Canada's CAs advise caution as country prepares to adopt new labour mobility rules



    TORONTO, Jan. 16 /CNW/ - The Chartered Accountants of Canada welcome
efforts by the prime minister and premiers to remove barriers to labour
mobility but urge caution in the approach taken.
    The first ministers used an Ottawa meeting today to approve modifications
to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) aimed at ensuring full labour
mobility in Canada. The CA profession supports the goal of government leaders
to ensure labour market flexibility during these unsettled times, but stresses
that it is important to guard against unintended consequences for professional
standards.
    "Canada's CA profession has long supported unfettered professional
mobility for our members," said Kevin Dancey, FCA, President and CEO, Canadian
Institute of Chartered Accountants. "The profession's harmonized and mutually
recognized standards provide CAs with full professional mobility here in
Canada, across North America and with our major international trading
partners."
    While qualification standards for Canada's CAs are uniformly rigorous and
meet recognized international standards, the same is not true when it comes to
the legislated qualification requirements in the specific field of public
accounting outside the CA profession, which vary significantly from province
to province. Some provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, home to Canada's
largest capital markets, impose demanding, internationally recognized,
legislated qualification standards. However, some other jurisdictions do not
require practitioners to meet the same internationally recognized standards in
public accounting that are currently met by all of Canada's CAs.
    The proposed new rules under AIT require automatic recognition of
entrants from one jurisdiction seeking to practice their occupation in another
jurisdiction. It is the CA profession's view that the new certification rules
could trigger a "race to the bottom" in terms of required qualification
standards to perform audit and assurance work in Canada.
    "Large and small investors and lenders rely on the integrity of assurance
and audit services provided by public accountants to help them make informed
investment and lending decisions," said Dancey. "This makes the practice of
public accounting relevant to all Canadians and critical to maintaining
Canada's high regard in the global capital markets. Reducing qualification
standards may tarnish Canada's reputation at a time when confidence in the
world's economies and markets is already at its lowest ebb in decades."
    CAs conduct the vast majority of all audit and assurance engagements in
Canada.
    "There is a trust and comfort level associated with the extensive
training and knowledge associated with a CA," said Dancey. "We are simply
asking our political leaders to ensure that public accounting qualification
standards in Canada facilitate true inter-provincial labour mobility, and
continue to protect consumers and the public while meeting a level of rigour
that is internationally recognized."

    The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), together with the
provincial, territorial and Bermuda Institutes/Ordre of Chartered Accountants,
represents a membership of approximately 74,000 CAs and 10,000 students in
Canada and Bermuda. The CICA conducts research into current business issues
and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for
business, not-for-profit organizations and government. It issues guidance on
control and governance, publishes professional literature, develops continuing
education programs and represents the CA profession nationally and
internationally. CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of
Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, contact: Tobin
Lambie, Manager, Media, CICA, (416) 204-3228, tobin.lambie@cica.ca

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Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

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