Canada’s three legacy accounting bodies—the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Certified Management Accountants of Canada, and the Certified General Accountants of Canada—presented a proposed framework to their members Tuesday for uniting Canada’s accounting profession.

The framework calls for the creation of a designation known as Chartered Professional Accountant, or CPA, and a new common certification program. The American Institute of CPAs told its members about the plans for the CICA and CMA Canada offering a CPA credential during the Fall Meeting of Council last October (see AICPA Prepares for Canadian CPA Expansion).

The three Canadian national bodies said they believe that 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 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; and 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 CMA Canada president and CEO Joy Thomas in a statement. “Internationally, other accounting bodies are coming to grips with globalization and we cannot stand in isolation.”

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 CGA-Canada president and CEO Anthony Ariganello. “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, along with the councils and boards of the provincial and territorial accounting organizations, 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. 

More information about the Unification Framework can be found online at www.CPACanada.ca.

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