Licensing a Firm
A member requires a licence when they are a practice leader practicing professional accounting. A practice leader signs or issues reports on behalf of a firm. Firms with at least one member practicing professional accounting must also be licensed. The practice of professional accounting is the reserved area of practice in subsection 18(1) of The Act. The Act provides for limited exemptions from licensing in subsection 18(3) and if a non-member or member is relying on an exemption under The Act, they must provide evidence to the Registrar to support that exemption or be subject to a cease and desist order issued by the Registrar. Further consequences are available to a non-member practicing professional accounting in The Act.
Types of Licences
Comprehensive Licence: A licence issued when a member or firm satisfactorily fulfills the requirements for all of the sub-categories of the practice of professional accounting as outlined in clause 18(1)(a), 18(1)(b) and 18(1)(c) of the Act. Comprehensive Licences are issued when a firm is qualified to perform audit and review engagements.
Specified Licence: A licence issued when a member or firm at the time of application acknowledges and agrees to not practice in a sub-category of the practice of professional accounting, such as audit engagements, as they have not fulfilled the requirements for practice in that subcategory as outlined in clause 18(1)(a) of the Act. Specified Licences are issued when a firm is qualified to perform review engagements and other assurance engagements only.
Note: Please be advised that there is currently no requirement to hold a licence to carry out compilations under the current standards. However, when CSRS 4200 is effective December 14, 2021, a tier of licensing will also become effective. At this time, there is no further information about the requirements for a compilation-only licence; however it is expected that there may be a CPD and practical experience hours requirement. More information on this, including the opportunity for member consultation, will be provided to members as it becomes available.
There are 4 minimum qualifications necessary to fulfill on an initial licence application:
- Education/Experience in Assurance and Financial Reporting
- Eligible Hours
- Competency Assessment Certification
Education/Experience in Assurance and Financial Reporting
To qualify for a licence, a member must have obtained depth in the Assurance and Financial Reporting competencies (as outlined in the CPA Canada Competency Map) through their professional education program.
Post-Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) Program
The PDPA program is available to members in good standing who do not meet the education qualifications for licensure.
CA legacy members have no further education requirements. However, they may require additional practical experience to meet the requirements to qualify for licensing.
CGA or CMA legacy members are required to complete the PDPA Program, which includes at least the PDPA Module and PDPA Examination.
An eligible hour is defined in Rule 302.1(f). “Eligible hours” means the time accumulated by a member in providing professional accounting services and includes hours reported as unverifiable continuing professional development relevant to a sub-category of practice of professional accounting
The number of eligible hours required for a licence differs depending on the licence type:
|Initial||1250 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years, with at least 625 of those hours in audit engagements||1250 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years.|
|Renewal||1250 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years, with at least 625 of those hours in audit engagements||625 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years.|
Licensed members are required to take a prescribed amount of verifiable continuing professional development (CPD) specific to the practice of professional accounting to maintain their licence, as follows:
|50 verifiable hours of CPD over a 3 year rolling cycle||25 verifiable hours of CPD over a 3 year rolling cycle|
Competency Assessment Certification
The competency assessment on a member licence application has two parts:
- self-assessment by the member, and
- a certification from another equivalently licensed member.
Note: On renewal, a licensed member may only provide a self-assessment to cover the competency assessment requirement.
For more information or if an application for licensing is required, please email our licensing department.