Canada’s three legacy accounting bodies issue Unification Framework

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and the Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada) have presented to their members a proposed framework for uniting Canada’s accounting profession.

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and the Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada) have presented to their members a proposed framework for uniting Canada’s accounting profession.

The three national bodies believe uniting the profession would allow them to better meet the evolving needs of Canadian accountants, national and international business communities as well as continuing to protect the public interest. The decision to move forward and develop this national framework follows an extensive consultation period involving members, students, governments, regulators, employers, and the business and academic communities.

The framework calls for the creation of a new designation – Chartered Professional Accountant or CPA – and a new common certification program. The Canadian CPA would draw upon the strengths of the existing three organizations and will become an internationally recognized and respected business credential.

The framework for unification is based on four fundamental objectives:

  • To best position the profession to protect the public through the provision of a common certification program and a single set of high ethical and practice standards.
  • To enhance and protect the value of the designation in an increasingly competitive and global environment.
  • To contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of the Canadian accounting profession.
  • To govern the accounting profession in an effective and efficient manner.

“With the world going global it makes sense for Canada’s accounting profession to unite and bring together a unique combination of expertise to give us a stronger, more influential voice,” said Joy Thomas, MBA, FCMA, C.Dir., president and CEO, CMA Canada. “Internationally, other accounting bodies are coming to grips with globalization and we cannot stand in isolation.”

Several international accounting organizations are looking to extend their global reach. In addition, accounting standards are converging globally.

“There is strength in numbers and we firmly believe the proposed Canadian CPA designation would be a leading voice both at home and abroad – one that is independent, influential and respected,” said Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and CEO, CICA. “Greater efficiencies would result, and the new qualification program would be at least as rigorous as all legacy programs and encompass financial and management accounting.”

The structure of the framework is consistent with the unification process already underway in the Province of Quebec. The Quebec Orders of CAs, CMAs and CGAs have agreed to unify under the Chartered Professional Accountant designation.

“As a self-regulated profession, our objective is both to protect and serve the public, as well as represent our members,” said Anthony Ariganello, FCGA, president and CEO, CGA-Canada. “A unified profession will best serve the public interest by establishing consistent codes of professional conduct, disciplinary systems and public accounting regimes – in addition, it will ensure all Canadian accountants are well positioned to succeed in a global economy.”

The national organizations are circulating the framework and CPA certification program to their members and the councils and boards of the provincial and territorial accounting organizations as a platform to review and consider unification and, as a means to engage members, governments, regulators and other important stakeholders. As the Canadian accounting profession is provincially regulated, any subsequent merger proposals would be issued provincially.

Should Canada’s three legacy accounting bodies unite, the combined profession would be 170,000 strong making it one of the largest in the world.

About Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada)

Founded in 1908, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada serves 75,000 Certified General Accountants and students in Canada and more than 90 countries. Respected accounting and financial management professionals, CGAs work in industry, finance, government and public practice. CGA-Canada establishes the designation’s certification requirements and professional standards, offers professional development, conducts research and advocacy, and represents CGAs nationally and internationally. 

About Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada)

With 50,000 members around the world, CMA Canada grants a professional designation in strategic management accounting® and is responsible for standards-setting, accreditation, and the continuing professional development of Certified Management Accountants (CMAs). CMAs provide an integrating perspective to business decision-making, applying a unique blend of expertise in accounting, management and strategy to identify new market opportunities, ensure corporate accountability, and help organizations maintain a long-term competitive advantage. To optimize the performance of global enterprises and build strategic management accounting skills, CMA Canada offers innovative executive development programs, advanced online courses, and internationally recognized knowledge management publications.

About Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are Canada’s most valued, internationally recognized profession of leaders in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles. Through their integrity, expertise, and internationally recognized qualification standards, Canada’s 80,000 CAs sustain their influence and leadership position both in Canada and globally. As trusted business advisors to Canadian organizations of all sizes, Canada’s CAs foster confidence in Canadian business and contribute to the health and sustainability of Canada’s capital markets and economy. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) represents Canada’s CA profession both nationally and internationally. The CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).