Chartered Professional Accountant
The CPA designation has been in use by members of all legislated provincial and territorial accounting bodies since 2014. As of May 2017, CPA legislation was in place in all provinces, Yukon and Bermuda, replacing legislation previously in effect for the CA, CGA and CMA designations. CPA Canada is the national organization that represents the profession.
- 1 Background
- 2 Merger process by province and territory
- 3 Impact
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Origin of name
"Chartered Professional Accountant" is borrowed from a similar but aborted Australian merger attempt in 1998. It has been registered as an EU Community trademark by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. However, applications to register "CPA" as such were either withdrawn or refused.
For more than 100 years, Canada has seen several accounting designations, which eventually coalesced around the titles of "chartered accountant", "certified management accountant" and "certified general accountant". In time, it became increasingly harder to distinguish between them, as candidates in all bodies had to essentially meet the same requirements for entry. The Quebec government undertook a review which resulted in the goal of a merger under common regulations.
Registration as a Canadian trademark was originally sought by the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec in September 2010, but the application lapsed. It was subsequently secured by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in August 2011.
In January 2012, A Framework for Uniting the Canadian Accounting Profession was issued by the following three organizations: the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada). This framework set out a proposal to unite members of the existing designations and their 40 national and provincial accounting bodies into the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), employing a common CPA designation.
On October 1, 2014, the union of Canada's accounting profession became complete with the integration of the CGA-Canada and CPA Canada, placing all of Canada's recognized national accounting bodies under the singular CPA banner. The Canadian CPA designation has since grown to more than 210,000 members in Canada and around the world.
Reason for Canadian adoption
The move to adopt the CPA designation was the latest of a series of consolidating moves that has affected the Canadian accounting profession between 1880 and 2010, of which the last significant merger occurred between Canadian chartered accountants and certified public accountants in the 1960s. Several attempts were made to merge the CGAs and CMAs during the 1960s, as well as of all three bodies during the 1970s. A subsequent merger attempt between chartered accountants and certified management accountants occurred in 2004, being promoted by their leaders but failing to secure adequate membership support.
In 2011, all three main bodies agreed to work towards a merger that would see a new organization with 180,000 professional members and 10,000 candidates and registered students. This new accounting body would be one of the largest in the world. Proponents of the 2012 proposal to unite the profession under the CPA argued that it would strengthen the influence, relevance and contribution of the Canadian accounting profession with domestic and international stakeholders and serve the public interest through common codes of conduct, disciplinary systems and licensing regimes.
The guiding principles for the unification were expressed to be:
- Evolution to a single designation over a 10-year transition period
- Continued use of existing designations (used in combination with the CPA, e.g.:CPA, CGA)
- Retention but no expansion of rights (ie, current mutual recognition agreements would be confined to legacy members concerned)
- A uniform certification process for new members
- Introduction of post-certification specialty programmes
- Branding the CPA designation, with de-emphasis of legacy designations
- Common code of conduct, regulations and the practice of public accountancy
- Merged operations and governance
While the merger proposal was framed in a national context, approval had to be undertaken on a province-by-province basis, as recognition of professional status has been accepted as a matter of provincial jurisdiction since 1911.[a] The concept of unification received significant support from business stakeholders and accounting academics.
- Dominion Association of Chartered Accountants
- Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
- Canadian Society of Cost Accountants, eventually becoming the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in 1977 and CMA Canada in 1985
- first accounting organization in North America, and predecessor of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, succeeding the Institute of Accountants and Adjusters of Ontario formed in 1879
Merger process by province and territory
Roll out of implementation
All provincial and territorial accounting bodies have agreed to implement the new designation. The implementation was greeted with little controversy, with implementing bills generally receiving quick passage.
- = bill under consideration
- = passage of bill
|Jurisdiction||Enabling legislation||Royal assent||In force||Designation in effect|
|British Columbia||Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, S.B.C. 2014, c. 14||May 29, 2014||May 29, 2014[a 1]||September 18, 2013 (CA)|
September 20, 2013 (CGA)
November 9, 2013 (CMA)
|Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.B.C. 2015, c. 1||March 25, 2015||June 24, 2015|
|Yukon||Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.Y. 2016, c. 8||May 19, 2016||Interim board appointed June 17, 2016
Act in force July 18, 2016
|July 18, 2016|
|Alberta||Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.A. 2014, c. C-10.2||December 17, 2014||July 1, 2015||July 1, 2015|
|Northwest Territories||1st reading on March 12, 2018
2nd reading on March 13, 2018
|on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Commissioner|
|Nunavut||1st and 2nd readings on March 20, 2018||on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Commissioner|
|Saskatchewan||The Accounting Profession Act, S.S. 2014, c. A-3.1||May 14, 2014||November 10, 2014||November 10, 2014|
|Manitoba||The Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.M. 2015, c. 5
(C.C.S.M., c. C71)
|June 30, 2015||ss. 99-100,[a 2] 109-110[a 3] on June 30, 2015
s. 38(2)-(4)[a 4] on September 1, 2016[a 5]
remainder of Act on September 1, 2015
|July 15, 2015|
|Ontario||Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 8, Sch. 3||May 17, 2017||May 17, 2017||November 1, 2012 (CA)|
April 1, 2014 (CMA)
July 2, 2014 (CGA)
|Quebec||Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.Q. 2012, c. 11||May 16, 2012||May 16, 2012||May 16, 2012|
|New Brunswick||Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.N.B. 2014, c. 28||May 21, 2014||September 1, 2014||September 1, 2014|
|Nova Scotia||Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.N.S. 2015, c. 5||May 11, 2015||ss. 13, 14(2)-(5) and 15[a 6] on July 1, 2015
remainder of Act on May 11, 2015
|July 1, 2015|
|Chartered Professional Accountants Act, S.N.S. 2015, c. 30||December 18, 2015||August 2, 2016[a 7]|
|Prince Edward Island||Chartered Professional Accountants and Public Accounting Act, S.P.E.I. 2014, c. 2||November 27, 2014||April 1, 2015||May 1, 2014|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Chartered Professional Accountants and Public Accountants Act, S.N.L. 2014, c. C-10.1||December 16, 2014||January 9, 2015||January 9, 2015|
|Bermuda||"Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bermuda Amendment Act 2014". Act No. 8 of 2014 (PDF).||March 26, 2014||April 11, 2014||April 11, 2014|
- With respect only to authorization of the designation's use by members of the three BC accounting bodies
- Interim title restrictions and transitional board
- Exclusive right to provide reserved public accounting services
- one year after proclamation of Act
- Use of legacy and protected designations; offences
- At which time the previous Act was repealed.
In Manitoba, passage was delayed for several months because of political controversy in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba relating to Premier Greg Selinger, culminating in the 2015 NDP leadership election. No explanation was ever given for the lengthy delay that occurred for this in Ontario.
Federal recognition of the merger involved the amendment of various Acts to reflect the change of designation:
|Jurisdiction||Enabling legislation||Royal assent||In force|
|Canada||Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017, S.C. 2017, c. 26, s. 62||December 12, 2017||December 12, 2017|
Variations in implementation
Because of local variations in the development of the accounting profession in each jurisdiction, there are differences in the various Acts that have been adopted with respect to such matters as the identification of public accountants, protection for those members who possessed predecessor designations that were subsumed by the current CA, CGA and CMA designations, and certain phrases that are reserved to holders of the new designation:
|Jurisdiction||Identification as public accountant||Protected heritage designations||Protected descriptions|
|AAPA[a 1]||ACA[a 2]||APA[a 3]||CPA*[a 4]||GA[a 5]||RIA[a 6]||professional accountant||public accountant||auditor||qualified auditor||accountant||certified accountant||recognized accountant|
|British Columbia||[a 7]||[a 8]||[a 7]||[a 9]||[a 7]|
|Yukon||[a 8]||[a 9]|
|Manitoba||[a 10]||[a 11]|
|Ontario||LPA[a 12][a 13]||[a 14]||[a 15]|
|Quebec||Auditor[a 16][a 17]|
|New Brunswick||[a 18]|
|Nova Scotia||Public Accountant[a 19]||[a 19]|
|Prince Edward Island|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||LPA[a 12]||[a 20]|
- Associate of the Accredited Public Accountants
- Associate of the Chartered Accountants
- Accredited Public Accountant
- Certified Public Accountant
- General Accountant
- Registered Industrial Accountant
- Legacy Designations Regulation, B.C. Reg. 114/2015
- or Certified Public Auditor
- or the initials "PA"
- or Public Accountant
- or Certified Practising Accountant
- Licensed Public Accountant
- required under PACPO Standard 17(4)(g)
- protected by virtue of the Public Accounting Act, 2004, S.O. 2004, c. 8
- in relation to the holder of an accounting designation, it does not extend to an accountant that does not reside, have an office in, or offers or provides accounting services in, Ontario
- in French, "auditeur" or "auditrice"
- attached to principal designation, expressed as "CPA Auditor", "CPA auditeur" or "CPA auditrice"
- known as Registered Industrial and Cost Accountant
- protected by virtue of the Public Accountants Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 369
- legacy designation: holders must identify themselves as "ACPA, ACA"
In addition, Yukon and British Columbia have several other protected designations in use:
- AAT ("Associate Accounting Technologist")
- ACPA ("Associate of the Chartered Professional Accountants")
Yukon also grants an honorary designation known as "CPA (Hon)".
Alberta has opted to allow all those with legacy designations to use them in conjunction with "CPA" during the first 10 years from July 1, 2015, or to use the legacy designation alone during that time. After the 10-year transition period, the "CPA" designation can be used on its own by such legacy holders.
Implementation in Quebec
The unification initiative was the fifth such move since 1973, in which Quebec's accounting bodies sought to merge.
On March 28, 2012, a bill was tabled in the National Assembly of Quebec to create the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec. It subsequently received Royal Assent on May 16, 2012, and went into force on the same date. Among the more notable provisions of the Act:
- Section 4 reserves the practice of public accountancy to CPAs that hold public accountancy permits issued by the Ordre. In this respect, "public accountancy" is defined as the performance of audit engagements, review engagements, compilation engagements or the issuing of any certification, declaration or opinion on financial statements (that are not strictly intended for internal management purposes).
- Section 7 provides that CPAs that hold public accountancy permits must use the term "Auditor" immediately after the designation of "Chartered Professional Accountant" or its initials, as in "CPA Auditor".
- Section 13 prohibits the use of the phrases "expert-comptable", "professional accountant" and "public accountant" by anyone in the province who is not a member of the new Ordre. "Chartered Professional Accountant", Auditor, Chartered Accountant, Certified General Accountant, and Certified Management Accountant, together with their related initials, are also protected designations under the Act.
- Section 62 provides that existing Quebec CAs, CGAs and CMAs as at the date the Act came into force, for a period of 10 years, must add their legacy designation immediately after that of CPA, as in "CPA, CA", "CPA, CGA" or "CPA, CMA". For those who hold public accountancy permits, Section 63 provides that the corresponding combination will be "CPA Auditor, CA", "CPA Auditor, CGA" or "CPA Auditor, CMA".
Implementation in Ontario
The implementation of the designation in Ontario followed a complex route:
- On May 15, 2012, CGAs and CMAs in Ontario announced that they were withdrawing from merger discussions in that province.
- On October 25, 2012, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario announced the adoption of bylaw and regulation amendments to provide for the implementation of the CPA designation with respect to its members effective November 1, 2012, with mandatory usage from July 1, 2013. This was said to be possible as "CPA" became a protected designation within the control of the Institute following the 1960s merger with the province's certified public accountants.,[n] but is currently based upon trademark registration.
- On November 16, 2012, CMA Ontario announced that it intended to reenter discussions, but only after ICAO had undertaken the creation of CPA Ontario.
- On November 27, 2012, CGA Ontario announced that it still favoured integration, but only "under the right circumstances".
- On May 1, 2013, both the ICAO and CMA Ontario released statements to their members notifying them that their organizations have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signalling the commencement of formal unification negotiations, following the official merger of the national CA and CMA organizations. A proposal was introduced to the members in May, with subsequent approval by members from both organizations in June 2013.
- In June 2013, the ICAO adopted the business name of "Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario" ("CPA Ontario").
- On October 24, 2013, CGA Ontario returned to unification discussions and announced that they had also signed the MOU as of February 3, 2014.
- Effective April 1, 2014, CMA Ontario members officially became associate members of CPA Ontario, thus entitled to use the CPA designation.
- On May 1, 2014, a unification agreement was announced between CPA Ontario and CGA Ontario, subject to ratification by the latter's members. Contingent on such ratification, CGA Ontario members are scheduled to become associate members of CPA Ontario on July 2, 2014, and operational transitions will be complete by March 2015. Provision is made for proportionate representation from the legacy accounting bodies over a three-year period and retention of legacy designations until November 2022. Licensing of public accountants will continue to be administered by the Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario.
- On June 18, 2014, it was announced that the unification agreement had been approved by both sides, with effect from July 2014.
- On April 27, 2017, as part of the 2017 Ontario budget, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the merger would be going ahead, and implementing legislation was introduced that day as part of the budget implementation bill. The bill received Royal Assent and came into force on May 17, 2017, with no amendments relating to the CPA amalgamation. Prior to third reading, hearings were held for one day by the Legislature's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, at which the Institute of Management Accountants, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants appeared to protest restrictions that effectively bar their members from identifying themselves by their professional designations in many circumstances, and one witness declared that "the suppression of international credentials is an exercise in overkill." No amendments were brought forth for discussion before the committee reported back.
Because of Ontario's separate licensing régime for public accountants, those holding licenses from the PACPO must identify themselves as "Licensed Public Accountants" or post the initials "LPA" immediately after their professional designation, such as "CPA, LPA", "CPA, CA, LPA", "CPA, CGA, LPA" or "CPA, CMA, LPA".
The Ontario Act has several unique features:
- While it does not "affect or interfere with the right of any individual who is not a member of CPA Ontario to practise as an accountant," no individual other than a member of CPA Ontario may take or use a protected designation or related initials "whether alone or combined or intermixed in any manner with any other words or abbreviations," except under very restricted conditions. This prohibition extends to CPAs from other provinces and territories.
- Unlike most other provinces, "Certified Public Accountant" is not itself regarded as a protected designation.
- The 2007 repeal of the previous CPA Act is only mentioned in a provision declaring that any assets or liabilities of the previous Certified Public Accountants Association of Ontario are vested in the new CPA Ontario body.
Implementation in British Columbia
In May 2013, a merger agreement was announced with respect to all three accounting bodies in the province. Pending the necessary legislative measures to create an amalgamated body, the designation was introduced in BC after the passage of by-laws by all organizations, as ratified in the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014 by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The actual implementing legislation for amalgamating the three bodies received Royal Assent in March 2015, and came into force in June 2015.
Implementation in Nova Scotia
Unlike other jurisdictions, Nova Scotia decided not to amalgamate its legacy accounting bodies into the new CPA provincial body. It has instead declared that members of the legacy bodies must pair their legacy designation with the new CPA designation. In a news release (subsequently affirmed during debate on the bill's second reading), the Province noted that this was the first of two steps in the process, with merger of the three accounting bodies and updating the regulatory framework taking place at a later date. A subsequent Act was passed in December 2015 to effect the amalgamation, which came into force on August 2, 2016. A companion Act was passed at the same time to expand the role of the Public Accountants Board of Nova Scotia, so that it can issue separate licenses for performing auditing and non-auditing functions. That Act substantially came into force on the same date, with the exception of certain provisions allowing the licensing of public accountants from outside the Province.
The initial Chartered Professional Accountants Act received Royal Assent on May 11, 2015, while the relevant provisions relating to the use of the new designation came into force on July 1, 2015. For the next 10 years, previously designated professional accountants in Nova Scotia are required to use both the CPA designation and their legacy designation (CA, CGA, or CMA) in the following format:
First Name and Last Name, CPA, CA
First Name and Last Name, CPA, CGA
First Name and Last Name, CPA, CMA
Establishing a new national body
Questions still remain as to the impact of the CPA designation, particularly in terms of public perception of the new designation, the single point of entry into the profession, and the impact on employers. There is also debate as to what effect competition from foreign bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants may have on the Canadian scene.
There has been post-implementation debate as to the practical impact of the merger:
- Based on a social network theory analysis, it appears that those associated with the former chartered accountant bodies have generally had a disproportionate impact in the attainment of political power within the new CPA bodies, extending even to ousting the knowledge base that had been accumulated within the other legacy bodies.
- The new CPA bodies have adopted a more passive approach in recruiting new members, in contrast to the activity undertaken by the previous legacy bodies.
- After a 1908 Act granting the ICAO exclusive rights to the CA designation was disallowed in 1909, and a subsequent 1910 Act was disallowed in 1911, the ICAO and DACA leaders subsequently met and reached an agreement in which DACA would be reorganized as a federation of the provincial Institutes. The Act was subsequently passed again in 1911, with concession granted to accountants who were members of DACA on December 16, 1909.
- Originally created by DACA, with membership originally restricted to chartered accountants, in a move designed to prevent the GAA from moving into the growing field of cost accounting.
- originally formed as a technical self-study group of accountants working at the Canadian Pacific Railway
- subsequently incorporated by Act of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec
- those members wishing to concentrate more on management accounting left to form the Controllers' Institute of Canada (later part of the Financial Executives Institute)
- incorporated by Act of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
- In Quebec, the Licentiate in Accountancy was first granted by McGill University in 1918, which was granted statutory recognition as a professional designation in 1920. It was subsequently replaced by "Certified Public Accountant" in 1927.
- In English Canada, United Accountant (UA) was a predecessor designation, granted by the United Accountants and Auditors in Canada from 1920 (successor to the Society of Independent Accountants and Auditors formed in 1918). The UA designation was held not to infringe the protected designation of CA.
- In Ontario, formed mainly from accountants and auditors working in government tax offices. The designation originated as LA (Licentiate in Accountancy) during 1926–1931, changing to IPA (Incorporated Public Accountant) during 1931–1936, before becoming CPA.
- Known as "APA", in effect in the western provinces as early as 1950, before merging with the Certified General Accountants at various dates as late as 1998. The designation is still reserved in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
- The designation was created once provincial societies began to be formed. Originally known as "Registered Industrial and Cost Accountant" or "RIA", it was simplified in some, but not all, provinces around 1967.
- amended by the Financial Measures (2018) Act, S.N.S. 2018, c. 4, Part I , to provide that, unless otherwise authorized by CPANS, a legacy designation may be used only by someone to use it prior to August 2, 2016
- retitling the principal Act as the "Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda Act 1973". Act No. 93 of 1973 (PDF).
- by virtue of The Certified Public Accountants Act, R.S.O. 1937, c. 236, as amended by S.O. 1953, c. 13 (since repealed by the Legislation Act, 2006, s. 98(3), as enacted by the Access to Justice Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 21, Sch. F ): see "Table of Repealed Public Statutes: Part II – Repealed Unconsolidated Public Statutes". e-laws.gov.on.ca. Service Ontario. Archived from the original on November 12, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
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