AIT Panel Ruling Opens Ontario to CGAs Seeking to Practise Public Accounting
The Board of Governors of CGA-BC is welcoming a Panel ruling under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) that ensures labour mobility for Certified General Accountants seeking to practise public accounting in Ontario. The Panel found that Ontario’s notice of measure concerning public accountants has impaired or would impair internal trade and has caused or would cause injury. The decision recommended the Ontario government comply with its AIT obligations by April 15, 2012.
The Panel’s recommendations included that:
- the Respondent [the Ontario government] withdraw its Notice of Measure concerning Public Accountants.
- the Respondent ensure that its regulatory authorities comply with Ontario’s AIT obligations and, in particular, allow CGAs certified to practise public accounting in the jurisdictions of all Parties to be certified to practise public accounting in Ontario without any requirement for any material additional training, experience, examinations or assessments.
The outcome is important for CGAs because it removes the last barrier to mobility and, when implemented, CGAs authorized to practise public accounting in their own jurisdiction will be free to provide public accounting services anywhere in Canada. You can read the full text of the ruling here.
The matter dates back to November 6, 2009, when Ontario issued a Notice of Measure claiming that material differences exist in the practise of public accounting in Canada, and, to protect consumers, out-of-province public accountants would be assessed against Ontario’s requirements. The government of Manitoba, supported by its counterparts in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, objected on the grounds that the Ontario regime causes injury to CGAs and impairs internal trade.
The AIT ruling recognizes that there is one occupational standard for public accounting in Canada and that each professional accounting body has the authority to set its own qualification standards. The Panel accepts that there are differences in education pathways, but the issue is irrelevant to the AIT as the agreement recognizes that there are various paths to competence.
This development is especially important in the context of our ongoing merger discussions with the two other accounting bodies because it upholds the principle of professional mobility across the country.
As always, if you would like to provide feedback to the Association directly, please feel free to contact us via email at email@example.com, or by phone at (604) 732-1211 or toll free at 1 (800) 565-1211.