From left, Doug Brooks, CEO of CGA Ontario, Merv Hillier, president and CEO of CMA Ontario and Rod Barr, president and CEO of ICAO.
According to ICAO’s website, it remains committed to national-level merger talks. But many experts have long maintained that the fate of a proposed national merger hinged on unity in Ontario, and the latest move raises serious questions about whether unification outside of Quebec will proceed. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta withdrew from national talks in February. The Certified General Accountants of Manitoba never entered discussions.
In both Alberta and Manitoba, however, the other two major bodies remain committed to unification.
Officials from both CGA Ontario and CMA Ontario, which collectively comprise nearly 50 per cent of the country’s CGA and CMA memberships, previously announced a major impasse in multiple critical areas of the negotiations, in terms of a legal structure and member ratification process, governance structure and protection of minority rights.
"We have been unable to make the necessary progress on these key issues of significance to our members and, subsequently, the CGA Ontario board of directors has decided to terminate discussions," CGA Ontario told its members.
"Despite the best efforts of the three organizations, agreement on key issues associated with the proposed unification, including protection of minority rights and the appropriate legal structure, could not be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties," CMA Ontario said.
Gordon Ruth, chief executive officer of CGA-BC, announced that "because Ontario represents 50 per cent of the Canadian accounting profession and is Canada’s financial centre, CGA-BC cannot support moving forward with unification without a similar merger in Ontario."
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Saskatchewan has also decided that as a result of the pullout of CGA Ontario and CMA Ontario "and other unfolding developments in other provinces and nationally, we believe deferring a member vote on unification until a later date remains the appropriate course of action."
The Certified Management Accountants of Canada issued a press release following the CMA Ontario and CGA Ontario decision, announcing it remains committed to working with its national counterparts at the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and Certified General Accountants Association of Canada "to unite the Canadian accounting profession."
The CICA and CGA Canada did not have official reaction at press time.
In Quebec, the National Assembly has adopted Bill 61, the Chartered Professional Accountants Act, thus providing the requisite legislative approval to a unified profession in that province.