U.S. CPAs seeking Canadian CPA designation

If you hold a U.S. CPA credential, you can earn a Canadian CPA designation.

The mutual recognition agreement (MRA) between all Canadian CPA bodies and the U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB), representing the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), came into effect on January 1, 2018.

Provincial/regional CPA bodies grant members the right to:

  • use the CPA designation
  • be registered
  • audit
  • other services or licensure

If you would like to view the MRA, please contact a provincial/regional CPA body.

Eligibility requirements for U.S. CPAs seeking the Canadian CPA designation

If you hold a U.S. CPA credential, you may be eligible to obtain the Canadian CPA designation via this MRA if you are a licensee in good standing of a State Board, and you meet the following additional criteria:

  • You have the equivalent of at least 150 semester hours of college or university education, including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to a State Board. U.S. CPAs who qualified prior to the introduction of the 150-semester hour requirement are grandfathered in by this agreement as having met the 150-semester hour requirement.
  • You have passed the Uniform CPA Examination.
  • You have 30 months of relevant practical experience. Applicants with two years of relevant post-qualification experience are considered to have met the 30-month experience requirement.
  • You are in compliance with the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements of your State Board.

U.S. CPAs who are, or have been, Canadian residents must meet additional requirements.  

Applicants who wrote one or more parts of the U.S. Uniform CPA examination while:

  • a resident of Canada; or
  • after they became a resident of Canada; or
  • after they returned as a resident to Canada

…must, in addition to the above eligibility requirements, have obtained either:

  • a university degree from a degree-granting institution of higher education in the United States of America (USA) as a result of having attended the institution in person for classroom instruction on a full-time basis; or
  • have at least one year of full-time practical experience in accounting in the USA

Exclusions:

U.S. CPAs who obtained their U.S. CPA credential by qualifying under a reciprocal agreement that the NASBA and the AICPA may have with another professional accountancy organization are not eligible under this agreement. This includes all mutual recognition agreements, reciprocal membership agreements, and other similar agreements that the NASBA/AICPA may have had at any time.

The Canada-USA Reciprocity list identifies the U.S. state boards with which Canadian CPA bodies currently have reciprocity agreeements. 

Pathway to the Canadian CPA designation for U.S. CPAs

To obtain the Canadian CPA designation, eligible U.S. CPAs must register with the appropriate provincial/regional CPA body by:

  • completing the MRA/RMA International Applicant Form and sending it to the provincial/regional CPA body to which you intend to apply
  • completing the Request for Certification of Membership with a US State Board of Accountancy form
  • providing confirmation that you are a U.S. CPA in good standing with your Home Institute; such confirmation must be provided by the Home Institute directly to the provincial/regional CPA body
  • providing proof of your legal name as evidenced by acceptable government-issued documentation
  • providing a detailed chronological resume listing all relevant work experience
  • paying the appropriate fee as determined by the applicable provincial/regional CPA body
  • completing any additional requirements as prescribed by the applicable provincial/regional CPA body

Maintenance of membership

In order to maintain membership with the applicable provincial/regional CPA body through this agreement, you must successfully complete the CPA Reciprocity Professional Development (CPARPD) course within two years of your official membership admission date. This course consists of approximately 20 hours of online study in Canadian tax, law and ethics in a modular form. Applicants must register for this course through their provincial/regional CPA body.

Pathway requirements for licensure

While the CPA profession strives for national consistency, provincial regulations and bylaws take precedence over national practical experience requirements. Applicants should refer to provincial regulations and bylaws for the specific requirements in each jurisdiction.

Once eligible to become a member of a provincial/regional CPA body, you may receive a license to practice public accounting in Canada if you meet the following criteria:

  • you meet any additional Canadian CPA experience requirements for public accounting, which may include at least 1,250 chargeable hours in assurance, of which a minimum of 625 hours must be obtained in the audit of historical financial information
  • appropriate audit experience:
    • if obtained in the USA, it may count towards meeting the more than 1,250 / 625 chargeable hours' requirement.
    • it must be within five years of application to the provincial/regional CPA body.
    • it must meet any additional experience requirements for public accounting specific to the provincial/regional CPA body in which you seek the right to audit and to other services requiring provincial registration or licensure. 
  • complete the CPA Reciprocity Education and Examination (CPARE) program
    • applicants must register in the CPARE program through their provincial/regional CPA body
    • applicants who pass the CPARE program within two years of obtaining membership with a provincial/regional CPA body will not be required to also complete the CPARPD