Canada: Self-Regulating Professions; Unprofessional Conduct; Complaints, Costs

Last Updated: November 13 2017
Article by Field LLP

Erdmann v. Complaints Inquiry Committee, 2016 ABCA 145

Areas of Law: Self-Regulating Professions; Unprofessional Conduct; Complaints, Costs

~Under s. 94(2) of the Regulated Accounting Profession Act, the normal rule is that when a chartered accountant is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, he or she is to pay the reasonable costs of the Institute on an indemnity basis~


The Appellant, Marie Erdmann, was a chartered accountant and the subject of three allegations of unprofessional conduct. The allegations claimed that she made false or misleading statements about a Mr. Waring, CA, a trustee in bankruptcy; that she attempted to threaten or intimidate him into withdrawing a complaint he made against her to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta; and that she breached an order of the Court of Queen's Bench restraining her from making any complaints to any regulatory body, public body, police force, government agency or any other body or organization whatsoever without first obtaining leave of the court on notice to the Institute. The Appellant had consulted Mr. Waring about filing a proposal in bankruptcy, but after he filed the proposal she decided she did not want to proceed with it. She asked him to withdraw it, but he replied that there was no provision in the statute allowing for withdrawal of a proposal once filed. At this point the Appellant sent faxes to the Superintendent of Bankruptcy and to "Alberta law courts" complaining that Mr. Waring had duped her and had her sign documents without really explaining them. In an unrelated discipline proceeding against the Appellant, the Institute had already obtained a Court of Queen's Bench order prohibiting her from making or threatening to make complaints without leave of the court obtained on notice to the Institute. She did not obtain such leave before filing the complaint against Mr. Waring. The Appellant applied in the Court of Queen's Bench to set aside the bankruptcy filing, repeating her allegations against Mr. Waring in the process. The application judge set aside the bankruptcy filing, but specifically rejected allegations of wrongdoing against Mr. Waring and his staff, and ordered the Appellant to pay Mr. Waring's costs. Mr. Waring filed the complaint of unprofessional conduct against the Appellant. She then sent an email to his lawyer saying the complaint related to confidential information he obtained while her trustee, and impliedly threatening action against him for breach of confidentiality unless he withdrew the complaint. The Institute's Discipline Tribunal found that the Complaints Committee had proven all allegations on a balance of probabilities, and ordered the Appellant to pay fines totalling $7,500 and 75% of the costs of investigating and hearing the matter, in the amount of $69,000. The Appellant appealed to the Institute's Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunal gave the Appellant the opportunity to provide testimony in the appeal, but she consistently refused to be put under unconditional oath and make herself available for cross-examination. In its written reasons, the Appeal Tribunal rejected all of the grounds of appeal, finding the Appellant to be a repeat offender exhibiting dishonesty and lack of remorse. It found the fines reasonable, and ordered her to pay the costs of the appeal.


The appeal was dismissed. The Appellant brought the appeal on numerous grounds, including procedural incorrectness, failure to comply with governing legislation, breach of natural justice, res judicata, issue estoppel, insufficient or unreliable evidence, and conflict of interest. She also argued that she was not legally competent and that the costs awards were excessive. The Court of Appeal found that the Appeal Tribunal committed no reviewable error regarding the governing legislation and procedure. There was similarly no breach of natural justice. The specific allegations against the Appellant were served upon her, and a copy of the disclosure binder was mailed to her. It was returned "refused by sender". She also refused to provide the Discipline Tribunal with a current address to which the binder could be delivered, and she refused to pick it up. There was no merit to the other grounds of appeal the Appellant advanced. The Court of Appeal noted that under s. 94(2) of the Regulated Accounting Profession Act, the normal rule is that when a chartered accountant is found guilty of unprofessional conduct, he or she is to pay the reasonable costs of the Institute on an indemnity basis.

Click here to access the judgement.

Originally published by OnPoint Legal Research | Take Five

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions