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Public Accounting To Be Strengthened In Ontario

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Public Accounting To Be Strengthened In Ontario

Reforms to protect high standards and promote investor confidence

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- The Ontario government is making public accounting licences more accessible, while meeting its commitment to protect businesses, investors and the public with high regulatory standards, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced today.

"Broadening opportunities for accounting professionals who meet Ontario's high standards will generate positive change within the profession that will benefit our economy," said Bryant. "If passed, the Public Accounting Act, 2004 would replace current accounting policies with a modern, efficient and competitive licensing structure that builds on internationally recognized standards."

Introduced today, the legislation would enable qualified Chartered Accountants, Certified General Accountants and Certified Management Accountants to obtain a licence to practise public accounting. Under current legislation, access to public accounting licences is largely restricted to Chartered Accountants.

"By providing greater access to licences, small businesses and corporations in Ontario can expect to see an increase in their choice of public accounting services, while remaining confident that the high standard of public accounting is being preserved and can only be elevated," said Bryant.

The proposed "parallel licensure" system would reconstitute and refocus the Public Accountants Council (PAC) as the guardian of public accounting standards in Ontario. The PAC would approve and enforce standards relating to education, experience, examinations, practice inspections, professional conduct and development, and disciplinary procedures.

Direct licensing and regulation of individual public accountants would be carried out by the principal accounting bodies -- the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, and the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario, upon meeting the required standards set by the PAC.

"With this legislation, the McGuinty government has kept its promise to create a new Public Accounting Act without compromising Ontario's existing, high and internationally recognized public accounting standards that we have proudly maintained in the public interest," said Brian Hunt, President and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

"If passed, this legislation would allow the provincial government to move forward with reforms - including the creation of new, rigorous standards designed to protect the public interest - that are essential to modernizing and strengthening the practice of public accounting in Ontario," said David Hipgrave, President and CEO, Society of Management Accountants of Ontario.

"The proposed legislation will allow the accounting profession to work together to begin raising Ontario's public accounting standards, and reinforces Ontario's reputation for policy and regulatory excellence," said Ron Francis, FCGA, President, Certified General Accountants of Ontario.

The proposed legislation was guided by the recommendations of Ronald Daniels, Dean of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, who was commissioned to report on how to best modernize the regulation of public accounting in Ontario.

"With today's new legislation, we are building on the high regulatory standards maintained by Ontario's public accountants over many years," added Bryant. "By building a strong and prosperous economy, we are giving Ontarians a quality of life that is second to none."

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