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The PDPA program, along with the completion of prescribed practical experience, provides members who are not currently eligible to obtain a licence to practise public accounting with a path to licensure.


The PDPA program is available to CPA Ontario members in good standing who qualified without public accounting practice rights. Some exclusions apply, therefore, to determine your eligibility for the PDPA program, you must submit an eligibility assessment request by:

  • Go to My Portal, select Obligations and Requests and then Member Requests. Now click on New Requests and select Post Designation Public Accounting Program (PDPA).

There is no fee associated with an eligibility assessment request. If you are eligible to enter the program, proceed to Step 2.  If not, CPA Ontario will advise you of next steps, if applicable, that may allow you to take the PDPA in the future.

  • Enrolling in PDPA program and paying the enrolment fee.
  • Successfully completing PDPA program module and examination.
  • Completing the prescribed practical experience requirements.
  • Applying for a Public Accounting Licence by going to My Portal, selecting Obligations and Requests and then Applications and Start New Application. Finally click on PAL Application.


CPA Ontario will advise you of your eligibility in writing approximately three weeks from the date the request was received. In the event of a high volume of requests, processing timelines may be longer.  

Currently, per Regulation 17-1, section 3, the following members are not eligible for the PDPA program:

  • Admitted to membership upon completing a qualification program for faculty, instructors or facilitators associated with an academic institution; or
  • Admitted to membership upon completing any CMA Combined Master’s Program, CMA Accelerated program, CMA Executive program or received Professional Advanced Standing in the CMA Program; or
  • Admitted to membership through the Evaluation of Experience category


The PDPA program comprises a mandatory education module and examination in assurance, financial reporting, taxation, finance, and strategy and governance.

The PDPA module is delivered online and consists of reading resources, practice problems and multiple-choice questions. Designed as a preparatory module, participants are provided with a suggested eight-week self-study schedule to assist with preparation for the PDPA examination. Participants must complete the PDPA module to be eligible to write the PDPA examination.

The PDPA examination is 4.5 hours and consists of a combination of multiple choice questions and integrated cases testing you on the required technical knowledge for public accounting licensure. Please refer to the PDPA examination blueprint for more information.

Unsuccessful writers may request for review/re-mark. Details will be provided at the time examination results are released.


  • PDPA candidates have access to the 2021 module materials starting June 26, 2021 
  • The cost of the PDPA module and examination is $1300 (plus HST)
  • PDPA candidates who previously attempted the PDPA examination, have an examination-only option (i.e. there is no access to the new module content). The cost of the examination only is $1,000 (plus HST)



PDPA participants will have a maximum of three attempts in a rolling five-year period to pass the PDPA examination.


In addition to the successful completion of the PDPA program, PDPA participants are advised that qualification for public accounting licensure also requires the fulfillment of prescribed practical experience and other licensing eligibility requirements. In particular, pursuant to Regulation 17-1, you must satisfy the Qualifying Experience Requirement that requires the successful completion of 30 months of practical 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 (PER). That experience shall include:

  • a minimum of 2,500 Chargeable Hours in the Practice of Public Accounting and other accounting services including 1,250 Chargeable Hours in assurance services, of which at least 625 Chargeable Hours shall be in the audit of historical financial information and 100 Chargeable Hours of review procedures in review and other assurance engagements; 100 Chargeable Hours in Canadian taxation services; and 1,150 Eligible Hours in either the Practice of Public Accounting or Designated Services
  • a minimum of two years’ experience in the Practice of Public Accounting under the supervision of a Member who holds a valid and current Public Accounting Licence
  • a limit of six months spent on secondment assignments; and
  • completion of all chargeable hour and competency requirements not more than five years before the External Audit Pre‑Approved Program completion date. 

For a list of External Audit Pre-Approved Programs, refer to Directory of Pre-Approved Programs. More information on general questions on practical experience and for firms interested in how to apply for an External Audit Pre-Approved Program is available by email at [email protected].


If you have successfully completed the PDPA program, you are not automatically licensed in Ontario. Upon successful completion of the PDPA program, and related practical experience, please go to My Portal, select Obligations and Requests and then Applications and Start New Application. Finally click on PAL Application. Learn about Public Accounting Licensing.


Find answers to your questions about the PDPA program