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Sunday News Roundup 22.08.28: ESG standards, tax code solutions and more Canadian accounting news 

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

Author: Canadian Accountant

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TORONTO, August 28, 2022 – While the big news in the audit profession during the past week was an accord between China and the United States granting the US accounting oversight board access to Chinese audit data, there were plenty of accounting stories coming out of Canada. For example, Catherine McIntyre from The Logic reported that Canadian securities and accounting standards regulators have fallen behind global bodies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. 

The article, Canadian regulators losing grip on ESG standards lead, is available for reading on the Financial Post, and it echoes a line of thinking that we flagged back in June. All the talk about “made in Canada solutions” that recognize the economic value of the fossil fuel industry may just amount to greenwashing — and a loss of lucrative business opportunities. 

Allan Lanthier: Solutions to our messy tax code

It’s always refreshing to read a thoughtful piece on any topic, let alone tax. Allan Lanthier’s Four reasons our tax rules are a mess in the Financial Post takes a big-picture look at the taxation landscape and finds plenty of culpability for our messy tax code. (One interesting assertion: “the enablers … [at] the major accounting and legal firms and their governing bodies.”) 

Better still, Lanthier (who occasionally writes for Canadian Accountant) has a solution: Follow the lead of the United Kingdom and establish something similar to the “Tax Law Rewrite Project” and the “Office of Tax Simplification.” This one Op-ed was better than most of the opinion pieces we read from major media columnists in the past week. Somebody give this guy a regular column! 

A freedom convoy for marginal effective tax rates?

Rarely do tax articles receive over 600 comments, but over at the Globe and Mail, Conservative leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre is apparently doing heroic work on the subject of marginal effective tax rates, highlighting the issue of clawback rates. Analysts point out the problems with his position (and the usual solutions of “broad-based tax reforms.” 

For CPAs spending sleepless nights over labour shortages, Patrick Brethour also wrote another Tax & Spend article this past week, suggesting that, rather than opening the floodgates to temporary workers, the Canadian government should keep up the labour shortage pressure. 

His thinking? Labour shortages spur innovation through technology which will in turn juice Canada’s low productivity rate: “Can’t find enough cashiers? Perhaps it is time to take a hard look at more self-checkouts, or an e-commerce, curbside-delivery approach that you first tried ad hoc in the flurry of the pandemic. Can’t find enough asparagus pickers? Could be you need to contemplate investing in robots.” 

Prairie province problems: Flush with cash, criticism

There’s nothing like prosperity to create problems. Seemed like only yesterday that Alberta was threatening to leave Canada over equalization payments. But Rural Alberta frustrated with oil and gas 'bad actors' not paying tax as industry swims in cash and, next door, residents have mixed feelings about Saskatchewan handing out cheques, scaling back taxes as rising oil, potash prices driving rise in revenue

Quick Hits: Articles of Interest

This unusual tax case shines a timely light on the post-secondary tuition credit (Financial Post)
CFE regional winners share a sense of pride and excitement (CPA Canada)
Nine strategies for using a First Home Savings Account (Globe and Mail)
Canadian Taxpayers Federation Urging Residents to Sign Petition Against Sugar Tax (Stingray Group)
Businesses are beginning to pay down sales-tax debt accumulated during pandemic, Canada Revenue Agency says (Globe and Mail) 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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