A cornerstone of the Certified General Accountants Association’s Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct is that CGAs strive to continually upgrade and develop their knowledge and skills. CGAs are responsible for developing and maintaining their professional competence including the knowledge, skills, ethics, attitudes and values relevant to them within their professional environment.
This requirement is designed to sustain professional competence and enhance the commitment of CGAs to lifelong learning. It reinforces the credibility of the CGA designation, both nationally and internationally, and maintains public trust.
CGA Ontario’s program is in accordance with CGA Canada’s National CPD Standard. To read, download or print our Mandatory Continuing Professional Development brochure, click here.
CGAs have until June 30, 2015, to declare their fulfillment of the mandatory CPD requirement for the calendar year ending December 31, 2014. (The CPD Declaration also allows members to declare an exemption.)
Although not required to submit details, CGAs will be responsible for tracking their CPD, including the recording of verifiable and non-verifiable hours, and the maintenance of documentation that supports actual attendance at and/or actual completion of professional development activities. A random audit process is in place and members may be asked to submit complete and relevant documentation to CGA Ontario (not just proof of payment or registration which will not be deemed as acceptable documentation). CGA Ontario has provided a helpful tracking form to assist in the recording of CPD activities.
CGA Ontario will send declaration reminders to members prior to the deadline of June 30, 2015.
If a non-exempt CGA fails to obtain the required minimum of 20 ‘verifiable’ hours in a calendar year (either because they have not accumulated the hours, or because they do not have the proper supporting documentation), they are required to submit their declaration as non-compliant and a plan for making up the shortfall. Based on receipt and approval of an appropriate action plan to remedy the shortfall, the Association may allow an extension period of up to one year. If the CGA does not submit a plan within the required time, the extension will not be granted. The CGA will then not be in compliance with the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct and may, after receiving notice, be suspended from membership by the board of directors, and/or face disciplinary action, as per the Bylaws.
Following the extension period, if the CGA is still found to have accumulated fewer than the required number of hours, the CGA will not be in compliance with the Code of Ethical Principles and Rules of Conduct and may, after sending of notice, be suspended from membership by the board of directors, and/or face disciplinary action, as per the Bylaws. Any CGA who is suspended, will be classified as a suspended CGA for a 12 month period from the suspension date. If the CGA does not comply with the terms of the suspension within the 12 months, his/her membership may be terminated, and/or the CGA could face disciplinary action, as per the Bylaws.
CGA Ontario has introduced a random CPD audit process to ensure that members are in compliance with their annual CPD mandatory requirement. Following the CPD declaration process, a random group of members will be selected for audit each year.
These members will be contacted, in writing, by CGA Ontario and asked to produce proper and authentic documentation within 30 days to support a minimum of 20 verifiable hours for the reporting period in question. It is the member’s responsibility to maintain their own records and appropriate documentation of CPD activities for the reporting period. If the member has not submitted appropriate documentation (as described earlier) within the 30-day period, the member will be deemed to have failed the CPD audit, and as a consequence, will be subject to disciplinary action. The member will be notified, in writing, of their non-compliance with the continuing professional development (CPD) reporting requirement.
A member will have passed the CPD audit upon compliance with the CPD requirement and approval of the member’s documentation; and will be notified of their compliance with the CPD Reporting Requirement.
Upon receipt and review of the member’s documentation, if it is determined that they have not fulfilled the mandatory requirement for the reporting period, the member may be deemed in non-compliance and as a consequence, will be subject to disciplinary action.
As CGAs are engaged in a wide variety of careers in virtually every sector of the economy the topics that qualify are not limited to traditional accounting, auditing, finance or taxation matters. Professional development activities are eligible for acceptance if they are relevant to a CGA’s professional environment. The activities should increase their general skills or expertise and relate to the CGA’s current and future work environment and responsibilities.
These activities range from traditional accounting and other technical topics to financial management, general business technology, leadership , and industry-specific needs. See the CGA Competency Framework on PD Net for additional information on areas of competence.
Note that the 20 verifiable hours per year must be quantifiable, directly related to the competencies required of a certified general accountant, relevant to the CGA’s current professional needs and/or longer term career interests, and must contain significant intellectual or practical content. Verifiable activities are those that can be objectively confirmed or corroborated by a competent source.
As mentioned, proof of payment or proof of registration is not deemed to be appropriate confirmation of a professional development activity. There must be proof of actual attendance and/or actual completion from an independent and competent source.
Verifiable activities include, but are not limited to, attending, developing, teaching or presenting structured credit and non-credit programs such as:
Attending group-learning activities, e.g., seminars, in-house formal training, non-credit courses, post-secondary courses or special interest study groups.
Teaching or presenting seminars, in-house training, post-secondary courses and non-credit courses.
Tutoring or marking assignments for post-secondary credit courses or distance education courses.
Participating in technology-assisted activities that provide a certificate of completion or an assessment process, e.g., an online course or webcast.
Authoring, critiquing or reviewing an article, book or course that is published by a third party.
Developing a seminar or course presented to a third party.
CGAs must participate in a minimum of 20 hours of verifiable activities every year.
Non-verifiable activities include independent study using published learning materials (e.g., study manuals, video or course CD without an assessment process), and other forms of self-directed learning such as: technical reading or self-study of published materials, and/or self-study courses that do not provide a certificate of completion or an assessment process.
For more details, please review our detailed credit granting policy included in the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development brochure. To read, download or print our Mandatory Continuing Professional Development brochure, click here.
For information about the policy or your personal CPD situation, contact:
Office of the Registrar
Sarosh Contractor, CPA, CGA
Retired and honorary CGAs are exempt from the program. Exemption from the continuing professional development requirements may be granted to CGAs who have extenuating circumstances (such as continuing ill health). All applications for exemptions must be made in writing and such applications must be approved by the Association. An exemption may also be granted for other reasons that the Association may feel appropriate (such as CGAs on parental leave who are entitled to a lifetime exemption of two years).
New CGAs will commence the program upon completion of the first full calendar year, after the year they received certification. For example, if certification is received in 2014, the first year to report is 2016. New CGAs under our various MRAs will commence the program from the calendar year after the year they become CGAs.