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Other Canadian Standards

Sustainability Assurance


Sustainability/environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting has quickly become a matter of global importance. A broad range of interested and affected parties are calling on organizations to be transparent about sustainability/ESG matters. Globally, organizations are shifting from voluntary reporting to reporting in accordance with requirements mandated by jurisdictions. As organizations expand their reporting on sustainability matters, interested and affected parties are increasingly demanding assurance on this information.

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) is currently working on a project to develop an overarching standard for assurance on sustainability reporting, leveraging its existing assurance standards on non-financial information (International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 is equivalent to Canadian Standard on Assurance Engagements (CSAE) 3000), extended external reporting (EER) non-authoritative guidance, and the ISAs, that can be used globally by all assurance professionals. See the IAASB project page for the status of its activities. 

The AASB is monitoring the IAASB’s progress on this initiative, including providing feedback on the IAASB’s meeting agenda papers. In addition, over the last few years, the AASB has undertaken several activities to support assurance in this area, including:

  1. conducting outreach activities on the challenges practitioners face when providing assurance over sustainability information (both stand-alone reporting and reporting integrated within the financial statements);
  2. listening and contributing to international deliberations on this topic, including participating in National Standard Setters (NSS) discussions;
  3. establishing the Extended External Reporting Assurance Advisory Group to support the AASB in reviewing and responding to materials issued by the IAASB; 
  4. issuing non-authoritative guidance on applying CSAE 3000 to sustainability and other extended external reporting assurance engagements; and
  5. developing a set of frequently asked questions to address common questions on sustainability assurance and help practitioners navigate the AASB’s non-authoritative guidance.

Canadian practitioners are encouraged to follow the progress of this initiative and provide feedback, as necessary.

Staff Contact(s)

Amalia Spensieri, CPA, CA Principal, Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

Johanna Field, CPA, CA Associate Director, Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

Project Status

  • Information gathering

    Identified Canadian implications related to sustainability assurance standard-setting

  • Approving project

    IAASB project proposal approved in September 2022

    AASB project proposal approved in January 2023

  • Consulting stakeholders
  • Deliberating feedback
  • Final pronouncement

Guidance on sustainability and other EER assurance engagements in Canada

EER encapsulates many different forms of reporting including, but not limited to, sustainability or ESG reporting, corporate social responsibility, integrated reporting, and/or greenhouse gas statements.

The role of EER continues to grow in importance. Users are increasingly relying on an entity’s EER for their decision-making, and this has generated a growing demand for assurance engagements on such reporting.

Practitioners can use our EER guidance for real-world assistance in applying CSAE 3000 to EER assurance engagements, and to navigate challenges commonly encountered.


November 15, 2022 News
Volunteer Opportunity – Recruiting Members for the AASB’s Sustainability Assurance Committee

With the IAASB’s approval of the project proposal for the development of an overarching sustainability assurance standard, ISSA 5000, the AASB is enhancing its technical expertise in this area through a Sustainability Assurance Committee. Help us address the issues and challenges related to providing assurance over sustainability information and apply by February 21, 2023.

Meeting & event summaries

January 23, 2023 AASB Decision Summary – January 23, 2023

The AASB reviewed and unanimously approved a Canadian Project Proposal for a sustainability assurance standard, adopted concurrently from the International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA) 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements, as an Other Canadian Standard. Key issues included:

  • the project’s scope, public interest considerations, and risk assessment;
  • the limited circumstance where the AASB can make amendments to the international standard (i.e., the amendment criteria);
  • the relationship of the proposed Canadian Standard on Sustainability Assurance (CSSA) 5000 with other Canadian standards;
  • the Board’s influence in drafting the international standard; and
  • the project’s timeline, resources, and communications plan.

December 13, 2022 AASB Decision Summary – November 28-29, 2022

The AASB discussed issues related to the IAASB’s project. Key issues included:

  • how the practitioner should group sustainability information for purposes of materiality, risk assessment, and evaluating misstatements;
  • the practitioner’s conclusion in the sustainability assurance report (e.g., a single conclusion for all sustainability information being assured, or multiple conclusions for different topics or indicators disclosed in the sustainability information); and
  • the differences in the approach between limited and reasonable sustainability assurance engagements for risk assessment.

The AASB also discussed the Canadian next steps for sustainability assurance. The Board made a directional decision to adopt the IAASB’s proposed overarching standard as an Other Canadian Standard concurrently with the IAASB. In accordance with the AASB’s Due Process Manual, a project proposal will be presented at the AASB’s January 2023 meeting.

November 15, 2022 AASB Decision Summary – October 25, 2022

The AASB discussed establishing a Sustainability Assurance Committee to inform the Board’s work to support sustainability assurance.

Key issues included:

  • whether a committee was needed and whether a standing committee is an appropriate structure;
  • the Committee’s responsibilities, including:
    • exploring Canadian-specific issues related to sustainability assurance;
    • providing feedback on IAASB agenda materials;
    • supporting the AASB on future Canadian sustainability assurance standard setting; and
    • collaborating with the AcSB, PSAB, and the CSSB;
  • the Committee members’ expertise;
  • the desired composition of the Committee of primarily sustainability assurance providers (i.e., professional accountants and other professionals); and
  • a minimum three-year term of appointment, with an option to renew.

A public call for volunteers for this new Committee will be issued on the AASB’s website in mid-November.


This project summary has been prepared for information purposes only. Decisions reported are tentative and reflect only the current status of discussions on this project, which may change after further Board deliberations. Decisions to publish Handbook material are final only after a formal ballot process.