Have your say on proposed framework for Canadian independence standards

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) needs your input on its proposal to make the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ (IESBA) code of ethics for professional accountants the framework for future changes to Canadian independence standards.

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Overview of proposed changes

The Independence Task Force (ITF) of CPA Canada’s Public Trust Committee (PTC) is recommending that all future changes made to Canadian independence standards be based on the automatic adoption of changes to independent requirements included in the IESBA code of ethics.

These changes would be amended as necessary to address Canada-specific circumstances, and reworded only to conform to the drafting conventions of Canadian rules. Under this approach, existing Canadian requirements that are more stringent than the code would be maintained.

You can learn more about this proposal and provide your feedback by reviewing our consultation paper, A Framework for the Canadian Independence Standards.

Comments are requested by September 1, 2015.

Submit comments

About the ITF

The PTC oversees the ethics standards and self-regulatory processes of the accounting profession. The committee formed the ITF to help with its review and oversight responsibilities when it comes to developing and renewing Canadian auditor independence standards.

The ITF’s responsibilities are to:

  • review recent amendments adopted by the IESBA in relation to breaches of its code of ethics
  • review the Enhancing Audit Quality project’s recommendations regarding making changes to Canadian independence standards
  • study any other auditor independence matters required by the PTC

Background

In February 2015, the ITF issued an exposure draft addressing amendments adopted by the IESBA regarding breaches of its code of ethics. It also addressed the IESBA’s approach regarding how contingent fees charged to an assurance client affect independence. This consultation paper is the first step in addressing the ITF’s responsibility to review the Enhancing Audit Quality project’s recommendations regarding U.S. independence standards for certain tax services.

The absence of a clearly articulated framework for assessing changes to these standards has created confusion about adopting items identified by the project. The ITF is therefore seeking input on the appropriate framework for developing future changes to Canadian independence standards.

Advantages

The ITF asserts that in a world of increasingly integrated capital markets, it is in the best interest of investors, issuers and auditors that standards converge as much as possible. The ITF notes that such an approach would bring Canadian independence standard setting in line with the approach used in setting Canadian audit standards and Canadian accounting standards.

The ITF proposal would mean that any changes to U.S. independence standards would not automatically be considered for adoption in Canada, which is appropriate because any such changes would be considered by the IESBA and, if considered appropriate, changes would be made to the global code.

Highlights

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