The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) has returned to talks aimed at unifying the accounting profession in Canada under the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) banner.
The Chairs of CGA Alberta and CMA Alberta, and the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (ICAA), are pleased to announce they have signed a plan for the unification of the three regulated accounting designations under the national CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) banner.
The plan reflects commitment to the eight guiding principles of unification across Canada, and sets out a road map for a promising future for designated accountants across the province.
“We are very pleased to sign this agreement and to work toward uniting the entire accounting profession in Alberta and ultimately across Canada,” said Ruth McHugh, FCMA, Co-Chair of the Unification Agency, the body created to manage the unification of the accounting profession in Alberta. “We have been working toward this goal for more than three years and I am more convinced than ever it is the right thing to do not only for our members but also for the people of Canada. Working together, I am even more excited for what our future can hold.”
“We have made incredible progress on unification across the country and it is wonderful to be able to welcome our ICAA colleagues to this effort,” said Greg Draper, FCGA, Co-Chair, Unification Agency. “I am very happy we can now work directly with our CA Alberta colleagues on designing a future for our profession and showcasing that vision to our members.”
“The ICAA is delighted that an agreement has been reached that would see our three bodies come together to form the pre-eminent accounting designation in Alberta, in partnership with CPA colleagues from coast to coast,” said Marilyn Kuntz FCA, ICAA President. “We thank our CGA and CMA counterparts for their positive, dedicated commitment to the negotiation process. We look forward to presenting this plan to Alberta CAs in advance of a CA vote on whether the proposal aligns with their vision for the future of the accounting profession.”
The ICAA will undertake an engagement process with Alberta CAs to discuss the unification proposal. This process will culminate in a CA vote on the plan, expected to be held by the end of June. Alberta’s CGAs and CMAs held their respective votes on unification in 2012, with the overwhelming majority of each designation voting in favour of unification.
The process to unite the accounting profession is under way in every province and territory as well as at the national level. You can learn more about the national unification efforts here.
So what does this mean for CGA and CMA members?
There is only one substantive change in the unification agreement, and that is the proportion of board representatives in the unification agency on consolidation. In the transition stage, the board will be composed of three public members and three representatives of each of the legacy organizations. With a successful ICAA member vote, the board composition will be changed in a staggered approach. See more details here. This change is to reflect the proportional makeup of our respective memberships. CGA and CMA members should feel confident their rights and interests are protected. Included in the agreement is a unanimous board voting mechanism on key issues.
The unification agency responsible for the merger of Alberta’s Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants has selected a new Chief Executive Officer to guide the integration of the two organizations and the transition into the new Canadian CPA affiliation. John Carpenter, MBA, FCGA, ICD.D was named to the role after a thorough selection process which began when the boards of the two organizations voted to unify on October 12, 2012.
Carpenter’s focus will be to execute the transition plan in the provincial unification document, particularly the process required with the provincial government to amend legislation governing the accounting profession in Alberta. Currently, both organizations are working to prepare for the first intake of students in the new CPA Canada education program later this year.
Carpenter has been actively involved in the financial industry around the globe throughout his career. Since 1995, he has been the CEO of CGA Alberta, leading it through unprecedented growth in membership numbers and influence. Previously, Carpenter spent 20 years with a major Canadian bank. He earned his CGA designation in 1987 and was later awarded the Fellowship designation for service to his community and profession. Recently, he was awarded a Life Membership by CGA Alberta. He is a Past Chair and founding board member of the Financial Planners Standards Council and the founding Chair of the Financial Planning Standards Board. Carpenter also teaches in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Calgary.
The work toward unification across the country continues to progress. On January 1, 2013 the new Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada organization was formally created. More information about the status of unification efforts can be found on the CPACanada.ca website.
More detail on the progress of the unification will be shared with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, questions can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruth McHugh and Greg Draper
Co-chairs, Alberta Unification Agency
On March 28, 2013, the ICAS and CMA SK issued a joint communication to their members indicating that they have signed a Unification Agreement. This Agreement establishes the foundation and framework on which they will work together to construct CPA Saskatchewan.
The full details and a link to the joint announcement are now live on the CPA Canada website and can be accessed at the following links:
We’re officially Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) now, and have the logo to prove it. CPA Canada was established with the unification of The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada). Currently, accounting bodies representing more than 85 per cent of Canada’s professional accountants are committed to unifying under the CPA banner.
The logo, which represents CPA Canada and the profession, sports a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Canadian maple leaf, a strong word mark adopted from CPA Quebec, and projects the Canadian CPA designation’s leadership, confidence, and its reputation and influence in the global financial community.
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Recently the NBICA, CMA NB and CGA-NB released communications to their members informing them that New Brunswick’s Unification Steering Committee has negotiated a merger proposal based on common principles.
The full announcement, with links to the proposal and the three member communications, has been posted to the CPA Canada website and is accessible as follows:
By: John Carpenter, MBA, FCGA, CEO of CGA Alberta
Over the last few months, as we have been working collaboratively with both our provincial and national merger partners to operationalize the unification, a number of CGA affiliates have announced rejoining the discussions. We are happy to welcome them back since our ultimate goal is a single accounting designation in Canada.
We have been working closely with them to deal with some of the concerns that had been raised, concerns we dealt with directly in our unification agreement. Good fences make good neighbors and good paper makes for good friends in our merger adventure. We have been effective competitors for a long time and anyone wanting to position their product (and their competitors’ products) would do well to study what we have done. Many of us have held our designation with pride for a long time and those letters have become about more than just how we earn our livelihood; they are part of who we are. And we have also been clever and persistent advocates with media, governments and regulators about who we are and why we are different from the competitive alternatives.
Now we want to change that. We see the opportunity in collaboration for our members, and for all of our key stakeholders, and we have had the determination to take on change and make the world different for the people who rely on us. But there is no time machine available to unwind the past and people are not going to easily forget what was said or done. There are elephants in the room demanding conversation and if we don’t talk about them we will never move beyond the next awkward conversation or eruption. Furthermore, like all financial executives, we can’t simply ignore a risk or our past experiences and hope they’ll go away. Even the highest level of good faith will not get us by that pervasive worry about “how could I ever explain this if the past repeated itself and we had not protected ourselves.”
We began our unification work in Alberta mindful of that past. And we talked about it. We looked at how our members would be branded, treated, supported and promoted by their new unified organization. We examined how that organization would be governed and we looked at access to key member services such as MRAs. We also considered the needs and interests of those employees who have served us so effectively and faithfully over many years. Many of these employees hold our valuable designations and they, and their colleagues, could easily be relevant and valuable elsewhere.
As we discussed each of those risks, and more, we considered how the design of our new organization needed to be adapted to manage the risks and to protect the interests of our members. We did that candidly and openly and we turned our concerns and the associated mitigating controls into contractual agreements. If you read our Unification Plan you can see references to these topics and we are further reassured by how others have looked at things similarly (the CPA Canada bylaws posted last week come to mind as a great example). You can read those bylaws here: http://cpacanada.ca/blog/2013/03/13/cpa-canada-by-law-published-includes-article-on-protection-of-legacy-rights/.
To get to our shared future and overcome our long developed suspicions we needed that process. Only then can we exploit our exciting shared future and build on the justifiably proud legacies which our accounting brands bring to the table.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email us at email@example.com.
John S Carpenter MBA FCGA
Chief Executive Officer – CGA Alberta
Earlier this week, the Certified General Accountants Association of Newfoundland and Labrador released the results of its member survey that ran between January 24th and February 4th, 2013. The results indicate that 92% of the respondents are in favour of the CGA NL Board’s proposal to merge with CMA NL and ICANL based on the CPA unification and Newfoundland and Labrador merger proposal.
This update has now been added to the CPA Canada website at the following links:
The British Columbia CA, CMA, and CGA accounting bodies have issued announcements today informing their members that the CGA-BC Board of Governors has chosen to resume discussions with CMA British Columbia (CMABC) and The Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia (ICABC) to support unification.
The announcement, and links to the member announcements, are now on the CPA Canada and can be accessed at the following links:
The leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba (CA Manitoba) and the Society of Certified Management Accountants of Manitoba (CMA Manitoba) have signed a formal agreement to pursue a merger. Accordingly, the two organizations will work together to establish the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba (CPA Manitoba) and are working with the provincial government on legislation to create CPA Manitoba.
This announcement has been released to the CA and CMA memberships in Manitoba and is now live on the CPA Canada website. The full news item and a link to the joint member announcement can be accessed at the following links: