CPAs must continually enhance their knowledge and expertise to remain at the forefront of today’s competitive market. It is imperative that CPAs remain knowledgeable and current in all areas in which they practice or work in order to best serve the interest of clients, employers and other stakeholders.
No, there are no formal limits or maximums on learning activities. It is up to the member to determine the learning activities that best suit their professional role. However, the expectation is that the member takes a balanced approach towards CPD, and therefore not generally derive all CPD hours from the same source or the same topic.
Selection of learning activities should be a thoughtful, reflective process addressing your current and future professional plans, current knowledge and skill level, and desired or needed additional competence to meet future opportunities and/or professional responsibilities.
Under CPABC’s Bylaws, the membership of those who do not comply with the CPD requirements will be suspended and/or cancelled. This is necessary to protect the public and ensure that we maintain public trust and uphold the reputation of the CPA designation.
Members who believe they have a valid reason for an exemption from the minimum CPD requirement may submit a written request to the Membership Committee to consider their circumstances using the CPABC’s secure website. Members who submit a request related to a medical condition must attach CPABC’s Medical Form completed by their medical practitioner. Please note that members are expected to plan and allocate time to CPD; being “too busy” is not a valid reason for exemption from CPD. The Committee will review each request on a confidential basis. Based on the information submitted, a determination will be made and forwarded to the member.
The CPD program does not mandate areas of study, other than the four hours of professional ethics in every rolling three-calendar-year period and the 1.5 hours of AML PD. Note, however, that members must meet the professional competence requirement of Rule 203 of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct. They should choose learning opportunities that are relevant to their professional role. Take an inventory of your skills and consider whether you allocate sufficient time to building or refreshing the various skills needed to do your job well. Qualifying CPD is not limited to accounting, assurance, tax or other technical areas. Consider, for example, whether you have the range of soft skills (leadership, communication, etc.) and sufficient knowledge about your particular industry.
Selection of learning activities should be a thoughtful, reflective process addressing current or future professional plans, current knowledge and skill level, and desired or needed additional competence to meet future opportunities and/or professional responsibilities.
Sitting on a board of directors or on an audit committee does not in itself qualify as CPD. In order to qualify as CPD, the volunteer activity must help members to develop and maintain professional competence to enable them to perform their professional role. Such activities may include participation in technical discussions and receiving or delivering presentations that help them make more informed decisions and help with their oversight responsibility.
When evaluating whether or not a meeting qualifies for CPD, consider the following questions:
Were any formal presentations made at the meetings? If so, what was the topic and duration of each of the presentations?
Did the presentation contain significant intellectual or practical content that provide for the development of new or existing competencies in areas that are relevant to the members professional responsibilities and growth?
The activity must help CPAs develop and maintain professional competency to enable them to perform their professional role. The activities qualify for verifiable CPD subject to supporting documentation being available to verify the learning activity.
Members report the actual number of hours they engaged in learning activities, up to a maximum number of hours as estimated by the course provider for the activity, if you actually spent longer, you may claim those additional hours as unverifiable CPD. This allows you to claim full CPD hours for the time actually spent, as a combination of verifiable and unverifiable.
For conferences and conventions, report the amount of time that was spent engaged in activities with significant intellectual or practical content. Marketing, networking or social activities do not qualify as CPD.
You are allowed to report the number of hours you actually engage in a learning activity. Report the number of hours you actually spent learning at the course in-person. If you read the seminar materials on your own to learn what you missed, you can report unverifiable CPD for the amount of time you spent doing so.
The reporting deadline is January 31 for the previous calendar year.
Members are required to report their CPD activities on CPABC’s secure website. Members may report their completed CPD activities throughout the year. If you encounter any difficulties signing into the secure website, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you register for in-person courses, live webinars, and online on-demand courses offered by CPABC, these activities are pre-populated into the online CPD reporting platform; however, they are not automatically posted to your CPD report. You must therefore manually post these activities to ensure their inclusion in your report.
You must also verify the accuracy of each CPD activity before reporting it, as members are bound by Rule 103 of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct (False or Misleading Applications). For example, if you were unable to attend a registered PD activity, or only able to attend part of the activity, you must amend the “hours attended” field in the online CPD reporting platform before posting the activity to your CPD report.
As of January 1, 2023, when you successfully complete an online on-demand course through the CPABC Learning Management System, the activity will be pre-populated into the online CPD reporting platform within 24 hours of completion. To avoid duplicate reporting, please do not manually enter a completed online on-demand course into your CPD report. Note that you will still need to review and post pre-populated activities to your CPD report.
New members admitted to membership will be required to report CPD in the calendar year of admission. The CPD reporting year is the calendar year. There is no proration of the CPD requirements in the year of admission. CPD completed anytime in the calendar year will be eligible for CPD credit in the first rolling three-calendar-year period begins in the year of admission.
Beginning 2019, Effective Management Skills and the seven-hour soft skills course are no longer required to be completed prior to admission to membership. As a transitional provision, students who have completed these courses prior to the year of admission may carryover these courses into their first CPD reporting year. Except for this transitional provision, there is no carryover of CPD from one calendar year to a subsequent year.
The seven-hour introductory course on the privileges, obligations and ethics of the profession (i.e., Gateway to Membership: Welcome to the Pros, or formerly, You and Your Designation) is still required to be completed prior to admission to membership. As there is no change to this course requirement, there is no carryover of Gateway to Membership: Welcome to the Pros or You and Your Designation for CPD credit to a subsequent year.
The Gateway to Membership course will qualify as verifiable CPD hours for those candidates who take the course in the same calendar year that they are admitted to membership. The Gateway to Membership course is eligible for 7 verifiable hours (of which 4 hours are professional ethics). If the course is taken outside of the calendar year of admission to membership, it will not qualify for CPD credit.
Verifiable CPD should be supported by certificates of completion, confirmation of registration from providers, attendance records, or such other evidence that can objectively verify completion of the learning activity. For online learning such as a webinar or an online course, a certificate of completion or an assessment with a passing grade must be obtained in order to qualify for verifiable hours – otherwise the webinar or course would only be eligible for unverifiable hours.
CPABC Live Webinars qualify as verifiable CPD as attendance is monitored by CPABC’s Professional Development staff.
At a minimum, supporting documentation should:
- Describe the learning activity;
- Identify the provider of the activity;
- Connect the member to the activity;
- Identify when the activity took place; and
- Provide a basis for concluding that the number of reported hours is reasonable.
Examples of documentation, any one of the following:
- Certificate of completion or official transcript
- Confirmation of participation by provider or employer (e.g. registration confirmation)
- Attendance record (e.g. sign-in sheet)
- Course assignment and exam results
- Copy of course outline/agenda
- Copy of course payment/invoice
Participants who complete the pre-work may report it as verifiable CPD. The PD seminar auto-populate process on Online Services will indicate the total eligible CPD hours, including the pre-work. Participants who do not complete the pre-work must reduce the reported CPD hours accordingly.
CPABC does not accredit third party course providers. As long as the activity allows you to develop and maintain professional competency to enable you to perform your professional role, it will qualify for CPD. It is up to the member to determine the learning activities that best suit their professional role. The expectation is that the member takes a balanced approach towards CPD, and therefore not generally derive all CPD hours from the same source or the same topic.
You can claim CPD credits to the extent that you have achieved learning that develops and maintains your professional competence, to enable you to continue to perform your professional role. You can claim verifiable CPD credits to the extent that the learning can be verified objectively.
Marking: If you mark for the CFE exam, you can claim verifiable credit for the time it takes you to read the test question, review the answer key and mark your first exam only. The concept also applies for marking CPAWSB tests.
Facilitating: You can report verifiable CPD once for each unique task that you facilitate per year. Report verifiable CPD for your preparation and facilitation time with the student with whom you spent the most time on a particular task. If you facilitate more than one student on a particular task in a module, you are limited to reporting verifiable CPD for the time spent with only one student.
CPABC mentorship of PEP candidates is an eligible verifiable CPD activity if you, yourself, have also learned and professionally developed in this mentoring role. The number of CPD hours you may report will depend upon the amount of learning you have achieved. If you are just starting out as a mentor, you may potentially accumulate many CPD hours; however, please note that you must still plan your CPD holistically and ensure that you are professionally competent in all your roles to meet the requirement in Rule 203 – Professional Competence of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct. To track and document your mentoring learning activities, please use the Mentorship Time Reporting Form.
CPABC Bylaw Regulation 600/2(2) states that “… every member must complete … a minimum of 120 qualifying hours of continuing professional development during each rolling three-calendar year period, including at least 60 verifiable qualifying hours, of which at least 4 are ethics hours.”
CPABC Bylaw Regulation 600/1 defines ethics hours as “verifiable qualifying hours in professional ethics satisfying criteria approved by the Membership Committee.”
As required under Rule 203 of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct, “A member shall sustain professional competence by keeping informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which the member provides professional services or is relied upon because of the member’s calling.” In addition to this, members, unless otherwise exempt, must complete a minimum of four hours of verifiable CPD in professional ethics in each rolling three-calendar year period.
Just like other verifiable learning activities, the professional ethics requirement can be fulfilled through CPABC or other sources. The four hours can be accumulated through various separate professional ethics learning activities over the three years. Professional ethics learning activities must go beyond an awareness of the rules, standards or guidelines. The course must give examples or scenarios that show the application of the rules, standards or guidelines; present ethical dilemmas, models or theories of ethics; or the application of ethical decision making.
Professional ethics CPD can cover a wide range of topics related to ethics and ethical decision making. Examples of professional ethics topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- CPABC regulatory updates covering the CPABC Act, Bylaws, Bylaw Regulations and Code of Professional Conduct
- Regulatory updates that are relevant and appropriate to the member’s role or industry
- Professional conduct
- Corporate codes of conduct
- Independence/conflict of interest
- Ethical decision making, approaches, thinking and case studies
- Ethical business culture
- CSR (Corporate social responsibility)
- EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)
- ESG (Environment, Social and Governance)
- Honesty in business practice
- Bribery and corruption
- Doing the right thing
- Reputation and risk
- (AML) Anti-money laundering
One approach to teaching professional ethics is focusing on the different moral philosophies and looking at personal approaches to making ethical decisions. Regular consideration of how to navigate ethical conflicts and decision-making can be helpful.
Ethical decision-making will occur throughout ones’ professional career and at times professional ethics can be a difficult area to manage or adhere to. This may be especially true in areas such as accounting, finance and business where there can be complex issues, ‘grey’ areas, pressures to compromise high ethical standards for ‘the bottom line’.
When you report verifiable activities in the CPD online reporting system, you will be prompted to confirm whether the activity contains any hours that meet the ethics requirement. If the activity has an ethical component, you will indicate ‘yes’, then enter the amount of professional ethics hours for the verifiable activity.
For your convenience, CPABC PD seminars containing structured professional ethics content will pre-populate with the number of hours of qualifying ethics content. All you need to do is confirm that you were in attendance for the entire duration of the seminar and the ethics component or edit the pre-populated hours as appropriate for the actual time you were in attendance.
In order to meet the CPD requirements, ethics courses should be relevant to members' roles and competencies as a CPA and provide examples or scenarios that show the application of the rules. PD activities related to harassment, diversity and inclusion may meet the eligibility criteria in professional ethics when they relate to technical and/or enabling competencies as well as your professional role, such as:
- Reflecting on values that motivate the choices, actions and behaviors [Acting ethically and demonstrating professional values; Managing self];
- Developing ethical leadership by promoting the adoption of good behavior within your organization [Leading]; and
- Contributing to the establishment of a corporate culture based on ethical values [Collabroating/inclusivity; Strategy and Govenance].
CPABC PD and CPA Canada offer online on demand courses that qualify as professional ethics. The eligible number of CPD hours are indicated in brackets.
Free Online Courses
- Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Update: Keeping up with AML Risks and Requirements (1.5 hours)
- Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Regulations Affecting CPAs (1.5 hours)
- Critical Thinking and Managing Bias for Objective Decision-Making (2 hours)
- Ethical Dilemmas: The Thick Grey Line (2 hours)
- Starting a Dialogue around Unconscious Bias (2 hours)
Cost Based Online Courses
Various titles of live webinars (various ethics hours)
- Delivery Format = Online Virtual
- Ethics Hours = Any or All
Various titles of online on-demand (various ethics hours)
- Delivery Format = Online On-Demand
- Ethics Hours = Any or All
CPA Canada Online Courses
- Anti-Money Laundering and Ethics: A Canadian and Global Perspective (2 hours)
- Applied Ethics in a Professional Setting (4 hours)
- Ethics in the Public Sector (4 hours)
- Ethics for the Tax Practitioner (2 hours)
For online courses to qualify as verifiable CPD, you must complete the test component and keep the certificate of completion for your records.
Anti-Money Laundering (AML PD) Requirement
It is the obligation of every CPA to help combat money laundering. As such, CPABC has introduced a mandatory CPD requirement for all members to complete AML-related education. This was deemed necessary to:
- raise and enhance members’ awareness regarding money laundering and its risks;
- assist the profession to detect, prevent and combat money laundering; and
- ensure that members understand the related obligations for CPAs under the federal anti-money laundering regime.
Current members have until December 31, 2026 to complete 1.5 hours of verifiable AML PD, unless a member qualifies for a CPD exemption. Members who join CPABC on or after January 1, 2024, the requirement must be fulfilled within the three-calendar year period that commences with the calendar year of the member’s admission.
The new AML PD requirement counts towards the 4 hours of verifiable ethics required each rolling three-calendar year period. In other words, the courses reported for the AML PD declaration may also be reported as verifiable ethics on your annual CPD report.
Yes, CPABC members are required to fulfill the 1.5-hours of verifiable AML PD, unless the member is granted a CPD exemption.
The 1.5-hour verifiable AML PD requirement can be completed through various separate AML PD learning activities over the three years. Members can attend AML PD courses offered by CPABC, CPA Canada, their employer or a third-party PD provider.
CPABC’s PD Department provides free AML courses for members to fulfill this new requirement. For courses with structured AML content, please visit CPABC’s PD website. To find AML courses, use the keywords ‘money laundering’ in the search criteria under Search PD Offerings.
AML PD activities must be submitted through the AML PD reporting portal, which is available in the CPD Reporting section of CPABC’s PD website. (Look for “AML PD Requirement – Submit Declaration” in the right-hand menu.) Members will be required to enter the date, title, provider and duration of the course(s).
Members are required to retain all supporting documentation for their CPD activities for five years after the end of the reporting period.
If you have already completed one of the two 2023 CPABC AML PD courses, you are able to use those courses to fulfill your AML PD obligation. The two CPABC AML PD courses that are being retroactively accepted are:
Under Rule 203 (Professional competence) of the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct, members must sustain professional competence by staying informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which they provide professional services or are relied upon because of their calling. This rule applies to all members, even those with an exemption from CPD reporting requirements.
Members who no longer qualify for exemption from the Basic Requirements as set out in Part 6 of the CPABC Bylaw Regulations (definition 600/2: “Continuing Professional Development Program: Basic Requirements”) after having been exempt for three or more consecutive CPD years are strongly encouraged to create a CPD learning plan to ensure that they develop the competencies necessary for their roles. We recommend that members contact CPABC’s professional advisory team at email@example.com for guidance on developing an effective learning plan.
All the provincial bodies in Canada have adopted international CPD standards. This has brought greater harmonization to the CPD requirements across Canada. However, there may be differences due to legislation. If you are a member of more than one provincial CPA body, please be sure to contact the other bodies to ensure that you meet all your CPD requirements.
Members can claim a CPD exemption in the calendar year they have retired. Once you have retired you need to confirm via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) that subsequent to your retirement date you meet the exemption criteria. After the email confirmation is received a CPD exemption will be inputted on your behalf.
Members who meet all of the following criteria may be exempt from the prescribed minimum number of CPD hours as set out in Part 6 of the CPABC Bylaw Regulations (definition 600/2: “Continuing Professional Development Program: Basic Requirements”).
- Their Gross Active Revenues* will not exceed C$32,300;
- They will not engage in public practice as defined in the CPABC Bylaws;
- They will not serve in any of the following capacities for a public company or reporting issuer as defined in the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct:
- As a member of its board or similar governing body; or
- As a member of its audit, finance, or similar governance committee; and
- They comply with Rule 203 (Professional Competence) in the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct.
* Gross Active Revenues include the aggregate of accounting and non-accounting revenues from employment, self-employment and all other active sources, whether earned personally or through a business entity. Gross Active Revenues do not include Employment Insurance benefits, pension income, support payments, or disability income.
CPABC encourages members to volunteer in the community. The unpaid work that you do for the charitable organization would not in itself cause you to be required to comply with the mandatory CPD requirements. However, you are reminded that under the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct, you must sustain professional competence by staying informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which you provide professional services or are relied upon because of your calling, even if you are not remunerated for your services.
Please note that, if you do not meet all of the criteria for CPD exemption, you would be required to comply with the mandatory CPD requirements.
CPD requirements are not reduced for working part of a calendar year. Members who meet the eligibility criteria for a CPD exemption from the prescribed minimum CPD requirements would not be required to report CPD to CPABC. However, you are reminded that under the CPABC Code of Professional Conduct, you must sustain professional competence by staying informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which you provide professional services or are relied upon because of your calling, even if you are not remunerated for your services.