Guidance for Ontario

CIMA has worked with members in Ontario to object to the accounting professions act 2010 Ontario, but it has now become law. We therefore need to ensure that our members in Ontario are aware of the legislation and are complying with it.

The guidance (as below) demonstrates the act places boundaries on the use of CIMA’s designatory letters of ‘ACMA’ and FCMA’. In reality, given the role our members undertake, we doubt that the legislation should much affect you. Your employers and others will have no difficulties in understanding your professionalism, founded on your membership of CIMA. 

However, if you feel you want to use designatory letters without hindrance then CIMA has an agreement with CMA Canada which would enable you to join it and use the designatory letters it offers.

The guidance

Use of designatory letters: guidance note for CIMA members on the accounting professions act 2010 Ontario

The act covers a range of issues but it is on the issue of designatory letters that members need to be informed. The act places some restrictions on the use of any designatory formulation containing the letters ‘CA’ or ‘CMA’. Thus ‘ACMA’ and ‘FCMA’  are affected, and it is particularly essential that members always make it clear that they are not members of the Ontario CMA corporation.

1. Lawful use of your designatory letter in Ontario

  • in a speech or presentation (including written materials) at academic or professional conferences, or to similar bodies, you are entitled to use your designatory letters
  • in a written application for employment or a private communication regarding the retaining of your services you can use your designatory letters, but in addition you must state that you are not regulated by the Ontario CMA corporation
  • in any query to you about your ability to meet the requirements of a job you can refer to your designatory letters
  • If you have chosen to exercise the option open to you to join CMA Ontario then you could use your CIMA designatory letters in conjunction with those of CMA Ontario, for example ‘John Smith, CMA, FCMA (UK)’ or 'John Smith, CMA'.
  • you can use your designatory letters in private communications regarding retainers or applications for employment as long as it is made clear that you are not a member of CMA Ontario or regulated by it, for example ‘John Smith, FCMA (UK) (not a member of or governed by CMA Ontario)’
  • so long as you do not use any of the prohibited designations you can still hold yourself out as an ‘accountant’, ‘professional accountant’, ‘British-trained professional accountant’, ‘holder of a globally recognised accounting designation’, ‘provider of professional accounting services’, ‘holder of a leading British accounting designation’ or ‘qualified accountant’.

2. Restrictions on use of your designatory letters in Ontario

  • you are not allowed to use your designatory letters in any form of public advertising; however on your business card, provided the designation and the name of CIMA is written in full, you can use the following formulation: "John Smith Associate/Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants".
  • your email signature line in emails, texts and regular mail cannot include designatory letters.

The overarching rule is that CIMA members cannot use their CIMA designations (‘ACMA’ or ‘FCMA’) in any interaction with a member of the public that would qualify as a public communication, even if they indicated the jurisdiction where the designation was obtained. For example, John Smith, ACMA (UK), or John Smith, FCMA (UK, not a member or governed by CMA Ontario) is prohibited for public communications.

In addition members resident in Ontario should exercise caution in their use of designatory letters outside the Ontario jurisdiction where it is likely that they can be viewed within the Ontario jurisdiction, for example material on the world wide web where it is reasonably foreseeable that as a result a members services could be offered in Ontario. The legislation on this is not clear so caution is advised.

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