|Extent of IFRS application||Status||Additional Information|
|IFRS Accounting Standards are required for domestic public companies||Required for most listed companies and financial institutions. However, (a) companies also filing in the United States are permitted to apply US GAAP and (b) rate-regulated entities are permitted to apply US GAAP until 2019 even if they do not file in the United States.|
|IFRS Accounting Standards are permitted but not required for domestic public companies|
|IFRS Accounting Standards are required or permitted for listings by foreign companies||If the foreign company is also a US SEC issuer, it may use US GAAP. Also, if the foreign company is from jurisdictions designated by the Canadian Securities Regulators, it may use its home accounting standards. Otherwise the foreign company must use IFRS Standards.|
|The IFRS for SMEs Accounting Standard is required or permitted||No.|
|The IFRS for SMEs Accounting Standard is under consideration||No.|
Profile last updated: 16 June 2016
The AcSB is the recognised standard-setting body for financial reporting standards in Canada. In that capacity, it promulgates the standards that constitute generally accepted accounting principles in Canada (Canadian GAAP). The AcSB endorses individual new and amended IFRS Standards for adoption in Canada as Canadian GAAP for publicly accountable enterprises.
National Instrument 52-107 Acceptable Accounting Principles and Auditing Standards promulgated by the Provincial securities regulators prescribes the accounting standards that must be used by companies whose securities trade in a public market in Canada. With a few exceptions, financial statements of such companies must be prepared in accordance with Canadian GAAP applicable to publicly accountable enterprises (IFRS Standards) and must disclose:
Canada adopted IFRS Standards for most ‘publicly accountable enterprises’ for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2011. As of 2015, Canadian GAAP for all publicly accountable enterprises is IFRS Standards, although regulators provide an option for those filing in the United States and for rate-regulated companies to apply US GAAP, rather than Canadian GAAP.
‘Publicly accountable enterprises’ are entities, other than not-for-profit organisations, that have issued, or are in the process of issuing, debt or equity instruments that are, or will be, outstanding and traded in a public market or hold assets in a fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of their primary businesses.
Mandatory adoption of IFRS Standards had been deferred by the AcSB for investment companies and segregated accounts of life insurance enterprises until 2014 and for entities with rate-regulated activities until 2015. Those deferrals were provided to give time for the Board to complete projects affecting those entities.
Following issuance of IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements, the AcSB withdrew the deferrals for investment companies and segregated accounts of life insurance companies, and full IFRS Standards were required, for interim and annual financial statements relating to annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
Similarly, following issuance of IFRS 14 Regulatory Deferral Accounts, the AcSB withdrew the deferral for entities with rate-regulated activities, and full IFRS Standards were required, for interim and annual financial statements relating to annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2015. The Canadian Securities Administrators provided an option for those registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to apply US GAAP, rather than Canadian GAAP. However, in 2015 the Canadian Securities Administrators concluded that rate-regulated entities that are not registered with the US SEC may ask their Principal Provincial Regulator for an extension of their exemption from the requirement adopt IFRS Standards until 2019. To date, 23 Canadian rate-regulated entities have requested, and been granted, relief to use US GAAP until 2019.
Consequently, as of 2015 Canadian GAAP for all publicly accountable enterprises is IFRS Standards, although regulators provide options for (a) those filing in the United States to apply US GAAP, rather than Canadian GAAP and (b) rate-regulated entities not filing in the United States to apply US GAAP until 2019.
July 2013 review of transition costs from Canadian GAAP to IFRS Standards
In July 2013, Financial Executives International (FEI) Canada published the findings of its research into the costs borne by Canadian companies in their transition from Canadian GAAP to IFRS. Overall, the study found that ‘the majority of respondents to an online survey on the costs of transition to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Canada said that overall, the costs were significant but manageable, and broadly in line with those planned for and expected’.
The report of the study may be found under ‘IFRS’ on the Thought Leadership, Research Studies section of FEI Canada’s website.
IFRS Standards are required for foreign companies whose securities trade in a public market in Canada except as follows:
Foreign issuers from jurisdictions designated by the Canadian Securities Regulators may use the accounting principles of their home jurisdiction without reconciliation to IFRS Standards.
IFRS Standards as issued by the Board, ie standards and amendments are adopted/endorsed as and when issued by the Board.
The AcSB’s standards and the regulations applicable to public companies and financial institutions mandate the use of ‘IFRS as issued by the IASB’.
The regulatory requirement is to disclose compliance with ‘IFRS’ without the additional qualifier ‘as issued by the IASB’. The regulation defines ‘IFRS’ as ‘the standards and interpretations adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board, as amended from time to time’ so, in Canada, ‘IFRS’ doesn’t need the additional qualifying language. However, entities are not prohibited from adding the additional words ‘as issued by the IASB’.
Although Canadian GAAP for publicly accountable entities is IFRS Standards as issued by the Board, entities are permitted to disclose that they are in compliance with Canadian GAAP in addition to disclosing compliance with IFRS Standards.
Not individually, but IFRS Standards are authoritative without individual adoption because Canadian securities regulations require use of IFRS Standards. In effect, individual IFRS Standards are incorporated into Canadian securities regulations by reference.
The adoption of IFRS Standards was achieved by incorporating the standards into Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook–Accounting and making them part of Canadian GAAP. This process accorded IFRS recognition under the laws and regulations that govern financial reporting by Canadian entities. IFRS Standards were recognised simultaneously through the regulations and policies of the market and prudential regulators.
The texts of the IFRS Standards are not incorporated into the texts of Canadian law and regulations; the standards are incorporated by reference into various laws automatically, either by direct reference to IFRS Standards or by way of a reference to the CPA Canada Handbook–Accounting. The texts of the IFRS are copied only into Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook–Accounting.
The AcSB’s initial adoption of IFRS Standards and ongoing endorsement of new and amended IFRS Standards subsequently relies in part on the strength of the IFRS Foundation’s Constitution and governance. It also relies on the quality of the Board’s due process and its diligence in applying due process.
Accordingly, the AcSB reviews changes to the Constitution, governance and due process, including commenting on proposals for improvements. The AcSB monitors the ongoing application of due process in each Board project and each IFRIC project and participates in that process in accordance with the 2006 Statement of Best Practice: Working Relationships between the IASB Board and other Accounting Standard-Setters.
The AcSB encourages its stakeholders to participate in the Board’s process for developing new and amended standards and facilitates direct contact with Board representatives through outreach activities. From these various activities, the AcSB gathers evidence as to the quality of the way in which the Board develops standards and, accordingly, the extent to which the AcSB can rely on the standards being of the highest quality.
The initial adoption of IFRS Standards by the AcSB involved multi-year strategic planning and transition processes (see the strategic plan for 2006-2011). The processes culminated in three omnibus exposure drafts in 2008-2009 that exposed all of the then issued IFRS Standards.
Subsequent to initial adoption, the AcSB issues its own ‘wraparound exposure draft’ for every exposure draft and draft interpretation issued by the Board and IFRIC. The wraparound exposure draft directs Canadian stakeholders to comment directly to the Board but also asks one question on which the AcSB solicits stakeholder input: ‘The proposed standard has been developed by the IASB Board for application by entities around the world. Assuming the Exposure Draft proposals are approved by the IASB Board, do you believe that there are aspects of the proposed standard that make some or all of it inappropriate for Canadian entities, even though it is appropriate for entities in the rest of the world? If so, please specify which aspects and what circumstances make the accounting requirements proposed in the Exposure Draft inappropriate for Canadian entities.’
As soon as possible following the Board’s approval of a new or amended standard, the AcSB reviews the final steps in the Board’s due process, including the review by the IFRS Foundation’s Due Process Oversight Committee. It also considers the responses to its own wraparound exposure draft. The AcSB then approves the new material by written ballot, translates the text into French and publishes the English and French texts into the CPA Canada Handbook–accounting.
IFRS Standards are made available to the public by copying their texts into the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting. The CPA Canada Handbook–Accounting is available free of charge to members of CPA Canada by way of a password-protected website (‘Knotia’). The Handbook is available to anyone, for a charge, in the form of a Folio data base version on disk or as an annually printed bound volume. IFRS are also freely available to the general public in Canada in the form of the unaccompanied standards on an open website (the same as the unaccompanied standards on the IFRS Foundation’s website), through a licensing arrangement with the IFRS Foundation.
Translations into French are prepared by the professional translators of CPA Canada’s Language Services Department in Montreal. The drafts are reviewed by bilingual professional accountants and passed through the IFRS Foundation’s translation department and review committee before being finalised. All updates to standards, as well as exposure drafts, are translated as soon as possible after their issuance by the Board in English. The English text cannot be endorsed and issued by the AcSB without first being translated. Canadian law and the AcSB’s policy effectively require that IFRS Standards be translated and issued on a timely basis to permit their adoption in practice by the effective date set by the Board.