Update June 22, 2023: CPA Ontario published FAQ to answer some of the common questions. Summary of FAQ:
Why is this happening?
– Collaboration Accord signed in 2016.
– Process under review since 2018.
– Many in-depth discussions with CPA Canada.
– No agreement reached.
– Need for changes in governance, financial transparency.
– Status quo unsustainable, so decided to separate.
Who made this decision?
– Decision made by CPA Ontario Council.
When will this change go into effect?
– Effective in 18 months per agreement terms.
– Transition period will be business as usual.
What is the difference between CPA Ontario and CPA Canada?
– CPA Ontario oversees CPAs in Ontario under provincial legislation.
– CPA Canada, a non-profit, coordinates services without legislative authority.
What is the impact on unification?
– No impact, commitment to unified CPA designation remains.
What is the impact on CPA Ontario members?
– No changes to designation or labor mobility.
– Post-transition, members will see reduced membership dues.
What is the impact on students in Ontario?
– No impact. Courses, exams, and experience requirements unaffected.
– Student learning continuity and mobility ensured.
The initial reaction to this news was that, due to Competency Map 2.0 changes, CPA Ontario and Quebec have decided to separate. However, after receiving more information, it seems the education program will remain unchanged, even after CPA Ontario and Quebec CPA Order separate. This means the new CM 2.0 exam format will go ahead as planned in all provinces, including Ontario and Quebec. This means the cancellation of CFE was not the reason for the separation, it was due to governance issues.
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Both CPA Ontario and the Quebec CPA Order announced on June 20, 2023, their intent to conclude their current arrangements with CPA Canada in 18 months. This means they will operate separately and more autonomously from 2025 onwards.
The announcements did not disclose specific reasons why the provinces have decided to separate, but I have my thoughts why this has happened.
CPA Canada disappointed
CPA Canada expressed its disappointment and surprise over the move by CPA Ontario and Quebec, citing recent progress in their discussions and a shared commitment to enhance the governance framework of the profession.
Why is this happening?
I believe this is linked with the cancellation of CFE from 2025. CPA Canada has faced significant backlash over this change, which might have lead to the decision by CPAO and Quebec Order to run independently from CPA Canada. This could mean that there will be multiple versions of CPA Canada exams from 2025 onwards, based on the province you’re writing with.
How will it impact students?
This separation will take affect in 18 months (2025). Current students will not see any change on their exams. I recommend students to not delay and finish their PEP and CFE as soon as possible; you should not get stuck in the middle of this major turmoil.
How will it impact CPA Canada members?
There could potentially be a change to designations by showing the province of membership. For example, instead of “CPA” designation, we would have “CPA (Ontario).” This is similar how it’s currently done in the United States.
I believe CPA will still be recognized at the national level (ie, you can move provinces and keep your CPA), but the admission and examination will be handled differently by each province.
This could also negatively impact the reputation and international recognition of Canadian CPAs as a whole, as it could be viewed as a vote of non-confidence in the CPA Canada body.
CFE resources are available at CFE Review course.