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Professional Corporations

Professional Corporations Are the Only Corporate Structure Permitted for Registered Firms

A professional corporation is a corporation incorporated under section 3.2 of the Ontario Business Corporations Act.

Professional Corporation Terms and Regulatory Information

 Note: Please be advised that Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario cannot provide legal advice, interpret the law or conduct research. The information provided below is intended as a general guide only.

A "professional corporation" means a corporation incorporated under the Ontario Business Corporations Act, which has as its only shareholder(s) a member or members, a CPA professional corporation or professional corporations.

A "registration certificate" means a certificate issued under the act, By-law, or regulations to a professional corporation permitting the professional corporation to engage in providing accounting services to the public.

A "certificate of authorization" means a certificate issued to a professional corporation pursuant to the Public Accounting Act, 2004 to permit the professional corporation to engage in the practice of public accounting.

To obtain a certificate of authorization, at least one shareholder of the professional corporation must hold a current public accounting licence. A "Public Accounting Licence" means a licence issued to a member pursuant to the Public Accounting Act, 2004 to permit the member to engage in the practice of public accounting.

A professional corporation may not offer or engage in the practice of public accounting or providing accounting services to the public unless it is registered in accordance with the regulations and such registration is in good standing.

You must notify CPA Ontario of any significant changes in practice, composition or structure prior to or within 30 days of such change being effected. A significant change includes but is not limited to any change in firm name, shareholder, director, officer, articles of incorporation, or dissolution.

A professional corporation must have a physical office location and all office locations providing services or carrying on business in Ontario must be registered.

The name of the professional corporation must include the words "professional corporation" or "Société Professionnelle."


Important Notes on Submitting Applications to CPA Ontario

Incomplete applications will result in a delay in processing your request and may result in your request being denied or closed.

Applications are usually processed within four to six weeks of the date of receipt of the completed application. Processing time increases during periods of high volume.

For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 1 800 387.0735 x4324.

How to Register a Professional Corporation

In order to register with CPA Ontario, professional corporations that are registering must go to My Portal, select Obligations and Requests, and then Applications and Start New Application. Finally click on Firm Registration.

Remember: 

  • A firm may obtain a Firm Name Pre-Approval by going to My Portal, selecting Obligations and Requests, and then Applications and Start New Application. Finally click on Firm Name Pre-Approval Application.
  • To review the Sample Articles of Incorporation. Consider using the services of a legal professional.
  • To incorporate your professional corporation with the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Professional corporations require an Ontario Corporations Number (OCN) to be registered with CPA Ontario.

Extra-provincial registration of a professional corporation providing services in Ontario

If a professional corporation is based outside of Ontario and provides public accounting services in Ontario, it must register as a firm with CPA Ontario.

How to apply for extra-provincial registration:

Professional corporations based outside of Ontario, providing public accounting services in Ontario, must register with CPA Ontario by going to My Portal and selecting Obligations and Requests and then Applications and Start New Application. Finally click on Firm Registration.

Certificate of authorization

Any professional corporation engaging in the practice of public accounting must hold an active Certificate of Authorization (COA). However, if that professional corporation is a partner or shareholder in a firm and any statement/report is issued under that firm, a COA may not be required.


How to Apply for a Certificate of Authorization:

Go to My Portal, select Firm Dashboard and Select Firm to choose the Appropriate Firm. Now click on Applications and Start New Application and select Certificate of Authorization (COA) Application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about professional corporations.

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