Lawyers For Accountants

How we help accountants

We are lawyers for accountants who are regulated by the Charted Professional Accountants of Ontario (“CPA Ontario”). We represent accountants charged with criminal offences and accountants facing regulatory proceedings, including complaints, discipline hearings, and appeals.

Criminal charges against accountants

We defend accountants charged with criminal offences under the Criminal Code and other statutes like the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Provincial Offences Act, Competition Act, Securities Act, and many others.

Our criminal practice includes defending charges like fraud, theft, use of forged document, sexual assault and harassment.

We have experience representing many clients who are professionals, like accountants, and understand some of the unique circumstances that may be at play.

CPA Ontario proceedings

The CPA Ontario is the governing body of Ontario Chartered Professional Accountants. It is the regulatory body responsible for protecting the public interest by ensuring that its members, students, applicants, and firms meet the industry’s standards of integrity and professionalism.

Chartered professional accountants are subject to regulation and oversight. Individuals and firms must adhere to the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, meet annual continuing professional development requirements, and are subject to public oversight and discipline mechanisms.


Complaints to the CPA Ontario

CPA members, students or firms that are under review by the CPA Ontario have the right to legal counsel at all stages of the complaints process. A complaint against a chartered professional accountant and their firm can have significant consequences. It is therefore important to consult a lawyer who has experience in this area.

When CPA Ontario receives a complaint, an initial review and assessment is done. The initial review is conducted within 30 days of the CPA Ontario receiving supporting information from the complainant. The CPA Ontario will request any necessary documentation from the complainant and the member. Information and responses collected from either party will be provided to the other party.

Once a complaint is initially reviewed by the Director, Standards Enforcement, it may proceed to review by the Director, Standards Enforcement and/or the Professional Conduct Committee.

At the conclusion of its review, the Director, Standards Enforcement may:

  • take no further action;
  • refer the complaint to the Professional Conduct Committee with arecommendation that the Professional Conduct Committee provide guidance and advice to, or admonish, the subject(s) of the complaint;
  • refer the complaint to the Registrar or elsewhere in the CPA Ontario; or
    direct the Vice President, Investigations and Prosecutions to appoint an Investigator to investigate the complaint.
  • The Director, Standards Enforcement will provide a written summary of the review and the action taken to the Professional Conduct Committee.

At the conclusion of a review by the Professional Conduct Committee, it may:

  • take no further action;
  • provide guidance and advice to, or admonish, the subject(s) of the complaint;
  • refer the matter to the Discipline Committee;
  • refer the complaint to the Registrar or elsewhere in the CPA Ontario; or
  • investigate the complaint.

The Professional Conduct Committee will provide the parties with its determination within 30 days of the determination being made.

If the Professional Conduct Committee is concerned that an accountant poses a significant risk of harm to the public, it may apply for an order suspending or placing restrictions or conditions on the accountant’s practice. The Professional Conduct Committee can only make such an application if it has reasonable grounds to believe there is a significant risk of harm to members of the public or to the public interest and an order would likely reduce that risk. CPA Ontario may also refer a matter to the Registrar for consideration as a Potential Capacity Application where there are reasonable grounds to believe an accountant may be incapacitated.

Investigations against accountants

 Where the complaint is complex, an investigator may be appointed to conduct a formal investigation and prepare a detailed report of their findings. A formal investigation may involve the investigator taking statements from individuals and the member will often be asked to attend a meeting to be interviewed. All members are entitled to have legal counsel present during this process. It is prudent to retain legal counsel as a lawyer can assist with preparing written responses, oral statements, and navigating the process.

At the end of an investigation, the investigator will prepare a report for review by the Professional Conduct Committee.

Once its investigation and review is complete, the Professional Conduct Committee may make any of the following dispositions:

  • take no further action;
  • provide guidance, advice, or an admonishment to the subject(s) of the investigation;
  • refer the matter to the Registrar or elsewhere in CPA Ontario;
  • negotiate a settlement agreement with the subject(s) of the investigation and refer the agreement to the Discipline Committee for approval;
  • refer the matter to the Discipline Committee;
  • adjourn the matter, with or without terms and conditions; or
    take any remedial action it considers appropriate.

The Professional Conduct Committee will provide its determination in writing within 30 days of making the determination.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can make complaints against an accountant?

The public and clients and their family members can make a complaint about an accountant’s practice or conduct. CPA Ontario will notify the accountant of the complaint.

What happens if I am referred to the Discipline Committee?

If a matter is referred to the Discipline Committee, there will be a formal hearing, which is similar to a trial. Notice of any upcoming discipline hearings is published on the CPA Ontario website.

If the Discipline Committee finds an accountant guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence, it may impose one or more of the following sanctions:

  • a formal reprimand;
  • a fine;
  • completion of professional development or examinations;
  • supervised practice for a specified period of time, with or without conditions;
  • re-investigation by the Professional Conduct Committee by a specified date;
  • practice inspection, with or without conditions;
  • counselling or treatment;
  • restriction of or conditions on practice or employment for a specified period;
  • establishing and implementing quality control procedures or professional training programs;
  • monitoring compliance;
  • suspension an accountant’s membership or resignation by a specified date;
  • payment of compensation to a person for losses arising from the professional misconduct; and
  • any other sanction that is appropriate in the circumstances.

The CPA Ontario will publish the allegation, decision, order, and written reasons for every finding of professional misconduct and approved settlement agreement on its publicly accessible website.

Contact us about your case

Please leave us the best number to call and we will reach out to you as soon as possible.

Telephone: 416-649-5061

116 Simcoe Street, Suite 100
Toronto, ON
M5H 4E2