Status of Merger in B.C. and Across Canada
April 24, 2012
I would like to provide you with a status report on unification talks with the province’s other two professional accounting bodies and developments in other parts of Canada that will ultimately influence any possible decision to merge.
In British Columbia
As you know, CGA-BC released a high-level proposal about unification in late January 2012. We followed up with a series of town hall meetings and then in late March conducted a member survey. While the rationale for a merger is well supported by our membership, there were many requests for more information. That support was also conditional on the need for more work to be done in key areas before we could complete a comprehensive proposal. And, as the overarching goal is to unify the profession nationally, any support was also provisional on progress made across the country.
In B.C., the Board of Governors is continuing to work with the other two bodies to finalize the important details required of a merger prior to obtaining any endorsement from our membership.
According to the most recent member survey conducted by the B.C. CAs in mid-spring, overall sentiment towards the merger is split, but becomes more positive after completing the survey. You can review the results here. CMA-BC is also conducting a member survey which is expected to be completed soon.
We are closely monitoring developments in other parts of Canada, all of which are moving at differing paces and in varying directions. Most other provincial accounting bodies are engaged in unification talks; however, in Manitoba and Nova Scotia, CGA is not part of merger discussions. In Quebec, where the profession operates under a different regulatory regime, the three bodies have agreed to support a merger and are awaiting the passage of legislation.
In Alberta, the CMA and the CGAs are continuing negotiations. The CAs left discussions due to a lack of member support and other concerns. Perhaps the most significant development occurred in Ontario, home to approximately 50 per cent of Canada’s professional accountants. Just over a week ago, the three bodies there delayed the release of a comprehensive proposal and a member vote because several issues were still unresolved. Since the proposed merger is based on a national initiative, developments in Ontario will be a key consideration in any decisions we make.
Lastly, our national bodies continue to hold discussions. It will be important for them to agree to a national governance model that will set out details around the structure of the profession. As you can appreciate, this is a complex initiative and there is still much to be done to achieve unification at the national and provincial levels.
Next Steps and Process
The CGA-BC Board continues to move forward with discussions. Any decision taken by our Board on the matter of a merger will consider the following: direction received from our members; the level of progress on unification in other parts of the country (including at the national level); and addressing all of the outstanding issues involved in reaching a comprehensive agreement. The timing, decision-making process and final recommendations made by CGA-BC may differ from the other two bodies involved.
I hope that this update is useful to you. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gordon Ruth, FCGA
Chief Executive Officer