March 7, 2012 - Email to CGA-BC Members
A Special Message from CGA-BC
I am pleased to advise you that merger discussions continue across most of the country.
Currently, the only exceptions to the three-way merger discussions are the Chartered Accountants of Alberta, who have withdrawn citing concerns over member support, and CGA-Manitoba and CGA-Nova Scotia, who are not yet involved in discussions. Among the other participants currently in discussions, I expect that we will soon see their provincial proposals. Only Manitoba (CA and CMA only), British Columbia and Saskatchewan have released proposals to date.
Here in BC, as of March 5, we have completed a 10-meeting Town Hall series on the merger. Though the sessions went well, attendance was low. One could infer that many of you who have not contacted us are comfortable with the direction the Board is proceeding given the progress made to date. However, a potential merger within the profession is a significant event and we still want to hear from many more of you before we draw any conclusions.
For those of you who couldn’t attend, I ask you to view this Presentation on unifying the profession, which closely follows the presentation made at the Town Halls. Or you could do what one group of members in and around Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Quesnel is doing: getting together to watch the online presentation. I will also be glad to phone in to respond to questions. In short, if there is another way you would like to receive more information or hold a discussion, please let us know and we will do what we can to make it happen.
Considerable time at each Town Hall meeting was devoted to answering your questions and receiving feedback. Though there was a variety of questions asked and comments made at each of the Town Hall sessions, I heard five common points emerge:
- The majority of the members attending the sessions support the three designations merging, given the concepts outlined in the proposals.
- Recognition that the potential benefits of a new unified profession occur only if the merger is truly national. There are concerns about a profession fragmented as part of the process with a number of provinces or a significant number of members not included.
- It is important to preserve the flexibility of the CGA program. As we noted at the Town Halls, the proposed Experience Verification Model is similar to what we have today with the CGA program and we believe the coming model will retain that same flexibility and allow students to obtain experience leading to a designation while working in a wide variety of organizations.
- Many Members approve of the merger in theory but for some there is also a need for more assurance about specific issues—including the workings of national governance and details relating to public practice such as registration standards, review processes and professional liability insurance requirements—before they can give it their full support. As we noted at the meetings, this is work that will be done as the process moves forward.
- Students and Members alike are concerned about what happens to students currently in the CGA program and what the transition period will be in order to allow them to obtain their CGA designation. This is being reviewed now and we recognize the need to address this uncertainty as quickly as possible.
To support our request to hear from more of you on this issue, I also want to let all members know that you will be receiving an online survey in a few days’ time. This online survey will be another opportunity to let the Board know your views on the merger discussions as presented to date. I strongly encourage you to take five minutes of your time to fill out the survey and have your say. We are listening closely to every comment we receive.
Your Board and I remain committed to full and open dialogue. If you have additional comments or questions, please do not to hesitate to contact the Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gordon Ruth, FCGA