CPA Centre for Governance & Accountability


Launched March 20, 2007, the CPA Centre for Governance & Accountability at Smith School of Business is an initiative funded by Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. The goal is to improve corporate governance in Canada through a variety of research and teaching programs. The Centre is the first in Canada to have as its primary mission, research in the area of governance.

Corporate Governance Research

The Centre will fund Queen’s faculty and doctoral student research into Canadian and international corporate governance issues, especially those which relate to audit committees and financial reporting. Preliminary results from this research reported last fall showed that 19 per cent of Canadian companies have been identified as having such deficiencies, underscoring the importance of the Centre’s mandate.

Assistance for the Not-for-Profit Sector

Another of the Centre’s key initiatives will be assistance to Canada’s not-for-profit sector, with grants for NFP participants attending Queen’s governance programs, case writing on governance problems unique to the NFP sector, developing a comprehensive survey of training programs available for NFP boards, and a competition to provide boards with meaningful feedback on their annual reports and encourage excellence in reporting.

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To be the premier Centre for the thoughtful study of governance in Canada with a special emphasis on the roles of the public accountants and audit committees to whom they report.

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  • A Centre for creative and innovative ideas about corporate governance reforms.
  • A Centre to advocate for inclusion of stakeholders beyond shareholders in defining good corporate governance.
  • A Centre for constructive examination of Canadian board norms and practices.
  • A Centre that will aid the integration of corporate governance understanding in all bachelors, masters, and doctoral level programs at Smith School of Business and the broader Queen’s campus.
  • A Centre that will ensure that Smith School of Business students entering the CPA program of studies will be prepared to enter that program and to have an above average understanding of the role of the public accountant in corporate governance.
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  • Recognition that governance is part of the larger movement towards corporate social responsibility that centers around the understanding that management is responsible to investors, as well as to a broader group of stakeholders for the long term well being of the entity and the entity’s role in society.
  • Creating an effective board of directors to control management’s use of power by setting appropriate limitations on management to make decisions that would negatively affect the long term well being of the entity and society at large.
  • Recognizing and communicating management’s accountability for the long term well being of the entity to all stakeholders.
  • Creating an effective audit committee to ensure that the public accountant has unfettered access to the board of directors and obtains the full assistance and cooperation of all levels of management in carrying out the public accountant’s regulatory and statutory roles.
  • Developing formal and informal processes and procedures that enable stakeholders to influence the board’s and management’s decisions including examination of the costs and benefits of relatively more unique Canadian governance practices such as public companies with multiple voting share classes and/or minority investors.

Founding Funders

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PricewaterhouseCoopers partnered with Former CEO Tom O’Neill to establish a faculty research Fellowship in Accounting at Smith School of Business.