Public accountancy permit

The Regulation respecting the public accountancy permit of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec came into force on June 4, 2014.

All members of the Order must hold a public accountancy permit in order to provide assurance services (audit engagements, review engagements and special reports).

CPAs who hold a public accountancy permit are required to use the CPA auditor designation when they perform assurance-related activities, especially in engagement letters, and audit, review and special reports.

If they wish, CPAs may also use the CPA auditor designation in other contexts of the practice of the profession, for example on their business card, letterhead and advertising.

However, the CPA auditor designation must always meet the requirements relating to corporate names and business names.

If you hold a CPA permit and wish to obtain a public accountancy permit, you must complete an application for recognition in view of obtaining a public accountancy permit.

If you are a candidate for the profession and expect to obtain a public accountancy permit, please refer to the requirements to be met in your path.

In all cases, members who hold a public accountancy permit must complete 120 hours of continuing education per three-year period, including 60 hours in connection with public accountancy.

To see if you hold a public accountancy permit or find your permit number, if applicable:

  1. Go to the Find a CPA page.
  2. Enter your name in the appropriate fields.
  3. Click on your name in the search results.
  4. The designations you hold are indicated after your name. If the word “auditor” appears, this means that you hold a public accountancy permit. If so, your permit number will be indicated below your name.

Limited public accountancy permit issued under section 65 of the CPA Act

CPA, CGAs and CPA, CMAs retained certain limited rights related to assurance services up to May 15, 2013. Since that date, only those members who obtained the “limited” public accountancy permit pursuant to section 65 are authorized to provide assurance services on certain conditions. Members who did not obtain the permit pursuant to section 65 within the prescribed deadline can nevertheless apply for the public accountancy permit pursuant to section 5. 

Limited public accountancy permits have the following restrictions:

  • Public accountancy permits limited to review engagements authorize their holders to perform only review engagements.
  • Public accountancy permits limited to review and audit engagements specifically provided for by the Act authorize their holders to perform only review engagements and, on certain conditions, audit engagements for legal entities governed by the Act respecting the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire, the Education Act, the General and Vocational Colleges Act, the Act respecting Financial Services Cooperatives, the Cooperatives Act and the Savings and Credit Unions Act.

“Limited” permit holders must use the CPA auditor designation and insert one of the following indications as a footnote in documents for which the Act requires them to add their auditor designation:

  • Authorized to practice public accountancy limited to review engagements; or 
  • Authorized to practice public accountancy limited to review engagements and audit engagements specifically provided for by the Act.

The Order has issued clear instructions on how to present this indication. Refer to model signatures 4, 5 and 6.

In addition, the restriction of the right to practice public accountancy must be specifically mentioned not only in any assurance report, but also in any "Notice to Reader" or other document of any nature whatsoever in which holders of this permit choose to present themselves as auditors. Members who hold a “limited” public accountancy permit may also, if they wish, use the CPA auditor designation in other contexts of the practice of the profession, for example on their business card, letterhead and advertising.

However, the CPA auditor designation must always meet the requirements relating to corporate names and business names.

Surrendering the public accountancy permit

If you hold a public accountancy permit and wish to surrender it, you must complete the request to surrender a public accountancy permit. The consequences of surrendering a public accountancy permit are the following:

  • loss of the title of auditor;
  • prohibition on presenting oneself as an “auditor,” including in telephone directories and on websites, social media, business cards and stationery; 
  • loss of the right to provide assurance services, which include performing review and audit engagements, and preparing special reports;
  • requirement to immediately transfer the member's assurance files to another member or to the Order, if applicable.

Should you wish to obtain a new public accountancy permit, you will have to submit a formal application for recognition in view of obtaining a public accountancy permit, pay the required fees and satisfy the conditions under the CPA Act and the Regulation respecting the public accountancy permit.

WARNING –The surrender of a public accountancy permit and of the right to provide assurance services and use the title of auditor mean that members may be subject to penal proceedings for the illegal practice of the profession or unauthorized use of the title if they continue to hold themselves out or present themselves as a CPA auditor or perform assurance activities.

Questions?

Not sure how to meet the requirements for obtaining a public accountancy permit? Have questions about the public accountancy permit? Please email us at permisdecomptabilitepublique@cpaquebec.ca.

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