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January 27, 2023

Apparently Becoming a CPA In Canada Can Literally Kill You

It’s nothing rare for accounting students and aspiring CPAs alike to say “these exams are killing me,” but I’ve got to say this is the first time I’ve seen a legal document stating in no uncertain terms that the exam can in fact kill you. What a wild timeline we live in. Let’s check in with our friends up north to see what’s going on with this fall’s Common Final Examination.

Someone on Reddit posted this lovingly-dubbed “Death Waiver” the other day, and so far other CFE writers from across Canada have reported receiving the same email, which must be signed by July 28. Here’s the cursed image, and I’ve also transcribed it below for your reading pleasure.

From the image:



1. I am aware of the highly contagious nature of bacterial and viral diseases including the 2019 novel coronavirus COVID-19 (“COVID-19”) and the risk that I may be exposed to or contract COVID-19 or other infectious diseases by being at the Writing Centre and writing the CFE.

2. I understand that, while l’Ordre has implemented preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the Writing Centre, l’Ordre and CPA Canada cannot guarantee that I will not become infected with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases while at the Writing Centre, and that being at the Writing Centre may increase my risk of contracting COVID-19.

3. I understand and acknowledge that my exposure to or contraction of COVID-19 at the Writing Centre may results in serious illness, personal injury, permanent disability, or death.

4. I acknowledge that this risk may result from or be compounded by the actions, omissions, or negligence of others, including employees, workers, volunteers, or other representatives of l’Ordre or of CPA Canada.

l’Ordre is like the state society of Quebec but you know, not a state society since they don’t have states up there and with a superior name that sounds like a magic-wielding faction you’d meet living in a castle in some expansive RPG. But instead of magic they wield gold, obviously.

According to CPA Canada, the September 2020 CFE will take place “in-person at multiple hotels across the country in the usual cities where examination centres were held in the past.” Each individual candidate will be provided with a hotel room that contains a writing desk and a restroom, as well as CPA-issued laptops with Word, Excel, and Folio Views (basically a searchable database as I understand it). They will not be using Surpass software, which if you’ll recall caused a clusterfuck of biblical proportions last September. Please, only one biblical plague at a time, we can only take so much.

As for the waiver? In its COVID-19 FAQs for the CPA Certification Program [PDF], CPA Canada explains its necessity as follows:

The CPA profession, in consultation with public health authorities, is implementing health and safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the September 2020 CFE. However, given the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of contracting the virus entirely. For those candidates who choose to write the September 2020 CFE, the waiver ensures that those candidates understand, acknowledge, and accept the risks associated with COVID-19 as a condition of writing the CFE.

It goes on to say that candidates who decline to sign the waiver will not be allowed to take the September 2020 CFE and will be refunded any exam fees already paid for that particular exam.

Good luck, September 2020 CFE writers. You’ll need it. I feel like I haven’t signed off with “stay safe out there” in weeks but if ever it needed to be said, well, it should be said to y’all. Excuse me, you guys.

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