FP Canada™ Certifications Transition Guide

As society faces technological disruption in all walks of life, the traditional role and value of all professions needs to be re-evaluated—including professional financial planning. Canadians have a greater need than ever for personalized financial planning advice as they navigate a world defined by ever-evolving technology and readily available information. Professional financial planners require new skills to meet the needs of all Canadians in this new era.

In light of this reality, FP Canada undertook a comprehensive review of its certification programs and requirements in late 2017 and early 2018. This review led to modifications in the curriculum and paths leading to certification, to create efficiencies for candidates and to enrich financial planners’ knowledge and skill through a new professional education program. This page details the key policies and timelines during the transition to the new programs and paths.

 

Overview of Changes to FP Canada Certification Paths

FP Canada is making changes to its certification programs:

  • Candidates pursuing CFP® certification are no longer required to obtain and maintain FPSC Level 1® certification to write the CFP examination.
  • New professional education requirements were introduced for candidates pursuing both QAFP™ certification and CFP certification.
  • QAFP certification candidates will be required to demonstrate one year of relevant work experience prior to certification (there is no change to the three-year work experience requirement for CFP certification applicants).
Post-secondary education requirements for CFP certification and QAFP certification applicants will come into effect in 2022.
Learn more about post-secondary education requirements

 

More Information

FAQ
QAFP Certification Policies
CFP Certification Policies
Watch our Paths to FP Canada Certification webinar

 

Summary of Changes to FP Canada Certifications

In late 2019, the FP Canada Institute™ began offering Professional Education Programs. These e-learning programs help prospective and existing financial planners develop essential professional skills and gain a strong grasp of their ethical obligations. Students can apply their technical knowledge in practice, learn how to communicate important messages effectively, and understand the key psychological and behavioural factors that motivate clients.

On January 1, 2020, FP Canada launched the Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ designation. QAFP™ certification, which replaced FPSC Level 1® certification, is a new designation designed to demonstrate that a financial planner has the knowledge, skills, experience and ethics to provide holistic financial planning strategies and solutions for clients with less complex financial planning needs. Unlike the previous path to certification, the education requirements for QAFP certification are decoupled from the education requirements for Certified Financial Planner® certification.

In effect as of January 1, 2020, Candidates now have the choice to either pursue QAFP or CFP certification directly, or pursue QAFP certification first and continue their studies to complete CFP certification at a later date. A variety of paths to CFP certification are available to provide flexibility to candidates with relevant qualifications, including a QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program for QAFP certificants.

Learn more about the new paths to certification

 

Transition Rules

  • On January 1, 2020, FPSC Level 1® Certification was replaced with QAFP™ Certification, and all FPSC Level 1 certificants in good standing on December 31, 2019 were automatically transitioned to QAFP professionals. Candidates who choose not to immediately pursue CFP certification must complete Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) and the QAFP Professional Education Program by July 31, 2021, to maintain QAFP certification

  • Candidates who wish to pursue CFP certification immediately must either:
    • Complete the Advanced Curriculum Program, the IPE course and the CFP Professional Education Program*; or
    • Complete IPE and QAFP Professional Education Program by July 31, 2021 and the QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program

    *Candidates wishing to maintain QAFP certification while pursuing CFP certification must complete IPE and CFP Professional Education Program by July 31, 2021.

Former FPSC Level 1 certificants who have let their certification lapse, and who did not reinstate before January 1, 2020, must (in addition to the usual reinstatement requirements) complete IPE and QAFP Professional Education Program to qualify for QAFP certification. Only FPSC Level 1 certificants in good standing on December 31, 2019 were eligible to automatically transition to QAFP certification.

Existing CFP professionals are not affected by the program changes.

There are no changes to the reinstatement requirements for CFP professionals.

 

Professional Education Programs

A two-hour long self-study course, Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) equips students with the requisite foundational knowledge of the ethical obligations owed by all professionals, and the specific application of these obligations to financial planning practice. IPE teaches students the distinction between integrity-based professional obligations and compliance-based obligations, with emphasis on the financial services landscape. The course introduces the specific professional obligations of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals, why they matter and what they mean in practical terms.

The QAFP Professional Education Program teaches students how to integrate the body of knowledge they have acquired from their Core Curriculum Program courses and apply best practices for undertaking financial planning in less complex client engagements. This program introduces models and techniques for undertaking all phases of the financial planning process in less complex client engagements.

QAFP Professional Education Program teaches students how to apply their technical knowledge and learn and apply key facets of human behaviour and fundamental professional skills in the areas of communications, critical thinking and managing relationships. This program also addresses the application of ethical obligations in these less complex client engagements.

QAFP Professional Education Program learning uses real-world case scenarios for students to develop a deep understanding of, and competence in the integrated, holistic nature of financial planning practice.

The CFP Professional Education Program is an online, self-study program. It teaches students how to apply the totality of the body of knowledge gained in their Core and Advanced Curriculum Programs in an integrated fashion and to the practice of financial planning. This program introduces models and techniques for undertaking all phases of the financial planning process with clients who have situations and/or needs at various levels of complexity.

The CFP Professional Education Program teaches students how to apply their technical knowledge, and learn and apply fundamental and advanced principles of human behaviour and professional skills in the areas of communications, critical thinking, managing relationships, ethical obligations and dilemmas, all which may be required in client engagements that are both more and less complex.

The CFP Professional Education Program uses real-world case scenarios for students to develop a deep understanding of, and competence in the integrated, holistic nature of financial planning practice.

 

Education Requirements for Certification

To qualify to sit for examinations from June 2020 onward, candidates must meet the following requirements:

Education QAFP Certification CFP Certification Pre-RequisitesKey Information
FP Canada-Approved Core Curriculum Program (CC)*
 
Education program that reflects the knowledge requirements detailed in the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge.
NoneDelivered by FP Canada-Approved education providers

Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE)

NoneDelivered by the FP Canada Institute™ starting in Fall 2019

QAFP Professional Education Program (QAFP PEP)

 
  • IPE

  • CC
  • Delivered by the FP Canada Institute™, starting in mid-2020

  • QAFP candidates must successfully complete QAFP PEP within one year of QAFP certification; however, they may choose to take QAFP PEP before sitting the QAFP examination (upon completion of IPE + CC)
  • FP Canada-Approved Advanced Curriculum Program (AC)*

     

    Education program that reflects the knowledge requirements detailed in the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge for CFP professionals.

     
  • CC
  • Delivered by FP Canada-Approved education providers

    CFP Professional Education Program (CFP PEP)

     
  • IPE

  • AC
  • Delivered by the FP Canada Institute™, starting late 2019

     

    1. As of the June 2020 CFP exam, the Capstone course will no longer be required or accepted as a prerequisite for first-time writers.

    2. Candidates who wrote the CFP exam prior to June 2020, but were unsuccessful, can continue to challenge the CFP examination subject to completing IPE as a prerequisite and subject to education currency and exam attempt limits.

    Offered by FP Canada Institute, the QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program is designed for QAFP professionals who are interested in pursuing CFP Certification and have completed the QAFP Professional Education Program. This program focuses on the application of both the Core and Advanced Curriculum and both fundamental and advanced principles of human behaviour in client engagements that are both more and less complex.

    The QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program uses real-world case scenarios for students to develop a deep understanding of, and competence in the integrated, holistic nature of financial planning practice.

     

    New Post-Secondary Education Requirements

    Effective April 1, 2022, new applicants for QAFP certification must hold a post-secondary diploma from an accredited college or university.

    Effective April 1, 2022, new applicants for CFP certification must hold a post-secondary degree from an accredited college or university.

    The following grandfathering and transition provisions apply:

    • QAFP professionals and CFP professionals already certified on or before March 31, 2022, are exempt from the post-secondary education requirements.

    • Applicants for QAFP certification and CFP certification are exempt from the post-secondary education requirements if, on March 31, 2022 they have:
      • Passed the QAFP examination or CFP examination, in which case, they will be subject to normal certification time-limits; or
      • More than 15 years of relevant work experience and obtain an FP Canada certification on or before March 31, 2024.

    • Applicants for CFP certification will be exempt from the degree requirement if they commenced one of the below detailed three-year diploma programs in September 2019, successfully complete the program by March 2024 and write the CFP examination by December 31, 2024:
      • George Brown College – Business Administration - Finance (three-year advanced diploma)
      • Sheridan College - Business Administration - Finance (three-year advanced diploma)
      • Conestoga College - Business Administration - Financial Planning (three-year advanced diploma)
      • Seneca College - Business Administration - Financial Planning (three-year advanced diploma)
      • Algonquin College - Business Administration - Finance (three-year advanced diploma)
      • Centennial College - Business Administration - Finance (three-year advanced diploma)

    No exemptions will be granted after December 31, 2024.

     

    Work Experience Requirement

    Candidates must demonstrate one year of relevant work experience to qualify for QAFP certification. Work experience may be obtained before or after passing the QAFP exam.

    Candidates must demonstrate three years of relevant work experience to qualify for CFP certification. Work experience may be obtained before or after passing the CFP exam.

     

    Continuing Education Requirements

    1. No changes were made to the minimum 12-hour annual CE requirement, including one hour in the category of Professional Responsibility.

    2. QAFP Professional Education Program must be completed within one year of QAFP certification (if it was not already completed prior to writing the QAFP exam).

    3. QAFP certificants are exempt from CE requirements in all categories, including the category of Professional Responsibility, in the year they pass the QAFP exam and the following two calendar years, in recognition of completion of QAFP Professional Education Program.
    1. No changes were made to the minimum 25-hour annual CE requirement.

    2. Effective January 2020, CFP professionals must complete two hours of CE in the category of Professional Responsibility annually (a change from the current one-hour annual requirement).

    3. CFP professionals are exempt from CE requirements in all categories, including in the category of Professional Responsibility, in the year they pass the CFP exam and the following two calendar years, in recognition of completion of CFP Professional Education Program.

     

    Key Dates Summary

    Key transition dates are as follows:

    Date Milestone Key Information
    January 1, 2020 FPSC Level 1 certificants transition to QAFP designation.

    Automatic transition for all certificants in good standing on December 31, 2019.

    Lapsed FPSC Level 1 certificants who have not reinstated by December 31, 2019 must complete IPE and QAFP PEP to be eligible for QAFP certification.

    Commencing
    January 1, 2020

    New QAFP certificants must demonstrate one year of relevant work experience prior to certification.

    Work experience may be gained pre- or post-examination.

    Certificants who passed the Nov. 2019 FPSC Level 1 exam or automatically transition from FPSC Level 1 certification to QAFP certification on January 1, 2020 are exempt from this requirement.

    Commencing
    January 2020

    CFP professionals must complete two hours of CE in the category of Professional Responsibility annually.

    Increased from one hour annually.

    No change to total requirement of 25 CE credits annually.

    June 2020New education requirements effective for the QAFP and CFP examinations examinations.

    Please see New Education Requirements for Certification

    Late 2020QAFP PEP becomes available to students.

    Program initially offered by FP Canada only

    April 1, 2022Post-secondary education requirements for certification take effect.

    Please see New Post-Secondary Education Requirements