Canada delays sustainability standards board

January 21, 2022

Canada’s consultation on its new sustainability standards board has extended its deadline until March, 2022. Last November Canada became the latest country to pursue its own sustainability reporting standards after it announced the launch of the Independent Review Committee on standard setting.

The Committee was tasked with reviewing the governance and structure for existing Canadian accounting, auditing, and assurance standards. Among its tasks, it will also seek to identify and define sustainability standards for the country.

In December 2021, the Committee issued a consultation paper outlining why the board was important and asked for comments on the design of the standard-setting body. The public was invited to comment on the plans for the board until 28 February 2022, however, this week the Committee announced an extended deadline until March 31.

Feedback will continue to be taken by the Committee and reported to Canada’s accounting and auditing oversight councils in the summer. These councils will then decide how the recommendations should be implemented.

Edward Waitzer, chair of the committee, said that the need for a Canadian sustainability standards board was “clearer than ever,” amid a global drive for better and more comparable data.

Waitzer said that there had been a rise in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting initiatives, but disparate standards and conflicting guidance was not getting the country to where it needs to be.

“Our goal is to ensure that Canadian standard setting continues to be relevant and responsive, as well as independent and internationally recognized,” said Waitzer.

“As a result, we think it is critical to establish a Canadian Sustainability Standards Board that works alongside Canada’s existing accounting, auditing, and assurance standards bodies.”

In accordance with Waitzer’s concerns about conflicting international standards, the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board will also liaise with the new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to ensure that the Canadian perspective is part of international decision making.

Last week, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) began its formal research for board members to sit on its new sustainability standards body, the ISSB. The board was formed last year at the COP26 conference and in December it appointed Emmanuel Faber as its inaugural board chair. The ISSB said it wanted to appoint up to 11 board members alongside Faber.

Last Updated: 21 January 2022