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2021

A Guest Expert’s Guide to SASB Standards

Sep 16, 2021

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) published an eight-step guide to the SASB standards disclosure process. The guide was created to explain how one does practically accomplish releasing an initial SASB standards disclosure.

Review the press release and publication on the SASB's website.

Climate risk panel remarks by OSFI Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Ben Gully, at the C.D. Howe Institute

Jan 28, 2021

On January 28, 2021, OSFI Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Ben Gully, made relevant climate risk remarks as a Canadian financial services regulator during the recent C.D. Howe Institute panel discussion.

Mr. Gully noted that, for OSFI, there is a wide range of possible scenarios to consider when assessing the impact of climate change on financial institutions’ safety and soundness and in setting the appropriate prudential response. When confronted by change on the horizon, OSFI looks to the severe but plausible outcomes, collects information to inform its analysis and risk assessment, and then uses regulation and supervision to preserve financial institution resilience.

He noted that, by definition, the sound management of climate-related risks fits clearly within OSFI’s objectives. As a result, OSFI is taking a number of actions to look more deeply at the prudential impact of climate change in terms of physical, liability and transition risks. In this regard, he noted that transition risks are particularly significant for Canada given its endowment of carbon-intensive commodities and their importance to the Canadian economy.

In recognizing that OSFI does not have all of the answers, he noted that OSFI plans to advance its work through cooperating with domestic and international organizations. By working with others, OSFI will gain a better understanding of what may be appropriate in the Canadian context.

To that end, OSFI has released a Discussion Paper regarding climate-related risks on January 11, 2021. The Paper focuses on risks arising from climate change that can affect the safety and soundness of federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) and federally regulated pension plans (FRPPs). Comments are requested by April 12, 2021.

See a com­plete copy of Mr. Gully’s remarks at the C.D. Howe Institute panel discussion which are posted on OSFI's web­site.

Corporate Reporting: Climate change information and the 2021 reporting cycle

Sep 07, 2021

On September 7, 2021, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issued a statement to the Global Accountancy Profession on "Corporate Reporting: Climate Change Information and the 2021 Reporting Cycle". In response to significantly increasing investor demand and regulatory attention on climate-related reporting, this is a call to action to professional accountants to play an active role now in determining the way climate change information is reported in the 2021 reporting cycle and beyond. The increased involvement of accountants and auditors in climate-related reporting will help to bring investors greater transparency and insights on the financial impacts of climate change on organizations.

The Statement highlights the current information concerns of investors, regulators and policy makers, reviews standard-setter responses, and recommends how companies and accountants can address these concerns through: 

  • Aligning and integrating climate-related information and disclosures with company climate commitments, targets, and strategic decisions. 
  • Quantifying, wherever appropriate, financial impacts of climate issues. 
  • Ensuring climate-related reporting complies with reporting requirements without material omissions or misstatements, based on a company-specific materiality determination. 
  • Supporting global initiatives to enhance climate and broader sustainability-related reporting through standards set by a new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) that will address material impacts on a company’s enterprise value. 

IFAC encourages professional accountancy organizations to utilize this Statement in their communications with members to promote their critical role in ensuring companies understand and communicate climate-related financial impacts. As they stated in earlier communications to the profession: no one is better equipped than professional accountants to lead this important work. 

This Statement follows IFAC’s Climate Action Point of View, issued in December 2019, which highlights climate change as an urgent, global issue and outlines the influence and responsibility that IFAC’s 180 member organizations and their 3.5 million professional accountant members have in driving climate change mitigation, adaptation and reporting. With this Statement, IFAC continues to advocate and support the profession’s role in enabling climate action and assisting organizations as they develop their climate commitments and consider ways to decarbonize business models.

Review the publication on IFAC's website.

Corporations Canada consulting on proposed corporate governance and disclosure regulations

Jan 29, 2021

On January 29, 2021, Corporations Canada published a consultation on regulatory proposals to implement the corporate governance amendments included in the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) through Bill C-97 (CBCA).

The consultation includes proposals with respect to the regulations necessary to implement an annual say on pay advisory vote for shareholders, the disclosure required for reporting on both clawback policies and on worker, retiree and pensioner “well-being”. CCGG was a strong advocate for the inclusion of an annual non-binding say on pay vote in the CBCA and Corporations Canada cites CCGG’s advocacy in favour of clawbacks as one of its rationales for the increased prominence of such policies in corporate governance best practice. CCGG is reviewing the consultation and intends to submit a response by the March 31, 2021 deadline.

Review the consultation on the Government of Canada's website.

COSO issues guidance on Enterprise Risk Management for Cloud Computing

Jul 29, 2021

On July 29, 2021, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) issued "Enterprise Risk Management for Cloud Computing", which serves as a guide to establishing cloud computing governance leveraging the COSO’s frameworks on internal control (2013) and enterprise risk management (2017).

Review the publication on the COSO's website.

Deadline extended for IESBA’s long association post-implementation review stakeholder survey

May 28, 2021

On May 28, 2021, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) extended the closing date for stakeholders to submit responses to its Long Association Post-Implementation Review (LAPIR) questionnaire to June 30, 2021.

The questionnaire seeks stakeholder feedback on key matters relating to Phase 1 of the LAPIR. This feedback will help inform the IESBA’s review of the implementation of the five-year cooling-off requirement for engagement partners on audits of public interest entities in the International Independence Standards. This review is being undertaken before the “jurisdictional provision” in the Long Association standard expires for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2023. The jurisdictional provision permits jurisdictions to apply a cooling-off period less than five years subject to specified conditions.

Review the press release on the IESBA's website.

ESG Impact Is Hard to Measure — But It’s Not Impossible

Jan 22, 2021

Around the globe, a third of all professionally managed assets, or roughly $30 trillion, are now subject to ESG criteria. That’s a remarkable sum, one that represents an increase of more than 30% since 2016. Between April and June of 2020 alone, investors poured more than $70 billion into ESG equity funds, vastly exceeding recent annual flows.

ESG Risk Alert

Apr 09, 2021

On April 9, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released this risk alert that describes the areas on which the SEC staff is focusing in examinations of registered investment advisers’ and funds’ ESG offerings.

Review the alert on the SEC's website.

ESG: What boards of directors should do now

Sep 02, 2021

Many boards of directors are considering their approaches to environmental, societal and governance (ESG) topics and, more particularly, how ESG can contribute to the long-term success of their businesses. Such introspection is partly in reaction to demands from shareholders and other stakeholders. The past year showed a marked rise in social movements, including a host of powerful demonstrations drawing participants from different groups, from warehouse workers to climate activists, increasingly teaming up to demand change.

Review the article on Norton Rose Fulbright's website.

Federal government releases diversity disclosure guidelines

Feb 03, 2021

On February 3, 2021, the Director General of Corporations Canada published guidelines with the goal of driving consistency in the diversity disclosure requirements for distributing corporations under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

These guidelines address how to effectively disclose:

  • the timeframe for diversity information disclosure
  • targets for representation on the board and among senior management and
  • the number and percentage of directors from each of the designated groups on the board and among senior management.

The guidelines are provided to encourage corporations to disclose their diversity information yearly in a more consistent manner. 

Review the guidelines on the Government of Canada's website.

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