Skip to main content

Beginning of Main Content

Public Accountant Licence

By completing specific subject area coverage within practical experience requirements of the CPA program, you can become a Licensed Public Accountant (LPA)

Become a Licenced Public Accountant (LPA)

Pre-Certification Requirements

By completing specific subject area coverage and practical experience requirements, you may be eligible to obtain a public accounting licence upon qualifying through the CPA certification program. Explore the public accountant path below.

CPA PEP Requirements

  • Electives: Assurance and Taxation
  • Common Final Examination: select the assurance role and show depth in assurance and financial reporting.

Practical Experience Requirement

To become eligible for a public accounting license with CPA Ontario, students need to complete all 30 months of work experience in a pre-approved External Audit Program, while meeting the following requirements: 

Area Details
Practical experience route Qualifying practical experience must be gained in an External Audit Pre-approved program only. Experience gained in the Experience Verification Route does not qualify.
Chargeable hours included within 30 month work term

Minimum of 2,500 hours consisting of:

  • At least 1,250 chargeable hours of assurance, of which:
    • a minimum of 625 hours must be obtained in the audit of historical financial information; and
    • 100 chargeable hours in review procedures and other assurance engagement; and
  • 100 chargeable hours in taxation services.
Core requirements Minimum of level 1 proficiency in at least 3 financial reporting sub-areas.
Depth requirements Depth in Audit and Assurance competency areas, with the development of competencies in all three Audit and Assurance competency sub-areas, including a minimum of two sub-areas at level 2 proficiency.
Breadth requirements The remaining competency sub-areas are specified within each Pre-approved Program.
Diversity of experience Variety of audit and review clients and/or a variety of audit and review experiences.
Mentorship Mentors must be working in public accounting within the same Pre-approved Program.
Supervision All chargeable hours must be obtained under the overall supervision of a Licensed Public Accountant from Ontario.
(Section 4.3 of the CPA Practical Experience Requirement)
Practical Experience will count towards the chargeable hour requirement for External Audit Pre-Approved Program if the secondment is within a registered with a recognized External Audit Pre-Approval Program. Otherwise, it will not be recognized toward the chargeable hour requirements for public accounting. Secondments are limited to 6 months in order to be eligible for a licence to practice public accounting.

In addition, Pre-approved Program Leaders in the External Audit program must:

  • be a member in good standing with CPA Ontario
  • sign-off on chargeable hours for future CPAs pursuing public accounting
  • certify that future CPAs were under the overall supervision of a public accountant registrant for their chargeable hours
  • have a licence to practice public accounting (at least one Program Leader in each program must meet this requirement)

Employers must have Pre-approved Programs in External Audit approved by CPA Ontario to qualify. Chargeable hours and experience gained through Outside of External Audit programs or experience gained through self-employment do not qualify under any circumstances.

Upon achieving the CPA designation, CPA Ontario members who have met the requirements outlined above can apply for a licence to practice 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

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