The discipline committee may decide that the breach of the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Professional Conduct is so serious that it ought to be referred to the professional conduct tribunal for a hearing. At this point, the discipline committee becomes the prosecutor. Legal counsel will be retained to prosecute the matter on behalf of the committee.
The discipline committee will draft the allegations to be included in a Notice of Hearing and forward them to the tribunals office who will formally draft and serve the Notice of Hearing on the CGA or student.
The Notice of Hearing will set out the allegations facing the member or student and the time and place of the hearing. Hearings are open to the public.
The discipline hearing is a formal procedure before a three-member panel consisting of two certified general accountants and one public representative, who have been specially trained in adjudicative matters. Witnesses are sworn, give evidence under oath, and are subject to cross-examination. They may bring their legal counsel; however, legal counsel is not required. Usually the complainant testifies, as does the CGA or student.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel will deliberate and ultimately issue its decision. The penalties that the panel can impose include a reprimand, a fine, a suspension, expulsion or any combination of the above.
The disciplinary action taken by the panel is normally published in Statements (the bimonthly newsletter of the Association) and, in appropriate circumstances, in local newspapers as well.
The member or student or the discipline committee may appeal the decision of the professional conduct tribunal to the appeal tribunal within 30 days of the issuance of the professional conduct tribunal’s decision.
The appeal tribunal sits as a three-member panel consisting of two Ontario certified general accountants and a public representative. The tribunal reviews the decision appealed from. It can substitute its decision for that issued by the professional conduct tribunal.