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Become a Licensed Public Accountant (LPA)

Pre-Certification Requirements

Students who want to become eligible for a public accounting licence upon completion of the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) certification program need to make specific choices in both the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP), including on the Common Final Examination (CFE), and while completing their Practical Experience.

Education* and Examination Requirements

  • Successfully complete the Taxation and Assurance elective modules
  • Common Final Examination: select the Assurance role and be able to demonstrate depth in Assurance and Finance Reporting

* The Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario had previously prohibited the granting of a public accounting licence to those who had taken a CPA Preparatory Course (PREP). Starting January 1, 2018 this restriction has been lifted and applied prospectively. A member who has been admitted to membership, who has completed any of the CPA Preparatory Courses (PREP) as part of the academic prerequisites before January 1, 2018, and has not at any point subsequently retaken the applicable academic prerequisites at an academic institution as described in Appendix C to Regulation 9-1, is not eligible for a Public Accounting Licence.

Practical Experience Requirement

To become eligible for a public accounting licence with CPA Ontario upon certification, students need to successfully complete a minimum of 30 months of experience in an Approved Training Office as defined in Regulation 9-2 or in an External Audit Pre-Approved Program under the CPA Ontario Practical Experience Requirements.

Employers must have Pre-Approved Programs in External Audit approved by CPA Ontario to qualify. Chargeable hours and experience gained through other Pre-Approved Programs, experience verification, or through self-employment do not qualify under any circumstances. Additionally, experience gained in the Experience Verification Route does not qualify.

Upon achieving the CPA designation, CPA Ontario members who have met the requirements outlined above may apply for a licence to practise public accounting. An application for a public accounting licence will be considered based on the bylaws and regulations in place as of the date the application is received. Click here to learn more.

Not currently eligible to obtain a licence to practise public accounting? Learn about the Post Designation Public Accounting (PDPA) Program.

If you have any questions about these requirements, please contact