State Board Report

June 2012

The movement to unify the accounting profession in Canada, bringing together the Chartered Accountants (CAs), Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) and Certified General Accountants (CGAs), is not progressing as smoothly as had been hoped for by leaders of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (see sbr 5/12). The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada has withdrawn from talks with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and CMA Canada.

However, in the province of Quebec, the three bodies have successfully merged, as the Chartered Professional Accountants Act came into force on May 16, 2012. At that point Quebec's 35,000 CAs, CMAs and CGAs became members of a single governing organization, the Ordre des Comptables Professionels Agréés du Québec. They have 6,500 candidates for the profession. The Board of Directors of the new organization includes top leaders from each of the three former designations: Chair- Stephan Robitaille, FCPA, FCGA; First Vice Chair – Manon Durivage, FCPA, FCA; and Second Vice Chair – Nathalie Houle, FCPA, FCMA with President and CEO – Daniel McMahon, FCPA, FCA.

Although CGA Alberta has said it is committed to the merger, CGA – Canada and its other provincial affiliates have left the merger negotiations. "Over the course of the discussions progress was made," said Anthony Ariganello, President and CEO of CGACanada, "however, it was not sufficient to address issues that were critical to CGAs both at a provincial and national level." According to CGA Canada, several provincial bodies had been unable to progress on key issues such as legal structure, member ratification process and enforceable commitments regarding member protection and minority rights. At the national level, the CGAs felt the three bodies had not agreed upon a national governance model that included clearly defined roles and responsibilities, nor had they agreed upon specific details of the unification framework beyond the initial proposal. The CGAs saw inconsistencies remaining across the country regarding the use of legacy designations, which could confuse the public.

CMA Ontario has also withdrawn from the merger talks. However, a spokesperson for CICA said they will be moving ahead with their new qualification program, as Quebec has taken the lead. The merger plan would create a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in Canada with unified technical and ethical standards.

Correction: John W. Johnson, NASBA's new Director of Legislative Affairs, has been a member of the CPA Society Executives' Association's FOOD (For Our Own Development) Group.

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