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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Finance and Accounting

Canada begins NAFTA consultations

These NAFTA consultations offer a significant opportunity for companies to have input on the primary drivers of their access to Canadian, US and Mexican markets. With the EU-Canada CETA coming into force in the coming months, Canada will be in the unique position of having preferential trading and investment relationships with the world’s two largest economies.

 

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Budget 2017 focus on anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing

Given recent issues, it is no wonder that anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing (AML/ATF) received significant attention in this year’s federal budget (“Budget 2017”). Organizations can expect changes to the AML/ATF regime, and should monitor developments in this area.

 

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The Canadian real estate market: Affordability and money laundering

Although Canada has a robust anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime, there is much room for improvement. Real estate may be an easy way for criminals to launder money. According to Transparency International, this is a major problem in several countries, including Canada. A recent report looks at the main problems related to real estate and money laundering in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. It concludes that current rules and practices are inadequate to mitigate the risks and detect money laundering in the real estate sector.

 

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Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing developments

New anti-money laundering and terrorist financing guidelines by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) are now in force. FINTRAC recently released new guidelines in respect of politically exposed persons and Heads of International Organizations. The Guidelines were effective June 17, 2017, and complement new regulatory provisions which came into force on June 17, 2017, under the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.

 

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Deloitte on internal audit and the path forward

Nine areas of focus have come out of the results of Deloitte’s latest survey of chief audit executives (CAEs) with recommendations for action. The survey, which has been widely reported, indicated that in the opinion of the responding CAEs only 28% of them “believe their functions have strong impact and influence in their organizations, while 16 percent felt that Internal Audit has little to no impact and influence”.

 

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How do we make decisions? Where does ERM fit?

How do you make decisions in your personal life? How do you decide where to live, which car to buy, and where to go for lunch? For many of us, the last is the most difficult decision to make in a day! Consider your current situation and determine whether the decision is acceptable or not in the circumstances. Risk practitioners are often the voice of gloom in the decision-making process, pointing out what could go wrong. Balancing that with the positive outcomes can lead to effective decision-making.

 

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Ontario Introduces Bill 142, Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017: It’s much more than just liens!

On May 31, 2017, Ontario Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi introduced Bill 142, entitled “Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017”. The Bill follows upon a report commissioned by the Ontario government and prepared by Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel entitled “Striking the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act”. If enacted, the proposed legislation will introduce what is arguably the most sweeping set of changes that the Canadian construction industry has ever seen.

 

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Risk appetite in practice

From time to time, I am asked about the best risk management activity I have seen. Perhaps the best overall ERM was at SAP. I wouldn’t say it was perfect but it did include not only periodic reviews but the careful consideration of risk in every revenue transaction (including contracting) and development activity.

 

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Ontario’s proposed changes to employment and labour laws could still impact franchising

The Ontario government has responded with surprising speed to the Final Report from the Changing Workplaces Review (the Final Report) by introducing Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 on June 1, only eight days after the release of the Final Report on May 23, 2017. Bill 148 is intended to implement certain recommendations made in the Final Report. In a positive development for franchisors and franchisees, Bill 148 does not include measures to adopt the more drastic recommendations in the Final Report that were specifically directed at franchise systems.

 

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Canadian government suspends CASL private right of action

The Canadian federal government has announced that it has suspended the coming into force of the private right of action under Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), originally scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017.

 

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CASL’s soon-to-be-enacted private right of action brings risk of class proceedings

On July 1, 2017, the private right of action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into force.

 

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Don’t outsmart yourself: AI and compliance

I’m a big fan of artificial intelligence. The older I get, the more I appreciate that real intelligence needs all the help it can get. Corporate ethics and compliance officers, however, need to pause before betting big on AI as a solution to all our needs.

 

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Plan administrators cannot “undo” negligent representation

It is well established from the case law that a pension plan administrator may be susceptible to legal claims where inaccurate or unclear information has been communicated to plan beneficiaries.

 

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The current state of risk oversight: Useful or useless?

All the surveys, including this one, report that executives do not believe risk management practices at their organization are making a significant contribution to the development and execution of their strategies.

 

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The risk of material errors in the quarterly financial statements

Audit Analytics has released some interesting statistics on financial restatements and SOX. According to them, in 2015 about 5.3% of companies assessed their internal control over financial reporting (ICFR) as ineffective. This is down from 5.8% in 2014 but otherwise the highest level since 2008. This is the key section of their report.

 

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