Possible Acountancy Merger FAQs
Q. I’ve heard that the accounting profession is considering a merger. Were CGA representatives a part of these discussions?
A. We recently participated in national discussions with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) to discuss opportunities to bring together CGAs, CMAs and CAs under one national group in Canada.
Q. Why did CGA representatives participate in the discussions?
A. We continually seek ways to enhance the opportunities available to members and the broader public, while working to ensure CGAs have full professional rights across Canada and around the world. We recognize the potential value of bringing the three Canadian accounting bodies together.
Q. How long did the initial discussions go on for?
A. The discussions took place over several months.
Q. Why didn’t you continue discussions further?
A. We recognize the potential value of bringing the three national Canadian accounting bodies together and these talks were initiated with the interest of all accounting professionals and the public at heart. However, we believe a shared vision and principles are critical for the creation of any new entity we hope to achieve. As part of the exploratory discussions, CICA and CMA Canada set out a number of pre-conditions on which we were required to agree before full negotiations could commence. The conditions afforded no protection of CGAs’ rights and fair access to future opportunities. We responded by communicating our principals as a framework for further discussions. CICA and CMA Canada were not prepared to modify their terms.
Q. What conditions didn’t you want to agree to?
A. As part of the initial discussions, CICA and CMA Canada set out a number of pre-conditions on which we were required to agree before full negotiations could commence. The following terms were unacceptable to us:
- The merged body would have had a new designation – the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). However, upon initial merger implementation the new designation would not take effect. New provincial legislation would have to be enacted before the new designation could be used in the marketplace, a process that would likely take several years. During this period, it was suggested that CGAs would participate in the governance of the organization, but as a minority. It is anticipated that CA members would have formed the majority of the governance group in a three-way merged organization and set the policy, governance and regulations for CGAs.
- Members of the merged body would be required to identify their designation of origin (tagging) alongside the new designation for at least 10 years and new members (completing their education under the merged organization) would be the only members able to use the new designation without tagging. Without agreement on equal protection of existing CA, CMA and CGA rights, the new merged body could prejudice the rights and opportunities of our members. More importantly, confusion in the marketplace would continue for 10 years with the addition of a fourth designation (CPA).
- There was a suggested requirement that CGA-Canada immediately cease our support for national labour mobility for CGAs, including the deliberations underway between provincial governments on mobility under the Agreement on Internal Trade.
- There was dialogue surrounding our Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). In preliminary discussions it was suggested that CGA would likely have to drop one or more of their agreements. It was noted that this needed to be looked at more closely. Meanwhile, CGAs would not benefit from existing CICA MRAs, thereby having a scenario where not all members of the new body would enjoy the same benefits.
Q. Why didn’t CGA representatives ask CGAs about their interest in a merger?
A. The discussions between CGA representatives, CICA and CMA Canada were preliminary meetings designed to lay the groundwork for negotiations moving forward. We did consult with members through our governance groups including provincial/territorial CGA organizations and our own national CGA-Canada board and Affiliation Council, which has a strong member perspective.
Q. What does this mean to our Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with other international accounting bodies?
A. Following the closure of our current talks, it remains “business as usual” for CGA and its international partners. Our international collaborations remain vibrant and healthy and we will continue to seek options to enhance opportunities for our members.