Candidates’ ethical obligations

Are you a candidate for the practice of the profession? Even though you do not yet hold the CPA designation, you must comply with the CPA Act and the Code of ethics of CPAs throughout your path.

Candidate agreement

When you register with the Order, you must agree to meet the ethical obligations of CPAs. This agreement remains valid throughout your path to the CPA designation.

Consult the candidate agreement [PDF] >

Main ethical obligations

Below is a summary of the main obligations described in the Code of ethics of CPAs.


The purpose of this summary is to make you aware of your ethical obligations related to the CPA profession. It is not a substitute for the Code of ethics of CPAs or for any laws or regulations in force. Under no circumstances will the information presented here impact the validity of future decisions of the Order’s Board of directors, Office of the syndic or Disciplinary council.

Obligations towards the public
  • At all times, act with dignity and avoid damaging the profession’s good reputation.
  • Do not engage in derogatory acts set out in the Code, including:
    • Being found guilty of an offence against any tax act or securities act.
    • Making an assignment of your property or being the subject of a receiving order, within the meaning of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, or failing to inform the Order of such a situation without delay.
    • If you are the subject of an Office of the syndic inquiry, communicating with the plaintiff without the prior written permission of the syndic or assistant syndic.
Obligations towards the client and the employer


  • Consider the extent of your proficiency before undertaking work (preparation, skills or knowledge).
  • Act with due care, in keeping with current standards and good practices.
  • Abstain from practising in conditions likely to impair the quality of your services and the dignity of the profession.
  • Abstain from intervening in the personal affairs of your clients or employer, unless doing so is provided for in the contract.

Important! When you fulfill a contract in the practice of your profession, you assume full personal civil liability, which may not be limited.


  • Perform your professional duties with integrity and objectivity.
  • Do not sign, prepare, produce or associate your name with false or misleading information, knowingly or out of complacency (for example, without reading the information or asking any questions).


  • Remain free of any influence, interest or relationship which may impair or be perceived to impair your professional judgment or objectivity.
  • Comply with the independence standards provided for in Rule 204 on independence of the CPA Code of Professional Conduct.

Conflicts of interest

  • Do not place yourself in a situation where your loyalty to your client or employer may be compromised.
  • Do not place yourself in a conflict of interest situation, and disclose any relevant interests, business connections or relationships.
  • In the event of a conflict of interest, refuse or cease to perform the engagement, unless you can use conflict management techniques and obtain the consent of all affected parties.

Access to records

  • Respect the right of your clients to take cognizance of any documents concerning them in any files developed in connection with them.
  • Promptly return to clients the records and documents belonging to them, whether or not their fees have been paid.

Professional secrecy

  • You are bound by professional secrecy and may not disclose confidential information revealed to you by reason of your profession, unless:
    • you are authorized to do so by the person who confided such information;
    • you are authorized to do so by an express provision of law; or
    • you are doing so to prevent an act of violence.

Availability and diligence

  • Display reasonable availability and diligence.
  • Do not cease to act unless for good and sufficient reason and, if applicable, give the client reasonable advance notice of withdrawal.

Professional fees

  • Charge just and reasonable fees that take into account the time required, the level of difficulty and/or required competence, the responsibility assumed, and the performance of unusual services, where applicable.
  • Inform the client of the approximate and foreseeable cost of your services. If you expect to exceed the approximate cost, inform your client without undue delay. Provide all the explanations necessary to understand the account for fees.
  • You may not agree on contingent fees, except for certain types of specific services.
Obligations towards the profession
  • Ensure the accuracy and integrity of information provided to the Order.
  • Cooperate with the Order and reply without undue delay to any letter from the Order.
Obligations towards professional colleagues
  • Do not damage the reputation of the profession or of another member of the Order.
  • You may not be guilty of a breach of trust or disloyal practices.
Obligations in respect of advertising
  • Do not advertise material that is false, misleading or incomplete, or that is derogatory to the honour or dignity of the profession.
  • Do not confer upon yourself or have conferred specific qualities or skills (competence, extent or effectiveness of your services), unless they can be supported.
  • Do not compare the quality of your services with that of services offered by other members.
  • When advertising the cost of your services, provide explanations and information that are necessary, and indicate whether additional services may be required that are not included in the cost.


If you have any questions, complete the online ethics referral form, or contact the ethics reference service at 514 288-3256 [2608] or toll-free at 1 800 363-4688.