A photo of world leaders arriving at COP28,the UN Climate Conference in Dubai
The profession

Ringing in a transformational year for the profession

The months ahead will be challenging, but our commitment to a unified profession will motivate us to look to the future, says Pamela Steer

As we look ahead to a transformational year for the Canadian CPA profession, we also reflect on and celebrate all that we achieved together in the year that was.

For me, 2023 closed with a whirlwind of travel to represent the Canadian profession and ensure our perspectives were heard at important international events, including the Global Accounting Alliance meeting in Munich, the IFAC meeting in Vienna and capped with the COP 28 climate conference in Dubai.

Every time I attend these international events, I’m reminded how the Canadian CPA designation is renowned by our global peers and how the same global trends—including AI, sustainability and geopolitical uncertainty—are impacting organizations like ours around the world. I also see the clear opportunity CPAs have before us to show leadership in strong ethics and standards that help contain the chaos.

It is an honour for me to represent you, my esteemed colleagues, on the international stage. CPAs are shaping the financial ecosystem, both nationally and internationally—from our successful push for the federal finance department to exclude Canadians from the Underused Housing Tax to our designation as an official capacity-building partner with the International Sustainability Standards Board. In each and every conversation I have with our peers in the international business community, I am driven by a deep sense of pride in our collective accomplishments as Canadian CPAs.

But for all of our national and international successes, there is no denying that 2023 also introduced a new era of uncertainty when it comes to the cohesiveness of our national profession—a unity that has never been more important given the complexity of the myriad challenges our global profession faces.

After months of uncertainty since CPA Ontario and L’Ordre des CPA du Québec announced their withdrawal from the Collaboration Accord, we closed the year on a note of cautious optimism. We reached an agreement on terms for the maintenance of the current national education program that will see CPA Canada continue its pivotal role in maintaining a consistent, national approach with a high standards and rigour in developing the curriculum and examinations.

We are hopeful that this commitment on education will set the tone for continued constructive dialogue as we try to find resolutions that respect the legislative authority of the provincial regulatory bodies and the role of CPA Canada at the national and international levels.

I have no doubt that the year ahead will be challenging, as we work tirelessly with the provincial, territorial and Bermudian bodies to forge a new path forward that best serves members of this profession as well as the greater public interest before the withdrawals take effect at the end of the year.

I am deeply grateful and encouraged by the steady stream of messages from members who have reached out with their support for CPA Canada and a unified profession. I can feel that you share my deep sense of reverence for our designation. It is that sense of pride and loyalty to my fellow CPA colleagues that motivates me to continue to push forward with a vision for the future for the Canadian CPA profession.

It is only through a shared sense of purpose that Canadian CPAs can continue to have the impact and influence we are exerting on the national and international stages. We have the attention of our global peers, let us use it as a force for change we can take pride in when the time comes to reflect on the 2024 year ahead.


View our most recent responses to member’s questions following the announcements from CPA Ontario and the Ordre des CPA du Québec that they intend to withdraw from the Collaboration Accord.

World leaders arrive for COP 28 UN Climate Conference in Dubai (Getty Images)