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 clauses 18(1)(a) and 18(1)(c)(ii) of the Act. Conditional Licences are issued when a firm is qualified to perform review engagements only.

There are 4 minimum qualifications necessary to fulfill on an initial licence application:

  • Education/Experience in Assurance
  • Eligible Hours
  • CPD
  • Competency Assessment Certification

Education/Experience in Assurance

To qualify for a licence, a member must have obtained depth in the Assurance competency (as outlined in the CPA Canada Competency Map) through their professional education program and have obtained practical experience in an assurance pathway.

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.

Eligible Hours

An eligible hour is defined in Rule 300.1(g). “Eligible hours” means the time accumulated by a member in providing professional accounting services and includes hours reported as continuing professional development relevant to the practice of professional accounting. Eligible hours are also referred to as practical experience hours.

The number of eligible hours required for a licence differs depending on the licence type:

  Comprehensive Specified
Initial 1250 hours in the practice of professinal accounting over the last 5 years, with at least 625 of those horus in audit engagements 1250 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years.
Renewal 1250 hours in the practice of professinal accounting over the last 5 years, with at least 625 of those horus in audit engagements 1250 hours in the practice of professional accounting over the last 5 years.


CPD

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:

Comprehensive Specified
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.