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September 2020 Common Final Examination (CFE)

Find answers to common questions about the September CFE

The safety of candidates, staff and volunteers is a top priority for the CPA profession. To that end, we plan to have a number of health and safety measures in place at the Common Final Examination (CFE) to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 to the extent possible. These measures may be subject to change as health and safety guidelines continue to evolve.

For your convenience, we have prepared a checklist detailing the process for entering the hotel, getting to your room and wrapping up the exam. Click here to download the checklist.

Additional details regarding the September 2020 CFE can be found below:



Beginning August 19, 2020, all individuals attending the September 2020 CFE are required to conduct self-assessments and complete weekly health questionnaires. CPA Ontario will send you a questionnaire once a week for the three weeks leading up the CFE. If you answer “Yes” to any of the pre-screening questions, you will be asked to contact us at Customer Service to determine next steps, which may include:

  • Deferring the September 2020 CFE to an offering in 2021 or getting a full refund 
  • Taking another COVID-19 test to provide proof of a negative result if you tested positive for COVID-19 
  • Providing a doctor’s note to support a diagnosis of an illness other than COVID-19 that does not put other writers, the invigilation staff, or the public at risk


  • Staggered start times: To maintain physical distancing guidelines, start times will be staggered, as needed, to minimize the number of candidates entering and exiting the hotel at the same time. In addition, to minimize disruptions, each floor within the hotels will start the CFE at the same time. Information about your specific start time will be provided to you closer to the dates of the CFE.
  • Face masks: You are required to wear a face mask at all times while in the hotel, unless you are alone in your hotel room. While the profession will provide you with a face mask on each day of the CFE, you will be required to arrive at the hotel wearing your own face mask.
  • Other personal protection equipment (PPE): We will provide alcohol wipes, masks and gloves to all candidates (when you get to your floor), which you may use at your discretion. You are also allowed to bring your own hand sanitizer.  Invigilation staff will also wear a face mask at all times and gloves when touching anything in a student’s room.
  • Physical distancing: Starting at the entrance to the hotel and throughout the CFE, we ask that you allow two metres between yourself and other people and to follow any site specific directions and/or physical distancing guidelines to maneuver around the hotel. Site specific guidelines will be communicated to you upon entry to the hotel and there will be signs posted.
  • COVID screening: Upon entry to the hotel on each day of the CFE, candidates will be asked to respond to the questions on the pre-screening health questionnaire. There may be additional COVID-19 screening protocols in place at the hotel. Such screening protocols are being considered and we are consulting with public health officials on the extent of these safety measures that will be required. You will be informed in advance of any additional screening protocols in place at your hotel.
  • Screening officers: Screening officers will wear a face mask and gloves.
  • Sanitization: Prior to September 8th, each hotel room will be sanitized by the hotel using COVID-issued standards for each region. In addition, sanitization stations will be available on each hallway of each hotel floor.
  • Arrival at hotel room: Once you have completed the on-site screening process, you should go directly to your assigned room, while complying with all applicable physical distancing and directional guidelines. When you get to your room you must leave your bag(s) and cell phone(s) at the doorway. You can only bring permissible materials into the room (including hand sanitizer, if desired). It is recommended that you wash your hands when you arrive at your assigned room.
  • Laptops: All CPA-issued laptops will be disinfected prior to distribution. You will be provided with three individually packaged alcohol wipes each day that you can also use to clean the laptops, if you choose. The laptops will stay in your hotel room for the duration of your examination.


  • Hotel rooms: Room doors will remain open and the writing desk will be visible from the hallway. Only you and your invigilator, as required, will be permitted to access your room once the CFE has started (i.e. rooms will not be cleaned by hotel staff for the duration of the CFE unless a new person is writing in that room).
  • Face masks: You will be permitted to remove your face mask when you are alone in your hotel room.  You will be required to put it back on if an invigilator needs to enter your room. Invigilators and supervisors will be required to wear their face masks at all times while administering the CFE.
  • Interactions with others: Each invigilator will be responsible for monitoring a small number of candidates. When an invigilator needs to enter your room, you will be required to put your mask on and practice physical distancing within the room. 
  • Washrooms: The washroom in your hotel room is dedicated for your use only. 

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us at Customer Service or review the regularly updated FAQs document as it contains additional information about the writing of the CFE.

Download FAQs (PDF)