Chartered Professional Accountants
Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (“CPAO”) is an organization responsible for the regulation of the accounting profession in Ontario, and it gains its statutory authority from the Chartered Accountants Act.
Previously there were three (3) separate designations and, accordingly, three (3) separate regulatory bodies in the accounting profession. Certified General Accountants under the purview of the Certified General Accountants Association of Ontario, Chartered Accountants under the purview of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, and Certified Management Accountants under the purview of the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario. The three designations are now merged under one title, Chartered Professional Accountants and are regulated by the CPAO.
A council of 20 people governs the CPAO: sixteen (16) Chartered Professional Accountants (of which eight (8) are Chartered Accountants, four (4) are Certified General Accountants, and four (4) are Certified Management Accountants) as well as four public representatives appointed by the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council. CPAO’s mandate is to protect the public interest by regulating Chartered Professional Accountants and making sure that they provide quality service and uphold the integrity of the profession.
A Chartered Professional Accountant is an individual that has met the licensing requirement set out by the CPAO. The licensing requirements set out the necessary achievements in education, employment, and examinations. Once certified, an individual is at once a member of CPA-Canada and their applicable provincial body. An individual who is licensed and a member of CPA-Canada and CPAO has the right to perform audits in Ontario, as it is the provincial regulatory body that regulates auditing rights in Ontario.
The CPAO provides a complaint process requiring that all complaints be submitted in writing and mailed to the CPAO for review by the Complaints Committee. The Complaints Committee may refer the matter to the Discipline Committee, direct that the matter not be referred, negotiate a settlement agreement, or take any remedial action that is not in conflict with the Chartered Accountants Act. If the matter is indeed referred to the Discipline Committee, then the possible repercussions are revocation of license or registration, suspension of license or registration, the imposition of restrictions on the rights of the license holder, a direction to pay a fine, a direction to take rehabilitative action, the referral of the matter back to the Complaints Committee for further investigation, the requirement of a practice inspection, and the making of any order that the Discipline Committee deems appropriate in accord with the Chartered Accountants Act.
If you are an accountant facing a disciplinary proceeding or have been terminated from your employment due to alleged professional misconduct we urge you to give us a call to discuss your matter immediately. In addition to saving your license, you may be entitled to damages from your former employer.