Most will have observed that the CPA initiative experienced a quieter month over June. This is in contrast to May’s flurry of activity, which saw most CGA affiliates along with CMA Ontario announce their withdrawal from the discussions. There were, however, a few notable events.
- CGA ON and CMA ON released separate communications to elaborate on their respective decisions to terminate unification discussions and discuss future opportunities. Of note, CMA Ontario identified “merging with the CGAs in Ontario” as a possible go-forward option.
- In Alberta, CGA AB and CMA AB commenced a voting process to determine member support for the Alberta Accounting Body Merger Plan.
- On June 20th, three candidates running on a pro-binding vote platform were elected by the ICAO membership to the Institute of Chartered Accountants Board of Governors.
A common concern identified by the Ontario communications is the CICA’s reluctance to accept measures that ensure equality for all members. To illustrate this point, as an observer I listened to Mr. Kevin Dancey, President and CEO of the CICA, try to sell his case for unification to CGA Canada’s Board of Governors in April. During the Q & A session, Mr. Dancey was asked whether CPA Canada would commit to negotiating future mutual recognition agreements on behalf of all CPA members. Disappointingly, his response demonstrated a lack of respect for CGAs and CMAs and should be a defining moment for anyone who believes CICA’s unification vision is intended to deliver professional equity. Mr. Dancey stated unequivocally that, if necessary, CPA Canada would be prepared to sign an MRA that only supports legacy CAs. This is one example of how the current proposal could differentiate and discriminate between classes of CPA members.
Several bodies who defected from the CPA camp, including CA Alberta, expressed frustration that, despite two years of merger discussions, national governance had still not been adequately addressed. The governance framework being proposed fails to effectively enforce the protection of minority rights and public interest. Further, I would argue it does not provide fair regional representation.
The latter point should be of particular concern to proponents of CPA Manitoba. The proposal neglects to provide Manitoba members any reasonable prospect for provincial representation on a CPA Canada Board.
Most agree that in theory a unified accounting body could advance the interests of our profession. However, without appropriate provisions to protect the public interest and minority rights that are hardcoded into a national governance agreement or provincial legislation, unification presents a significant risk.
As we move into the summer months, a number of uncertainties remain.
With unification off the table and lukewarm member support, will provincial CA bodies continue to support the CPA vision? Should CMA Ontario move forward to partner with CGA Ontario, will other CMA bodies follow the CMA Ontario lead or continue on with the CPA vision? Will the CPA saga leave the profession in a more consolidated or fragmented position?
We anticipate some interesting twists and turns as these matters are resolved.
In the meantime, CGA Manitoba, along with the CGA federation, is moving forward with strategies to ensure all CGAs are well served and positioned for any eventuality.
Grant B. Christensen, B.A., B.Comm.(Hons.), FCGA
Chief Executive Officer, CGA Manitoba