COVID-19

Although the Order’s offices are closed until further notice, our teams are working hard to keep providing our services remotely.
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Frequently Asked Questions – Impact of COVID-19 on practical experience

The current health crisis has disrupted our daily lives and forced us all to adjust to a new reality. In this most unusual situation, we want to assure you that we are working hard to support our candidates for the profession during this difficult time and to provide them with timely information to make informed decisions. Their health and success are one of our top priorities.

If you have any questions about practical experience, please contact us by e-mail at stages@cpaquebec.ca or by telephone at 514 288-3256, ext. 2602, or toll-free at 1 800 363-4688.

We are closely monitoring the situation, and we will continue to update this FAQ as the situation evolves and more questions are submitted to the Practical Experience team.

Layoffs and reduced work hours

Laid-off candidates in a position for more than 3 months

I have been temporarily laid off due to the current health crisis. Do I have to submit a Declaration of completion of practical experience?

No, you are not required to report the end of your practical experience. You will simply have to indicate the period of non-work due to the crisis in your Declaration of completion of practical experience when you have completed the required 24-month period or if you decide to change jobs. If you are not rehired by the same employer, please contact us.

The period of non-work will not count towards your 24 months of practical experience. However, all candidates can draw on a leave bank of 30 days usually reserved for vacation, sick days or education leaves. This bank may therefore be used to partially or fully cover a period of non-work due to the crisis, depending on its duration.

I have been permanently laid off due to the current health crisis. Do I have to submit a Declaration of completion of practical experience?

Yes, you must submit a Declaration of completion of practical experience.

Laid-off candidates in a position for less than 3 months

I began my practical experience less than 3 months ago and have been permanently laid off due to the current health crisis. Will this period count as practical experience?

We normally do not recognize periods of practical experience of less than 3 months. However, given the current situation, the Order will recognize this period, even if it was shorter than 3 months.

If you have not already reported your practical experience, you must do so now. Once the position is authorized in your file, you can submit your Declaration of completion of practical experience, which we will process as soon as possible.

Note also that you do not need to complete a practical experience report for the period worked before you were permanently laid off.

I began my practical experience less than 3 months ago and have been temporarily laid due to the current health crisis. Will this period count as practical experience?

We normally do not recognize periods of practical experience of less than 3 months. However, given the current situation, the Order will recognize this period, even if it was shorter than 3 months.

All hours worked before your temporary layoff and all hours worked upon your return to work will count as practical experience days. However, the days during which you did not work will not be included in the calculation.

You will simply have to indicate the period of non-work in your Declaration of completion of practical experience when you have completed the required 24-month period or if you decide to change jobs. If you are not rehired by the same employer, please contact us.

The period of non-work will not count towards your 24 months of practical experience. However, all candidates can draw on a leave bank of 30 days usually reserved for vacation, sick days or education leaves. This bank may therefore be used to partially or fully cover a period of non-work due to the crisis, depending on its duration.

Note also that you do not need to complete a practical experience report for the period worked before you were temporarily laid off.

Reduced work hours

The number of hours in my workweek has been reduced due to the health crisis. Do I have to notify the Order?

If the number of weekly work hours outlined in your practical experience program has been reduced, you must notify the Practical Experience team.

Note that a practical experience position is normally considered full time if it is at least 28 hours per week. However, during the crisis, a position with a minimum of 25 hours per week will exceptionally be considered full time. If your workweek falls below the 25 hours threshold, please contact the Practical Experience team so that it can review your situation and advise you.

Submitting practical experience documents

I have begun a period of practical experience, but my organization has closed down or I am having difficulty obtaining the information or signatures I need to submit the documents required by the Order due to the health crisis. Will this affect my practical experience?

No, you will not be penalized and all of your days worked will be recognized. We understand that it may be difficult to obtain the information required in the current situation. Nevertheless, we recommend that you report your practical experience as soon as possible, once your documents are completed.

My supervisor and my CPA mentor have not been able to approve my experience report due to the crisis. Will this affect my practical experience? 

No, because we can easily see in your file the date you submitted your report to your supervisor and/or your mentor. Nevertheless, we advise you to contact and follow up with your supervisor and your mentor. 

If you have not already submitted your report, we recommend that you hold a telephone meeting or video call with your mentor and then write your report.

Change in expected tasks and teleworking

The firm where I have a practical experience position has lost several assurance engagements due to the health crisis. What will happen if I am unable to complete the minimum number of hours in assurance by the end of my 24 months of practical experience?

If, upon completing your 24 months of practical experience, you were unable to meet this minimum requirement, you will need to contact us.

In short, we will permit you to choose one of the following 2 options:

  1. Apply for your CPA permit first, and then, once you have completed the missing hours, apply for your public accountancy permit (CPA auditor designation). Additional fees will be required for this option.
  2. Continue your practical experience until you accumulate the number of required hours, then submit a single application for your CPA permit and your public accountancy permit.

In all cases, if, after the crisis, you believe your tasks will not enable you to accumulate the number of hours required in assurance, do not delay in discussing the situation with your program leader to find solutions together. If you are not satisfied with the proposed alternatives, contact the Practical Experience team so we can advise on what steps to take.  

It is also important to note that under normal circumstances, the period(s) in which your tasks do not include assurance-related activities should not total more than 3 months out of your 24 months of practical experience. However, given the current situation, we will permit up to 6 months of non-assurance activities. If this period exceeds 6 months, you must promptly notify the Practical Experience team. 

We remind you, however, that the tasks you perform must be related, at all times, to the recognized CPA competencies. If, in response to the crisis, your employer transfers you to a team that performs bookkeeping services or other administrative duties, please contact us.

I am in a pre-approved program with a view to obtaining my CPA auditor designation, but my employer has transferred me to another department during the crisis. Do I have to notify the Order?

No, as long as the period(s) in which your tasks do not include assurance-related activities do not exceed 6 months out of your 24 months of practical experience. If this period exceeds 6 months, you must notify the Practical Experience team. 

Please note that under normal circumstances, the period(s) in which your tasks do not include assurance-related activities should not total more than 3 months, but that given the current situation, we will permit up to 6 months.

We remind you, however, that the tasks you perform must be related, at all times, to the recognized CPA competencies. If, in response to the crisis, your employer transfers you to a team that performs bookkeeping services or other administrative duties, please contact us.

My practical experience is in industry, the public sector or public practice, but not in a pre-approved program, and my employer has significantly changed my tasks. Do I have to notify the Order? 

If your tasks have significantly changed, please discuss it with your CPA mentor and then contact the Practical Experience team to ensure that the changes will still allow you to develop the recognized CPA competencies required to practise the profession. 

As a general rule, when in doubt, do not hesitate to contact us. 

Due to the temporary or partial closure of my workplace, I am teleworking. Will this affect my period of practical experience?

No, we consider that even if you are working remotely, your work is supervised and you maintain a sufficient link with your supervisor to provide quality work. 

In this regard, please refer to the Teleworking during the pandemic section of our special “Coronavirus (COVID-19)” webpage to create favourable conditions for teleworking from home.

Candidates and their entourage affected by covid-19

Someone in my circle has been affected by COVID-19, and I have to take time off to care for this person. Will these days off still be taken into consideration in calculating my days of practical experience?

If you need to take time off to care for a family member affected by COVID-19, this period of non-work will not count towards your 24 months of practical experience. 

However, all candidates can draw on a leave bank of 30 days usually reserved for vacation, sick days or education leaves. This bank may therefore be used to partially or fully cover a period of non-work, depending on its duration.

We hope that the person with COVID-19 makes a speedy recovery and that your health will not be affected.

I have tested positive for COVID-19 or was in contact with a person infected with the virus, and my employer has insisted I self-isolate. However, I am unable to work from home. Will these days off still be taken into consideration in calculating my days of practical experience?

If you are in self-isolation but unable to telework, this period of non-work will not count towards your 24 months of practical experience.

However, all candidates can draw on a leave bank of 30 days usually reserved for vacation, sick days or education leaves. This bank may therefore be used to partially or fully cover a period of non-work due to the crisis, depending on its duration.

We wish you a speedy recovery!

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