• Alberta's Professional Accountants - One Step Closer to Unification
  • January 30, 2015 | Author: Clarissa A. Dhillon
  • Law Firm: McLennan Ross LLP - Edmonton Office
  • On December 9, 2014, Bill 7, the Chartered Professional Accountants Act ("Act") was passed by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The Act aims to merge three self-regulating accounting professions into one association offering one single professional designation.

    Currently, there are three professional accounting bodies in Alberta - the Certified General Accountants' Association of Alberta, the Certified Management Accountants of Alberta, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta. Upon proclamation, these three bodies will amalgamate as the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta and accountants may continue to practice under the CPA designation.

    The Act will replace the Regulated Accounting Profession Act ("RAPA") which currently governs the three accounting designations in Alberta. Substantively, the Act does not differ largely from RAPA other than establishing the CPA designation and amalgamating the three professional bodies into the CPAA. However, minor changes include:

    • For those who have a CA, CMA, or CGA designation, preserving that accountant's ability to use the legacy designation along with the CPA designation (once the Act is pronounced);
    • An increase in the amount of time the regulatory body has jurisdiction over former registrants from two years to six years; and
    • An increase in the fines payable for each finding of unprofessional conduct from $20,000 to $100,000.

    All 40 accounting bodies in Canada have either passed or are considering similar unification legislation. In Alberta, the Act received Royal Assent on December 17, 2014 and will come into force upon proclamation. The Legislative Assembly is hopeful the Act will be proclaimed by mid-2015. Until the Act is proclaimed, accountants in Alberta cannot use the CPA designation.