Currently in Canada there are three professional designations for accountants – the CMA, CA, and CGA, but an effort is underway to merge these in to one designation. Sheena Manson tells us more.


Lauren Millen introduced Sheena Manson, who she met at Royal Roads, where Sheena graduated in 2007. Since 2011 Sheena has worked as the marketing and recruitment officer for CMA BC.

 This work has been agreed to by all three professional bodies – CMA Canada, CGA Canada and the Canadian Institute of CAs.   The reason for the merger into a CPA designation is that it is the global accounting designation of choice and will provide increased international mobility and recognition.  To facilitate this, the agencies are developing Mutual Recognition Agreements with comparable international bodies.

A transition date has been determined, with the final intakes for CMA and CGA training taking place in 2013.  For current students, a CPA Bridging Program has been established whereby students can pick up required courses needed to be eligible for the new designation.  In order to be eligible for a CPA, the requirements are 1. an undergraduate degree, 2. pre-requisite courses, 3. find employment, 4. complete the required CPA education.  The CPA Professional Education Program allows for specialization in either industry or public practice.  The work experience component must be mentored by someone with a professional designation. 

Sheena explained the difference between the federal and provincial governing bodies.  The national one develops professional standards, and the provincial ones plan and deliver the training.  An audience member noted that the US designation – Certified Public Accountant – has the same as the proposed Canadian one (the Canadian CPA stands for Chartered Professional Accountant) but there is no affiliation between the governing bodies.  Sheena indicated that they hope to become affiliated with the US body in the future.

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