Certified General Accountants Association of Canada

Founded in 1908, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) serves Certified General Accountants and students in Canada and nearly 100 countries. CGA-Canada established the designation’s certification requirements and professional standards, offers professional development, conducts research and advocacy, and represents CGAs nationally and internationally. CGA-Canada is working with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) to integrate operations under the CPA banner in 2014. CPA Canada is the new national accounting body formed by the merger of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Society of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) in 2013.

In October 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 CGA-Canada was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., CGA-Canada has also been named one of "BC's Top Employers" and one of "Canada's Greenest Employers".


The national association, first known as the Canadian Accountants' Association, was founded in 1908 by a trio of Canadian Pacific Railway accountants in Montreal, Quebec. Five years later, in 1913, the General Accountants' Association, as it was then known, was granted a charter from the government of Canada. By the mid-1940s, association chapters were established from coast-to-coast. Provincial, territorial and regional (offshore) chapters were later established under their own charters.

Auditing rights are regulated by provincial governments. In Prince Edward Island, only qualified CAs and CGAs can perform public accounting and auditing in accordance with the Public Accounting and Auditing Act. In all other provinces, except Quebec and Ontario (detailed below), only qualified CAs, CGAs, and CMAs (Certified Management Accountants) may audit public companies.

Historically Quebec and Ontario only allowed CAs to audit public companies. In 2004, the Ontario government passed legislation that would enable CAs, CGAs and CMAs to practice public accounting under a reconstituted Public Accountants Council, and as of June 2010 Ontario CGAs were allowed to issue audit opinions.

In August 2005, a panel was constituted under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) to rule on a challenge filed by CGA New Brunswick and CGA-Canada. It found Quebec’s measures denying CGAs the right to practice public accounting in Quebec to impair trade and recommended legislative changes. The Quebec government committed to address the problem. By November 2009, the 'Regulation respecting the public accountancy permit of the Ordre des comptables généraux accrédités du Québec' enabled qualified CGAs to offer the full range of public accounting services to for-profit and publicly listed companies.

On November 6, 2009, Ontario issued a Notice of Measure claiming that material differences exist in respect of the practice of public accounting in Canada and to protect consumers out of province public accountants would be assessed against Ontario’s requirements. Manitoba supported by Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan objected on the grounds that the Ontario regime causes injury to CGAs and impairs internal trade. A Panel convened under the Agreement on Internal Trade reviewed submissions and held a public hearing in Toronto on November 29, 2011. The Panel found that Ontario’s notice of measure has impaired or would impair internal trade and has caused or would cause injury. The Panel recommended that Ontario comply with its AIT obligations by April 15, 2012. The outcome is important for CGAs because it removes the last barrier to mobility, allowing CGAs to practice anywhere in Canada.

In November 2008, Dr. Catherine Boivie was appointed to the Board of Directors as the Public Representative. Based in British Columbia, Dr. Boivie is the chief executive officer of Inventure Solutions and senior vice-president of information technology (IT) and facilities at Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union.

In October 2013, CGA-Canada entered into an Integration Agreement with CPA Canada, the body responsible for the new national designation Chartered Professional Accountant. This followed most provincial CGA bodies ratifying the unification of the accounting profession in Canada.[1]


CGA-Canada's professional education program is competency-based. Competency-based education requires candidates to perform tasks and roles to standards expected in the workplace.[2]

The knowledge, skills and professional values required of a CGA are reflected in a list of competencies. These competencies extend over three areas: professionalism, leadership and professional knowledge. They are validated periodically through extensive survey analysis. The CGA Competency Framework details the 130 competencies required of a newly certified CGA.

The complete academic program consists of 19 courses, two business cases, and professional qualification exams, spread over several levels: Levels 1 to 3 (Foundation Studies), Level 4 (Advanced Studies), and final level, the PACE qualification or certification level.[3]

A CGA must have an undergraduate degree. Students normally require 36 months of supervised work experiences, but in all cases they require a minimum of 24 months. They may meet the experience requirements in any business sector and in a variety of fields.

Before issuing audit opinions a CGA must first be licensed as a public accountant. The requirements for licensing include at least 500 public accounting hours per year.

CGA is recognized in 170+ countries through their partnership with ACCA.

Online learning

CGA-Canada has been a leader in providing online professional accounting education. Via the Internet, students can complete their studies using a system that integrates text material, study guides, video and audio tools, discussion forums, group case study and project work, web research and email. This highly flexible, online program allows students to work full-time while studying on a part-time basis.

Introduced in 2011, Professional Experience Required for Certification (PERC) is the national reporting process for students in the CGA program. With PERC, students can document their experiences online and submit it annually.

In addition to its own online program of studies, CGA-Canada has also developed online degree partnerships with several Canadian universities.[4]


CGA-Canada develops research and supports positions with a view to influence social policy, regulation and standards-setting.

This initiative has resulted in the following research items.

Mutual recognition agreements

In December 2006, CGA-Canada and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) announced a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) to take effect on 1 January 2007. This agreement was renewed in 2011.

In April 2008, CGA-Canada and CPA Australia entered into a MRA to extend the global reach of both organizations into new continents.

In June 2009, CGA-Canada and CPA Ireland entered into a mutual recognition agreement. The MRA establishes a strategic partnership between the two leading accounting organizations and gives members the opportunity to qualify for another designation.

In June 2010, CGA-Canada and the Ordre des Experts-Comptables, France’s foremost accounting organization, have entered into a MRA. Under this accord, CGAs and members of the CSOEC can be considered for membership by the other body.

CGA association websites

The association is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).[5]

CGA-Canada is an affiliate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean and is a member of the International Federation of Francophone Accountants (FIDEF).[6][7]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  2. http://www.cga.org/canada/competency
  3. http://www.cga.org/canada[]
  4. CGA-Canada's website Online learning
  5. "IFAC's Members". IFAC. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  6. "Members And Affiliates". ICAC. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
  7. "Canada: Membres actifs FIDEF". FIDEF. Retrieved 2011-07-03.
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