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Policy advocacy priorities remain the same with new minority government

Tax review, anti-money laundering and a low-carbon economy remain at the heart of CPA Canada’s endeavours as post-election dust settles

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Close up stock photo of a woman carefully studying moving data on her computer screenData governance is expected to remain a key element of the federal government’s Digital Charter, which includes a review and modernization of privacy legislation (Getty Images/Laurence Dutton)

As Canadians stand by awaiting how a new minority government will impact their lives and pocketbooks, CPA Canada continues to advocate in the public interest including calling for an independent review of Canada’s tax system and financial reforms that would speed the transition to a sustainable economy.   

“CPA Canada has played a valuable role in bringing important issues to the forefront of public awareness and we aim to keep them front and centre,” says Sarah Anson-Cartwright, director of public affairs, CPA Canada. “We have made good headway, particularly in the case for a tax review.” 

Though some priorities—namely tax review, anti-money laundering and climate action—were included in party platforms during the election campaign, it is too early to determine what will actually stand up under minority rule, and what new policies will be brought to the table or take precedent.   

“A minority government definitely changes the dynamics on Parliament Hill,” explains Catherine Parker, principal, government relations, CPA Canada. “Nonetheless, CPA Canada will engage with the government and work with all parties as a respected, trusted and knowledgeable non-partisan voice.” 

Here’s a look at four of the organization’s focal points:   

1) TAX REVIEW AND POLICY

CPA Canada will continue to advocate for a complete review of the country’s tax system by an independent expert panel. Work on the tax policy front also  includes overcoming challenges around the taxation of the digital economy, adhering to the OECD’s global framework, and shifting GST rules so that non-resident vendors collect intangible tax on property and services. 

“While the current federal government has not committed to a tax review it has expressed interest in reviewing tax expenditures,” Parker says. “We are going to have to leverage that. We will take our opportunities and keep making the case for a comprehensive review.”

2) ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

CPA Canada recognizes the headway made at the federal and provincial level strengthening Canada’s anti-money laundering regime through beneficial ownership legislation. It’s hoped that the current government will stay committed, as stated in its election platform, to enhancing whistleblowing programs.

“This is the first election where money laundering was on every party platform, which gives a sense it has come into the public domain,” says Anson-Cartwright. “This is one area where we had a very good advisory role with government and constructive discussions on how to improve the regime.”

3) SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE 

When it comes to business and climate change, CPA Canada is looking for continuity from the government in its commitment to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. This includes Canadian businesses adhering to sustainable finance requirements and climate-related financial disclosure. 

“There is a real opportunity to pick up and push that forward because the report of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance is something we broadly support,” says Anson-Cartwright. “Its recommendations effectively map out the steps necessary to support the government’s climate targets and to transition to a low carbon economy.” 

4) DATA, INNOVATION AND BUSINESS GROWTH

Data governance plays a prominent role in CPA Canada’s Foresight: Reimagining the Profession initiative, an ambitious consultation effort to help define the future of the accounting profession. It also is expected to remain a key element of the federal government’s Digital Charter, which includes a review and modernization of privacy legislation. 

When it comes to data governance, though addressing the same questions, CPA Canada, says Anson-Cartwright, looks at the issue through a public interest lens, as well as, thinking about how it will re-shape the profession and impact corporate governance, while the government is focused on the broader societal perspective. 

“Harnessing and realizing the full potential of data is both a pivotal opportunity and an evolving policy challenge for the government and many stakeholders,” says Anson-Cartwright. “CPA Canada’s work on data governance is very much in step with the government’s agenda. Both of us are exploring the same questions of how to ensure the quality and reliability of data, how to ensure businesses can capitalize on the opportunities presented by leveraging data, and how to protect Canadians’ privacy and security.”   

WAY FORWARD

CPA Canada, like Canadians overall, awaits to see what a minority government will bring at a unique time, when the country, though wide-ranging in political sentiment, is in a position to move forward on the top concerns for policy makers, advocates and citizens alike. 

“It’s very early days…but we plan to engage, and hope government will engage and take action,” says Anson-Cartwright. “We are not saying this is where government will act. But there is clearly strong alignment for action.”

READ MORE ABOUT CPA CANADA’S KEY POLICY AREAS

Delve deeper into why Canada is in need of a comprehensive tax review, learn why sustainable finance is the future and what it means for your company and why an overarching framework is needed for responsible data use.