator (Canada is the only G7 nation without one) which the BQ sees as a threat to Quebec sovereignty.

While Bill C-30 contains many amendments related to anti-avoidance measures, some measures, such as the CRA's power to compel oral interviews, are not included and will presumably be included in other proposed legislation. At the same time, Bill C-208, "An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)," has passed third reading in the Senate with unanimous party support. Tax professionals have long argued that the ITA dissuaded farming and fishing families from passing their business down through generations. Deloitte is often quoted in the speeches and there was some concern expressed that the tax break would be used by large corporations involved in fishing and farming.

Former CannTrust directors see joint charges

Insider trading charges were laid this past week against the former directors of one of the biggest cannabis companies in Canada. Why? Because the company apparently claimed regulatory compliance in financial disclosure documents (um, who signed off on those?) while half of its herb was growing in an illegal facility in Pelham, Ontario. 

Accountants, fed up with Canada? Wanna move to Australia?

We thought you might be interested in learning that international accounting and audit professionals looking to work in Australia will now see their visas fast-tracked, as the Australian government looks to plug a shortage of talent in the profession, according to this report. Rampant bushfires and climate change denial has taken the bloom off the golden wattle but the Aussies did well with the coronavirus. 

The Soo gets a surplus

Your local municipality may be in a better financial position this year than last year, if Sault Ste. Marie is a legitimate example. Due to the past pandemic year, they banked $4.9 million in a reserve fund, due to capital work ordered but never delivered. 

Quick Hits

Zoom meetings aren’t fun any more and workers have had enough — here’s what some companies are doing to help (KPMG Canada)

Small Canadian financial services firm hit by ransomware 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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