Getting in from the outside

What CPA Canada is doing to help immigrant accountants.

Depending on their credentials and designations, the transition into Canadian accounting varies for immigrant accountants, and CPA Canada has a number of programs and agreements to facilitate that transition.

Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and Reciprocal Membership Agreements (RMA) allow foreign-trained accountants who are members of certain international accounting bodies to quickly receive certification.

“Once they are admitted to membership, they will need to complete a Continuing Professional Development course in Canadian tax law and ethics, over a one- to two-year period, depending on what province they’re in,” says Doretta Thompson, director, International Credential Recognition Programs, at CPA Canada. “Public accounting licensure requires additional examinations.”

Today, legacy MRA and RMA remain in place, and are being renegotiated for the unified profession. Most are expected to be completed by December 2017.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) allow members of international accounting bodies to gain advanced placement into the CPA’s Professional Education Program. Currently, the two MOUs with accounting bodies in India and Pakistan have expired; renewal is expected by the end of 2016.

Internationally trained accountants who are members of bodies belonging to the International Federation of Accountants enter the CPA Professional Education Program at Core 1. The program can be completed over a two-year period while they are employed in relevant work. They will then write the Common Final Examination.

Other internationally trained accountants are individually assessed by provincial/regional bodies.

“The assessment process is based on national standards that are implemented consistently across the country by provincial and regional bodies,” says Thompson. “They may enter the Professional Education Program directly, or be required to take some prerequisite courses.”

Internationally trained accountants should contact the CPA provincial body in the province in which they live or plan to live for more information about fees and the necessary steps to take based on their credentials, designation and career goals.