Saskatchewan leaps forward in unification effort

Saskatchewan marked a major milestone with the Accounting Profession Act. Here’s a regional update.

The Saskatchewan government introduced the Accounting Profession Act in November, marking a major milestone for the unification of Canada’s accounting profession.

The act outlines the standards that will formalize the union of the province’s three accounting bodies as CPA Saskatchewan.

“It’s exciting,” says Keri Ziegler, CA, CEO of the CPA Saskatchewan Joint Venture (JV). “It brings everything into focus. It begins to solidify our path forward.”

The CPA Saskatchewan JV is now creating new bylaws and pulling together a future board. The combined membership of 4,400 will be able to use the CPA designation after the act is proclaimed, which Ziegler anticipates will occur sometime this spring.

The province's three legacy bodies have been operating as a joint venture since October 2013. As in British Columbia (see below), the legacy memberships, recruitment functions, professional development calendars and communications have already been brought together. In fact, the three bodies will hold a joint provincial conference in 2014.

Ziegler encourages provincial associations to be patient as they work with the government on the legislative process. “It’s really about working together,” she says. “We made sure we kept the relationship and the lines of communication open.”

Regional snapshots

Here’s an update on the regions that are close on the heels of Saskatchewan:

British Columbia

All three of BC’s accounting bodies have been operating as a joint venture since October, after signing a merger agreement in the summer.

“We commenced merging the organizations into one entity right after signing,” says Vinetta Peek, CPA , CMA , president and CEO of CMA BC.

An operational plan, which will go into effect on April 1, 2014, was developed through consultation with all staff, and will be approved by all three boards in March. BC was among the first provinces to launch the CPA Prerequisite Education Program (CPA PREP) and the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP). Having revised the bylaws of the three legacy bodies, BC members are now using the CPA designation with their legacy designations.

The BC's Joint Venture is hoping the accounting legislation will be tabled in the spring or fall of 2014.

Bermuda

Unification in Bermuda is unique. “We’re merging with ourselves, basically,” says Annarita Marion, CA , president and CEO of ICA Bermuda.

CGAs and CMAs are represented by other Canadian bodies because they do not have their own offices on the island. The unification effort ensures respect for the legacy rights of all three bodies. In addition, CMA and CGA members must be comfortable with the transition and rebranding. The rebranding issue is extremely important because a significant number of Bermuda’s accountants qualified with a US designation.

Marion says the first draft of the accounting legislation has been received from the attorney general’s office. It’s hoped the legislation will be passed soon.

Prince Edward Island

After a shift in direction — the anticipated November 2013 tabling of PEI’s accounting legislation was delayed — the province’s accounting bodies have regrouped and are considering a joint venture. “Everybody’s rowing in the same direction,” says Cleve J. Myers, CA, chair of ICA PEI.

Although the total membership of accountants on the island is only 500 strong, Myers says all technical issues — such as changes in legislation and meeting with other bodies — are the same as the technical issues of larger memberships.

PEI hopes to start operating as CPA PEI in the spring of 2014.

Manitoba

Just as this magazine was going to press, Manitoba’s three accounting bodies announced that they had agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The leaders of the CA, CGA and CMA bodies expect to be able to unify in 2014.

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