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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Observing the impossible law


That charities are subject to laws that cannot be obeyed is symptomatic of several problems. In part this can be traced back to the federal government’s lack of constitutional jurisdiction in legislating in this area (a topic we have written about many times). But the role of the courts in ensuring that laws meet the principles of natural justice has become muddied with the long record of losses by charities at the Federal Court of Appeal. However, the solution to this particular problem—including some of the more problematic parts of the political activities tests may be simpler than redrafting the constitutional division of powers.

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Overview of record keeping obligations for non-profit organizations and registered charities


While non–profit organizations and charities are usually busy carrying out the purposes of their organization, record keeping often takes a back seat to other priorities. However, good record keeping practices by a non–profit organization or a registered charity should not be overlooked.

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Proving consent under CASL: CRTC issues enforcement advisory notice


The Canadian Radio–television and Telecommunications Commission has issued an Enforcement Advisory notice directed to businesses and individuals that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) as part of their commercial activities. Notably, the sender of CEMs must have the consent of the recipient to send them a message, or else the message is considered spam.

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Canadian Competition Bureau releases significant updates to its IP Enforcement Guidelines


On March 31, 2016, the Competition Bureau released revised Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines (IPEGs). These IPEGs reflect incremental changes to the draft version released for consultation last year. Most notably the new IPEGs provide further guidance on (i) pharmaceutical patent litigation settlements, (ii) product switching (also known as “product hopping”), (iii) collaborative standard setting and standard essential patents, and (iv) patent assertion entities.

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How to assess internal audit effectiveness and value


How should this be done? Some would say that the IIA’s quality assurance standards, which require both ongoing and periodic quality reviews, are the answer. I am not one of those people.

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How much should big brother monitor (and other BYOD considerations)


Given the popularity and prevalence of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets in today’s world, it is no surprise that Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) programs have become an increasingly common arrangement for organizations. BYOD programs allow employees to use their own mobile devices for both personal and business purposes, blurring the traditional line between work and play. A recent report indicates that more than 75% of Canadian businesses support employee–purchased smartphones and tablets in the workplace.

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When it’s just not fair: The oppression remedy


While organizations have broad discretion to conduct their affairs as they see fit, courts may intervene if an organization’s conduct is unfair or oppressive. A recent case involving a Saskatchewan non–profit is a brief primer on the statutory oppression remedy, and is reminder that this remedy may be available in both non–profit and for–profit corporate statutes.

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BC Privacy Office says free legal advice doesn’t trigger client ID requirements


A recent Mediation Settlement from the BC Privacy Commissioner has raised an issue of particular interest to law firms, and other organizations which must meet “Know Your Client” requirements. The item is brief, but seems to suggest that free legal advice doesn’t trigger the “Know Your Client” provisions imposed by various Law Societies for compliance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. According to this Mediation Settlement, only paid legal advice triggers that obligation.

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Survey results: Risk-based internal audit planning


Clearly, the great majority base their audit plan on some combination of (macro) enterprise-level risks and (micro) risks at a lower level of the organization. Somewhat more have weighted their plan towards the micro level than the macro level. So what does this all mean?

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Reasonable expectation of privacy and text messaging


The task of picking up the phone, dialing and anticipating a “hello” on the other end can be daunting for many people. Text messaging, compared to phone calls, has dominated the way we communicate with one another over the years. With the abundance of text messages exchanged between people, there stems an important question with respect to privacy. That is, is there a reasonable expectation of privacy in a text message once it has been sent and received by the intended recipient? The Ontario Court of Appeal recently concluded that there is not. Thereby ruling that text messages seized from a recipient’s phone can be used against the sender in court.

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Israeli arrests provide lessons for Canadian charities


For most Canadians and Canadian Charities the Anti-Terrorism rules are a red herring to be reviewed only in the rarest of situations, if at all. However, recent events in Israel provide some motivation for Canadian Charities doing work abroad to take a closer look at these rules. According to international news reports the Israeli authorities have arrested the Gazan head of an international Christian charity on the allegation that he was funneling international aid donations to Hamas.

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A review of new whistleblower protections under Ontario’s Securities Act


In connection with the establishment of the Ontario Securities Commission’s new Whistleblower Program in July 2016, which includes monetary incentives for whistleblowers in Ontario, the Ontario government has approved amendments to the Securities Act (Ontario) to provide additional protection to persons who report a potential violation of Ontario securities law or a by-law or other instrument of a self-regulatory organization. The amendments were proclaimed into force on June 28, 2016.

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New case law dealing with CRA requests for documents


On June 3, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released two important decisions dealing with requests made by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) for information. The cases highlight the fact that when an individual or an organization receive such a request from CRA, they should consider whether any of the information requested is subject to solicitor–client privilege. If solicitor–client privilege applies, the information should not be produced.

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Public Safety Canada calls for submissions on new national cybersecurity strategy


On August 16, 2016, Public Safety Canada (“PSC”) issued a consultation paper, launching a public consultation as part of PSC’s development of an updated national cybersecurity strategy. The consultation will close on October 15, 2016. Businesses may want to consider making submissions in respect of some key questions posed around possible regulation or standard-setting regarding Internet of Things and connected devices, certification for E-commerce activities, and information sharing (especially in respect of critical infrastructure).

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The pitfalls of unwritten contracts – Part 3


Getting your contracts in writing is half the battle. You must also ensure that your contract says what you want it to say, and says it clearly. The main issue in the following case was the interpretation of an employment agreement.

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