CPA Canada | Check Eligibility, Benefits & Designated Institute to Apply

become cpa in canada

Last Updated On : June 08 , 2024

CPA Canada | Check Eligibility, Benefits Designated Institute to Apply

This Blog sets out the path for Canadian postgraduates and foreign graduates to become Chartered Professional Accountants, with guidance on how to take advantage of a CPA education programme, educational pathways as well as eligibility criteria.

Eligibility Requirements for CPA Canada?

Requirements for the professional education programme of the CPA

  • Undergraduate Degree: A bachelor's degree from a recognized university, or its equivalent.
  • Courses required: Economics, Information Technology, Managerial Accounting, Accounting and Financial Fundamentals, and Financial Accounting.
  • Completing CPA Preparatory Courses (CPA PREP) may be necessary for candidates who lack experience in accounting or business.
  • Work Experience: A minimum 30 months of supervised, relevant accounting experience with a CPA mentor.
  • Language Proficiency: Level 8 of the Canadian Language Benchmarks is advised for English proficiency.
  • Alternative Path: Applicants do not need to have an undergraduate degree if they have at least eight years of relevant job experience.

The CPA Canada Program Structure

A comprehensive programme covering a number of elements, the CPA Canada Programme:

CPA PREP (Chartered Professional Accountant Preparatory Courses):

It is intended for individuals who do not have the necessary conditions to become a CPA PEP holder. The basic knowledge of accounting, auditing, taxation and business law is provided. There are 14 different courses to choose from, each covering specific skills and concluding with a test.

CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP):

A graduate-level program that enhances the ability to apply professional knowledge, values, ethics, and attitudes in a professional context.

CPA Modules/ Elective Modules/ Capstone Modules

Core Modules

Core 1: Financial Reporting

Core 2: Strategy and governance

Elective Modules:

Choose from Assurance, Performance Management, Taxation, and Finance

Capstone Modules 2:

Capstone 1: Integrative Module

Capstone 2: Final report of the Board of Directors and oral presentation

Practical Experience Requirement:

A minimum of 30 months of relevant accounting experience, supervised with regular progress reports and accompanied by a mentor from the accounting profession.

Scholarship Programs for CPA Students

There are a number of scholarships and financial assistance schemes available to international students studying the Certified Public Accountant programme in Canada.

International students seeking a CPA designation in Canada are eligible for this scholarship. Students who have demonstrated excellence in their studies and commitment to the profession of accounting are provided with financial assistance.

Each province or region of Canada has a separate accounting body offering scholarships and grants to students who apply for the designation of chartered accountant. A variety of scholarships and funding schemes are available to students, such as the one provided by CPAOntario and CPAAlberta.


Scholarship Details

Alberta - CPA Education Foundation Scholarship programs

  • David Bentley FCPA, FCA and Janet Bentley CPA PEP Excellence Award - Value: $3,500

  • Claire Dallaire CPA, CGA, CPA PEP Encouragement Award - Value: $1,500 (2) and $2,500 (1)

Saskatchewan - CPA Saskatchewan Scholarship Fund Inc

  • The Fund is managed by a Board and supported by the CPA Saskatchewan office staff.
  • Value - Yet to be declared

Manitoba - CPA Manitoba Foundation Financial Supports

  • Canada Life Leadership Award ($1,500)
  • CPA Manitoba Foundation CFE Honour Roll Award ($1,500)
  • Dean Emeritus Roland Grandpre Memorial Prize ($2,500)
  • James W. Clarke, FCPA, FCA Award ($1,000)

British Columbia - Scholarships and Awards

  • CPA Education Foundation Speaker Series
  • Up to $2,500 per institution.

  • Post-Secondary Institution Student Bursary
  • Up to $3,000 per year.

  • Multiple bursaries for students taking CPA
  • $500 - $3,000 each.

  • CPABC Master's Degree Bursary
  • Up to $2,500.

Benefits of CPA Designation from A Canadian Institute

The designation of a certified professional accountant in Canada is the world's most widely recognised and respected accounting qualification. The study of the CPA qualification offers a number of advantages to students from abroad and those who are postgraduates:

  • CPA is a globally recognized symbol of excellence within the accounting profession.
  • High potential for income: Canada's CPAs earn a median salary of $112,000 to $155,000.
  • Career advancement: CPAs can become chief executive, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.
  • Flexibility: CPAs may work in a variety of fields and offer flexibility for careers.
  • International Opportunities: The CPA is recognised worldwide and allows professionals to work, settle in foreign countries.
  • In countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Ireland the AICPA has mutual recognition agreements that allow CPAs to practice.
  • Pursuing a CPA credential gives you career prospects, improves your employability and makes it possible to work anywhere in the world.
  • "Black belt of accounting": CPA is referred to as a black belt in accounting.

Overall, becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA Journey) in Canada offers numerous benefits, including global recognition, high earning potential, career advancement, and continuous learning opportunities.

How CPA helps you to become tax accountants in Ottawa

If you earn your CPA designation in Ottawa, it's the first step toward becoming a successful tax advisor. In addition to the core modules, the CPA programme provides you with specialised tax knowledge through the optional TaxNEXT module, which builds a strong foundation in financial reporting and assurance, essential for understanding the tax implications.

During the course of the program, you will gain practical experience as a licensed CPA, possibly in a tax focused role, exposing you to Canadian tax laws and practices. As a Certified Public Accountant, you will be perfectly qualified to work in Ottawa's taxation departments and open up an exciting career with high earnings potential.

Canada Success Stories:

Mariya, an Egyptian international student, has successfully completed the CPA PREP and PEP courses, passed the CFE on her first attempt, and is now working as a senior accountant in Toronto.

After completing the CPA PEP program,Bhaskar, a graduate of India, secured an internship at CPA Ontario and later a full time position, where he is now a respected tax specialist.

Thanks to the CPA program, these international graduates and a number of others have shown tremendous success. You can too!

Ready to begin your journey with the CPA? Contact the PAIC today!

You will be guided by a team of experts in the eligibility procedure and provided with resources to help you throughout your journey. Don't wait unlock your potential and take the first step towards a rewarding career as a CPA in Canada.

If you already have a degree in accounting, you can refer to our guide on Applying for Canada PR as an Accountant.


CPA Saskatchewan

CPA Alberta

CPA Manitoba

CPA British Columbia


Yes, from outside of Canada you may submit an application for CPA. They're willing to accept foreign applicants.
Fees vary depending on your province and chosen modules, but expect a range of $3,000 to $7,000 per year. For more details, consult your provincial CPA office.
The completion of the CPA program typically takes between 2 and 3 years, including coursework and practical experience.
The CPA does not guarantee a higher ranking, but it demonstrates valuable skills and may be an asset to Canadian immigration by means of Express Entry.