Certified General Accountants of Ontario

Certified General Accountants of Ontario

December 11, 2006 12:57 ET

Certified General Accountants Applaud Ontario Government's Efforts to Increase Access for Internationally Trained Professionals

Guiding principle of the CGA program: "to provide an opportunity for anyone with the desire and requisite talents to become a professional accountant." Passage of Bill 124, Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, will enshrine a similar principle.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 11, 2006) -

ATTENTION: NEWS/BUSINESS REPORTERS

The Certified General Accountants of Ontario offers high praise and support for the Ontario Government's efforts towards passage of Bill 124, Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006. Recognizing our leading role in admitting internationally trained professionals into the province's accounting profession, CGA Ontario was invited to address the standing committee on regulations and private bills of the McGuinty Government, specifically the ministry of the Honourable Michael Colle, responsible for Citizenship and Immigration.

Joyce Evans, FCGA, chair of the board of governors of the Association (and herself an immigrant to Canada) indicates, "Bill 124 strikes an appropriate balance between the paramount need for high professional standards to protect the public interest and a fair and transparent process to allow for access into the profession by qualified applicants. CGA Ontario is also pleased that the ministry proposes to establish an access centre for internationally trained individuals, to provide information and assistance on the requirements for registration, procedures for applying for registration and opportunities for internships."

At present, 25 per cent of certified general accountants received their original post-secondary education in another country; the same is true for 30 per cent of current students in the CGA program of professional studies. Our database indicates that CGAs and students in the CGA program speak 58 languages, other than English or French, as a first language. Earlier information gathered by the government from all three Canadian accounting bodies found that, on a percentage basis, CGA Ontario admitted 409 and 329 per cent more internationally trained professionals to membership than the other two accounting designations in the 2004 year (270 new CGAs versus 53 and 63 for the other accounting bodies).

Detailed to the Ontario Government was CGA Ontario's belief that recognition of qualifications of internationally trained professionals (wishing to work in any regulated profession in Ontario) should include the following five priorities: public protection; consistency; fairness and access; competencies and credentials; and disclosure. Link to a description of each priority: www.cga-ontario.org/contentfiles/media_relations/releases/releases/06-2007-05a.aspx#link1.

CGA Ontario's Position on Bill 124

CGA Ontario unreservedly supports the stated purpose of Bill 124, "To help ensure that regulated professions and individuals applying for registration by regulated professions are governed by registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair."

By example, the CGA program permits individuals to transfer credits from courses completed at an international accredited post-secondary institution, allowing them to enter the CGA program at a level consistent with their educational background. Our programs are constructed around "open access" to accommodate Ontarians from all walks of life, regardless of location, economic circumstances or country of origin.

Fundamentals of the CGA Program of Professional Studies

1. A clear understanding of competencies required of CGA candidates entering the profession.

2. A definite process, which demonstrates that "protection of the public" is of paramount importance.

Link to necessary characteristics of "open access": www.cga-ontario.org/contentfiles/media_relations/releases/releases/06-2007-05a.aspx#link2

In 2000, CGA Ontario began a process of evaluating the credit equivalency of accounting designations from several major-source countries for applicants. Link to credit equivalency evaluations completed to date for international accounting designations: www.cga-ontario.org/contentfiles/media_relations/releases/releases/06-2007-05a.aspx#link3.

The Future of the Accounting Profession in Ontario

A high demand for professional accountants in Ontario continues. Significant contributing factors include: increased workloads; new financial reporting structures; a shrinking labour pool; and more complex accounting regulations. Likewise, the 2006 year has witnessed a stronger capital market; business growth; and a rise in mergers and acquisitions. At the same time, a large proportion of baby boomers are reaching retirement age. Link to desired skills for professional accountants: www.cga-ontario.org/contentfiles/media_relations/releases/releases/06-2007-05a.aspx#link4.

Conclusion

The Certified General Accountants of Ontario applauds and supports the intention of Bill 124, "to help ensure that regulated professions and individuals applying for registration by regulated professions are governed by registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair."

About the Certified General Accountants of Ontario

The Certified General Accountants of Ontario is a self-governing body, which grants the exclusive right to the CGA designation, and controls the professional standards, conduct and discipline of its members and students in the province of Ontario. It comprises 17,000 certified general accountants and 9,000 students in the CGA program. Broadly and deeply competent, certified general accountants (CGAs) are committed to meeting the needs of businesses and organizations with accounting and financial expertise, strategic insight, leadership and know-how. CGA Ontario's official charitable partner is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and its affiliate agencies across Ontario.

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