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2019

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalization of the economy

May 31, 2019

On May 31, 2019, the Or­gan­i­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) announced that the international community has agreed on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy, and committed to continue working toward a consensus-based long-term solution by the end of 2020.

The 129 members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) adopted a Programme of Work laying out a process for reaching a new global agreement for taxing multinational enterprises. The document, which calls for intensifying international discussions around two main pillars, was approved during the May 28-29, 2019 plenary meeting of the Inclusive Framework. It will be presented by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría to G20 Finance Ministers for endorsement during their June 8-9, 2019 ministerial meeting in Fukuoka, Japan.

The Programme of Work will explore the technical issues to be resolved through the two main pillars. The first pillar will explore potential solutions for determining where tax should be paid and on what basis ("nexus"), as well as what portion of profits could or should be taxed in the jurisdictions where clients or users are located ("profit allocation"). The second pillar will explore the design of a system to ensure that multinational enterprises – in the digital economy and beyond – pay a minimum level of tax. This pillar would provide countries with a new tool to protect their tax base from profit shifting to low/no-tax jurisdictions, and is intended to address remaining issues identified by the OECD/G20 BEPS initiative.

Re­view the press re­lease  on the OECD's web­site.

International webinar on proposed changes for role and mindset expectations

Sep 23, 2019

On September 23, 2019, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released a webinar to help our stakeholders understand the IESBA’s recent proposed Code of Ethics changes to promote role and mindset expectation.

Listen to IESBA Deputy Chair Richard Fleck share an overview of the proposed revisions, including:

  • Highlighting professional accountants’ wide-ranging role in society and the relationship between compliance with the Code and the responsibility to act in the public interest;
  • Enhancing the robustness of the fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity and professional behavior;
  • Requiring an inquiring mind when applying the conceptual framework; and
  • Highlighting the importance of being aware of bias and having the right organizational culture.

Review the press release and video on the IESBA's website.

It’s time to focus on the CHRO: The hidden innovation hero

Jul 01, 2019

On July 1, 2019, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) released an article on how CEOs are looking to their chief human resources officers (CHROs) to help lead cultural change and drive innovation.

Innovation is top of mind for most C-suite executives and directors of companies, and both have every reason to prioritize innovation as part of the company’s strategy. According to a study by Credit Suisse, the average lifespan of a S&P 500 company is now less than 20 years compared to 60 years in the 1950s. Additionally, Mercer’s 2019 Talent Trends Survey found that 73 percent of executives predict significant industry disruption in the next three years, up sharply from 26 percent in 2018. In many industries, continued innovation is critical to a company’s ability to survive and thrive.

Review the full article on the NACD's website.

It’s time to reassess ESG and sustainability reporting

Oct 28, 2019

On October 28, 2019, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) posted a blog that discusses how nearly all S&P 500 companies provide some form of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) or sustainability reports today, but there are growing concerns by a range of stakeholders—investors, employees, customers, regulators, and activists—regarding the quality, comparability, and usefulness of these reports.

For a variety of reasons and based on analysis of several approaches to disclosure, expect increasing stakeholder demands are expected for more transparent and higher quality ESG reporting.

Read the full blog on the NACD's website.

Nasdaq launches global environmental, social and governance reporting guide for companies

May 15, 2019

On May 15, 2019, the United Nation's Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) launched of its new global ESG reporting guide for public and private companies.

The 2019 ESG Reporting Guide 2.0 includes the latest third-party reporting methodologies widely adopted by the industry, and aims to help companies navigate the evolving standards on ESG data disclosure, regardless of geography or market capitalization.

Review the press release on the SSE's website.

New CBCA diversity disclosure requirements confirmed

Jul 22, 2019

On July 22, 2019, Norton Rose Fullbright LLP released a summary of the regulations supporting the amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) related to diversity disclosure. The amendments will require publicly-listed CBCA corporations to provide certain information on board and executive officer diversity policies and statistics beginning in 2020.

Although the CBCA was amended on May 1, 2018 to require publicly-listed CBCA corporations to include diversity disclosure in their annual shareholder meeting notice or proxy circular, the amendments were not brought into force until the regulations supporting the changes could be finalized. These regulations have now been published and come into force on January 1, 2020. Accordingly, the following requirements apply for the 2020 shareholder meetings of publicly-listed CBCA corporations. Of particular note, the amendments expand the existing Canadian securities law requirements on diversity disclosure to broaden the meaning of diversity beyond gender and to apply to all CBCA reporting issuers, including issuers listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) and Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE).

Review the following resources:

New guidance to implement TCFD Recommendations

May 10, 2019

On May 10, 2019, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) launched comprehensive investor guidance to help assess how climate change and climate action could impact investor portfolios around the world.

These assessments enable investors to be more transparent about their climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. They will also help investors contribute to and benefit from the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies.

Review the guide on the UNEP FI's website.

New research spotlights CEO succession challenges

Apr 18, 2019

On April 18, 2019, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) released a blog on effective succession planning. “Who should be the next CEO?” is a headline few boards would like to see referencing their company atop the financial dailies. It often suggests a failure in succession planning.

There may be a number of reasons for this—from inadequate or antiquated formal plans, to unexpected departures and difficulty to agree on a successor profile. Wells Fargo & Co., HBO, and others have encountered some of challenges, but they do not stand alone. All public companies have been put on notice by BlackRock and others on the investor side, who now have an increased focus on effective succession planning.

Review the full blog on the NACD's website.

Once considered a career killer, CISOs with breach experience now preferred

Jun 24, 2019

On June 24, 2019, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) published an article on how no C-level role has evolved as quickly and radically as the chief information security officer (CISO).

The CISO role first sprang from the ground-breaking “mega breaches” of the early 2000s, when it became apparent that cybersecurity issues could have serious business ramifications. Back then, the role was largely technical in nature (they would put up a technology perimeter to stop breaches from happening) and, really, it was C-level in name only—most CISOs reported to chief information officers and did not have a direct line to the CEO like other C-level executives.

Review the full article on the NACD's website.

OSC takes action to reduce burden for investment fund managers

Jun 27, 2019

On June 27, 2019, the On­tario Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion (OSC) an­nounced that, effective immediately, it will no longer require investment fund managers of pooled funds to apply for approval to act as trustees. As registrants, investment fund managers are capable of acting as trustees and are already subject to a securities regulatory framework for safeguarding the assets of pooled funds.

Revised Approval 81-901 Mutual Fund Trusts: Approval of Trustees Under Clause 213(3)(b) of the Loan and Trust Corporations Act  which sets out this change, can be found on the OSC’s website. The change will come into effect immediately. 

Re­view the press re­lease on the OSC's web­site.

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