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2017

2017-2018 Alberta budget highlights

Mar 16, 2017

On March 16, 2017, the Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci, introduced Budget 2017, “Working to make life better.” The following is a summary of the tax highlights contained in the budget.

The budget anticipates economic growth in Alberta to be 2.6%, with the 2017-18 deficit expected to be $10.3B, a modest decrease from the $10.8B deficit in the prior year. It is expected that revenue will increase from $42.9B to $45.0B, while expenses will increase from $53.7B to $54.9B, with a further $0.5B reflected as a “risk adjustment” intended to provide a buffer against fluctuations in non-renewable resource revenue.

Deficits are projected to continue in 2018-19, with $9.7B projected, and 2019-20, with $7.2B projected. The budget did not predict when the province would return to balanced budgets or a surplus.

The announced changes to taxation in Alberta are outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

For further details, we refer you to the Ministry of Finance website.

2017-2018 British Columbia budget highlights

Feb 21, 2017

On February 21, 2017, the Minister of Finance, Michael de Jong, presented the 2017-2018 BC Budget (Budget 2017). It is the fifth consecutive balanced budget, projecting a modest surplus.

Budget 2017 also projects the elimination of the province’s operating debt in 2020/2021. Minister de Jong reiterated his government’s commitment to “improving affordability and increasing competitiveness” in the province through the introduction of a number of taxation measures aimed at providing financial relief for British Columbians and investment in key program areas, as outlined in Budget 2017.

The announced changes to taxation in British Columbia are outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

For further details, we refer you to the Ministry of Finance website.

2017-2018 federal budget highlights

Mar 22, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, presented the 2017-2018 budget in the House of Commons. The budget continues the theme of helping middle class families, growing the economy and creating jobs.

Some of the key features of the budget plan were:

  • The government has introduced the “Innovation and Skills Plan” which will target six key areas: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health/bio-sciences and clean resources.
  • The budget proposes a number of additional programs to support innovation and to foster growth in the clean technology sector.
  • The government has indicated its intention to close loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others. Furthermore, the budget proposes to invest an additional $523.9 million over five years to build on previous investments to 2 support the Canada Revenue Agency’s efforts to prevent tax evasion and improve tax compliance.

A summary of the economic and tax highlights contained in the budget is outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

For further details, we refer you to the Department of Finance website.

2017-2018 Newfoundland and Labrador budget highlights

Apr 06, 2017

On April 6, 2017, Minister of Finance Cathy Bennett presented the 2017-2018 Newfoundland and Labrador budget.

The most significant news in this year’s budget is the absence of new taxes or fees. Equally important, there were no increases to existing taxes or fees. This budget was the exact opposite of the 2016-2017 budget, which contained increases to both taxes and fees in many areas.

The announced changes to taxation in Newfoundland and Labrador are outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

For further details, we refer you to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website.

A Call to Action: Walk the Talk on Integrated Reporting

Jun 06, 2017

On June 6, 2017, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issued a policy position on integrated reporting highlighting the need for a single report providing a fuller picture of an organization’s ability to create value over time, and greater interconnectedness between different reports.

IFAC member organizations can utilize this policy in their own context to help communicate integrated reporting key messages with regulators and others, as well as encourage alignment of integrated reporting to current requirements for annual reporting.

Review the press release and policy position on the IFAC's website.

Accountants Association Says Federal Regulators Should Establish and Implement Common Principles Related to Cybersecurity Risk Management

Jan 20, 2017

On January 20, 2017, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), a new organization composed of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), provided comments on three Federal agencies’ advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) regarding enhanced cyber risk management standards for large and interconnected entities and their service providers.

In the letter, Susan S. Coffey, CPA, CGMA, the Association’s executive vice president for public practice, noted that it while it is well understood that it is impossible to guarantee the prevention of a cybersecurity breach, this framework “will enable companies to demonstrate and communicate due diligence and due care in their management of cybersecurity risk in a consistent manner, serving the needs of multiple stakeholders with a single approach.”

Review the press release and the comment letter on the AICPA's website.

Administrators Will Need To Revisit Governance Policies Under Ontario's Latest Pension Changes

May 19, 2017

On May 19, 2017, the Ontario government announced that it would require plan administrators to establish written governance and funding policies, regarding a new funding framework for defined benefit pension plans in the province.

This move is one of a number of proposed measures designed to protect benefit security for members of defined benefit plans once the new funding framework, which will eliminate solvency funding for plans with a funded ratio of at least 85 per cent, is in place. The other measures include increasing the monthly pension amount guaranteed by the pension benefits guarantee fund in the event of employer insolvency and requiring increased disclosure to plan members regarding the funded status of their plan.

Review the press release on the Ontario government's website and an article on the Benefits Canada website.

AICPA Issues New Sustainability Attestation Guide

Jul 27, 2017

On July 27 2017, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) issued a new guide to help accountants provide assurance on their corporate clients’ environmental information.

The new guide, Attestation Engagements on Sustainability Information (Including Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information), will help CPAs interpret and apply the clarified attestation standards in Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No.18 when they conduct examination or review engagements on sustainability matters.

Many portfolio managers and research analysts take sustainability issues into account when deciding on investments and believe that kind of information should be subject to independent assurance.

Review the press release on the AICPA's website and an article on Accounting Today's website.

Audit technology evolving quickly at Big Four

Nov 14, 2017

On November 14, 2017, Accounting Today released an article on how the major audit firms are leveraging the latest tools to make the auditing process more efficient.

As technology gets more advanced, it gives auditors a way to visualize financial data and analyze it better. Emerging technologies include the use of drones.

Review the full article on Accounting Today's website.

Bank of Canada Gets More Serious about Issuing a Digital Currency

Nov 30, 2017

In November 2017, the Bank of Canada released a white paper that addresses the question of whether a central bank should issue digital currency that could be used by the general public.

The emergence of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain and distribution ledger technology have attracted significant attention. These developments have raised the possibility of considerable impacts on the financial system and perhaps the wider economy.

This paper begins by discussing the possible motivations for a central bank to issue a digital currency. The paper then sets out a benchmark central bank digital currency (CBDC) with features that are similar to cash. The implications of such a digital currency are explored, focusing on central bank seigniorage, monetary policy, the banking system and financial stability, and payments. Finally, a CBDC that differs from the benchmark digital currency in a significant way is considered.

Review the press release and white paper on the Bank of Canada's website.

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