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Defining a Breach

The Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct establishes six broad categories that apply to the conduct of CGA Ontario’s members and students, specifically:

(i)  Responsibilities to Society.
(ii) Trust and Duties.
(iii) Due Care and Professional Judgment.
(iv) Deceptive Information
(v) Professional Practice.
(vi) Responsibilities to the Profession.

Generally speaking a “breach” of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct would occur where a CGA Ontario member or student acts contrary to, or without regard to, the aforementioned six principles. In some cases the principle is quite sweeping and in other cases it is narrower. It is the function of the discipline committee at first instance to determine whether a apparent infraction of the Code has occurred.

The Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct

Responsibility to Society

Members have a fundamental responsibility to safeguard and advance the interests of society. This implies acting with trustworthiness, integrity and objectivity. This responsibility extends beyond a member’s own behavior to the behaviours of colleagues and to the standards of the Association and the profession.

Trust and Duties

Members shall act in the interest of their clients, employers and interested third parties, and shall be prepared to sacrifice their self-interest to do so. Members shall honour the trust bestowed on them by others, and shall not use their privileged position without their principal’s knowledge and consent. Members shall strive to be independent of mind and in appearance.

Due Care and Professional Judgment

Members shall strive to continually upgrade and develop their knowledge and skills in the areas in which they practice as professionals. This technical expertise shall be employed with due professional care and judgment.

Deceptive Information

Members shall not be associated with any information that the member knows, or ought to know, to be false or misleading, whether by statement or omission.

Professional Practice

Members shall act openly and fairly towards others in the practice of their profession.

Responsibilities to the Profession

Members shall always act in accordance with the duties and responsibilities associated with being members of the profession, and shall carry on work in a manner that will enhance the image of the profession and the Association.

Building on the Code of Ethical Principles, the Rules of Conduct provide specific statements of the minimum standards of acceptable professional behaviour. They provide expanded statements about specific ethical issues, but do not exhaust the range of enforceable ethical standards. They are organized under the headings of the ethical principles to which they apply. The Rules of Conduct also provide guidance concerning the application of the rules to certain specific situations.

Each CGA Ontario member, student and discipline committee member should be fully familiar with the general guidance provided by the Code of Ethical Principles and the more specific detail contained in the Rules of Conduct.

Examples of a breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct would include, but not be limited to: failure to complete an engagement; failure to return books and records to a client; negligent work by the CGA or student; misappropriation of funds; failure to respond to disciplinary proceedings; income tax evasion; a student misleading an employer as to CGA status; conflict of interest; misrepresenting qualifications; failure to follow the terms of a letter of engagement; failure to respond in a timely manner to requests from CGA Ontario; failure to register for public practice; failure to perform work agreed to; failure to act promptly; or conviction for an abhorrent criminal offence.

Failure to Pay Annual Dues or Special Assessments

Subsection 4.19 of the Bylaws provides for either discretionary (with notice) or automatic suspension, depending on the duration of the default, of a CGA who is in default of payment of annual dues, or a special assessment, or any portion thereof.

Default of Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Requirements

Subsection 4.19 of the Bylaws provides for discretionary suspension of a CGA who is in default of mandatory continuing professional development requirements subject to specified time periods and notice.

Failure to Pay Errors and Omissions Insurance

Subsection 4.19 of the Bylaws provides for automatic suspension of any CGA who is in default of the payment of errors and omissions insurance premiums, or any portion thereof, and for failure to produce a certificate of insurance within defined time periods.