How Does the Complaints Process Work?
CPA Ontario reviews every complaint regarding the conduct of a member, student or firm. We correspond with the complainant and the member to gather relevant facts, which are presented to the Professional Conduct Committee ("the Committee"). If the complaint contains information suggesting that the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, bylaws, regulations, or the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario Act, 2017 was breached, the matter is investigated and the Committee may refer the matter to the Discipline Committee for a full hearing. Other outcomes include admonishment of the member, student or firm, or closure with no further action.
The Complaints Process
When a complaint is received, we will obtain full details and supporting documents from the complainant and the member. Information provided by either party may be shared with the other to ensure that full responses are obtained.
All matters are reviewed by the Committee, which is comprised of experienced volunteer members of the profession and public representatives appointed by council.
Where the complaint is complex, the Committee may appoint an investigator to obtain more detailed information and documents, including statements from individuals. The investigator will prepare a report for the Committee. Usually, the member will appear before the Committee to answer direct questions based on the investigation findings. Members under review and investigation have the right to legal counsel at all stages of the complaints process.
The Committee may direct that:
- a breach of the rules has taken place and allegations of professional misconduct should be prepared for prosecution before the Discipline Committee. The Committee may also propose a settlement with the member;
- a breach of the rules may have taken place, but the public interest would be best served by providing guidance and admonishment to the member; and
- a member did not breach the rules and the file should be closed.
The CPA Ontario complaints process is not a forum for resolving fee and/or financial disputes between our members and their clients or other parties. However, CPA Ontario also offers a fees mediation service. CPA Ontario does not have the power to compel a member, student, firm or professional corporation to pay monies or perform acts in relation to third parties. Those powers are exercised by the courts.
Any complainant dissatisfied with the Committee's decision not to refer a matter to the Discipline Committee may pay a fee and apply to the independent Reviewer of Complaints for a review. The decision of the Reviewer of Complaints is final unless the member is also licensed to practise public accounting. In this circumstance a complainant can apply to the Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario for further review after completing the Reviewer of Complaints process.
Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
69 Bloor Street East
Toronto ON M4W 1B3
Fax: 416 962.5538
For any additional questions, please call 416 962.1841 x4480 or email Standards Enforcement.