CGA Canada announced yesterday it has withdrawn from unification discussions. Our affiliates in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and BC have also terminated discussions. Some of you may be anxious about where this leaves CGA Alberta. I believe this leaves us in a position of leadership.
While our affiliates’ unification talks have ceased, we have reaffirmed our commitment to the unification of the profession here in Alberta, within the framework of the national CPA discussions.
You will recall we initially resisted entering into these discussions because of some areas of concern where we felt CGAs would not be protected. But in collaborative, positive Alberta discussions, we have successfully dealt with those concerns, as you can see in our comprehensive Alberta unification plan. We have agreed, with our CMA Alberta colleagues, on moving forward so we can seize the opportunities unification offers for our members, students and stakeholders.
Our relationship with CMA Alberta is open, strong and mutually beneficial and I am confident we can set an example for others on how to successfully consolidate our profession. Our unification proposal is based on the principles of the national CPA unification discussions and is designed to enhance the sustainability and advancement of our profession. We will not turn back now. We will not stop this process until the voices of our members have been heard.
Unification is still the goal for many organizations across the country. CA associations in most provinces are still engaged. Most CMA provincial bodies are involved. The CPA has been created in Quebec, with legislation uniting all three designations. But, we can expect any consolidation of the profession will be iterative in nature. There are three accounting organizations in 13 provinces and territories and national organizations – in total there are 40 accounting bodies nationally and each of them are legally independent entities. Talks will continue among all interested bodies and, as unification starts to progress across the country as it has in Quebec, we will support those interested in the pursuit of a unified profession.
We remain hopeful and open Alberta’s CAs rejoining our discussions. This is yet another example of an Alberta advantage: our regulatory framework encourages (and indeed requires) cooperation. We are already harmonized in much of the resulting regulatory environment, and we function within an environment of mutual respect. Together we can manage the risks and concerns of our members and stakeholders. I cannot think of a better place to get consolidation accomplished than Alberta, with our assertive and positive approach to getting things done. .
Other organizations must make their own choices but if we believe this effort is worthwhile, as we do, then we should advance it to the extent it is within our control. Currently, we stand alone in our efforts within the CGA affiliation; however, we always knew the unification talks among 40 national and provincial accounting bodies would be messy and complex. It has followed a twisted path, as I know most of you would expect, and any efforts at consolidation will continue to do so. Our strong position in the marketplace is just one of the reasons I believe we can move forward. We have a respectful and cooperative relationship with the other players in our market and the respect of the Alberta government. I anticipate that, once the other affiliates see our progress, it will open a pathway for them to rejoin the talks.
But we need to manage risks carefully and we are not without a fail-safe. Our plan contemplates a stage where our boards will examine developments elsewhere, including within our respective affiliations, to ensure our member interests are protected going forward and to attempt to reconcile our work with other professional bodies. We know the complexity of the profession will require serious deliberations and planning at that stage. So, I encourage you to fully review the unification proposal and cast your vote on the issue based on what you read there. Do not be distracted by the day to day events as they unfold because, as I mention, we can anticipate there will be many of those throughout this process.
The professions in Canada are regulated provincially so we retain the ability (as we always have) to control our local future regardless of what happens elsewhere. The labour mobility ruling between the governments of Ontario and Manitoba, which we so successfully supported, and the continuing control of our CGA profession here provide us with a secure base to work from. Having managed the risks associated with moving forward we are well positioned to seize a future we find to be so compelling. We ask for your continuing support as we do so.
As always, if you have questions or comments, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
John Carpenter MBA FCGA
Chief Executive Officer