A framework for uniting the Canadian accounting profession

The framework for uniting the Canadian accounting profession provides the guiding principles to help achieve our vision.

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The framework for uniting the Canadian accounting profession was developed by the legacy accounting bodies (Chartered Accountants, Certified Management Accountants and Certified General Accountants) and provides the vision and principles that have guided all our merger discussions and progress since January 2012.

Vision for the profession

The Canadian CPA is the pre-eminent, globally respected business and accounting designation.

Guiding principles for unification 

These eight guiding principles provide the framework to unify the profession and achieve our vision:

1. Evolution to a single designation

  • The new profession would adopt the Canadian designation Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). 
  • All current members in good standing would be granted this designation from their new CPA provincial body as CPA legislation is approved. 
  • For a period of 10 years, all members using the new CPA designation would be required to use it in conjunction with their existing designations. No current member could use the CPA without identifying his or her legacy designation as follows: 
    • First and Last Name, CPA, CA 
    • First and Last Name, CPA, CMA 
    • First and Last Name, CPA, CGA 
  • After 10 years, a member could choose to use the CPA designation on its own. 

2. Continued use of existing designations

  • Existing members would retain their current professional designations.
  • No member would be automatically granted an existing professional designation of another body. 
  • The national and provincial CPA bodies would be promoting the new CPA designation. Use of legacy designations on their own post-unification would be subject to provincial merger agreements and legislation. 

3.  Retention but no expansion of rights

  • Unification would protect all existing rights of members, such as public accounting rights and rights under any existing Mutual Recognition Agreement, without granting new rights. 
  • The new CPA organization would negotiate on behalf of all members when entering into new Mutual Recognition Agreements. 
  • Any member not authorized to practise in a restricted area, such as audit, prior to the merger would be required to complete any necessary provincial programs to qualify post-merger. 

4. Certification  

The new CPA organization would establish a certification program that draws on the strengths of the existing programs and would be recognized by members, regulators, global accounting organizations and the business community as being at least as rigorous as all existing programs. Detailed information on the CPA certification program is available by clicking here. 

5. A single designation with specialties

  • As in other professions like medicine and law, post-designation specialty programs would be developed to offer CPAs the opportunity to enhance their expertise and advance their careers. 
  • A number of post-designation specialties would be considered, such as tax, forensic accounting, strategic management, and public sector accounting. 

6. Branding the CPA designation

  • Early in the transition process, all branding efforts would focus on the CPA designation and there would no longer be any branding of the legacy designations. 

7. Common code of conduct, regulations, and the practice of public accountancy

  • A new, common regulatory framework reflecting the best practices of the existing organizations, including codes of conduct, practice inspection, disciplinary processes and an effective, nationally consistent public accounting regime would be developed. 
  • The new national CPA organization would be responsible for supporting standard setting in the profession. 

8.  Merged operations and governance

  • The operations of the participating bodies would be combined at the provincial and national levels. 
  • The new combined provincial and national bodies would be overseen by new boards of directors that would include representation from each of the participating bodies. 
  • Mechanisms to protect existing members’ rights (such as those under Mutual Recognition Agreements) would be included. 
  • The organizations in each jurisdiction would be responsible for securing any legislation required to combine the operations and move to a new CPA designation. These bodies would work collaboratively to obtain any required change. 

You can learn more about the framework and the benefits of unification by downloading the complete Unification Framework document.