As the pace of progress in sustainability disclosures continues to accelerate, the Accounting Standards Oversight Council (AcSOC) and Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council (AASOC) have mutually approved the formation of the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB).

The recommendation to form the CSSB was put forth by the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada (IRCSS), which is currently conducting a review of the governance and structure for establishing Canadian accounting, auditing, and assurance standards, as well as what might be needed for the future – such as sustainability standards.

“In light of the momentum in this space, the committee felt it important to fast-track our recommendation to establish the CSSB to the oversight councils now,” says Edward Waitzer, IRCSS chair. “We are very pleased with the approval to establish a CSSB and we look forward to issuing our additional recommendations to ensure Canadian standard setting continues to serve the public interest.”

The committee’s review was initiated by AcSOC and AASOC in May 2021 and is set to culminate with a final recommendation report this summer. While more recommendations are to come, feedback received on one key matter it tabled in its Consultation Paper was clear – there is strong support for a CSSB.

“This new board is key to ensuring that Canadian standards are relevant, responsive and fit for our country,” explains Lorraine Moore, chair, AcSOC. Adds Kevin Nye, chair, AASOC, “The CSSB will work in lockstep with the International Sustainability Standards Board to develop and support the adoption of IFRS® Sustainability Disclosure Standards – ensuring that the Canadian perspective is part of international decision making.”

To support the significant work effort to establish a new board, the oversight councils are forming an implementation committee to develop the necessary groundwork for the CSSB. This includes establishing the recruitment process for a chair and board members, defining governance and process-related considerations, and more. The aim is to have a fully operational CSSB by April 1, 2023.

“This is a momentous step in the right direction,” says Lisa French, vice-president, sustainability standards, Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards Canada. “The CSSB will act on behalf of Canadians to ensure sustainability disclosures are standardized and as decision-useful as financial and audit reports.”

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Image Credit: Chinyip Wong/Unsplash

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