How Does the Complaints Process Work?
CPA Ontario reviews every complaint regarding the conduct of a member, student or firm.
We correspond with the complainant and the subject of the complaint (the “respondent”) to gather relevant facts, which are reviewed by the Director, Standards Enforcement (the "Director") or the Professional Conduct Committee (the "Committee"). The Committee is comprised of experienced volunteer members of the profession and public representatives appointed by CPA Ontario Council.
As part of the complaint review process, we:
- Acknowledge receipt of all complaints within 24 hours;
- Conduct an initial review of a complaint within 30 days of receiving sufficient supporting information from the complainant; and
- Conclude on matters within an average of eight (8) months, unless it is determined that a formal investigation is required, or the matter is referred to the Discipline Committee.
Where the complaint is complex, the Committee or the Director may request that an investigator be appointed to obtain more detailed information and documents, including statements from individuals. The investigator will prepare a report for the Committee. Usually, the subject(s) of the complaint will appear before the Committee to answer direct questions based on the investigation findings. CPA Ontario concludes 85 per cent of investigations in an average of five (5) months.
If, following a review or formal investigation, a complaint contains information suggesting that the subject(s) of a complaint may have breached a rule in the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, or Student Code of Conduct, as applicable, the Committee may refer the matter to the Discipline Committee. Other outcomes include providing guidance or admonishment to the subject(s) of a complaint, referral to the Registrar, or elsewhere in CPA Ontario, as a matter within their jurisdiction, or closure with no further action.
Members, students or firms under review or investigation have the right to legal counsel at all stages of the complaints process. Information and responses provided by either the complainant or respondent may be shared with the other party. Decisions are communicated within 30 days of being made.
For more information on the Disciplinary Process, click here.
Any complainant dissatisfied with the decision not to refer a matter to the Discipline Committee may pay a fee and apply to the independent Reviewer of Complaints for a review. The decision of the Reviewer of Complaints is final unless the member is also licensed to practise public accounting. In this circumstance a complainant can apply for further review.
How to Submit a Complaint
Unless special accommodation has been requested and granted, complaints against CPA Ontario members, students or firms may only be submitted using this required form. Complainants must submit one form for each matter involving a member, student or firm. Multiple submissions will not be considered. Once a complaint has been submitted, it cannot be withdrawn.
Please note that the CPA Ontario complaints process is not a forum for resolving fee and/or financial disputes between our members, students or firms and their clients or other parties.
If you have questions or require special accommodation, please contact Standards Enforcement at CPA Ontario by telephone at 416 962.1841 x4480.