Resources for CPAs during the COVID-19 crisis

To help you stay current with news that has an impact on our profession and easily find resources to adjust your work methods, we developed a special, constantly updated web page available to you.

Visit the "Coronavirus (COVID-19)" page >

Also, please note that our offices are closed until further notice. We will continue to provide our services remotely and we are doing everything we can to minimize the problems caused by the overload of phone and Internet networks.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Developments relating to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have required everyone’s cooperation, including government authorities, public agencies, businesses, working people, and all citizens. 

In keeping with our commitment to protect the public and provide support to our members, the Order has embraced this collective effort by posting on our website useful information, tools and recommendations designed to help you stop the spread of the virus while keeping the economy working. This page will be updated on a regular basis, as the situation evolves.


RELIEF MEASURES AND DEADLINE EXTENSIONS

Have a look at the range of economic support measures and learn about the deadline extensions announced by the governments of Quebec and Canada and public sector bodies. 

Read our summary >

Return filing deadlines extended for some trusts and corporations

See the details: 


financial reporting and assurance

In this section you will find resources and articles that will ensure you are better prepared for the current and potential impact of the pandemic on financial reporting and on the audit or review of financial statements. This section will be updated as the situation evolves.


TOOLS AND RESOURCES

Prioritizing safety and communications

Obligations of employers and employees
Companies have obligations under Quebec’s Labour Code to protect their employees from health and safety risks, including in the event of a pandemic. Companies are required to take all measures commensurate with the risks they face and must be organized to anticipate and limit the spread of the virus. For more information on this matter, see the guide from the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) (in French only) intended for employers and employees. 
Protection of privacy during a pandemic
How is privacy protection affected during a pandemic? We invite you ton visit the Commission de l'accès à l'information du Québec website and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada website if your are employed by a federal work, undertaking or business.

Ensuring the financial and operational stability of the organization

Implementation of a business continuity plan

Make sure to put in place the following measures:

  • Obtain the contact information of all your employees, and set up a communication chain to cascade information through people leaders.
  • List all your critical business operations, i.e. those that are essential to ensuring your organization’s survival.
  • Set up a special executive committee to provide regular updates on the situation and on the measures to be taken.
  • Identify back-up resources in the event of staff absences or a service interruption at a business partner’s.

Useful resources

Organization and employee management

Make sure to:

  • Manage expectations by specifying that teleworking is temporary and exceptional measure taken in the context of the pandemic.
  • Let your employees know that all of the organization’s internal policies continue to apply when they work from home.
  • Manage remotely by setting a list of tasks, readings or projects your employees could start or complete remotely. 
  • Provide flexibility to your employees, including those who need to care for children at home.
  • Keep in touch with your team to avoid psychological isolation.

Useful resources

Cash flow management

In a time of crisi, cash flow management plays a critical role. Here are resources that will help you better advise your business or your clients and put in place an effective cash flow management process.

How to manage an accounting practice

Firms can implement certain preventative measures to limit the impact of the health crisis, while making sure to operate as usual: 

  • Keep your clients updated
    • Take time to reassess your clients’ needs and adjust your work schedule accordingly. In the context we are in, some regulatory bodies, lenders and other users of financial statements may allow for extensions. This will allow you to adjust your priorities and communicate effectively with your clients.
    • Notify your clients if your operations are impacted or if you are operating with a reduced staff level. Consider including a special message in your voicemail greeting and activating an automatic reply in your email settings to inform clients of an unusually high workload.
    • Make sure you are able to carry out all your current engagements. If you have too much on your plate, have a designated person contact your existing clients in short order to notify them of any delays. Work with your clients to assess and mitigate the consequences of these delays on their operations and yours.

  • Designate a replacement CPA for unexpected or prolonged absences. 
    As a CPA, and particularly if you are a sole practitioner, you are responsible for making the necessary arrangements for your clients to have a contact person in the event of your unexpected and prolonged absence. The best solution is to enter into an agreement with another CPA to serve as your replacement in emergency situations. Without having to take over your client base, this person will at least be able to notify your clients so they can make informed decisions about their next steps. Your replacement will also be able to inform the Order of your situation and serve as provisional custodian of your records, as stipulated in section 27 of the Regulation respecting the cessation of practice(in French only).This can be a win-win arrangement if it is reciprocal and you agree to be the other CPA’s replacement. 

Monitoring and evaluating operations

Teleworking during the pandemic

Although teleworking is one of the preferred solutions to fight the spread of COVID-19, this measure is not without its risks and constraints.  

Make sure to: 

  • Put in place the necessary IT infrastructure to support teleworking for an indefinite period of time, and consider the possibility of authorizing your employees to use their personal computer.2
  • Provide your employees with the procedures to help them access their work tools from home.To protect your data, ask your employees to connect to secure password-protected networks and to avoid connecting to any public network.
  • Confirm with your employees who are using their personal computer that it is equipped with up-to-date anti-virus software.
  • Have policies and guidelines that are clear, communicated and accepted by your employees. 
  • Make use of the various technologies at your disposal (teleconferencing, videoconferencing, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) to replace face-to-face meetings.

Useful resources

Payroll and COVID-19: Questions and answers from the Payroll InfoLine

Respecting your ethical obligations

Ethical issues to consider during the crisis
Despite the crisis, CPAs must follow the rules of professional conduct governing the profession.

See our advice on ethical issues during the COVID-19 pandemic >
Government subsidy applications and ethical obligations
While many organizations wish to take advantage of the many grants and subsidies offered by governments to deal with the crisis, the expertise of CPAs is more than ever in demand. Despite the pressure, make sure you respect your ethical obligations.

Learn how to avoid missteps >

Preparing for recovery

The Government of Quebec’s deconfinement plan poses challenges for the economic recovery. How can we prepare for and cope with this new business reality, while complying with health and safety measures for workers and clients? Here are a few resources that can help. 

  • The Ordre des conseillers en ressoures humaines agréés (CRHA) provides ideas on post-confinement work organization in its guide Gérer le retour au travail  (in French only).
  • The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) has published a toolkit for employers and workers across all industries to assist them in managing health and safety.
  • On April 17, The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal held a virtual talk addressing topics such as current challenges for businesses and startup challenges.
  • Deloitte has published an online guide, Orchestrating the recovery of organizations and supply chains , which provides good practices for shifting from crisis management to orchestrating post-recovery operations.

Public and businesses: webinars on managing your finances during a crisis

The CPA Financial Literacy Program offers a series of free webinars on how COVID-19 impacts the financial situation of the public, entrepreneurs and SMEs. The webinars are live and recorded for later viewing on demand. 

See the full listing of webinars >

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Training activities

Online training

See the list of training activities available to help you cope with the crisis and meet your continuing education requirements while complying with social distancing guidelines. The list includes free crisis management training as well as online training put in place to replace in-class training that has been cancelled. 

Quebec government's PACME-COVID-19 program: budget exhausted

The Business component of the Government of Quebec’s Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (PACME–COVID-19) has reached its maximum financial capacity. It is therefore no longer possible to submit a request for this component. Businesses can join an authorized training project from the Collective promoter component of PACME.

See details on the government website >

If you have benefited from this program and wish to obtain a training certificate, see how to procede.

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Order communications

Newsletters – Special edition

Other announcements

JUNE 29, 2020 – September 2020 CFE delivery

Following a comprehensive planning process, the profession is now able to announce the delivery approach for the September 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE). This plan to deliver the September 2020 CFE in-person recognizes physical distancing guidelines and addresses public health concerns. 

Candidates will write the September 2020 CFE in-person at multiple hotels across the country in the usual cities where examination centres were held in the past. Each candidate will be assigned their own hotel room for the duration of the examination. Within each room, candidates will have access to their own washroom and writing desk. Candidates will be provided with CPA-issued laptops that will have Word, Excel, and Folio Views installed (Surpass will not be used on this CFE).   

During the examination, hotel room doors will remain open and the writing desks will be visible from the hallway. Candidates and their invigilator, as required, will be the only persons permitted to access the rooms.

Refer to the FAQ for more information on the delivery of the September 2020 CFE. 

MAY 29, 2020 – September 2020 Common Final Examination Update

The CPA profession is continuing its efforts to develop a comprehensive plan to deliver the September 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE). Our commitment to protecting the safety of our students, employees, and volunteers, while not compromising on the high-quality and integrity of the CFE, continues to guide our decisions. 

As we work on the delivery approach for the September 2020 CFE, the profession is engaging in consultations with public health authorities across the country. All exam delivery options being considered and evaluated are in-person, comply with physical distancing guidelines, and address public health concerns. 

The profession recognizes that you are anxious to receive firm details on the selected delivery approach. We will share this information broadly once specifics are finalized. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through this tremendously complex and constantly evolving situation. 

We will provide you with another update on the September CFE by the end of June.

Stay well and keep safe.

MAY 26, 2020 – Extension of the cancellation period of the Order’s in-class training activities
The Order has cancelled all of its in-class training activities until August 31. We are monitoring the situation closely and we will keep you informed if other changes are made to our training offer. If some cancelled activities are postponed, participants will be informed of the selected dates in due time.

For cancellation information regarding in-class training offered in partnership, please consult your online file.

Unless otherwise specified, e-learning training courses continue as planned. More online courses will be added in the weeks ahead.
 
MAY 12, 2020 – News about the September CFE
We greatly appreciate your continued trust and patience as the CPA profession works to adapt during this time. As we continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, we understand that there are questions related to the September 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE). Preparing for this important examination takes a tremendous amount of effort, persistence and time. The profession is working together to explore options that will allow us to deliver the CFE in September. 

Upholding the integrity of the CFE while protecting the safety of our candidates and employees remain our top priorities. In fairness to our candidates, we will not compromise on the established standards and high-quality of the CFE. The profession has implemented several measures, including the creation of a special COVID-19 Examination Advisory Task Force to consider possible scenarios and explore appropriate and feasible CFE writing alternatives. In addition, recommendations from public health authorities are being closely monitored to ensure the latest physical distancing guidelines are followed.

The profession continues to adapt our education program in this evolving environment with the implementation of many online formats. These changes include shifting to online module workshops, remote assessments, and video recordings for Capstone 1 presentations. These shifts have enabled students to continue their CPA journey with the least amount of disruption possible.  

In this ever-evolving environment, the profession is committed to communicating regularly about the impact of COVID-19 on the certification program. Another update about the September CFE will be posted by the end of May.
APRIL 30, 2020 – June and July 2020 module exams – Revised CPA assessment format
As we move closer to the June/July examination dates for CPA PEP, we know that candidates have questions about the revised assessment format that will be implemented for the examinations scheduled between June 26 to July 3, 2020. As a follow-up to the email they received on April 17, 2020, the profession is providing additional information on the assessment format for the Core and Elective modules and the release date for the module results.

 

Modules Revised format  Exam length* Results release date
Core modules Two case-based questions 2.5 hours (1 hour/case) July 21
Electives modules Two case-based questions 4 hours (between 80 and 120 minutes/case) July 14
* There will be a 30-minute transition period between cases.
 
On Thursday, June 4, 2020, candidates will receive additional information regarding their examination(s), including instructions, updated exam regulations, and other pertinent information. 

We would like to reiterate that the changes to the assessment format are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. While the formats are different, there are no changes to the testable content as outlined in the CPA Competency Map. Once the restrictions end, the profession will revert to the normal formats for all Core and Elective assessments.

We encourage candidates to continue to review the regularly-updated FAQs document on the CPA Canada website for valuable information that addresses their concerns related to the profession’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
APRIL 17, 2020 – June 2020 CPA PEP assessment calendar
The profession remains committed to keeping candidates on track in their journey to becoming a CPA. In light of the physical-distancing restrictions in place in some provinces until June 30th, the profession is announcing some changes to the June 2020 CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP) assessments, including assessment delivery, the schedule, requirements, and the timing of future communications. 

As previously communicated, these national assessments will no longer take place in-person at exam writing centres but will be delivered remotely. Candidates will write their assessments at home using their own computers on the evaluation dates and times specified below. The assessments will be administered through the D2L DropBox. To prepare to write their assessment, they must ensure that they have: 
 
  • reliable Internet access  
  • word processor (i.e. “.docx” format) and spreadsheet (i.e. “.xlsx” format) applications installed on their computer
  • the hardware, operating, software, and other computer requirements specified in the Learning management system section of the CPA Canada Professional Education Program Candidate Guide
Previously, the dates scheduled for the assessments were June 29-30, 2020; however, to minimize conflicts for candidates writing multiple assessments during this evaluation period, the assessments will be written over five (5) business days. Each assessment will commence at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
  
Exam dates Modules Duration
Friday, June 26 Core 2 2 hours
Monday, June 29 Taxation 3.5 hours
Tuesday, June 30 Performance Management
Thursday, July 2 Assurance
Friday, July 3 Finance 2 hours
 Core 1

On June 11, 2020, candidates will receive information on the assessment format that will be used for their particular module. 

We are committed to keeping you informed of updates as we all adapt to this unprecedented situation.  Please continue to review the regularly-updated FAQs document on the CPA Canada website  for valuable information that addresses student concerns related to the profession’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including meeting practical experience requirements, conditional admission for courses, updates to the cases available for Capstone 1 and Day 1 of the CFE, and much more.  

APRIL 8, 2020 – FAQ – Ethical issues to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic 
As the current crisis forces us to deal with unfamiliar situations, CPAs must adjust their work methods to comply with the rules of professional conduct governing the profession.

View our FAQ >
APRIL 8, 2020 – FAQ – Impact of COVID-19 on practical experience 
The current crisis is having an impact on practical experience of candidates for the practice of the profession just as it is on all professional activities. This FAQ covers most frequently asked questions and will be updated on an ongoing basis. 
 
APRIL 3, 2020 – June CPA exams maintained
The upcoming CPA PEP assessments scheduled for June will be maintained. However, based on the extended timeline of the physical-distancing restrictions, the assessments will no longer take place in-person at exam writing centres. Instead, we will administer remote assessment alternatives. Closer to the June assessment dates candidates will be informed of the format that will be used for their module.
 
At this time the profession is expecting to deliver the CFE in September as planned. However, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily and if a change is required, a decision will be made no later than late June. 
 
For current news about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Professional Education Program and the examinations, see CPA Canada's page and FAQ.
MARCH 16, 2020 – PEP and CFE: Cancellation of May examinations and modules
The CPA profession has cancelled all PEP examinations and the May 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE). In addition, the Capstone 2 module scheduled to start on April 4, 2020 is cancelled. 

As well, all in-person module workshops for the Spring semester will now be delivered through a make-up activity. Affected students will be informed about the details of this activity as soon as they have been determined. If you have any questions, please contact the Examinations team at examens@cpaquebec.ca.  

For current news about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Professional Education Program and the examinations, see CPA Canada's page and FAQ.
MARCH 13, 2020 – Order office closure
Our offices are closed until further notice. However, we continue to provide our services remotely. 
Read the message from the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Order >

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useful links

If you feel the need to talk to your fellow CPAs about your professional situation and everything going on right now in your region, join the Facebook group dedicated to your regional group.

Public health

While the spread of the virus (COVID-19) is concerning, it is important to use credible sources and not spread fear unnecessarily. Stay up to date by referring to these reliable sources of information: 

Bandeau programme aide CPA

Questions or comments?

Contact us by email at covid19@cpaquebec.ca

Warning: The Order cannot provide an opinion on the interpretation of draft legislation or new measures implemented by the governments and other authorities. We remind you that you are responsible for carefully reading and understanding the terms and conditions of these programs. We will not answer individual questions on this matter. Please see our inventory of measures and deadline extensions and the reference sites. 

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