Ontario Civil


Professions and Occupations

ACCOUNTANTS

Organization and regulation of profession

Liability decision of professional conduct tribunal lacking justification, intelligibility and transparency

Clients and colleague filed complaints against accountant with Certified General Accountants Association. Professional Conduct Tribunal found accountant guilty of professional misconduct relating to breaches of Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. Tribunal imposed penalty of reprimand, revocation of accountant’s membership in Association, fine of $9,000, and costs, and ordered penalty decision be published in Association’s media and local newspaper. Appeal Tribunal dismissed accountant’s appeal from liability decision and penalty decision and awarded costs against accountant. Accountant brought application for judicial review of penalty decision, and appeal decision. Application granted. There was nothing in Appeal Tribunal’s constituting statute that granted to it right to argue merits of its decision on review. To review reasonableness of appeal decision, it was necessary to consider reasonableness of underlying liability decision. Liability decision lacked justification, intelligibility and transparency, and was formulaic, repetitive and incomprehensible. Tribunal’s findings in respect of each complainant were identical and did not involve any assessment of evidence in relation to documentation or in comparison to accountant’s evidence. Tribunal’s credibility assessment was formulaic and conclusory. Liability decision was unreasonable and must be set aside, so penalty decision and appeal decision also must be set aside. Matter was remitted to differently constituted panel of Tribunal.
Richmond v. Discipline Committee of the Certified General Accountants Assn. of Ontario (2017), 2017 CarswellOnt 6222, 2017 ONSC 1765, Shaw R.S.J., A. Molloy J., and L.A. Pattillo J. (Ont. Div. Ct.).

 


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