A Priority for the Profession
Indigenous Peoples are underrepresented in the CPA profession. We asked our members to voluntarily self-identify their Indigenous heritage, and while Indigenous Peoples represent almost 6% of BC’s population, less than 0.5% of CPABC’s membership and just over 1% of candidates and students self-declared as Indigenous.
Increasing Indigenous representation in the profession has been a priority for CPABC since its inception. And it’s a goal that aligns with the policy direction of the BC government; in November 2019, British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation that brought provincial laws in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Strategy and Guiding Principles
To support the goal of increasing Indigenous representation in the profession, CPABC has a strategy in collaboration with relevant partners. This strategy is built on the following guiding principles:
- Inclusive of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit
- Built upon respectful and trusting relationships
- Indigenous participation and inclusion in developing the plan
- Collaboration and partnerships
- Learn, unlearn, and relearn
Our strategy is built on the core principle that CPABC protects the public by ensuring that the skills of a CPA are accessible to all communities and that the CPA membership should reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.
Our long-term goal is to increase the number of Indigenous students obtaining their CPA. The short and medium-term goals in support of our strategy include:
- Raising awareness and excitement among Indigenous students of the value of going into business and finance;
- Raising awareness among Indigenous students of the value of earning a CPA designation; and
- Collaborating with Indigenous communities to demonstrate a CPA’s value in building financial management capacity and in strengthening governance processes overall.
Collaboration and Consultation
Collaboration and consultation are top of mind in our work. CPABC has signed a memorandum of understanding with AFOA BC, stating that we will support each other in increasing financial awareness and paths to the profession for Indigenous Peoples and communities. We are also collaborating with CPA Canada and partnering with other organizations such as the Métis Nation of BC, the First Nations Financial Management Board, and post-secondary institutions in BC, as well as with our members, candidates, and students as we develop and pilot initiatives to further this work.
The Way Forward
To enhance the attractiveness of the profession to Indigenous people, CPABC is conducting research, consultation, and pilot projects focused on building awareness of the value of the CPA designation. We want to support Indigenous candidates, students, and prospects. With our partners across Canada, we need to rethink barriers and accessibility as we examine the profession’s role vis-a-vis UNDRIP, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
CPABC’s Board of Directors enthusiastically supports these efforts and they’re working with us to determine how the CPA profession can have a positive impact for generations to come.