Frequently Asked Questions: Standard Setting in Canada
What is Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards Canada?
Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards Canada is the title of this website, www.frascanada.ca, which houses news and information on the boards and oversight councils and the work that they do.
What are Canada’s financial reporting and assurance standards boards and oversight councils?
Canada’s financial reporting and assurance standards boards and oversight councils are comprised of the:
What do these boards and oversight councils do?
In the public interest, the boards establish and maintain accounting and auditing standards.
In the case of the Accounting Standards Board and Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, they also participate in the development of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) (adopted as Canadian Auditing Standards), respectively, to ensure that the standards reflect Canadian market needs.
The oversight councils appoint board members, oversee and provide input into their respective boards’ strategy, priorities and planning, and ensure that the boards’ due process for setting standards is followed and is in the public interest.
Which oversight councils oversee which boards?
AcSOC is responsible for overseeing the activities of the:
- AcSB; and
AASOC is responsible for overseeing the activities of the AASB.
Which board develops which standards?
The AcSB is responsible for:
- contributing to the development, and approving the adoption, of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) in Canada;
- developing standards for private enterprises;
- developing standards for private sector not-for-profit organizations; and
- developing standards for private sector pension plans.
PSAB is responsible for:
- developing standards for public sector entities (including public sector not-for-profit organizations); and
- contributing to the development of international public sector accounting standards.
The AASB is responsible for:
- contributing to the development of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) that it adopts as Canadian Auditing Standards (CASs); and
- developing assurance and related services standards.
Does my organization have to use the accounting and auditing standards developed by these boards?
Different standards are required for organizations that decide to, or are required to, prepare financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as set out in the CPA Canada Handbooks:
- Publicly accountable enterprises apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs)
- Private enterprises use Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises (ASPE) or may apply IFRSs
- Private sector not-for-profit organizations use Standards for Not-for-Profit Organizations or may apply IFRSs
- Pension plans and some benefit plans apply Accounting Standards for Pension Plans
- Governments, and the organizations under their control, use Standards for Public Sector Entities issued by PSAB. Note: Senior governments are sovereign. They decide on which financial reporting framework the government itself, municipalities in its jurisdictions, and government organizations under its control should follow
- Auditors are required to use Canadian Auditing Standards
- Public accountants are required to use Assurance and Related Services Standards
Who sits on the boards and oversight councils?
Members of the boards and oversight councils are mostly volunteers and represent a wide range of experienced professionals from Canada’s business community, such as:
- financial statement preparers and users;
- academics; and
- regulators from both the private and public sector.
The boards’ and oversight councils’ volunteers are appointed by the relevant oversight council, which ensures that diverse viewpoints are considered when developing standards.
What are committees? What is the difference between committees and boards?
The boards frequently establish volunteer member committees to explore specific topics. Committees might be established as discussion groups to provide a public forum, task forces with a specific objective, and advisory groups that provide guidance and advice to the boards.
Whatever the type of committee, they all provide input and diverse perspectives to their respective boards on proposed standards or on how to improve existing standards.
How do the boards and oversight councils operate with respect to CPA Canada?
- CPA Canada and the boards and oversight councils operate at arm’s length from one another. This ensures that the boards and oversight councils are able to carry out their standard-setting operations independently and without any undue influence.
- The staff resources that support the boards and oversight councils are CPA Canada employees. However, these employees take their direction on standard setting from the boards and do not vote on, or make decisions regarding, any proposed or approved standard.
What is the relationship between the boards and oversight councils, and CPA Canada?
CPA Canada is the national organization representing the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) profession in Canada. CPA Canada provides funding, staff and other resources to support Canada’s standard-setting process.
CPA Canada and the oversight councils and boards function at arm’s length from one another. As a result, the oversight councils and the boards as well as their staff carry out their standard-setting operations in an independent manner.
What are the CPA Canada Handbooks?
The CPA Canada Handbooks contain the accounting and assurance standards developed by the relevant boards. They include:
How do I access the CPA Canada Handbooks?
The CPA Canada Handbooks are available in print and electronic formats as well as on DVD. Members of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) can access the electronic version of the CPA Canada Handbooks free of charge at www.knotia.ca.
Members and non-members can also purchase the CPA Canada Handbooks in other formats at www.CPAstore.
Non-members can purchase the CPA Canada Handbooks via www.CPAstore.
How are the boards’ meeting agendas set?
Each board sets its agendas differently.
Consult the following webpages to find out more:
In addition, issues can be submitted to the oversight councils. It should be noted that while the councils can provide input to their respective boards, standard setting is the responsibility of the boards.
How do I leave a comment, complaint or feedback for a board or oversight council?
Feedback can be directed to the boards and councils, which all have their individual contact pages:
How can I get involved in the standard-setting process? How do I share my opinions on existing and new accounting and auditing standards?
There are several ways to get involved in the standard-setting process:
1. Provide feedback on proposed standards by responding to an open document for comment:
- Standards for Private Enterprises
- Standards for Not-for-Profit Organizations
- Standards for Public Sector Entities
- Canadian Auditing Standards
- Assurance & Related Services Standards
2. Submit issues for discussion, or participate in meetings that are open to the public, to contribute to discussions on particular issues when held:
- the IFRS Discussion Group
- the Private Enterprise Advisory Committee
- the Public Sector Accounting Discussion Group
3. Volunteer to participate as a board, council or committee member.