Throughout discussions with the Certified General Accountants of Ontario (CGAO) and Certified Management Accountants of Ontario (CMAO) about unifying the profession, we have remained true to the eight guiding principles and respected the confidentiality of our discussions with the other two parties; that approach has not been reciprocated.
Recent comments by CGA-Canada, some of the CGA provincial affiliates, and CMAO are not correct and go so far as to imply that we are acting illegally and deceiving our members. Their statements against moving forward have undermined our integrity, disparaged the ICAO and its members, and created the illusion that unification faces insurmountable barriers.
We have put these organizations on notice that their comments are incorrect, and in direct violation of agreements signed by all parties at the outset.
So why are we still involved?
Accounting needs unified standards and regulation and a strong voice within our province, across the country, and around the world. Our members’ interests can best be served if we are at the table when new standards, a new qualification program, and new governance models are being contemplated to ensure Ontario’s CAs have a voice in the discussions that will impact your professional future and the future of accounting.
As a regulatory body, it is our statutory, ethical, and moral duty to work with our accounting colleagues across Canada and the Government of Ontario to chart a prudent course forward for the profession inclusive of all its disciplines.
Legal issues regarding unification
The assertion that there are legal impediments to the proposed unification is incorrect. It is important for you to know that:
- the ICAO, CMAO and CGAO are statutory corporations in Ontario. As such, a unification in Ontario can only be effected among them through legislative amendments; accordingly, any member vote regarding unification can be neither binding nor determinative;
- as corporations without share capital, the ICAO, CMAO and CGAO are not subject to the Ontario Business Corporations Act;
- further, as regulatory bodies governed by public statutes in Ontario, each of the ICAO, CMAO and CGAO will be exempt from the provisions of the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act which has not yet been proclaimed.
The CGAO and CMAO did not accept our invitation to resolve these matters with the parties’ legal counsel. They saw unification as an amalgamation of three corporations; we see it as the creation of a new organization. Regardless, the Government of Ontario has the final say.
Whether we unify or not, the ICAO’s role is to ensure that we have the standards and processes in place that give our Government assurance that we are able to fulfil our mandate under the Chartered Accountants Act, 2010.
The unification guiding principles ensure that no one who currently has an accounting designation loses or
gains – each member is being asked to add a new designation to their existing one during a ten-year transition period.
There is a place for every accountant within the proposed new CPA framework and we believe that, had the parties continued discussions, the remaining few minority rights issues would have been resolved.
National unification is still possible
It will take courage and tenacity to shape the future of our profession. Accounting bodies representing about
65 per cent of the professional accountants in Canada are still working to achieve unification. As Ontario CAs we are ready for the challenge. We have the opportunity of a lifetime. Let’s not lose it.
We will continue to keep you up-to-date and informed. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them with us by e-mail at: Member_Viewpoint@icao.on.ca or call us at 416-969-4178 or 1-800-387-0735, ext. 178.
Gregory M. Gallant, FCA
R.N. (Rod) Barr, FCA
President and Chief Executive Officer