UNIFICATION PROPOSAL (MAY 2013)

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1 UNIFICATION PROPOSAL (MAY 2013) Unifying the Accounting Profession in Ontario Since the spring of 2011, the accounting profession has conducted a nation-wide discussion on the topic of unification. The time has come in Ontario to move forward in unity and focus our combined energies on the best interests of our members and the public at large. Important Information for Ontario s Accounting Professionals As you are likely aware, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario (CMA Ontario) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to negotiate unification. Further to that MOU, we have developed this Ontario Unification Proposal. While the Guiding Principles of unification are the same across Canada, the profession is governed under provincial/ territorial statutes and certain matters must be agreed upon at that level. This Unification Proposal is supported by the ICAO Council and CMA Ontario Board of Directors and is consistent with the unification framework adopted in other jurisdictions. Please read this document, engage with your colleagues, ask questions and vote. Across the Country The CPA Initiative Gains Momentum Since the effort to unite the Canadian accounting profession was announced in May 2011, the proposal has gained support and momentum across the country. Today, Quebec s CAs, CMAs and CGAs have united. Every provincial CA and CMA organization supports unification. In addition, the CGA Canada and the provincial CGA bodies in every province, other than Ontario and Manitoba, have also indicated their support and desire to participate. Combined, the individual members of those organizations represent more than 85 per cent of Canada s designated accountants. At the national level, CICA and CMA Canada launched CPA Canada in January and it became fully operational on April 1, Both the ICAO and Quebec s united CPA body have been using the CPA since On January 15, 2013, both the ICAO and CPA Quebec became members of CPA Canada. 1

2 THE STATUS OF UNIFICATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY* British Columbia Member votes (CA, CMA, CGA) support unification; Unification agreement signed Alberta Member votes (CGA, CMA) support unification; CAs to hold June vote Yukon Member vote (CMA) supports unification; CAs, CMAs and CGAs in talks Northwest Territories/ Nunavut CAs, CMAs and CGAs in talks Newfoundland and Labrador Member votes (CA, CMA, CGA) support unification Saskatchewan Ontario New Brunswick Nova Scotia support unification; CGAs back in talks CAs and CMAs to vote on unification in June 2013 Member votes (CA, CMA, CGA) support unification support unification; CGAs back in talks Manitoba support unification Quebec Unification complete (CA, CMA, CGA) as of May 2012 Prince Edward Island support unification; CGAs back in talks * As of May 9,

3 Change for the Better For the Profession Greater Influence: A unified Canadian accounting profession will be one of the largest in the world. The combined strength of our members ensures greater influence within Canada and on the international stage. A Made-in-Canada Solution to Increased Global Competition: A unified profession provides a cohesive response to the entry into the Canadian market of foreignbased accounting bodies seeking to operate without our high standards and without regulatory accountability in this country. We re proud of Canada s financial stability and the key role our profession has played in attaining this country s enviable reputation. We want to build upon that strength. A Profession for the Best and the Brightest: A unified Ontario CPA profession will continue to attract the best and the brightest individuals to the field of accounting, thereby ensuring the profession s future success and sustainability. The rigorous CPA certification program will make entry straight-forward for both Canadians seeking an accounting career and internationally trained accountants. Change for the Better For the Public Uniformly High and Consistent Ethical and Practice Standards: The public is best served and protected when professional accountants and the services they deliver are subject to uniform, rigorous standards. Moving towards uniform rules of professional conduct, one disciplinary process and one regulatory regime will achieve this goal. Branding the CPA designation: The CPA designation will be marketed aggressively to employers, clients and prospective students. Early in the transition process, all branding efforts will focus on the CPA designation and there will no longer be any branding of the legacy designations. The new organization s commitment to this initiative will ensure that the market quickly becomes aware of and understands the value that Ontario s CPAs deliver. Less Marketplace Confusion: A unified Ontario accounting profession will ultimately deliver a clearer value proposition to employers, clients, potential students and the general public. As well, by combining the two bodies, we will be able to devote our combined resources to promoting the new brand. Change for the Better For You Compete on a Level Playing Field: Not only is it in the public interest, but it is much fairer for professional accountants, when they and the services they deliver are subject to uniform rules of professional conduct, one disciplinary process and one regulatory regime. Retention of Your Current Designation: We know members are proud of their current designations. Post-unification and for the next 10 years, all members will be required to tag their legacy designations with their CPA as in CPA, CA or CPA, CMA. After the transition period, members will have the choice of using their CPA alone or continuing to tag it with their legacy designation. Use of Designations: Members must use the CPA designation in conjunction with their current designation as follows: First 10 Years: Name, CPA, CA Name, CPA, CMA Use of either the CPA on its own or a current designation on its own will not be permitted. 3

4 After 10 years: Name, CPA or Name, CPA, CA Name, CPA, CMA Members have either option. Use of a current designation on its own will not be permitted. Enhanced Professional Development Resources and Member Benefits: A larger, unified profession will provide enhanced professional development and training, helping you better manage your career, business and practice. There will also be opportunities to provide new and improved member services and benefits. Change for the Better For the Unifying Organizations More Effective Administration: Combining the ICAO and CMA Ontario into one body (CPA Ontario) would ultimately result in more effective administration of the profession. Resources would be redirected from duplication and inter-body competition to expansion of member benefits and services. CPA Ontario: Mission CPA Ontario s primary responsibility will be to protect the public interest a responsibility that it would inherit from today s ICAO and CMA Ontario. The rules of professional conduct, practice regulations and disciplinary procedures will be unified. As such, the public will receive a clear message regarding the profession s responsibilities and obligations, including regulatory matters such as public accounting licensing, standards enforcement and practice inspection. CPA Ontario will support all of its members in all phases and aspects of their careers. From attracting the best and the brightest to the profession, to providing early career training and lifelong learning opportunities the resources, programs and materials available will be unparalleled. All members will have equal access to professional development and other resources. The Unification Process The unification process, in many ways, has already begun in Ontario. A new national body CPA Canada has been created. The ICAO has issued the CPA designation to all Ontario CAs, as well as to individual CMAs who have joined the ICAO as Affiliates. The ICAO and CMA Ontario are each a statutory corporation created by the province of Ontario and governed by its own statute. Accordingly, unification can only be finalized by new legislation. Upon unification, the ICAO and CMA Ontario will continue as one body and that body will possess all the properties and rights and be subject to all liabilities and all contracts of each of the ICAO and CMA Ontario. Formal unification of the ICAO and CMA Ontario will proceed within the framework set out in this Unification Proposal and in the National Unification Framework at Each body has formed independent committees, advised by experts as necessary, to oversee the negotiation process and the development of this Proposal. All members of both bodies are receiving the same Proposal, are being asked the same question, and will vote in June. The results of those votes will be reviewed and confirmed by independent third parties. The Council of the ICAO will consider the results of the member vote, along with the input of other stakeholders and the national unification landscape. If the decision is made to move forward, the two bodies will negotiate and execute a detailed unification agreement. While that process is underway, the two bodies will begin to converge operations in preparation for full unification. Unification will be overseen by a committee with equal representation from each body. Mechanisms to protect existing members rights will be addressed in the unification agreement. The unification agreement will be presented to the Province of Ontario in order to secure legislation to finalize unification. Prior to the passage of that legislation, each body will continue to operate and be governed under its existing structure. 4

5 CPA Ontario: Governance The initial CPA Ontario board will be appointed by the ICAO and CMA Ontario for an initial period of one year. Member Dues and Benefits Total Membership Dues Reflecting the relative sizes of the ICAO and CMA Ontario memberships, the initial CPA Ontario board will comprise: $ $960 $940 eight members of the ICAO four members of CMA Ontario three* public representatives During the first three years, a third of the board s member representatives will be replaced by newly elected representatives who will be brought in to serve three-year terms. In years one and two, the terms of three CAs and a CMA will expire. In year three, the terms of the remaining two CMAs and two CAs will expire. * The number to be negotiated with the Government of Ontario. 36.2% 20,713 Membership Sizes 63.8% 36,465 CMA Ontario ICAO Total: 57, In both provincial organizations, members are charged dues intended to support the products and services provided. Fees currently differ at the national level and a harmonized process for those would be determined by CPA Canada. Total membership dues are more aligned between the two organizations, with only a nominal difference. Unification would result in a more effective administration of the profession. Existing member benefits, including practice insurance programs, would remain in place during the transition to CPA Ontario. Once CPA Ontario is in operation, resources could be, over time, redirected from duplication and intra-body competition to lowering fees and/or expansion of member services. Education ICAO CMA Ontario Pre-certification: Organizational Alignment CPA Ontario would be managed through a model reflecting best practices and supporting the selfregulatory, branding, professional development and certification activities that it would undertake on behalf of its members. Protection of the public interest would remain paramount for the new organization. The operation of CPA Ontario would require the talents and experience of the employees from each of the current bodies to maintain continuity. Existing programs would be integrated and streamlined. The proposed national CPA certification program, which the ICAO has already adopted, draws upon the strengths of and is no less rigorous than today s CA and CMA programs. It ensures a consistent, thorough professional education experience for all aspiring CPAs. The transition of students in the existing CA and CMA programs is being coordinated to ensure that students who have begun a program as of the time of unification have an opportunity to finish it or otherwise bridge into the new CPA program. Details of the CPA certification program and more information can be found at 5

6 Post-certification: A CPA s learning continues through postcertification professional development courses and specializations, as lifelong learning is an important part of the profession. Professional development requirements will be integrated and adopted by CPA Ontario. Continuing professional education for CPA members will combine the best of today s programs with new initiatives to create learning opportunities that match the diversity of the membership. Cooperation with the national and other provincial bodies will ensure breadth and leverage economies of scale. Post-designation specialty programs will offer members the opportunity to enhance their expertise and advance their careers. Member Question Based on the National Unification Framework and the Ontario Unification Proposal, do you support the unification of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario? The By-laws of CMA Ontario require the question be put to the membership as a special resolution, with at least two-thirds of the votes cast needed for approval. The ICAO has no such bylaw, and the vote will be advisory. Regulatory Processes Currently, the ICAO and CMA Ontario are each responsible for regulating their respective members to protect and serve the public interest. That will continue until provincial legislation is passed to unify them. CPA Ontario will adopt effective and efficient self-regulatory processes including practice inspection, standards enforcement, continuing professional development and public accounting using current best practices. Recommendation and Effect: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario are each statutory corporations empowered and governed by legislation to regulate their members so that the interests of the public and the accounting profession are promoted and protected. Further to that mandate, and having investigated the issue and consulted extensively with members and other stakeholder groups since 2011, the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario support the proposed unification of the CA and CMA professions in this province. We believe unification is in the best interest of the public, the accounting profession, our members, and the governing bodies. More Information ICAO Members: Please visit for more information. If you have comments or questions, you can reach us by or by telephone: or , ext. 178 CMA Members: Please visit for more information. If you have comments or questions, you can reach us by or by telephone: , ext. 165 or , ext The views of our members are very important. We strongly encourage you to make your opinion known by voting. 6

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