CPA Ontario statement on the dispute between Ontario Auditor General and Government of Ontario regarding the Review of the 2018 Pre-election Report on Ontario Finances
TORONTO, Ontario – (May 1, 2018) – CPA Ontario is the regulatory body for this province’s more than 89,000 Chartered Professional Accountants. As such, we follow issues involving accounting, including the current discussions between the Province of Ontario and the Auditor General for the Province of Ontario.
Financial statements are the responsibility of the management of the reporting organization. Management ultimately signs off on financial statements and is responsible for all the representations made therein.
In the case of the Ontario government, it properly states in its Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements that the Government of Ontario is responsible for the objectivity and integrity of its Consolidated Financial Statements and the Financial Statement Discussion and Analysis. Further, it is the government’s responsibility to prepare and present the province’s financial statements in accordance with Canadian Public Sector Accounting Standards.
The treatments of public sector pension assets and rate-regulated activities are complex issues that, like many accounting standards, can be open to interpretation. Ultimately, those that prepare financial statements must use their professional judgement, integrity and accounting expertise in choosing an accounting policy that fairly presents the economic substance of their reported activities. Likewise, auditors must apply these same principles when providing a specific opinion on the fair presentation of those financial statements. We expect that both parties will have rendered an interpretation that reflects the spirit of an accounting standard and protects the public interest.
In our capacity as the provincial regulatory body for CPAs, we are actively monitoring the situation. Any matters coming to CPA Ontario's attention that suggest the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario Act, 2017, the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, bylaws or its regulations have been breached will be reviewed and further investigated as warranted.