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Sunday News Roundup 23.01.08: Highest-paid CEOs, Ontario pandemic business grants, 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, Jan. 8, 2023 – The annual list of Canada’s highest-paid CEOs came out on Tuesday. The list, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), shows the average top-100 CEO made $14.1 million in 2021 — 243 times the average worker salary. The data showed that 2021 CEO salaries set a record high in total income, disparity, and variable compensation (i.e., bonuses). 

Last week we talked about how Canadians for Tax Fairness was the flip side of the same public policy coin as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. You might think of the CCPA as the flip side of the Fraser Institute. Its highest-paid CEOs list is one of the most successful public policy campaigns in Canada for many reasons. The sheer size of the numbers. The lack of diversity among CEOs. The eye-popping numbers. 

But chief among the reasons is that the data (which are actually available much earlier in the year) is tied to a specific date (this year, January 3rd), bringing home the disparity between average wages and CEO pay. Very clever. 

And now, on to the rest of the news from the past week in Canadian accounting. 

Ontario was generous to some companies during the pandemic

Canadian accountants felt strongly that governments should give to businesses during the pandemic. How generous should they have been? Well, that often depends on one’s political persuasion. This past week, the CBC obtained, through a Freedom of Information request, the list of companies Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government gave grants to during the pandemic. 

The list included nearly 600 businesses, including Air Canada, WestJet, Cineplex. “The list reveals that the maximum grant of nearly $700,000 each went to Air Canada, WestJet and Porter Airlines, as well as a brewery, a winery and companies that own hotels but whose main business is construction or real estate … More than 70 per cent of the businesses that received grants were given $100,000 or less.” 

Among the list of companies that received $695k is Morguard Corp., which is owned by billionaire accountant Ray Sahi, one of Canada’s wealthiest individuals. We think it’s safe to assume that many Canadian accountants would have preferred to see that money divided among SME businesses rather than large corporations, some of whose CEOs may have made a certain list in our previous story. 

The grass is always greener … for accountants?

Reddit is a gold mine for chit chat from rank-and-file accountants in Canada and the US. The most popular discussions are typically based on two topics: salary and working conditions. This past week, we hit both topics with I Wish I Was American, posted by a Canadian accounting student who is “kind of bitter that I wasn't born in America.” 

And of course Reddit is a great source for accounting humour. A sample from the past week? Most likely going to prison in 2 months. What accounting/finance tattoo should I get to make friends and allies on the inside? or Your rap name is "lil" + the last accounting function you performed

Criticism of Alberta donation tax credit legislation

On December 15, private member’s Bill 202 passed third reading in the Alberta Legislature and received royal assent, becoming the Alberta Personal Income Tax (Charitable and Other Gifts) Amendment Act, 2022. The legislation raises the Alberta non-refundable charitable tax credit from 10 per cent to 60 per cent for donations under $200. 

Allan Lanthier, who writes for both Canadian Accountant and the Financial Post, criticized the legislation in an interesting post on LinkedIn, which garnered the attention of Jamie Golombek, the CIBC wealth expert who also writes for the Financial Post. Perhaps we might see a future column on the topic. 

Small town junior accountant makes national honour roll

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: You don’t have to work for the Big Four to make the national honour roll. Sure, judging by the numbers, it definitely helps but is not a necessity. Witness this Brock University profile of Emma Roszell, a junior accountant at Root Bissonette Walker LLP in the small town of Fonthill, Ontario (pop: 9,005). 

Roszell graduated from the Brock with a master’s degree in accountancy and credits two of her accounting profs with getting her ready to tackle the CFE. Roszell started at RBW as a high school student in a co-op program and plans to continue working for the firm. 

Software Digest

Betakit reported this past week that Toronto-based business information services firm Thomson Reuters shared on Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of SurePrep. The California-based SurePrep makes accounting software that uses uses artificial intelligence to collect and process documents from clients. 

Quick Hits: Articles of Interest

Unfinished business: Where corporate governance still falls short (Globe and Mail)
Massive TFSA recontribution mistake puts taxpayer in CRA's crosshairs (Financial Post)
Claim key deductions and credits to reduce your tax burden (Globe and Mail)
Ontario continues trend of uncompetitively high personal income tax rates (Fraser Institute News Release)
Jack Mintz: Stop the global subsidy war! (Financial Post)
Welcoming Crowe Soberman's Newest Partners (Press Release) 


Let’s Start the Year Off With Some Doomsaying Predictions For the Profession in 2023 (Going Concern)
Tax Havens Obscured at Least $1.4 Trillion of Foreign Investment in China (Bloomberg News) 

By Canadian Accountant staff.

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