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Public Accounting Act Passes With Unanimous Consent

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Public Accounting Act Passes With Unanimous Consent

Landmark bill strikes the right balance, initiates real, positive change

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The Public Accounting Act, 2004 has received the unanimous consent of the Ontario Legislature one day after being introduced by Attorney General Michael Bryant.

"The swift passage of this bill demonstrates that the government, working with the principal accounting bodies, achieved an historic consensus that will serve the public interest and strengthen the practice of public accounting in Ontario," said Bryant.

The legislation, passed on June 10, 2004, will make public accounting licences more accessible and protect the public, businesses and investors with high regulatory standards. It also allows the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, and the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario to adopt a "parallel licensure" system that will make them directly responsible for licensing and regulating individual public accountants. The accounting bodies will assume this power when their own rules meet the required standards set by a reconstituted Public Accountants Council.

"The McGuinty government has delivered a win for everyone by creating a new Public Accounting Act without compromising Ontario's existing high and internationally recognized public accounting standards," said Brian Hunt, FCA, President and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

"We congratulate the government for its leadership in strengthening the practice of public accounting through this landmark legislation," said David Hipgrave, President and CEO, Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.

"This is an extraordinary accomplishment," said Ron Francis, FCGA, President, Certified General Accountants of Ontario. "Our accounting professionals welcome the opportunity to protect Ontario's high regulatory public accounting standards and preserve its reputation for policy and regulatory excellence."

The Public Accountants Council will oversee the approval and enforcement of standards relating to education, experience, examinations, practice inspections, professional conduct and development, and disciplinary procedures.

The legislation will enable qualified Chartered Accountants, Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants to meet the prescribed standards to obtain a licence to practice public accounting. Previous legislation tended to restrict the practice to Chartered Accountants.

"With this legislation, we have struck the right balance that will contribute to building a stronger and more prosperous economy for the people of Ontario," said Bryant.

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