A Clear Line of Communication:
An Update on the CA-CMA Merger
July 27, 2011
With the news that our two main competitors are in merger discussions, I have committed to providing regular updates as the talks continue and as more information becomes available. Most recently, I provided a recap of events in the summer issue of Outlook. I also know that some of you have posted comments on the visioncga.org site and elsewhere. You may also have seen the July and August issues of the Bottom Line which had articles providing a range of views.
Meanwhile, talks continue between the CAs and CMAs nationally—though, at the time of writing, CMA Ontario and CMA Newfoundland and Labrador were not full participants as they had not signed a Memorandum of Understanding which they saw as a precursor to any such discussions. The CAs and CMAs will continue to hold meetings with their members over the next few months to solicit feedback.
Meanwhile, there have been two relatively important developments on the CGA side.
First, CGA is disputing the use of “CPA” or Chartered Professional Accountant as a trade and official mark by the CAs. In Canada, the perception in the business community, among our members who hold the designation and according to the legislation that governs its use in B.C. and elsewhere, a CPA is a Certified Public Accountant. The new hybrid title will just confuse the issue.
Second, CGA continues to support the current challenge under the Agreement on Internal Trade against the Government of Ontario by the Government of Manitoba, supported by the three other western provinces, for full labour mobility for CGAs in public accounting. Because the current impasse could not be resolved at the consultation level, it has now gone to a Panel phase where an independent group of experts established by the AIT Secretariat will review the facts and provide a ruling. The initial challenge was for both CGAs and CMAs, but is now moving forward only for CGAs.
In Quebec things are on a different path. As noted in Outlook, the regulatory process there is different and the three bodies are working with their government to consider a merger. While the final details of the proposed merger are not yet public, once these are released members of the three bodies will have an opportunity to provide input into the proposal from mid-August to mid-September.
As events unfold over the next few months, CGA-BC will continue to provide members and students with updates in a variety of forums: emails, on the website, through Outlook and, as our 2011 Chair Bruce Hurst has been doing, at various chapter events.
If the CAs and CMAs do merge, we recognize that the competitive landscape will change, but that this new environment will also represent an opportunity for us. Students choose the CGA program specifically because of the unique opportunities it presents. CGA holds the leadership position in this respect and it is likely that these merger talks are being driven in part by our growth and success.
The CAs and CMAs have talked about creating a new profession through this proposed merger, as they did in 2004, but the fact is CGA has been building the template for this profession for years. We have always welcomed competition and have a history of success.
CGA has a strong competitive advantage and we look forward to remaining Canada’s fastest growing accounting designation. We will continue to explore national and international opportunities to enhance the value of our membership and to further the profession, we remain strong in our markets, and will carry on our innovative approach to accounting certification well into the future.
Your comments on this issue are always welcomed, either at visioncga.org or directly to CGA-BC at email@example.com.