Holding Out and Title Protection

It seems that many people try to skirt the rules about protected titles and holding out in the accounting field. This may be because it is often acceptable to practise accounting, so long as one does not misrepresent one’s status or qualifications. In Organization of Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia v. Nordine, 2017 BCCA 103, the regulator tried to obtain an injunction against accountants who called themselves “Professional Business Accountants” and use the designation “PBA”. The title “Professional Accountant” and designation “PA” were protected. Before the lower court the regulator was unsuccessful because the provision did not explicitly protect against the use of variations of the protected title and designation. However, the Court of Appeal reversed that decision and imposed the injunction on the basis that this variation of the protected title amounted to “holding out” as a regulated practitioner. The Court also held that it would be rare for there to be unfairness in a court requiring compliance with a public interest statute.

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