Issue No. 2 Feb 2002
As the dollar goes down, and unemployment goes up, the business opportunities for members of CAIRP continue to be strong. While I am writing this newsletter from my perch on the “Wet Coast”, a new Provincial Government is struggling to enact great change in our economy. All across Canada, our role in a global economy is impacted by our competitive and productivity challenges from our closest trading partners. At CAIRP, we have the best professionals in the country, working to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, to help companies and lenders steer through the choppy waters of our economy. I wish you all a productive new year.
Since our last newsletter in September, your Board has met in Toronto and in Ghost River Crossing, Alberta, as well as by teleconference. Your Executive Committee has been to Ottawa twice to meet with Marc Mayrand and his senior staff, as well as holding its own teleconference meetings and holding monthly calls with the Presidents of the Provincial Associations. Some of the highlights of the Association’s activities are:
STRATEGIC PLAN IMPLEMENTATION
As we get deeper into the implementation of the Strategic Plan which was adopted in August 2001, it is clear that this Association can only be made stronger by successfully enhancing our services to members, our advocacy for the interests of our members and the profession, our education processes, and our relevance to the practices of our members. We have made good progress on some of these issues, but we have a long way to go to achieve full implementation. Some of our progress to date has been to:
• Roll out our new name and certification mark to members, and encourage their use in our daily practices.
• Establish a Communications Committee and retain independent communications consultants to help us reach our target audiences, both internal and external.
• Encourage and assist the NIQP Board in its process of revamping the course of study leading to the CIRP certification.
• Circulate to all members a comprehensive listing of the benefits of being a member of the Association.
Other activities in support of the Strategic Plan are described in greater detail in sections below.
AFFIRMING OUR INTEGRITY
A central element of our Mission as an Association is to “foster the provision of insolvency/business recovery services with integrity, objectivity and competence, in a manner that instils the highest degree of public confidence”. One way that we can stake out this ground is by being consistent advocates for our members’ ability to do the “right thing” in all circumstances.
We already have demonstrated our commitment to this objective in our collaborations with the OSB on the treatment of payments to bankrupts under various special programs, advocating for the “right” treatment of these funds in the hands of bankrupts, not necessarily the treatment which provides the most fees to our members. We recently took advantage of another opportunity to reaffirm that commitment when we met with Marc Mayrand in December.
At one point, we reviewed the status of the OSB’s discipline process, and the substantial delays encountered in a few instances where procedural or constitutional challenges being raised by our members were having the effect of significantly delaying the completion or, in some cases, the commencement, of the discipline proceedings. Your Executive immediately offered its support of the concept that dealing with complaints against action of our members should be dealt with expeditiously, in order to ensure that the confidence of the OSB, the public and our members generally would not be adversely affected.
There is always some trade off between the exercise of individual rights and the general benefits of a timely, cost effective and fair process to assure those inside and outside the system that the proper rules are being followed. On balance, the system is best served when the access to that process is not seen to be compromised. The Association is not supportive of efforts that may be taken to unduly delay, hinder or frustrate the process by which issues arising regarding the conduct of our members can be addressed.
NEW CERTIFICATION MARK
By now you will have received notification that the CIP designation is no longer effective, and
the CIRP (Chartered Insolvency & Restructuring Professional) can now be used pursuant to a Certification Agreement between the Association and the member. A majority of members have signed and returned the Certification Agreement to the Association offices already. For those of you who have not, I would urge you to do so at your earliest possible convenience. This certification mark represents an important distinction between our members and those sundry other organizations which purport to provide assistance to consumers and companies in financial difficulty.
One point of concern has been raised by a member with respect to that section of the Certification Agreement, which entitles the Association to sue in the name of the member, when appropriate. This concern has caused the Board to examine the issue of indemnification to members where such an action is undertaken. In the context of Canadian litigation, the risk is small that there would be an adverse consequence to a member of having the Association use his/her name, pursuant to the agreement. However, the Board has resolved to indemnify any member whose name is so used. With that clarification, I would hope that the balance of our members would complete the Certification Agreement, and that all of our members would be entitled to use the CIRP mark.
We also have executed the Specialization Agreement with CICA, and our members who are Chartered Accountants have already received from CICA material to register as a specialist in insolvency and restructuring, using the CA•CIRP Certification Mark. The registration is a provincial matter, since that is the level at which designations are issued, but CICA is providing a coordination function for these initial registrations. Again, I would urge those eligible members to apply as soon as possible, so that this specialist designation can come into wide usage forthwith.
USING YOUR “CIRP”
On every piece of correspondence, affidavit and report to Court, I am using the “CIRP (Chartered Insolvency & Restructuring Professional)” terminology in describing my position and credentials. A straw vote of the Board of Directors suggests that almost all are including this certification mark in their material, as well.
If you are not already doing so, please consider giving prominence to this CIRP certification mark, and spell out its meaning, wherever you have the opportunity. This will help raise the profile of the new mark, and embed our credentials in the minds of the bankers, lawyers and others with whom we deal on a regular basis.
There are two important matters our members should know about with respect to Yellow Pages advertising. The first pertains to the joint initiative of the OSB/CIPA (as it then was) regarding compliance with the Superintendent’s Directive on advertising. In the initial surveys of Yellow Pages displays, a significant portion of the existing advertising was found to be non-compliant in some form or other. The Association’s requests for voluntary compliance have been very successful, and those members affected are to be commended for their prompt action in making the necessary adjustments.
We recently reviewed the status of the Association’s efforts to resolve the remaining cases, and have turned over a very small number to the OSB to commence its discipline procedures. It should be noted that, of the cases turned over to the OSB, only one of the 4 pertained to a trustee who was a member of the Association. Well done!
The other matter is much more current. We have become aware of an effort on the part of the certain directory companies to establish a “Bankruptcy – Consulting” caption in their directories, having been rebuffed from including non-trustees in the “Bankruptcy – Trustee” section. In co-operation with the OSB, we are working to forestall this attempt to introduce even more confusion in the minds of vulnerable debtors as to the reliable resources to assist them in assessing their financial situation.
MEETINGS WITH OSB
The Executive Committee, in recent years, has met with the Superintendent and his senior staff twice per year, with an additional meeting with the Board and the Superintendent generally timed to co-ordinate with the Annual Conference.
This year’s Executive met in Ottawa with Mr.
Mayrand and his senior staff in December, and canvassed a wide range of topics from the progress of legislative reform to the business challenges being faced by both the OSB and CAIRP. We also received a presentation from the Chair of NIQP, Lynda Lalande, regarding the initiative to revamp its course of study. (Lynda’s report from the NIQP is attached.)
In the course of that meeting, Mr. Mayrand referred to his need to report to his Minister on a variety of issues having to do with the regulatory and compliance environment, in contemplation of the reform process. We expressed a great interest in providing him with our thoughts on a variety of these issues, and so he invited the Executive back to Ottawa for a second meeting. We met again in January for a thorough discussion of some of these systemic issues, as well as a review of a survey directed at measuring the effectiveness of counselling in consumer bankruptcies.
HONOURS AND AWARDS
Do you know a fellow member deserving of an honour? The time is at hand to collect in and assess nominations for the FCIRP, or other special recognition, for deserving members. Please contact Sandra Rotermund at CAIRP (email@example.com) to obtain the nomination forms.
We are presently undertaking a review of members’ information on file, and note that there are some of you who have not provided your e-mail address to the Association’s office. In the interest of both efficiency and effectiveness, you will soon see a far greater proportion of member communication coming to you electronically from CAIRP. Please help us in that endeavour by insuring that your e-mail address is on file and up-to-date at CAIRP.
The joint project with the Insolvency Institute of Canada examining areas for corporate insolvency legislative reform is nearing completion, with the submission of a joint paper to the Corporate Law Directorate expected to be completed shortly. David Murray, Chris Clark,Gary Colter and Jim Stuart were on the Steering Committee for this project, and Corporate Practice Committee Chair, Doug McIntosh and Vice-Chair, Wes Treleaven are among those members who have contributed significant time to this project.
The Superintendent’s Personal Insolvency Task Force is nearing the end of its process as well, and will soon have its discussions and recommendations available for comment. Secretary-Treasurer Guylaine Houle, lay Board member Saul Schwartz, Bob Fontaine, Bob Sanderson, Bob Cordy, Paul Stehelin, Dave Johnson and Paul Goodman have all devoted a very substantial amount of their time to PITF, and we greatly appreciate their efforts. The Personal Insolvency Practice Committee (PIPC) has established a Task Force led by a Steering Committee composed of Alan Spergel, Kelly Chow and Stéphane LeBlond, structured similar to the process adopted for the corporate review, to prepare a response on behalf of both the CAIRP and IIC. There are three PIPC Working Groups examining the recommendations of the PITF, led by Jack Fisher, Ken Tessis and Chuck Zizzo.
We regret to report the passing of the following members:
Ian Hunter Bell, life member
Murray Hahn, life member
David Stogrin, general member.
TRIBUTE TO REGISTRAR FERRON
On December 11, 2001, over 200 members of the local insolvency community gathered to honour retiring Registrar in Bankruptcy, Master Murray Ferron, Q.C. Former colleagues from the Harries Houser law firm, such as Frank Bennett, the Hon. Lloyd Houlden and David Baird, paid tribute to Murray. CAIRP members Jay Harris and Cyril Sapiro added their words of praise, and Uwe Manski acted as Master of Ceremonies with his usual precision.
The Ontario Insolvency Practitioners Association (OIPA) and the Ontario Bar Association sponsored the dinner. The OIPA presented the East General Hospital cardiac unit with a $2,500 donation in Master Ferron’s name.
Geoff Morawetz took advantage of electronic data to search the Canadian Bankruptcy Reports, and noted that Master Ferron’s name appeared more often than anyone else. The Hon. Lloyd Houlden was a distant second. Geoff also noted that the Master lost the only case in which he appeared as counsel. Fortunately, the good Master was able to offer in rebuttal that the case involved a narrow point of law, and that he was confident that he would have won had the case been appealed.
Besides his bankruptcy family, Murray’s wife and children, including Murray Ferron Jr., who is with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, were there to witness the outpouring of respect and affection for Murray.
We would like to add our best wishes for a long and happy retirement.
This has been a very busy time for the Association, and there is still a lot to do. The process of assembling committees for the next year is about to get under way. If you would like to participate in the activities of the Association, please advise Sandra Rotermund of your interest. We would welcome your contributions!
Yours very truly,
Larry Prentice, CA
Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP)