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Determinations by the Discipline Committee

The objective of the discipline committee is to determine if there has been a breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. Thereafter, the discipline committee is to recommend the appropriate disposition of the matter. This can range from a determination that there has been no breach to a postponement to an agreement upon appropriate discipline through the resolution process to a disciplinary recommendation and prosecution through the professional conduct tribunal.  

The discipline committee has no authority to unilaterally impose disciplinary action on the respondent. In other words, it cannot suspend, expel or fine a CGA or student. The discipline committee function is to review complaints and decide whether a CGA or student has committed a breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. The discipline committee can then decide which of the avenues described in this section it deems appropriate in the circumstances.

The discipline committee’s role is not to censure conduct that does not breach the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. If the CGA or student’s conduct is not in breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct then, the only conclusion that the discipline committee can reach is that the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct has not been breached. However, it may be appropriate in the circumstances to provide guidance or practice direction to the CGA or student depending on the matter under review.

Keeping this in mind, the following outlines the determinations available to the discipline committee.

No Breach

The discipline committee may conclude that there has been no apparent infraction of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of ConductConduct. The discipline committee will then dismiss the complaint. Where this is the determination the professional regulation department will be advised and provided with reasons for the dismissal. The complainant and CGA or student will also be advised of the reason for the dismissal and the file is closed.

Review of a Closed Complaint

Where the discipline committee closes a complaint based on its determination that there is not an apparent infraction of the Code, upon receipt of a request by the complainant within 30 days of being notified of the complaint being closed, the committee shall forward the request to an independent reviewer appointed by the chair of the board to perform an independent review of the closed complaint. The independent reviewer may make a referral back to the discipline committee for its reconsideration. The procedure for review is set forth in the Association's Bylaws.

Written Advice or Guidance

The discipline committee may decide that there is no apparent breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct, but that advice or guidance to the CGA or student is appropriate in the circumstances. A letter to the CGA will be prepared for signature by the chair of the discipline committee, which contains the advice or guidance. The comlainant will be notified of the committee's decision. The file will then be closed.

Breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct-Substantial Breach

The discipline committee may decide that the complaint evidences a breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. In these circumstances, the discipline committee has several options:

(a) Resolution:

i) Resolution

  • The discipline committee may decide that a resolution of the complaint is in order. In these circumstances, the discipline committee will write to the CGA or student to inform him or her that the complaint identifies an apparent breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct. The chair of the discipline committee will sign the letter.
  • The complainant will also be notified.
  • The discipline committee will then outline a proposed penalty for the breach. This usually includes a fine, a written reprimand and publication of the disciplinary action in Statements, the bimonthly newsletter of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario .
  • The CGA or student is notified that he or she must notify the discipline committee in writing within a specified period of time to indicate whether he/she accepts the resolution of the complaint.
  • If the CGA or student agrees that a breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct has occurred, and that the suggested penalty is appropriate, he or she will consent to the penalty suggested by the discipline committee, subject to professional conduct tribunal approval, the matter is at an end. The complainant will be notified that a resolution has been reached. This is followed by a 10-day waiting period, in which any party may withdraw from the proposed resolution of the complaint. If a party withdraws from the resolution, the complaint is referred to the professional conduct tribunal, for a formal discipline hearing.
ii) Failure to Agree upon Resolution:

  • If the CGA or student takes the position that no breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct has occurred and/or that the penalty is not appropriate in the circumstances, then the matter is referred to the professional conduct tribunal for a formal discipline hearing.

iii) Ratification by a Three-Person Professional Conduct Tribunal:

  • If a resolution is agreed upon, and no party has withdrawn from the resolution within the above-noted timeframes, the matter is referred to a three-person professional conduct tribunal for ratification. The discipline committee will forward the resolution signed by the CGA or student, together with relevant information about the complaint, to a tribunal panel for their ratification. The tribunal can only accept or reject the resolution; it cannot vary it in any way. Where the professional conduct tribunal accepts the proposed resolution, the matter is at an end.
  • Where the three-person professional conduct tribunal refuses to accept the proposed resolution, it may grant the discipline committee an opportunity to return before it within 30 days or such other reasonable time as shall be stipulated by the professional conduct tribunal, with an amended proposed agreed resolution. If the thee-person professional conduct tribunal refuses to accept the resolution, the matter is referred to a professional conduct tribunal for a formal discipline hearing.

(b) Referral to the Professional Conduct Tribunal for a Discipline Hearing (Substantial Breach)

The discipline committeemay decide that the breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct is so serious that it ought to be referred to the professional conduct tribunal for a hearing. At this point, the discipline committeebecomes the prosecutor. Legal counsel will be retained to prosecute the matter on behalf of the discipline committee.

The discipline committeewill decide how it wishes to proceed and will instruct counsel accordingly. It will decide which allegations it will refer to the tribunal and will suggest the penalty it will seek should the tribunal, after a formal hearing, find that the member has breached the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct.

The discipline committee will draft the allegations to be included in a Notice of Hearing and forward them to the tribunal’s office, who will formally draft and serve the Notice of Hearing.