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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Budgeting and Auditing

CRA provision misuse: The right to remain silent

Practically every tax professional in the country has had to deal with the situation which arises when the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) bases its reassessing position on the basis of an oral comment to the CRA. The difficulty is that there is no proof the comment was made or it may have been the result of a misunderstanding between the parties. In our practice we had one instance where a comment by an official of a charity to the CRA served as basis for reassessing over a thousand taxpayers. While the official admitted to having made the comment the fact was that the CRA auditor had misunderstood the context in which it was made.

 

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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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Whistleblowers: The AMF will not offer any reward

On February 18, 2016, after a thorough and rigorous analysis which included closely monitoring the rewards-based whistleblower programs offered by the U.S. and Ontario, the Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF) announced that it does not intend to offer financial rewards to whistleblowers. Instead, the AMF wishes to promote a whistleblower program that builds on existing measures.

 

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The pitfalls of unwritten contracts – Part 1

This is not to suggest that written contracts provide perfect inoculation against lawsuits—litigants often misunderstand the obvious; written information may be open to multiple interpretations; and people sue even when they have no case. Two important considerations when making an agreement that you wish to be legally binding and enforceable in a court of law, are:

 

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An expanded Canada Pension Plan (and a very questionable future for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan)

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) seemed like a sure thing—until it wasn’t. On June 20, 2016, Bill Morneau, the federal Minister of Finance, and eight of ten provincial finance ministers did what many to this point thought was impossible: reach an agreement in principle to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

 

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Prepare for harmonized sales tax (HST) rate changes

HST rates are set to increase in three provinces. Businesses based in, or doing business with these provinces should prepare for the changes.

 

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Internal audit: Essential to minimizing risk

Managing risk in today’s business environment has become a far more complex process than it ever has been. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as increased government regulation and cyber-based issues. Other factors include uncertain political and economic situations that can arise, sustainable development and environmental concerns. These issues can have a substantial impact on small, medium and large organizations.

 

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Provincial and territorial 2016 budget overview

Throughout the last few months a number of provinces and territories have released their Budgets for the year 2016. The following is a brief overview of each of those Budgets released to date.

 

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Should we take this risk?

Who takes risk? The correct answer is ‘everybody’; everybody who makes a decision and everybody who acts. Every decision and action creates or modifies risk and has the potential to influence the achievement of objectives. Whether it is deciding to go through with an acquisition or to hire this candidate instead of an alternative, risk is being taken.

 

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Why do some take risks while others do not?

Every time you breathe, you are taking a risk – but usually, the potential for harm is greater if you don’t breathe. (There are exceptions, such as when your head is under water without a breathing mask.) Every time you make a decision, you are taking a risk – creating or modifying the level of a risk. So we are taking risk all the time, in pretty much every facet of our personal and professional lives.

But, I think we all know that when faced with the same situation, some will act one way and others another way.

 

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Misunderstanding risk and internal audit

There are many voices urging people to act when it comes to the topics of risk management and the role of internal audit. Unfortunately, most of these voices are like sirens, tempting you to go the wrong way.

 

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Does being an Ontario not-for-profit corporation mandate audited financial statements?

Given that many (although certainly not all) not-for-profit corporations (“NFPs”), both charitable and non-charitable, have a December year end and are preparing for their year end financial reporting, we thought it timely to provide a reminder about the financial disclosure requirements contained in their governing corporate legislation.

 

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Internal audit and cyber risk

Deloitte has published good work. One of my favorites is their risk-intelligent white paper series. Recently, they released Cybersecurity and the role of internal audit. It has both superior and inferior advice. Let me walk through it.

 

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Review panel recommends creation of new Ontario Financial Services Regulator

On November 4, 2015, a panel appointed by the Government of Ontario to review the mandate of provincial financial services regulators – the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the Financial Services Tribunal and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario – published its preliminary position paper “Review of the Mandates of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, Financial Services Tribunal, and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario”. The panel recommended the creation of a new provincial financial services regulatory agency (“Financial Services Regulatory Authority” to exercise both prudential and market conduct regulation, essentially replacing FSCO and DICO. Comments on the paper are due by December 14, 2015.

 

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Criminal charges suspended in one of Canada’s longest price-fixing investigations

The Competition Bureau announced that the Public Prosecution Service of Canada has entered a stay of proceedings against four key targets, in one of the Bureau’s most labour-intensive, criminal investigations to date.

 

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