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The Profession

News in brief: COVID-19 curbs business leaders’ economic optimism

ISSB appoints its first chair; two FCPAs named to the Order of Canada; and other news from the accounting world

A man is shown using a laptop in a warehouseBusiness leaders are concerned that supply chain pressures and challenges could hinder Canada’s economic growth (Getty Images/Marko Geber)


According to the newest CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q4 2021), supply chain issues and the pandemic are believed to be the main factors that could hinder our economy during the upcoming year. Inflation, challenges related to recruitment and retention, and a shortage of skilled workers were the other concerns most often indicated.

The survey polled business leaders on a range of issues and found that respondents are less optimistic about our economy than last quarter (only 43 per cent are optimistic, compared to 52 per cent when they were last asked). This could be partially due to the pandemic, as 37 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about its economic impact, up from 21 per cent of respondents in the Q3 survey.

“For almost two years now, the pandemic and its economic fallout have put Canadians and our economy on an unprecedented and challenging course,” said Charles-Antoine St-Jean, president and CEO of CPA Canada. “Business ingenuity and major contributions from governments have helped us weather the storm but, with the spread of Omicron, the private and public sectors must continue to work together to manage the evolving situation.”

Despite having a more tempered outlook on Canada’s economic position, those surveyed were likely to be optimistic about their organizations and expect to see progress in the coming year.


Emmanuel Faber has been named as the chair of the newly formed International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The announcement was made by the IFRS Foundation on December 16, 2021.

Faber comes to the ISSB from Danone, where he was the CEO and chair of the board. 

“His global leadership skills and drive make him the ideal inaugural ISSB Chair to lead the development of standards to meet investors’ demand for information about climate and other sustainability matters,” said Erkki Liikanen, chair of the IFRS Foundation Trustees. Faber’s appointment was effective as of January 1, 2022

The IFRS have said they will announce the two vice-chairs of the ISSB in the near future. In the meantime, they have put out a call for members of the board, with the aim of filling up to 11 member positions. Montreal will be one of the centres of the ISSB.


A new ranking of the Top 15 Trending Jobs in Canada by Randstad Canada lists “accountant” at number nine. The ranking is part of the HR firm’s evaluation of the best jobs in Canada for 2022.

The profession was noted for being in demand as a key ingredient for the success of a business, especially as so many industries navigate an increase in regulations that CPAs can help them address.   

Randstad noted a few overall job market trends including the expectation to be able to work remotely either full or part time. Accountant also placed number three on the list of best remote jobs, a nod to the shift to cloud-based solutions. However, some accounting roles Randstad highlighted, such as financial auditors, benefitted from a hybrid approach, which required them to spend time on site.


Governor General Mary Simon recently named 135 new appointees to the Order of Canada. Among those being recognized for “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation” are FCPAs Janice Fukakusa and Barbara Stymiest.

Janice Fukakusa, FCPA, FCA, is the current Chancellor of Ryerson University. Previously she was the CAO and CFO at RBC, where she held a number of key positions in the 30-plus years she worked there. Named Canada’s CFO of the Year in 2014, Fukakusa has also lent her financial and strategic expertise to several not-for-profit organizations. She was the Chair of the Board of Directors for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation as well as a volunteer with many other organizations. 

Barbara Stymiest, FCPA, FCA, is a board director for Sun Life, she is also on the boards of George Weston Limited and Blackberry Limited. She has held numerous key positions in her career including CEO of TMX Group Inc. and CFO at BMO Capital Markets. Well-known for her roles with not-for-profit organizations, Stymiest has also lent her time to the Royal Ontario Museum and the United Way.


Keep on top of emerging tax issues with CPA Canada’s tax blog, listen to Foresight: The CPA podcast for deeper insights on technological and social impacts on the profession, and get ideas for ways to use CPD to take your career to the next level.