Chartered Professional Accountant

History of Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA)

In early 2011, the provincial government’s Office des professions who oversees the three accounting bodies invited the Board of Directors of all three bodies to reflect on the future of the accounting profession.  The three accounting bodies were interested in exploiting an unification.  During the summer of 2011, the Board of Directors presented the highlights and guidelines of the unification to members and stakeholders.  That fall, all three Board of Directors issued a favourable unification recommendation to the Office des professions.  The three accounting bodies in Quebec eventually became the first to merge under the Chartered Profession Accountant (CPA) designation in Canada.

Bill 61 is a constitutional amendment which was passed in order to merge the CA, CMA, and CGA designations.  The passing of the legislation in Quebec represents a significant milestone.  The province of Quebec is the first to initiate the unification of the three accounting bodies under the CPA designation in Canada.  The legislation presently serves as a model for the other provinces in Canada.  The accounting bodies in Quebec now speak with a unified voice, pronouncing their presence among doctors, lawyers, and engineers.  Efforts to unite accounting bodies in other Canadian provinces are underway while the unification framework in Quebec is being used to guide unification discussions in other provinces.

CPA Certification Program Breakdown:

The CPA certification program is broken down into four parts;

  1. Common Core Modules
  2. Elective Modules
  3. Capstone Integrative Module
  4. Capstone Examination Preparation Module

1. Common Core Modules

The beginning of the program is comprised of two common core modules which all students in the CPA program must take. It consists of the following six integrated core competency:

  • Financial Reporting
  • Strategy and Governance
  • Management Accounting
  • Audit and Assurance
  • Finance
  • Taxation

2. Elective Modules

Students then have the opportunity to further develop skills in an area of deeper interest by choosing two elective modules:

  • Assurance
  • Performance Management
  • Tax
  • Finance

*All students must choose two. Students wanting to pursue a career in public accounting must choose assurance and tax.

3. Capstone Integrative Module

This modules focuses on the development of competencies such as leadership and professional skills and integrates all previous competencies. In this module students will create a business report and present it to a board of directors for evaluation.

4. Capstone Examination Preparation Module

This modules prepares students for the Common Final Examination (CFE). Students must complete an evaluation preparation course in order to write the final exam.

CPA Designation Requirements:

Qualifying Professional Work Experience

24 Months of qualifying professional experience for Public Accounting.  Please note that public accounting candidates must complete at least 1,250 hours of qualifying professional experience in assurance (audit or review engagements), including at least 625 hours devoted to audit engagements.

CPA Certification Program

Year 1: Completion of the six Common Streamline Modules

  1. Financial Reporting
  2. Strategy and Governance
  3. Management Accounting
  4. Audit and Assurance
  5. Finance
  6. Taxation

Year 2: Selection of Elective Modules

Candidates must select any two of four modules:

  1. Assurance
  2. Performance Management
  3. Tax
  4. Finance

Please note that Public Accounting Candidates MUST choose Assurance and Tax.

Candidates must successfully complete a profession developed exam preparation course in order to sit at the final exam.

Finally, candidates must pass a uniform final exam where they must demonstrate breadth in all six core competency areas and depth in two core competency areas: that is, Financial Accounting OR Management Accounting, PLUS one of the other four aforementioned competency areas.

Please note that Public Accounting Candidates MUST demonstrate depth in Financial Accounting and Assurance

CPA Order

The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec (CPA) is a professional order representing members of an “exclusive profession” as defined by the Professional Code, that is an organization dedicated primarily to the protection of the public. To this end, the Order, like the 46 other professional orders in Quebec, must carry out specific functions related to issuing permits to new members, updating the Roll of the Order, monitoring the practice of the profession and detecting illegal practice. It must also comply with a set of operating rules imposed by the Professional Code.

The CPA Order comprises 39,200 members and more than 5,000 candidates and students. By combining its distinctive forces under a single order, the Quebec accounting profession strengthens its position both nationally and internationally.


Place Ville Marie Office (Head office) 

5, Place Ville Marie, Suite 800
Montréal, Québec  H3B 2G2
Tel.: 514 288-3256
Toll free: 1 800 363-4688
Fax: 514 843-8375