Skip to main content

The merger unites 185,000 accountants in Canada under a new Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) banner.

MacXever/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Canada's numerous accounting bodies have completed their final merger approvals, agreeing to combine under the Chartered Professional Accountants banner in every province and territory.

The final approval came late last week as Certified General Accountants of Ontario agreed to merge with Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. CGA members in the province voted 97 per cent in favour of the merger, while CPA members were 74 per cent in support, according to results announced Monday.

The agreement means all of Canada's Chartered Accountants (CAs), Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) and Certified General Accountants (CGAs) have now agreed to join forces, uniting 185,000 accountants in Canada under a new Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) banner.

Story continues below advertisement

The merger required approvals over the past two years from 40 accounting bodies, including national associations for CAs, CMAs and CGAs and the regional bodies for each of the three groups in 10 provinces and two territories. It also required approval in Bermuda, where accountants are regulated under Canadian accounting standards.

Rod Barr, chief executive officer of CPA Ontario, said some provincial legislatures still need to give final approvals to the mergers, but there has been no indication of any political opposition.

"It's pretty much done, although in each province there's a minister that owns the particular file who has a right to quash it if they want," he said. "There's no sign anywhere that that would happen."

Ontario's CGAs were the last to agree to a merger in the province even after CAs and CMAs agreed to combine to become CPAs.

The CGA national body withdrew from merger talks in 2012, but reversed that decision a year ago after numerous provincial groups began to negotiate separate deals in their regions.

The Ontario CGA body was initially resistant because members did not agree with the merger terms, but later determined there was "an opportunity to get the circumstances right" through negotiation, said CGA Ontario chief executive officer Doug Brooks.

"Our position had always been that we thought unification made sense under the right circumstances," he said Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

Under terms of the merger, students who begin studies in the future will become CPAs when they graduate, while existing accountants will use the CPA designation along with their former CA, CGA or CMA titles until November, 2022. After that, they can opt to stop using their former titles and only call themselves CPAs, or they can continue using CPA with their former titles.

Historically, Canada's accounting bodies had different profiles, with CAs often working as external auditors, while CMAs were more often in-house corporate accountants who focused on internal strategy.

Those distinctions, frequently pointed out in advertising campaigns, were increasingly blurring in recent years, which was a key reason the groups launched merger talks. In 2011, for example, 60 per cent of CAs were in-house corporate accountants.

Mr. Barr said under the merger agreement, there is a new educational process that will require all students to study accounting, but will also allow them to choose another area of specialty such as strategy, auditing, finance and tax.

"What we did was develop an education system that incorporated many of the best features of all three predecessor bodies," he said.

Mr. Barr said the three organizations were "more homogeneous than not" but there are still numerous details to be finalized to unite the accounting bodies in Ontario, where each has separate organizations.

Story continues below advertisement

"We spent a lot of time differentiating ourselves," he said. "Now we've realized how close we are, and now we have to bring that into an absolute, on-the-ground reality."

Editor's Note: The chief executive officer of CGA Ontario is Doug Brooks. An incorrect surname was published in an earlier version of this article.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.