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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Are your internal auditors present?

The audit plan should reflect reality, not ivory tower beliefs. How confident are you that your audit plan addresses the risks as they appear in the front lines? Is that acceptable? If not, what are you doing about it?

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On the road to legalization: Highlights of Canada’s proposed Cannabis Act

On April 13, 2017, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the Cannabis Act). Consistent with the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2015 election promise, the Government of Canada believes that the Cannabis Act will “create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada.”

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High heels or the highway: Does your dress code policy need a makeover?

Recent developments in British Columbia, Ontario, and the United Kingdom, have refocused attention on dress codes—particularly appropriate footwear requirements—and with it, concerns about occupational health and safety, gender–equality, and other human rights. Because this is 2017, not the 1800s, it may be difficult to process the frequency with which many workplaces still require women to wear high heels or dress in other sexualized or gender–specific ways.

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BC will see big changes to small claims on June 1, 2017

On March 20, 2017, the Province of British Columbia announced significant changes to the jurisdiction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal and Provincial Court to address small claims court matters.

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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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The state of the internal audit profession

I don’t believe internal audit is “losing prestige”. My belief is that internal audit can and should do more to deliver the value that our stakeholders need. Unfortunately, internal audit at many if not most organizations does not have a lot of prestige and the argument should be about increasing rather than losing it.

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Federal Court of Appeal provides much-needed clarity on the “obvious to try” test and meaning of “inventive concept”

The Federal Court of Appeal has now provided much-needed clarity and guidance on two critical points in Canadian patent law: the meaning of “inventive concept” and the use of the “obvious to try” test in the obviousness analysis.

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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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Website operator jailed for distributing copyright infringing copies of musical works: R v Evans

Is operating a website that provides links to torrent websites which facilitates unauthorized downloading of musical works a criminal offence? If so, can the operator of such sites expect jail time as punishment for this crime? In a recent decision of the English and Wales Court of Appeal, the accused, Mr Evans, was convicted of two offences of distributing infringing copies of musical works and was sentenced to 12 months in prison for these crimes.

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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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CASL’s private right of action for Competition Act reviewable conduct

While much has been written about the impending CASL private rights of action, less has been said about the new private right of action CASL will tack on to the Competition Act for misrepresentations in electronic messages.

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Ontario court decides ground-breaking online copyright case

Trader Corp v CarGurus Inc, a recent Ontario Superior Court decision, breaks a staggering amount of new ground in Canadian copyright law.

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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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Getting rid of troublesome members: Read your bylaws carefully!

A recent decision is a reminder that simply following the rules of governing bylaws to get rid of a member may not be sufficient. The member could retain his or her status, accuse the board of acting in bad faith, and the organization could suffer extensive costs if a court finds that the bylaws relied upon in expelling the member fail to meet certain minimum requirements.

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