Piles of Problems

November 7th, 2016

On Oct. 30th, we reported that PS Knight Co, the owner of RestoreCSA, had filed with the Law Society of Upper Canada regarding the conduct of Mr. R.J. Falconi, the General Counsel of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Apparently, other CSA victims thought that our filing was a rather good idea.  As of last Friday, at least one of these has already made their own filing with the Law Society.

They sent us their document.  Here’s how it started;

“The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is operating in violation of its own accreditation requirements and in violation of law, it seems without consequences, and all these actions on the law were approved by its General Counsel, RJ Falconi.”

That’s a good start to a filing.  It’s also accurate, we’ve been reporting on CSA’s accreditation violations for some time.

This latest Law Society filing deals with CSA’s counterfeiting program of 2002 - 2010.  During these eight years, the CSA was illegally selling certifications of modular buildings.  That is, the “certifications” they sold had no validity.  They were counterfeits.

Purchasers of these buildings were financially devastated.  Without valid certifications, their buildings could not be exported or moved inter-provincially, nor could they be resold (who would buy them if they couldn’t be used?). 

Even worse, not only were CSA’s certifications counterfeit, but the buildings they were affixed to did not meet the minimum safety requirements in Canada.

For purchasers, their investments were a total loss.  For CSA however, there were no consequences. 

As one source recently stated, Falconi saved his own job by “covering up the mobile homes”.

Back to this latest Law Society filing;

“The [Standards Council of Canada (SCC)] executive director John Walter’s final determination was CSA was not accredited from 2002-2010. The SCC found a double talk way to admit that CSA was not accredited while stating that they were fully accredited.  ‘As a statement of fact,’ said the SCC, ‘the coding for the certification of Manufactured Homes did not appear on SCC’s published ICS scopes, nor did SCC perform audits of CSA’s certification process for Manufactured Homes during the period of 2002-2010.’  In other words, the CSA was not accredited.”

We related these actions a bit more bluntly in an article last year, saying; “On Aug. 24th 2010, the CSA wrote to a different customer, stating that ‘CSA International identified a listing omission in the scope of its accreditation […] in relation to modular homes.’  The problem here is that CSA was caught selling certifications illegally and their response was that their violation of law was merely a ‘listing omission.’  That is, the only problem was that CSA wasn’t allowed to do it.  But doing something you’re not allowed to do is the basic definition of crime.”

Then we closed the circle;

“Let’s think about this.  Other crimes happen every day.  Rape for instance, is a serious crime.  How would you respond to a rapist who tried to minimize his crime by claiming that sex happens every day, no problem, it’s just that this particular girl hadn’t given permission for sex.  His only crime was that he wasn’t allowed to do it.  He’s sure she’d have been fine with sex had she gotten to know him.  So it’s no big deal, permission is a minor matter, a listing omission, a technicality dividing the similar terms of ‘sex’ and ‘rape’ which describe, really, the same thing.”

This effrontery is Falconi’s argument.  Yet his Law Society membership is contingent on “avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.”  Counterfeiting is, of course, a crime.  It is actual impropriety, not merely the appearance of it.

The Law Society is clear on this point also; “A lawyer shall not knowingly assist in or encourage any dishonesty, fraud, crime, or illegal conduct or instruct a client or any other person on how to violate the law and avoid punishment.”

But avoiding punishment was CSA’s whole point.  Indeed, the SCC, in their report on CSA’s counterfeiting program, Ruled that “Based on our findings and conclusion, CSA is required to cease certifying and marking modular homes for the Canadian marketplace, without the requisite accreditation.”  Further, “remedial action is also required […] to address the [CSA’s] incorrect claims of accredited certification.”

With Falconi running their legal unit, the CSA completely ignored the cease and desist order and, as for “remedial action”, there has been no repayment of any of CSA’s ill-gotten gains from sales of counterfeit certifications, nor has there been any recoveries offered to the Canadians victimized by these counterfeits. 

In fact, on the same day that the SCC issued its cease and desist order to CSA, they actually re-accredited CSA to certify the same modular buildings they had been caught illegally certifying.  In doing so, the SCC violated its own 90 day public review regulations in issuing a new accreditation to CSA.  How is this possible?  Well, it’s worth noting that the SCC is headed by Mr. John Walters, the former President of Standards at CSA.  It’s probably a coincidence.

Or is it?  The more research one does on CSA, the more muddy things look.

Consider that the Requirements for Accreditation as a Standards Development Organization “specifies the requirements for an organization seeking accreditation as a Standards Development Organization (SDO)”, like CSA.  Among these requirements, “The SDO shall be a legal entity, or a defined part of a legal entity, such that it can be held legally responsible for all its standards development activities.” 

Contrast that requirement with the following admission by the CSA to having sent a letter to the SCC “containing a proposal to amend the Standards Council of Canada Act to include additional limited protections from civil proceedings for Canadian standards development organizations and people acting on their behalf in the course of the performance of standards development functions.”

The CSA’s appeal for immunities from legal responsibility is in defiance of the SCC’s requirement that they retain their responsibility. But note the word “additional.”  The CSA has been repeatedly lobbying Industry Canada for ever-increasing immunities from legal responsibility.  RestoreCSA noted the same lobbying, on the same subject, and the same request, during 2012.  It was also “additional” in 2012, meaning that the CSA was already enjoying protection from legal responsibility at the time of the 2012 lobbying.  These are massive violations of CSA’s and the SCC’s governing regulations.  As these regulations are laws, their violations are crimes.

But the Law Society specifically prohibits any member from “knowingly assist[ing] in or encouraging any dishonesty, fraud, crime or illegal conduct”.

As this latest Law Society filing demonstrates, the CSA is in legal trouble on several fronts concurrently.

This latest complainant to the Law Society, in the last line of their submission, made a reasonable demand;

“I want you to investigate the actions of RJ Falconi and you’ll find what I know, that he’s not respecting the law.  I expect that you’ll disbar him as soon as possible.”