Skip to main content

Beginning of Main Content

Mississauga student captures CPA profession’s Ontario Gold Medal

2,252 Ontarians pass Canada-wide CPA exam

Toronto (December 1, 2017) – The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) congratulates Faghya Samra Shafiq of Mississauga who captured the Ontario Gold Medal as the top writer of the Common Final Examination (CFE) in the province. Written in September, the CFE is a national three-day evaluation that assesses technical competencies and professional skills, such as critical analysis, decision-making, and professional judgment, as well as communication and ethics.

A student in the CPA education program, Shafiq has both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Masters of Accounting degree from York University’s Schulich School of Business. She works at Ernst & Young LLP in Toronto.

On why she chose a career in the accounting profession, Shafiq said: “Beyond the technical knowledge, the CPA path provides you with work experience and exposure to a variety of businesses, industries, and people. Being able to work with bright minds and establish a skillset that is multidimensional and versatile is the reason I chose to pursue this designation, as it will provide me with a base that will help differentiate me in whatever career path I choose.”

Of the 69 students listed on the prestigious National Honour Roll, 32 were Ontario Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) students. Ontario also had 2,252 of the country’s 5,580 successful CFE writers. Completion of this exam marks a milestone for these prospective CPAs, acknowledging years of hard work, dedicated study, steadfast work-life balance and a true commitment to the accounting profession and their careers.

The CFE is an important component of the CPA qualification program, which includes prescribed education, practical experience and examination requirements. Only those who complete all three of these required elements of the CPA program successfully are entitled to use the internationally recognized designation of Chartered Professional Accountant, a profession known for financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight and leadership.

“Congratulations to the members of the National Honour Roll and all of the successful Ontario CFE writers,” said Carol Wilding, FCPA, FCA, President and CEO of CPA Ontario. “The high standards of the CPA certification program ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills, knowledge and professionalism needed to navigate the ever-changing business landscape, while protecting the public interest. During the course of their careers, these students will benefit Ontario and its business community for many years to come.”

Separate from the overall CFE process, CPA Ontario introduced the Kenneth Victor Chernick Award, which was established by the late Kenneth V. Chernick – a member of CPA Ontario, and is given to a CPA student who demonstrates distinguished performance on the Common Final Examination (CFE), and works in the Federal Public Service in Ottawa. The inaugural Kenneth Victor Chernick Award went to David (Chun Yu) Lao, who works for the Department of National Defense in Ottawa. The award comes with $3,000 for David, with second-place finisher Amanda Bernier of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police receiving $2,000 and the two students who tied for third – Casey Bromley and Craig Nichols – each receiving $1,000.

The 2017 Ontario CFE writers on the National Honour Roll:

Jesse Armel
KPMG LLP, Toronto

Elwin Chen
KPMG LLP, Toronto

Sophia Chen
Scotiabank, Toronto

Richard Despatie
KPMG LLP, Ottawa

Camille Gardiner
PwC LLP, Waterloo

Dylan Green
S + C Partners LLP, Mississauga

Abby Hu
Deloitte LLP, Kitchener

Inez Huang
PwC LLP, Toronto

Nicholas (Hoi L.) Hung
KPMG LLP, Toronto

Andrew Johnston
PwC LLP, Waterloo

Kaunain Karmali
Ernst & Young LLP, Toronto

David (Chun Yu) Lao
Government of Canada – Department of National Defense, Ottawa

Amy Lin
PwC LLP, Toronto

Benjamin Ma
CIBC, Toronto

Aidan McKay
Deloitte LLP, Kitchener

Brittany Murphy
Wormald Masse Keen Lopinski LLP, St. Catharines

Annan Ni
PwC LLP, Toronto

Rosario Pasceri
Crowe Soberman LLP, Toronto

Katherine Rieger
Deloitte LLP, Toronto

Karina Roopnarine
Manulife Financial, Toronto

Philip Shalin
KPMG LLP, Toronto

Faghya Samra Shafiq – Ontario Gold Medallist
Ernst & Young LLP, Toronto

Robyn Smith
Deloitte LLP, Ottawa

Abid Syed
Deloitte LLP, Toronto

Robert TarBush
Deloitte LLP, Kitchener

Balakumar Thevakumar
Deloitte LLP, Toronto

Mario Topalovski
KIK Custom Products, Concord

Elaine Vuong
Deloitte LLP, Toronto

Jordan Wall
KPMG LLP, Toronto

Colin Woodworth
Ernst & Young LLP, Kitchener

Yidi Xiong
PwC LLP, Toronto

Adam Yan
PepsiCo Foods Canada, Mississauga

Interviews with Honour Roll students are available on request.


About the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

CPA Ontario protects the public interest by ensuring its members meet the highest standards of integrity and expertise. CPA Ontario serves and supports its more than 89,000 members and 19,000 students in their qualification and professional development in a wide range of senior positions in public accounting, business, finance, government, not-for-profits and academe. Chartered Professional Accountants are valued by organizations of all types and sizes for their financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. For information on the profession, visit

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Woodward
Director, Communications, Marketing & Communications
Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario
416 969.4271 or 1 800 387.0735
[email protected]