Accountant had a duty to cooperate with the investigation of his governing body

22. January 2016 0

The Applicant accountant, Mr. Round, was unsuccessful in his application for judicial review relating to the decision made by his governing body (the Respondent, the Institute of Chartered Accountants). The Respondent had decided to initiate formal professional misconduct proceedings against him relating to his failure to cooperate with its investigation.

Administrative law – Accountants – Certified General Accountants – Conduct unbecoming – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Investigations – Judicial Review – Natural Justice – Procedural requirements and fairness – Professional governance and discipline – Professional misconduct – Registration

Round v. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, [2015] O.J. No. 6404, 2015 ONSC 7099, Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Divisional Court, December 7, 2015, A.M. Molloy, M.T. Linhares de Sousa and H.J. Wilton-Siegel JJ.

The Applicant, Mr. Garry Round, is a Certified Professional Accountant (“CPA”) and a Chartered Accountant (“CA”). His professional activities are governed by the Respondent, the Institute of Chartered Accountants operating as Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (the “CPAO”), pursuant to the Chartered Accountants Act and the ByLaws, Regulations and Rules of Conduct established by the CPAO.

Mr. Round is employed by a company operating as Ryan ULC (“Ryan”). Mr. Round is the President of Canadian Operations for Ryan. In June 2014, the CPAO advised Mr. Round that they had reason to believe he was providing accounting services through Ryan, which was not a registered firm with the CPAO (and thus he was in breach of the ByLaws, Regulations, and Rules). The CPAO asked for further information from Mr. Round. Mr. Round’s counsel (Ryan’s counsel) exchanged correspondence with the CPAO through until March 2015. Mr. Round learned that this investigation was started when the CPAO was investigating an unrelated matter. Mr. Round did not provide the information requested by the CPAO.

On March 4, 2015, Mr. Round was served with a notice asking him to attend before the Professional Conduct Committee on March 24, 2015. The notice also repeated the earlier requests for information. Mr. Round’s counsel advised that he would be applying for judicial review, and Mr. Round did not attend. On May 17, 2015, the CPAO issued a notice to initiate the formal professional misconduct proceedings against Mr. Round (relating to his failure to respond to requests and attend at the meeting on March 24, 2015).

On May 28, 2015, Mr. Round initiated this application for judicial review. Mr. Round argued the CPAO has no jurisdiction to investigate in the absence of an identified complainant. The Court refused to intervene at this stage of the proceedings. In reaching that decision, the Court considered whether the situation presented a clear excess of the CPAO’s jurisdiction or an egregious/irremediable breach of natural justice. The Court held it did not. At this stage of the proceeding, there was no duty on the CPAO to disclose the identity of the individual who identified the website information that prompted the investigation. Mr. Round had a duty to cooperate with the investigation of the CPAO and he was not doing so.

The Court dismissed Mr. Round’s application for judicial review. Costs were agreed at a fixed number and agreed to follow the cause.

This case was digested by Scott J. Marcinkow of Harper Grey LLP. If you would like to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact him directly at or review his biography at .

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