About IFRS


International Financial Reporting Standards or IFRS represent the accounting framework adopted by the Accounting Standards Board (“AcSB”) for publicly accountable enterprises (PAEs).  Broadly speaking, IFRSs represent the entire body of International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”) pronouncements:

  • International Financial Reporting Standards
  • International Accounting Standards
  • IFRIC Interpretations
  • SIC Interpretations

IFRSs are part of Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) only after they are approved by the AcSB in accordance with its due process. These standards are incorporated in Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook (“the Handbook”) and became mandatory for PAEs, subject to some exceptions (as noted below), for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. 

The AcSB’s IFRS Discussion Group (IDG) is a discussion forum only. The IDG’s purpose is to assist the AcSB regarding the identification of issues arising on the application of IFRSs in Canada. Any views expressed in the public meeting do not necessarily represent the views of the organization to which a member belongs or the views of the AcSB. The discussions of the IDG do not constitute official pronouncements or authoritative guidance and the comments made during an IDG meeting in relation to the application of IFRSs do not purport to be conclusions about acceptable or unacceptable application of IFRSs. Only the IASB or the IFRS Interpretations Committee can make such a determination.

Definition of a publicly accountable enterprise

A publicly accountable enterprise is an entity, other than a not-for-profit organization, that:

  1. has issued, or is in the process of issuing, debt or equity instruments that are, or will be, outstanding and traded in a public market (a domestic or foreign stock exchange or an over-the-counter market, including local and regional markets); or
  2. holds assets in a fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of its primary businesses.

Banks, credit unions, insurance companies, securities brokers / dealers, mutual funds and investment banks typically meet the second criterion above. Other entities may also hold assets in a fiduciary capacity for a broad group of outsiders because they hold and manage financial resources entrusted to them by clients, customers or members not involved in the management of the entity. However, if they do so for reasons incidental to a primary business (as, for example, may be the case for travel or real estate agents, co-operative enterprises requiring a nominal membership deposit, or sellers that receive payment in advance of delivery of the goods or services, such as utility companies), that does not make them publicly accountable.

As noted above, while the mandatory adoption date for Part I of the Handbook was January 1, 2011, a deferred date of adoption was provided for certain classes of entities. Investment companies and segregated accounts of life insurance enterprises were able to defer their changeover date to fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2014 and rate regulated entities were able to defer their changeover date to fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.  Additionally, Canadian securities regulations provide an option for Canadian PAEs filing in the United States to apply U.S. GAAP rather than Canadian GAAP. They also concluded that rate-regulated entities that are not registered with the SEC may ask their Principal Provincial Regulator for an extension of their exemption from the requirement to adopt IFRS from years beginning on or after January 1, 2015 until 2019. The relief is provided under the CSA's umbrella policy - National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions.

Due Process

The policy of the Accounting Standards Board is to adopt IFRSs without modification. However, in circumstances expected to be rare and after following its due process, the AcSB may decide not to adopt an IFRS or to modify it when adopting it into Canadian GAAP. At present, no such decisions have been taken and the Handbook includes all effective IFRSs as issued by the IASB.  This said, newly issued, amended or revised IFRSs are part of Canadian GAAP only after they are approved by the AcSB in accordance with its due process. IFRSs that have been issued by the IASB but for which the due process of the AcSB is yet to be completed are not incorporated in the Handbook.  The effective date referred to in the standard summary table provides you with the effective date of each standard.  The individual standard specific pages on our website provide you with both the date a standard was issued by the IASB and the date the standard was incorporated into the Handbook by the AcSB.

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.