The CPA certification program includes prerequisite education, professional education, a common final examination and a practical experience requirement. If you would like your co-op work experience to be considered towards the practical experience requirement of the CPA Certification Program, you should register with CPA Ontario as a co-op student. Not all co-op work experiences will qualify. Learn more about CPA Ontario's practical experience requirements here.
Registration as a co-op student comes at a cost. Student fees are due to CPA Ontario upon registration and annually thereafter. You are responsible for paying these fees. Payment of fees is required to maintain your registration. Failure to pay your fees and remain in good standing has significant consequences, including a formal process to re-apply which is not guaranteed. Student fees are currently $300 per year but are subject to change. Please refer to CPA Ontario Regulation 4-2 for further information on fees.
When should you register?
As a general rule we encourage you to register as early as the time you receive an offer for qualifying employment (if employment will begin within the same calendar year) or at the latest at the beginning of the co-op work term in which you expect to gain qualifying experience.
Qualifying employment/experience is defined as work in which you will gain skills in at least one technical sub-competency area at least at a Level 1 proficiency. To determine if your current or prospective job meets the requirements to start the qualifying period of practical experience, review this fact sheet and complete this self-assessment.
Questions can also be directed to the CPA Practical Experience team.
You can choose to wait to register until you are employed on a full time basis and then claim your co-op experience as prior experience. You can claim up to 12 months of experience from the previous five and a half years (three and a half years for the external audit stream). To do this, you will need to maintain contact information of your supervisors from those work terms so they can sign off on your experience at a later date. If that can’t be done, you assume the risk the employment cannot be verified and therefore will be ineligible for recognition by CPA Ontario.
How do you register?
Step 1: Indicate your intention to register by completing our Co-operative Program Enrolment Form
- Completion of this form allows the University to communicate with CPA Ontario to:
- Indicate your desire to register with CPA Ontario
- Confirm your enrolment in a co-op program
- Communication with CPA Ontario takes place twice a month throughout the year. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your contact information to be sent to CPA Ontario.
- Upon receipt of your information, CPA Ontario will assign you a CPA Ontario student ID number and e-mail you with further instructions on how to complete your application online. You can expect to receive this e-mail within 2-4 weeks after completion of Step 1.
- When completing the application online, please be sure to select the registration category “Co-operative degree program” and the fee category “University Graduate - conditional."
- 48 hours after your application is approved, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to complete the Practical Experience Orientation webinar and quiz.
- 24 hours after successfully completing the webinar and quiz you will be granted access to the Practical Experience Reporting Tool (PERT) and can begin updating your profile.
- What you do next will depend on your co-op employment and the experience route you are in. Please refer to the PERT guides under Related Links for further direction.
It is important that, once you have access to PERT, you update your profile, submit your job information and identify a mentor as quickly as possible to establish your PER effective date.
- Experience obtained after this date can (assuming it qualifies) be considered towards your practical experience requirement.
- Experience obtained prior to this date may (assuming it qualifies) be considered towards your practical experience requirement but would need to be reported as prior experience and would be subject to the limitations and policies around such experience.
There is a significant amount of information available on the CPA Ontario website relating to registration, practical experience requirements and PERT. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the requirements, expectations and obligations of the profession.
Your ELCD team is here to help you make sense of this information. Please contact us with your questions.
In addition, CPA Ontario hosts regular office hours on campus. During these hours you will have the opportunity to meet one on one with a CPA representative to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Pre-registration for these office hours is required – please follow this link to register for the next available session.