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Sunday News Roundup 22.05.01: CRA psychology, risky business, tax season ends and more 

Wrapping up the odds and ends from the past week in Canadian accounting news

Author: Canadian Accountant

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TORONTO, May 1, 2022 – With the 2022 tax season coming to an end tomorrow (April 30 being a weekend date), it seems reasonable to reflect on what was a reasonably quiet tax season, at least compared to years past. With cybersecurity breaches and pandemic-related chaos at the Canada Revenue Agency in 2020 and 2021, this year’s problems were limited largely to farmers and teachers (tax credit issue), and a group of seniors affected by a federal error. 

Now is the time to breathe a sigh of relief and move on to the odds and ends from the past week in Canadian accounting. 

CRA multinational auditors need counselling

Something strange is going on at the Canada Revenue Agency. According to the Globe and Mail, there is a case before the Federal Court in relation to workplace harassment complaints at the division responsible for multinational tax enforcement, which includes a psychological survey of workers. (The story appears to have been broken first by Blacklock’s Reporter which has a paywall.) 

Allegations of a toxic workplace, bullying and low morale, coupled with employees feeling like their division is ineffective at its job. That’s not the first time we’ve heard that CRA tax employees aren’t happy with the general state of affairs. The Globe obtained a lightly redacted version from the Federal Court before it was redacted further. 

Ontario regulatory oversight for financial advisors, planners

There’s a heck of a lot of chartered professional accountants in the financial advisory and planning industry — oops, we meant profession — because under Ontario’s messy effort to define ‘financial advisor’ and ‘financial planner,’ new protected titles and credentials may be created under the authority of the Financial Professionals Title Protection Act. 

Now comes news that securities regulators are considering policy actions of their own in this area and critics question approval of Ontario group to certify financial advisers, planners. As we know from the history of the accounting profession around the world, who gets to police the profession, and the balance between advocacy and regulation are critical considerations. This will undoubtedly affect the careers of the many CPAs working in the financial planning, estate planning, and life insurance industries. 

Toronto Star Risky Business investigative series

Thousands of CPAs across Canada work for the big eight pension funds, whether national (CPP), provincial (CDPQ), or sector-specific (Ontario Teachers’). The Toronto Star ran an interesting series this past week called Risky Business that largely focused on the following criticisms: 1, compensation at some pension funds is out of control; 2, investments are secretive and lack transparency; 3, pensions are investing in riskier ventures as they chase returns; and 4, that risk can and has resulted in billions of dollars in retirement savings lost. 

For more on pension funds and risky holdings, read David Milstead of the Globe and Mail, in Four of the biggest Canadian pension funds have stakes in companies that transport Russian gas

Indigenous tax leadership in British Columbia

In Filling the Indigenous tax gap, the University of Victoria profiles Doug Stewart, an assistant teaching professor at the Gustavson School of Business, who is addressing the need for Indigenous tax issues to be included in tax curricula. “I realized Indigenous tax matters weren’t addressed in academic circles — and they certainly weren’t a focus of the Chartered Professional Accountant program,” says Stuart. 

The academic, who travelled to northern BC communities to talk with Indigenous entrepreneurs, made it his mission to build an Indigenous tax program. He recently wrote an article for the Canadian Tax Foundation titled Supporting Indigenous Canadian Entrepreneurs: Navigating Complex Tax Rules

CPA Canada: Final paper in ethics series

The publication Mindset and enabling skills of professional accountants – a competence paradigm shift is the final paper in a four-part thought leadership series developed by CPA Canada, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). It was released in the past week and outlines the need for the profession to fundamentally shift its focus to stay relevant and thrive as the world changes.

It emphasizes that the profession’s evolution will be based on professional accountants building broad technology literacy, while also honing their professional and human skills that set them apart from the machines they will work collaboratively with, rather than solely emphasizing the core traditional technical areas of the accounting profession.

Quick Hits

Authorities crack down on Quebecers using Ontario addresses to pay less in taxes (CBC)
Jack M. Mintz: Time for a tax revolt (Financial Post)
How to potentially save thousands on your tax bill ahead of CRA's prescribed interest rate hike (Financial Post)
Canada’s workforce ‘has never been older’, statistics agency says (Al Jazeera)
Doug Ford follows federal Liberals with laid-back approach to tackling deficits in Ontario 2022 budget (Globe and Mail) 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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