How To Get CPA in Canada As An Internationally Qualified Accountant

As a member in good standing of an internationally trained and qualified Chartered Accountant, CA, from an international body, you’re probably wondering how to obtain a CPA from Canada and have questions. Watch this video about the Canadian CPA process:

PrepFormula Contact: 
For any questions, or inquiries, please e-mail the PrepFormula's instructor: Tauzer Dalal at tauzer.dalal@prepformula.com, or call or Whatsapp: 1-416-729-6269.
The CPA profession in Canada is governed by CPA Canada, but each province administers on behalf of members in each province. Depending on where you immigrate to Canada, you will likely be administered by one of two Provincial CPA bodies, CPA Ontario (governing the Province of Ontario), or Western School of Business CPA (governing the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, along with the Yukon and Northwest Territories). Although other Provinces exist in the eastern part of Canada, it’s rare to see a CPA Candidate relocate to these provinces as an international CA, so the process would be similar, but not mentioned in this article. 
The 80-90% of internationally trained and qualified accountants who will read this article will consider a CPA from Ontario because it has a formal path for internationally qualified CAs: 

Process for CPA in Canada:

If you’re a member in good standing from an international body, there are several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) or MRAs available with CPA Canada (previously known as CICA), on Reciprocal Membership Arrangements (MRAs), allowing internationally trained accountants to become a CPA in Canada by taking a condensed approach to the education process. You’re required to be a member in good standing, and hold a university degree recognized by your accounting body. 

As of 2019, Listing of MOUs and MRAs with International Accounting Bodies To Canadian CPA:



In 2015, all Canadian CPA designations were merged. There is no more ability to obtain a CGA, CMA or CA designation, and all of the designations were merged to create the new CPA designation. CA, CMA, CGA does not exist anymore. The valid Canadian CPA designation is called the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

Eligibility for Registration as a CPA Student In Canada: 

CPA Ontario (For Ontario as an example) is the managing bodies that control the CPA certification program after the merger in the Province of Ontario. You’ll need to go through their CPA educational programs, but will be required to write less exams compared to a domestic CPA candidate because of your international accounting designation. 

What Exam Are You Responsible For? 

You will need to take Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and write the 2019 CFE (Common Final Examination). Capstone 1 and Capstone 2 are not exams, they are required modules (think group projects), but are meant to test, or evaluate you through an exam. The 2019 CFE, also called the Common Final Examination is a 3-day examination, which is 3 days of case writing.
You can prepare for Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and the 2019 CFE while living internationally, 100% online using PrepFormula. PrepFormula is the largest CPA prep program in Canada and available entirely online. You can start the learning process while applying to live and work in Canada at your convenience. 

Capstone 1 Module:

  • Large 30-50 page group assignment and presentation 
  • Starts off with a 2-Day In-Class Workshop
  • You’ll be assigned to a group of randomly selected CPA Candidates
  • Prepare presentation, present in a group to a panel of currently practicing CPAs (CPA, CA; CPA, CMA; and CPA, CGA).
  • Submit report on the group assignment
  • Answer questions during the presentation asked by the panel.
  • NO FINAL EXAM

IMPORTANT: While this will take you 10-15 hours per week, we suggest to spend most of your extra spare time studying for the CFE and practicing PrepFormula cases.

Key Dates:  May 2019

Capstone 2 Module: 

  • Case writing module with practice cases  
  • Must write 2 cases per week, which you may need to submit 
  • NO FINAL EXAM 

IMPORTANT: While this will take you 10-15 hours per week, we suggest to spend most of your extra spare time studying for the CFE and practicing PrepFormula cases.

Key Dates: July 2019

2019 CFE (Common Final Examination):

The process is very simple, and you have an opportunity to write just 1 exam to pass to become a CPA in Canada, called the Common Final Exam (CFE), the dates for which are:

Day 1: 4 hours in length. This will focus on being an extension of the Capstone 1 case. An example of this could be the same company, but several years in the future,

or the same company venturing into a different industry.

Day 2: 5 hours in length. This will be a large case where your attention will be required to achieve depth in one of 4 different roles (Performance Measurement, Finance, Assurance or Tax)

  • You can pick the role, and write about it. 
  • The idea here is to focus on the chosen elective area.

Day 3: 4 hours in length. This will be a combination of 3 shorter cases anywhere from 60-90 minutes in length each, comprised of 3 separate cases that are not linked at all.

Key Dates: September 11, 12, 13, 2019.

How to Register as a Student For CPA PEP and 2019 CFE:

In order to get registered, you’ll submit the following items to CPA Ontario to get the process started: 

1. Provide A Letter of Good Standing from the International Accounting Body (as applicable) certifying membership in good standing in that body and of having been conferred with a recognized university degree. CPA Ontario will accept this letter provided that it is on official letterhead, signed by an authorized official of the Accounting Body and bears the official seal or stamp.

2. Complete the International Candidate Application Form and Student Registration Form.

3. Pay the fee remittance in Canadian Dollars

4. Sign and date the Academic Code of Conduct

5. Provide proof of legal name, any of the below options are acceptable, ONLY 1 REQUIRED:

a. Birth certificate

b. Canadian citizenship card

c. Permanent Residency card

6. Provide Chronological Resume listing all work experience.

a. Note: this is required to get a full exemption from the work experience. Let us at PrepFormula help you prepare an appropriate resume to make sure you get the full exemption

7. Submit a practical experience certificate form for internationally trained accountants which can be found here.

8. (Optional) Provide Other letters of good standing from other international accounting bodies where you hold membership (if any).

9. You will need to notarize all documents submitted to CPA in Canada.

10. You can prepare for Capstone 1, Capstone 2 and the CFE while living internationally, 100% online using PrepFormula. PrepFormula is the largest CPA prep program in Canada and available entirely online. You can start the learning process while applying to live and work in Canada at your convenience, using the CFE Prep program from PrepFormula, which can be found here.

All documents must be in English, and you’ll need to pay for a translator, or PrepFormula can arrange to have one available for a reasonable fee.

IMPORTANT: Your application will not be considered at all by CPA Ontario until it is 100% complete. If you’re missing 1 item, or something is incomplete, it will not be processed. The delay may push you back up several months if you make a mistake. PrepFormula can help here with this.

Get Full 30 Month Exemption From CPA Practical Experience Requirements: 

Also, you can (not will) be 100% exempt from all practical work experience (typically 30 months), if you fill out the forms correctly. Otherwise, you may be required to redo practical work experience if you’ve made a mistake. Please consult with us at support@prepformula.com, or ensure you’re filling out the documentation correctly. 


Students who do not get the practical work experience are required to complete 30 months of experience and can choose to complete this experience in either an Approved Training Office (ATO) or an organization pre-approved by CPA Ontario to train students, or go through the Experience Verification Route (EVR).

By registering under the Member of Accounting Body Outside Canada – Specified pathway, both Legacy CA students and students registered in the new CPA Certification Program may apply for full or partial exemption from the work experience component by submitting a practical experience certificate form, as mentioned above.

Key Dates and Timelines: 

The timeline for you to qualify for admission to membership in CPA Ontario will be largely determined by whether you apply for and are granted exemption from some or all three years of prescribed practical experience requirement. 

If an exemption is being requested from the practical experience requirements: upon receipt of a completed application, an individual will be informed within eight to twelve weeks of the CPA Ontario Registrar's decision.

CPA Ontario Fees For CPA Application for 2019:

Individuals applying to register as a student are required to remit payment with their application. The fee is pro-rated based on when your application is submitted and includes HST(sales tax). The fee must be remitted by credit card or by cheque made payable to Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario or another CPA body like Alberta CPAs, etc.

If you submit your application between January 1 to June 30, you are required to pay the following:

$125.00

Initial Administration Fee *

$600.00

Annual Student Registration Fee

$725.00

Total Registration Fee before Taxes

$16.25

Taxes on Annual Student Registration Fee (HST#10750 8525)*

$78.00

Taxes on Initial Administration Fee (HST#10750 8525)

$819.25

Total Registration Fee due

If you submit your application between July 1 to December 31, you are required to pay the following:

$125.00

Initial Administration Fee *

$300.00

Annual Student Registration Fee

$425.00

Total Registration Fee before Taxes

$16.25

Taxes on Annual Student Registration Fee (HST#10750 8525)*

$39.00

Taxes on Initial Administration Fee (HST#10750 8525)

$480.25

Total Registration Fee due

PrepFormula CFE 2019 Fees (Early Bird Discount Ending Soon!):

Individuals applying to register as a student are provided with an option to register in a PrepFormula’s 2019 CFE prep program, the cost of which is:

$797, or $1,197 CAD, payable in 3 interest-free installments over 3 months.

PrepFormula Contact: 
For any questions, or inquiries, please e-mail the PrepFormula's instructor: Tauzer Dalal at tauzer.dalal@prepformula.com, or call or Whatsapp: 1-416-729-6269.
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