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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Author Archive - Colin Braithwaite

Colin Braithwaite has more than 20 years experience in writing and publishing. From 2004–2010, Colin was the Managing Editor responsible for the products in the Internal Control Library at First Reference Inc. Read more

Facebook faces privacy questions… again

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has had run-ins with the Canadian Privacy Commissioner. And Canada’s not alone; privacy watchdogs in the United States and around the world have been critical of Facebook’s willingness to sacrifice users’ personal data in the name of social media…

 

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Ontario introduces not-for-profit corporations act

In late May, Ontario Bill 65, the not-for-profit corporations act, received second reading in the provincial legislature. This is the culmination of several years of consultation with the not-for-profit sector.

 

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Draft of new national securities act introduced

Earlier this year, we reported that Alberta and Quebec were preparing constitutional “references” to be heard by their respective provincial Courts of Appeal to defend their rights to maintain their own provincial securities regulators. At the same time, the federal government announced its intention to take its case for a national regulator to the Supreme Court…

 

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What is NFC and when is it coming to Canada?

The answer to the first question is easy: NFC is short for Near Field Communication, a simple, very short-range wireless communication technology (similar to RFID), which can be used for a “contactless” payment between an NFC-enabled device and an NFC reader at a retail checkout or a public transit turnstile, for example. NFC is a very hot technology right now, and is becoming widely used for low-value payments, such as transit fares, in some parts of the world like Japan and Korea.

 

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Anti-spam bill returns to House

Remember the ECPA, the proposed Electronic Commerce and Protection Act? It’s back, but with a gnarly new name: the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act.

 

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Amendments to PIPEDA disappoint privacy watchdogs

On May 29, the federal government introduced Bill C-29, the Safeguarding Canadians’ Personal Information Act, which makes substantial changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Bill had been in development for several years, and one of its primary objectives was to address a significant gap in PIPEDA, the issue of mandatory disclosure of “material” breaches of personal information by the companies or organizations responsible.

 

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New copyright bill tabled

For those of you haven’t been following the contentious reform of the existing and antiquated Copyright Act, this is the fed’s third crack at it. The Liberals tabled Bill C-60 in 2005, which was criticized for favouring the interests of copyright holders over consumers and died when Parliament was dissolved that year. The Conservatives tried again with Bill C-61 in 2008. It faced the same complaints, and disappeared when the government prorogued.

 

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Privacy risk management – by design

I’ve discussed the Privacy by Design principle before, in the Inside Internal Control newsletter. In case you don’t know, PbD is an approach developed by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, which proactively embeds privacy protection by default in the design of an organization’s practices and products.

 

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Not-for-Profit: The perils of bad governance

When a board of directors, senior staff, volunteers and members of a not-for-profit are marching to the same beat, an organization can do great things and win the admiration of the community at large. But when they fall out of step—for example, when the board loses control of the executive director, or the organization squanders the respect of its members or volunteers—things can go very wrong, very fast.

 

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Environmental responsibility: Is extended product responsibility inevitable?

On Earth Day, Ontario’s Environment Minister delivered a speech in which he stated his government’s intention to shift the entire cost of the provincial household Blue Box recycling program onto the backs of the companies that produce the recyclables (they currently pay 50 percent).

 

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RST vendor compensation tax tip

This morning, the First Reference accountant brought me an item that she thinks will be of interest to Ontario businesses: an Ontario Ministry of Revenue tax tip dealing with the transitional rules for retail sales tax vendor compensation.

 

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Not-for-Profit: Ontario announces plan for partnership with NPOs

On April 22, the government of Ontario announced that it will develop a long-term plan for its partnership with the not-for-profit sector in collaboration with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

 

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Charities, not-for-profits and the Income Tax Act: recent developments

I recently read a couple of articles dealing with the relationship between not-for-profit organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency, particularly with respect to fraudulent charitable tax receipts and what non-profits can do about accidental profits.

 

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OSC issues notice re disclosure of corporate governance and environmental matters

The Ontario Securities Commission has announced that it will undertake a review of corporate governance practices and environmental disclosure requirements in 2010, as part of a broader corporate sustainability reporting initiative.

What’s the significance of this announcement?

 

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Employee expense fraud

Employee fraud is on the rise, as organizations cut back on staff, and their internal controls slacken as a result. However, the monetary loss is just the beginning of the problem. A recent white paper from Grant Thornton LLP notes that, “Failure to crack down on this unethical—and indeed criminal—behaviour blurs the line between right and wrong. It creates a culture of entitlement that can extend across the business. And it can open the door to more significant corporate theft.”

 

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