A number of variables influence the way Order members must identify themselves in the different contexts of the practice of the profession, for example on business cards and stationery, in general correspondence, email signatures, advertising, and on the web and social media. However, it is important to note that members cannot choose to use a single designation, i.e., either their CPA designation or their legacy designation. The Act requires all members of the Order who were initially trained as a CA, CGA or CMA to use the dual designation for a period of 10 years, i.e. until May 2022.
In principle, after this period, only the CPA designation will be authorized. However, the Act provides that after eight years, the Order must report to the Minister on the application of the Act, including the provisions respecting the use of the designations. Ultimately, the decision will rest with the government authorities. Until then, only members who have completed the CPA Professional Education Program or who were issued a permit after July 4, 2014 pursuant to the Règlement sur les autorisations légales d’exercer la profession hors du Québec qui donnent ouverture au permis de l’Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec are required to use the CPA designation alone.
It should be noted that the use of model signatures that apply to assurance engagement reports (audit and review engagements) and to notices to reader (compilation engagements) is mandatory.
Members of the Order
- First Name Last Name, CPA, CA
- First Name Last Name, CPA, CGA
- First Name Last Name, CPA, CMA
- First Name Last Name, CPA
Members who hold a public accountancy permit (CPA auditor designation)
- First Name Last Name, CPA auditor, CA (for Fellows: First Name Last Name, FCPA auditor, FCA)
- First Name Last Name, CPA auditor, CGA (for Fellows: First Name Last Name, FCPA auditor, FCGA)
- First Name Last Name, CPA auditor, CMA (for Fellows: First Name Last Name, FCPA auditor, FCMA)
- First Name Last Name, CPA auditor (for Fellows: First Name Last Name, FCPA auditor)
Members who obtained the title of Fellow from one of the legacy orders or the CPA Order
- First Name Last Name, FCPA, FCA
- First Name Last Name, FCPA, FCGA
- First Name Last Name, FCPA, FCMA
Members who hold the CA•IFA or CA•IT designation
- First Name Last Name, CPA, CA, CA•IFA (for Fellows: First Last Name, FCPA, FCA, CA•IFA)
- First Name Last Name, CPA, CA, CA•IT (for Fellows: First Last Name, FCPA, FCA, CA•IT)
Members who held more than one accounting designation
Members who held more than one accounting designation on the date of the coming into force of the Act were required to choose the designation they wanted to keep no later than May 15, 2013. As a result, since May 16, 2013, only the designation retained by these members can be used after the CPA designation, and any reference to legacy designations other than the one that was retained is prohibited.
Members working in Canada, but outside Quebec
First, members must hold membership in the professional institute of the province of their professional domicile, regardless of where they reside. Accordingly, members follow the regulations of that institute to identify themselves. Because of differences in regulations between the other accounting institutes in Canada, we ask that you communicate with the body in the province where you work to find out which rules apply to you.
Members working outside Quebec and Canada
Non-Canadian residents can also be members of the Quebec CPA Order. In this case, they must also comply with the regulations in effect in the country where they practice their profession. If this situation applies to you, you should contact the authority in the country where you work to find out about your obligations.
Members who hold the U.S. CPA designation
First, the Quebec CPA designation is different from the American CPA designation. In Quebec, CPA stands for “Chartered Professional Accountant,” while in the U.S., CPA stands for “Certified Public Accountant.” More importantly, the American CPA designation is not recognized in Quebec and must not be used here.
Members who hold university qualifications, professional designations other than those granted by the profession and honorary titles
There is no rule governing the order in which university qualifications and professional designations should appear. Some use the order in which the qualifications and designations were received and others their order of importance. However, to ensure consistency, the Order suggests that the university qualifications come first, followed by the professional designations and ending with the “CPA auditor, CA or CGA or CMA”, the “CPA, CA or CGA or CMA” or the “FCPA, FCA or FCGA or FCMA” designation.
- First Name Last Name, MBA, CPA auditor, CA
- First Name Last Name, M.Fisc., CPA, CGA
- First Name Last Name, C.tr., FCPA, FCMA
Following the same logic, members who have received the honorary title of Fellow from more than one order may, if they wish, use these honorary titles, followed by their professional designation. For example:
- First Name Last Name, FCA, FCPA, FCGA
- First Name Last Name, FCMA, FCPA auditor, FCA
Use of the expressions “professional accountant” and “public accountant”
The use of the expressions “professional accountant” and “public accountant” as a title is now prohibited to all, including chartered professional accountants who are members of the CPA Order. However, it is important to differentiate between the “description of a function or the nature of professional services” or “the use of a generic expression to describe all accounting professionals qualified to perform certain activities” and “reference to a professional designation.” The Chartered Professional Accountants Act prohibits anyone from using the titles “professional accountant” and “public accountant.”
In the CPA Canada Handbook, the expressions “professional accountant” and “public accountant” are used when referring to, among other things, review engagements, compilation engagements and special reports. The sample reports and engagement letters included in the Handbook also refer to “public accountant”. Using the expressions “professional accountant” or “public accountant” in engagement letters, as provided for in the Handbook, does not contravene the Act, since the reference aims to specify the professional services the CPA will render or that the expression is being used in its generic sense. The expressions “professional accountant” and “public accountant” may also be used to describe certain work CPAs are asked to perform for their clients.
However, in all cases, you must sign all documents you prepare and identify yourself in accordance with the Act. You must not use the titles “professional accountant” or “public accountant” in your signature or in your corporate name, or identify yourself as such.