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CEA Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to your most frequently asked questions regarding the Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors (CICEA) and the CEA designation.

How much does the CEA program cost?

The cost of the program is $1,495 plus applicable tax for non-Advocis members and $1,295 plus tax for Advocis members. This includes the annual membership fee for the current year with the Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors and two exam attempts, plus it provides access to all CICEA member tools, resources and calculators.

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How much is the annual membership fee?

The annual fee for general members is $295 plus applicable tax and, in addition to membership, this includes:

  • ongoing access to the current curriculum (constantly updated)
  • ongoing access to the 1,000 term glossary
  • use of valuable CICEA members-only tools and resources
  • use of CICEA proprietary executor-focused calculators
  • professional profile on the national "Find A CEA Directory", enabling executors and CEAs to search by profession and by geographical area.

The annual fee for chapter members (a new membership option beginning in 2016) will be $495 plus applicable tax. Chapter members will be affiliated with a local CICEA chapter holding regular meetings for all CEA professions providing a social environment with educational speakers and unprecedented networking opportunities.

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Is the CEA program approved for continuing education credits?

Yes, although the number of hours will vary by regulator. The course is approved for 30 CE credits with Advocis (IAFE), FPSC, IIROC, AIC (Alberta), CSF (Québec) and recommended by CPA Canada, 16 with IQPF (Québec), 8 with CAAMP and ICM (Manitoba). Credits are pending with RIBO and other organizations.

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Is Certified Executor Advisor an online course?

Yes. The CEA program was written and designed to be presented online, using a world-class educational platform similar to those used by universities. It includes images, charts, graphs and other visuals to enhance the learning experience, and provides easy navigation through the modules.

This allows CEA candidates to move through the material at their own pace and at their convenience, including writing the exam whenever and from wherever they wish.

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What does the cost of the CEA Designation program include?

The cost includes access to the full curriculum which, unlike programs focused on one or two disciplines, provides a broad overview spanning the 17 professions executors may turn to in the course of their duties, all written by experts in their field. It also includes the 1,000 term glossary and two exam attempts, all conveniently located online, for anytime-anywhere access, using a world class educational platform.

In addition, CEA members enjoy ongoing access to the most current curriculum and glossary, use of the instantly recognizable designation, a professional diploma, a professional listing in the national "Find A CEA" Directory, and use of CICEA executor calculators, articles, links and tools. The CEA Designation program has also been accredited for up to 30 hours (varies by institution) of continuing education credits with numerous regulatory bodies, including the IAFE (Advocis), the FPSC, CECAP (IIROC), CAAMP and others.

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Who Should Enrol?

Any one of the 17 professions executors may turn to in the course of their duties, particularly including:

  • Financial advisors concerned with the imminent erosion of AUA caused by death, or those wanting to build their assets under administration and expand their client bases, and/or those involved in practice succession wanting to bring in a new generation of clients to align with the new generation of advisors
  • Insurance advisors wanting to engage executors prior to the death of their testator parents to review liquidity issues arising on death (capital gains, deemed dispositions, recaptured depreciation, etc.) and estate planning opportunities (business succession, charitable gift structures, equalization, etc.)

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Are there any classroom sessions?

The CEA program was designed from the outset to be an online program and the e-learning structure negates the need for travel, facilities and coordinating schedules of the various participants. However, beginning in 2016, CICEA is considering offering the program in classroom sessions. For more information, please contact

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Where can I register for the CEA program?

Go to, click "Partner Programs and Designations", then CEA, and click the register button at the bottom of the page.

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Can I access my CEA course on my iPad or tablet?

Yes, but be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker such that pop-up windows are enabled — also relevant for other devices such as laptops and desktops.

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Can I access the CEA course on more than one computer or am I limited to a single computer?

Your program can be accessed from any computer, anywhere, with your password and log-in code.

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Am I able to download or print the material?

Yes, once logged in you can both download and print the course material. Please note that the curriculum is updated regularly.

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Can I review chapters after completing them?

Yes, each chapter can be viewed as often as you wish, including after successfully completing the exam.

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Once I have the designation, should I offer my services as an executor?

No, and by the time you complete the CEA program you will understand why not. Simply put, there is too much risk involved. We recommend CEAs support executors in their role, while offering the products and services in which they have expertise, using the CEA network to bring additional relevant expertise as and when necessary.

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Is there a practice exam?

Yes, you can find a practice exam at Keep in mind that the registration cost includes two exam attempts.

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How long does the exam take to write?

The exam is 50 multiple choice questions and should take approximately one hour to complete. There is a time limit of two hours.

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How long does it take to get exam results?

Exam results are provided immediately upon completion. This is another benefit of e-learning.

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When I pass the exam, when will I be able to use the designation, establish my professional profile in the ‘Find A CEA Directory’ and receive my CEA diploma?

You can use the designation immediately. Your profile will automatically be uploaded to the directory and you can edit it immediately thereafter. Your diploma will be delivered within approximately 10 business days of passing the exam.

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What happens after I complete the exam?

Successful completion of this exam (70% grade or higher) will automatically trigger the following four actions:

  1. Your information is automatically sent to our print shop and your diploma will be delivered within approximately 10 business days.
  2. You will receive an email containing your CE Certificate for your records.
  3. You are able to write your own profile, when logged in, under "My Account" (top right) for our national "Find a CEA Directory".
  4. You are immediately authorized to use the CEA designation as a member.

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What are the continuing education requirements?

CEAs are required to complete 15 hours of continuing education (CE) each year starting in their second year of membership to ensure they remain current. Continuing education should be in the areas of executor issues, estate planning and federal and provincial legislative changes.

Time spent reviewing the regularly updated curriculum should be counted, as well as time spent reading relevant newspaper, magazine and online articles, and/or attending applicable educational sessions.

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Will I receive a diploma?

Yes, your diploma will be mailed to you within 10 business days of successful completion and measures 10.5" x 13". Diplomas are not framed so you can coordinate framing with other professional designations.

Sample Diploma

CEA Diploma

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What is the national "Find A CEA" Directory?

This is the list of all certified executor advisors across Canada, allowing executors and referring CEAs to locate you by profession and by geographical region.

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How do I edit my profile on the "Find A CEA" Directory?

After logging into you are able to edit your profile in My Account. You can upload a photograph and write a description outlining your area of expertise. When writing your profile, consider the type of client you ideally prefer to work with, and the strengths of your practice that add the greatest value for them.

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Who regulates CEAs?

CEAs are regulated by the Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors. With 17 member occupations / professions, there is simply no other existing regulatory body that would be relevant for all members.

CICEA provides a professional Code of Conduct, Terms and Conditions, contact for the general public to register compliments and complaints regarding CEAs, a review process and disciplinary committee.

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How can obtaining the CEA enhance my practice or business?

This topic is covered in detail for all occupations and professions in module seven, but for the time being, consider the added value of being able to generally help executors and testators in a wider spectrum of their concerns and issues, and being able to present yourself to them with a designation which is instantly recognizable that you are such a professional.

Financial advisors can add the CEA designation to differentiate themselves as those working with executors and testators, adding considerable value while building assets, expanding their client base and identifying insurance opportunities in and outside of their practice. Any financial advisor interested in growing their practice should not ignore the massive transfer of wealth, estimated at $1.5 trillion dollars over the next 20 years (source: STEP Canada).

A significant portion of the wealth in Canada is held by people aged 65 and over, yet this demographic can be difficult to engage and hesitant to act. Their executors, on the other hand, will want to minimize estate challenges of taxation, illiquidity and inequality, and they have a vested interest in facilitating discussions. Any life insurance broker / agent interested in assisting with the $1.5 trillion dollar transfer of wealth over the next 20 years (source: STEP Canada) will benefit from the CEA designation, which provides instantly recognizable value as a professional who can help executors and testators.

In addition, the Find A CEA Directory enables executors and other professionals to locate you by occupation / profession and by geographical region across Canada. The networking opportunities, both nationally and locally, through CEA round table meetings and co-operative events, advertising and other initiatives, provides a compelling new forum for promoting your business directly to the executor and testator community.

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What is the difference between the CETA program offered by STEP Canada and the CEA designation program offered by CICEA?

The Certificate in Estate and Trust Administration (CETA) program "is designed to enhance the knowledge and performance of Canadian estate administrators"… (and other professionals)… "working in the area of estates and trusts." (STEP Canada)

The Certified Executor Advisor (CEA) designation program is designed to provide candidates from the 17 professions executors may turn to in the course of their duties, with a broad, practical knowledge in all of the disciplines required to advise an executor/executrix.

CETA is an in-depth, testator — focused program for those engaged in estate settlement while CEA is a wider — ranging, executor — focused program for those engaged in estate preparation. Both courses can be immensely beneficial depending upon the objectives of each professional candidate.

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