Highlights of the CPABC Bylaws and Bylaw Regulations

By CPABC; published in CPABC in Focus
Published: September/October 2015

From the Regulatory Affairs Team

In the last issue of CPABC in Focus, we provided an overview of the CPABC Act. We are now pleased to present a summary of two more components of our regulatory framework: the bylaws and bylaw regulations.

The bylaws

The bylaws represent the high-level powers of CPABC and enable the board to make regulations relating to the implementation of that authority. These bylaws were approved by the legacy boards, submitted to the government of BC, and then approved by the CPABC board, as authorized under the CPABC Act.

Any future changes to the bylaws can only be made with the approval of the membership, and can only come into force after submission to the government, which has up to 45 days to disallow them.

Key areas covered

Membership and CPD

The bylaws require that members must now use the CPA designation, together with their legacy designation—for example: James Joyce, CPA, CA.

A change for members is that they are now permitted to display foreign accounting designations, provided that: a) the foreign designation is displayed after the tagged Canadian CPA designation and b) the jurisdiction of the foreign designation (the country or US state) is noted—for example: Jane Doe, CPA, CGA, CA (UK) and John Doe, CPA, CMA, CPA (Illinois).

In addition, the bylaws confirm the requirement for compliance with a continuing professional development (CPD) program, and give CPABC the authority to suspend or cancel non-compliant members.

Public practice

It is now required that individuals engaged in public practice be licensed and firms be registered. This represents a change for all legacy members, as none of the legacy bodies required that both individuals and firms be registered.

Note that the definition of “public practice” is included in the definitions section of the bylaws and includes “public accounting” and “other regulated services” (such as tax and forensic accounting). The bylaws establish different licence categories that correspond to the services being offered to the public. This too represents a change for some legacy practitioners.

Investigation and discipline

This part of the bylaws details the process that must take place when complaints arise concerning the conduct of a member/former member, student, professional accounting corporation/former professional accounting corporation, or registered firm/former registered firm. It ensures that a rigorous and fair process is undertaken—one that respects the rights of the individual whose conduct is in question while also ensuring the protection of the public. These processes represent some level of change for members of all three legacy bodies.

General

The general section of the bylaws covers matters such as: the incorporation of the rules of professional conduct into the bylaws; the authority to suspend and cancel membership or licensure for non-payment of fees; and the authority to disclose information to the public about a member’s membership status, public practice licence, and business contact information.

The bylaw regulations

The bylaw regulations provide the detail required to support the administration of the bylaws. These regulations include provisions for CPABC governance, such as setting the number of elected board members at 15, and establishing four electoral regions (Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Interior, and the North), with the requirement that at least one board member be elected from each region.

The bylaw regulations also confirm that delivery of the education program is delegated to the CPA Western School of Business, and set out the CPD requirements.

Several of the bylaw regulations relate to public practice, including the requirement for sole practitioners to appoint an assisting accountant to be responsible for returning client records in the event of the sole practitioner’s death or incapacity—this requirement was in place for some legacy practitioners but is new for others. The regulations also provide details regarding which public practice services can be provided under each licence category—important information for all practising members.

Details provided online

The complete bylaws and bylaw regulations can be found on the CPABC website under Members/Regulatory or Protecting the Public. These documents have been written in a plain language style. We encourage all members to read them and get an understanding of what it means to be a member of CPABC.