Ms. Susan D. Dickson, CGA - June 4, 2012
June 4, 2012
CGA-BC received a complaint against Ms. Susan D. Dickson, CGA (“Ms. Dickson”) with respect to a Financial Investigation Report (FI Report) she prepared for a strata corporation. The complainants alleged that the FI Report was distributed to homeowners and the contents were prejudicial, misleading, harassing, and defamatory to the board members named in the report which included the complainants.
The Discipline Committee found Ms. Dickson in breach of the Association's Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct in effect from September 22, 2007 as follows:
1st Ethical Principle – Responsibilities to Society, 2nd Ethical Principle – Trust and Duties, R101 – Discredit, R301 – Competence, R604(c) – Admittance to Membership, and R606(a) – Detrimental Actions as
- Ms. Dickson was in a conflict of interest that compromised her professional judgment and hindered her ability to exercise objectivity and professional skepticism when she performed the work for the FI Report.
- Interactions Ms. Dickson had suggested that she was biased in favour of certain owners and board members.
- Ms. Dickson did not take steps to identify the information she submitted as not being ready for circulation. When Ms. Dickson submitted the draft FI Report to the board, she did not clearly mark the document as "draft - for discussion purposes only" or "draft – not for circulation". Marking a draft document in this manner is a normal expectation of a CGA in the performance of their duties.
- The FI Report clearly stated that Ms. Dickson was a CGA. Readers of the FI Report would place a higher reliance on Ms. Dickson and her work by reason of her professional designation. Ms. Dickson's conclusions suggested mismanagement and misappropriation of funds by the former board.
- The FI Report was distributed to homeowners and this created problems for the complainants who were board members and named in the FI Report.
- Ms. Dickson failed to inform herself regarding independence and conflict of interest as it applied to the work she performed for the FI Report.
- Ms. Dickson's conduct and actions described above were contrary to the Oath of Obligation; and, as not being in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the law, regulations and Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct.
- Ms. Dickson's actions noted above were detrimental and a discredit to the profession and CGA-BC.
The Discipline Committee found Ms. Dickson not in breach of Rules R305 (a) and (b) regarding Terms of Engagement of the Association's Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct in effect from September 22, 2007 as there was insufficient evidence to find that she breached these provisions of the Code.
(b) fined $3,000;
(c) assessed costs of $9,625.64;
(d) required to improve her conduct and competence by taking the full-day, in-person ethics course called The Essence of Professionalism: Ethics, Rules and Standards for New CGAs.
As the discipline order was not complied with, the consequential order became effective June 4, 2012:
- suspended for six months, commencing June 4, 2012;
- fined an additional $6,000.