The CPA Order advocates a balance between primacy of language and protection of the public

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Montreal, September 30, 2021 – As the parliamentarians are now holding hearings on Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec, the Quebec CPA Order presented its proposals today. “We agree with the government’s goal of modernizing and strengthening the Charter of the French Language so that it has full effect. But the primacy of the French language must not compromise the protection of the public, and it is this concern that guided our recommendations for improving the bill,” said Geneviève Mottard, CPA, CA, President and CEO of the Order. 

Protecting the public: primary mission of professional orders

Professional orders are responsible for ensuring that members and candidates comply with their ethical and regulatory requirements. Although sanction is one tool a professional order can use to ensure the protection of the public, the core of its work is helping members understand their professional obligations and keep their knowledge up to date.

The CPA Order, like other professional orders in Quebec, must be able to effectively inform members of the requirements, procedures, standards and practices of the profession, as well as the frequent changes made by regulators. To this end, its independence, an ability to guide members through professional oversight and control processes and an ongoing relationship of trust with members are imperative. The Order must also have the flexibility to effectively guide professionals educated internationally in a language other than French, which Quebec so greatly needs in the current labour shortage. 

Preserving Quebec’s economic growth and influence 

Professionals must remain fully competent, in step with scientific progress and international standards in their area of practice, and alert to emerging issues. Under the current rules, all CPAs must have a knowledge of French appropriate to the practice of their profession, which the Order in no way questions. Nonetheless, some professionals are more comfortable in English and understand best when English is used as the language of communication. Many aspects of the standards framework and regulatory oversight of the profession must be communicated in a way that will be understood by members in order to ensure the protection of the public. 

“The Order is a proud ambassador of the French language in Canada and internationally. And, in many ways, it is a role model in this area. The use of French in business is nonetheless a challenge, and although much progress has been made, English remains, like it or not, the lingua franca of business, science, international standards and communication among speakers of different languages. We must resolve to continue our collective efforts to ensure a greater place for French without, in the process, isolating Quebec from the accounting profession and the business world. Quebec’s economic growth and influence are at stake,” concluded Ms. Mottard. 

To consult the Order’s memorandum (in French only).

About the Quebec CPA Order
The Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec has 40,000 members and 5,000 future CPAs, making it the third largest professional order in Quebec. The Order ensures the protection of the public and the visibility of the profession. It represents all areas of expertise of the accounting profession, including financial reporting, management accounting, strategy and governance, audit and assurance, finance and taxation.

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Ginette Bourbonnais
Director, Institutional
Quebec CPA Order
T. 514 288-3256 [3022]  1 800 363-4688

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