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Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) Program


Thank you for your interest in the PDPA program. Eligibility assessment requests are no longer being accepted for the August 2018 of the PDPA program. Information about future offerings will become available at a later date.

What is the PDPA?

The PDPA program, along with the completion of prescribed practical experience, provides members who are not currently eligible to obtain a licence to practise public accounting with a path to licensure.

5 Steps to Licensure:

  1. Submit PDPA Eligibility Assessment Request

There is no fee associated with an eligibility assessment request. If you are eligible to enter the program, proceed to Step 2.  If not, CPA Ontario will advise you of next steps, if applicable, that may allow you to take the PDPA in the future.

  1. Enrol in PDPA program and pay enrolment fee
  2. Successfully complete PDPA program module and examination
  3. Complete prescribed practical experience requirements
  4. Apply for a Public Accounting Licence

PDPA Eligibility

The PDPA program is available to CPA Ontario members in good standing who qualified without public accounting practice rights. Some exclusions apply, therefore, to determine your eligibility for the PDPA program, you must submit an eligibility assessment request to CPA Ontario on the PDPA enrolment site. CPA Ontario will advise you of your eligibility in writing approximately three weeks from the date the request was received. In the event of a high volume of requests, processing timelines may be longer.  

Currently, per Regulation 9-1, section 2.10, the following members are not eligible for the PDPA program:

  • Admitted to membership upon completing a qualification program for faculty, instructors or facilitators associated with an academic institution; or
  • Admitted to membership upon completing any CMA Combined Master’s Program, CMA Accelerated program, CMA Executive program or Professional Advanced Standing Program in the CMA Program; or
  • Admitted to membership through the Evaluation of Experience category

Module and Exam Information

The PDPA program comprises a mandatory education module and examination in assurance, financial reporting, taxation, finance, and strategy and governance.

The PDPA module is delivered online and consists of reading resources, practice problems and multiple-choice questions. Designed as a preparatory module, participants are provided with a suggested eight-week self-study schedule to assist with preparation for the PDPA examination. Participants must complete the PDPA module to be eligible to write the PDPA examination.

The PDPA examination is 4.5 hours and consists of a combination of multiple choice questions and integrated cases testing you on the required technical knowledge for public accounting licensure. Please refer to the PDPA examination blueprint for more information.

Unsuccessful writers may apply for an appeal online .

What’s New for 2018

  • PDPA candidates have new module materials that contain new study resources, including additional practice cases and valuable insight and recommendations 
  • PDPA candidates have access to the new 2018 module materials starting May 1 
  • The PDPA module and examination option can be purchased for $1300 (plus HST)
  • PDPA candidates who previously attempted the 2017 PDPA examination, now have an examination-only option that can be purchased for $1,000 (plus HST)
  • The examination-only option offers access to the 2017 module materials until April 30 

Key Dates

PDPA exam locations

It is anticipated that the PDPA program will be offered annually, although the frequency of future PDPA offerings may change depending on demand. PDPA participants will have a maximum of three attempts in a rolling five-year period to pass the PDPA examination.

Prescribed Practical Experience

In addition to the successful completion of the PDPA program, PDPA participants are advised that qualification for public accounting licensure also requires the fulfillment of prescribed practical experience and other licensing eligibility requirements. In particular, pursuant to Regulation 9-1, you must satisfy the Qualifying Experience Requirement that requires the successful completion of a minimum of two years of prescribed public accounting experience in an Approved Training Office as defined in Regulation 6-4 or in an external audit pre-approved program pursuant to the current CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER). That experience shall be completed under the supervision of a member who is licensed to practice public accounting and shall include at least:

  • 1,250 chargeable hours in assurance services, of which at least 625 chargeable hours shall be in the audit of historical financial information and 100 chargeable hours of review procedures in review and other assurance engagements;
  • 100 chargeable hours in taxation services; and
  • the competency requirements of the audit stream of the CPA Practical Experience Requirements (PER) or predecessor requirements.

PDPA-related practical experience should be reported to CPA Ontario by completing prescribed forms.

For a list of external audit pre-approved programs, refer to Directory of Pre-Approved Programs. More information on general questions on practical experience and for firms interested in how to apply for an external audit pre-approved program is available by email at


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