With more than 190,000 members, Canada's accounting professional network is now represented by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) established CPA Canada, which in October 2013, signed an agreement to merge with Certified General Accountants of Canada (CGA-Canada). This merge took place on October 1, 2014, integrating the country's national accounting bodies.

With the new merger, future students will become CPAs upon graduating, while existing accountants will use the CPA designation in addition to their former designations of CA, CGA or CMA. Under this merger, all students will be required to study accounting, while choosing another area of specialty such as auditing, strategy, finance and tax. For existing accountants, this unification means a common certification will bring together the strengths of each organization, while giving the Canadian accounting community a unified voice, ensuring that accounting professionals across the country are all on the same page.

What do all these designations mean? In the past, a CA, CGA or CMA all held different profiles. CAs often work as external auditors, while CMAs were often found in-house as corporate accountants. With the merger, the new profession adopts the Canadian designation Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), creating a single designation with an area of specialty. Members are required to use the CPA designation in conjunction with their existing designation for the next 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the new unification, please visit https://www.cpacanada.ca.