Summary of Decision Re:  Donald (Don) Connor

The agreed facts establish that in 2008 Mr. Connor held the position of Executive Director of CGA Nova Scotia. He left the position for other opportunities, later returning to CGA Nova Scotia as the Director of Professional Services in 2011. He remained in that position until the dissolution of CGA Nova Scotia at the time of the merger of the three accounting professions in August, 2016.

In the course of his duties at CGA Nova Scotia, Mr. Connor negotiated an agreement among CGA Nova Scotia, CGA Bermuda and CGA Canada to provide administrative services for CGA Bermuda through CGA Nova Scotia and he prepared a memorandum to file. The details of the administrative fee to be paid to CGA Nova Scotia for the provision of administrative services were unclear, although generally agreed to be in the order of 10% of revenues from CGA Bermuda.

In 2013 and 2015 and 2016, Mr. Connor wrote cheques to himself and to some other CGA staff members, including the CEO, who were involved in the administration of the CGA Bermuda account, with notations on the 2013 memo lines in the cheques indicating Bermuda Administration.

There were no accounting records or written authorizations for the cheques written in 2013, 2015, or 2016. There was no calculation done by Mr. Connor to determine the amount of any administration fee to be based on 10% of revenue for the 2013, 2015, and 2016 cheques.

Mr. Connor states that the CEO of CGA Nova Scotia instructed him to take the balance of the account and divide it equally among the four remaining staff members, including himself. There was no documentation of this instruction.

In addition, in the course of investigating this matter, Mr. Connor provided information to CPA Nova Scotia’s investigator which was inaccurate. Mr. Connor states that the information was to the best of his recollection at the time and without the benefit of documentation that was not available at the time he made his statement. In the Settlement Agreement Mr. Connor admitted to the following charges:

a.    That being registered under the Certified General Accountants Act, SNS 1998, c.10 and being a Certified General Accountant in the Province of Nova Scotia:

Contrary to Rules 108, 521, 522 and 606 of the CGA Canada Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct, Version 2.14, Donald Connor, in the course of his employment with CGA Nova Scotia, and while CGA Nova Scotia staff were administering CGA Bermuda, wrote and signed cheques to himself and other CGA Nova Scotia staff members, without justification supported by accounting records or written authorization; and

b.    That being registered under the Chartered Professional Accountants Act, SNS 2015, c. 30 and being a CPA in the Province of Nova Scotia:

Contrary to Rule 104.1 of the CPA Code of Professional Conduct, during the course of an investigation of this complaint, Donald Connor provided inaccurate information to the investigator.

And the above charges constitute professional misconduct.

Summary of Disposition

The Hearing Panel of CPA Nova Scotia accepted the admissions of Mr. Connor and found him guilty of breaches of the standards of practice set out in the charges, and that the conduct set out in the charges constituted professional misconduct.

The Hearing Panel agreed with the following disposition:

·        Mr. Connor is reprimanded for engaging in professional misconduct as set out in the charges;

·        Mr. Connor is fined in the amount of $1,500.00;

·        The Hearing Panel accepts the resignation of Mr. Connor effective August 5, 2020. The Hearing Panel further accepts that Mr. Connor will then retire from CPA Nova Scotia with an undertaking not to seek reinstatement of his registration in the future. Mr. Connor will no longer refer to himself as a CPA or any legacy designation; and

·        Mr. Connor shall pay a contribution toward the costs incurred by CPA Nova Scotia in the investigation of this matter in the amount of $42,000.00, on terms agreed upon by the parties.

The Settlement Agreement was approved by the Hearing Panel in an oral decision on July 13, 2020, and the Order reflecting the decision is dated August 5, 2020.