The Institute now has a worldwide membership of 29,000 in over 80 countries working to ensure the smooth functioning of their organizations.
There are autonomous divisions in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; semi-autonomous associations in 20 other countries and members linked directly with Great Britain in another 60 countries.
Members are recognized internationally and are entitled to use the designation Chartered Secretary as well as internationally recognized post-nominals - ACG (or ACIS) and FCG (or FCIS).
With a network this vast, the ACG (ACIS) and FCG (FCIS) post-nominals are your passport to the world and those who possess them can compete with confidence in the global job market. Dealing with governance issues in one jurisdiction is challenging - but in a global economy - organizations must understand the laws, procedures, and business requirements of many different countries.
These affiliations and contacts provide an enhanced ability to navigate global markets. For our members, this means a transportable designation with a worldwide network of colleagues, available to advise and consult at the touch of a button. For prospective employers, they can be assured that when they hire a Chartered Governance Institute graduate, they've hired one of the best the world has to offer.
What is the Chartered Governance Professional designation?
In recognition of the increasing importance of governance in public life and the growing global demand for qualified professionals, the International Institute's Royal Charter was amended in May 2018 to provide a new designation, Chartered Governance Professional.
It is with great pleasure that we confirm that members who have been Chartered Secretaries, Fellows, and Associates, for five years as of July 2018 and who remain in good standing may now use the new designation of Chartered Governance Professional.
Those who have not yet been members for five years will be eligible to use the new designation on their five-year anniversary or by December 31, 2020, whichever comes first.
Finalized details for the formatting of the new post-nominals will follow.
This new professional designation is elective. You remain a Chartered Secretary and may use either or both designations.
Am I qualified?
Certain criteria must be satisfied before you can qualify as a Chartered member of CGIC.
You should hold a degree or professional qualification approved by CGI of Canada
If you are a graduate from a college program, in a related discipline, from a post-secondary institution recognized by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and/or approved by Chartered Secretaries Canada you may also qualify for admission.
You must complete CGI of Canada's Professional Program. Subject exemptions are available and the specific subjects required will depend on our assessment of your previous studies.
There are two levels of Chartered membership - Associate and Fellow.
Election as Associate requires at least six (6) years of relevant experience
Fellowship is the higher level denoting greater experience and levels of responsibility. Fellowship election requires a minimum of eight (8) years, including at least three (3) years in a position of appropriate responsibility
Applications are reviewed by CGI of Canada's Governance and Admissions Committee.
Still need help? Contact the National Office directly for assistance.
Is my membership transferrable?
New to Canada? Chartered Institute Members (Graduates, Associates, Fellows) who wish to transfer their membership to the Canadian Division are advised to request that their existing Division to provide the necessary information to affect the transfer to the National Office by email to the National Office. There is a fee to cover the cost of record the transfer, we will provide you with an invoice when we confirm receipt of your file.
While no further examinations are necessary, in order to understand the Canadian system, you may find it useful to review our study guides in Corporate Secretaryship, Corporate Law, and Corporate Governance. Contact usfor purchase details.
Logging into your account for the first time simply requires your email and membership number. Your email is your user name and your membership number is your password. Log in can be done at anytime by clicking here. Once logged in, you can change your password to something more personal or memorable.
What positions are held by Chartered Governance Institute of Canada members?
Here are some of the titles you can expect to see in the marketplace where our members will excel:
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Financial Officer/ Controller
What are the general duties of a Corporate Secretary or Governance Professional?
The Corporate Secretary's role requires a strong understanding of business in order to conduct the following:
Carry out responsibilities for the safe custody and currency of corporate records;
Have a clear understanding of each company's constituting documents and of the relevant legislative provisions;
Ensure that the necessary registers required to be kept by the relevant legislation are established and properly maintained;
Ensure that all returns required to be submitted to a regulator are prepared and filed within the appropriate time limits;
Be conversant with the requirements of relevant Stock Exchanges (if any company's shares are listed);
Organize and attend meetings of the shareholders and directors (including sending out of notices, preparation of agendas, marshalling of proxies, drafting minutes);
Provide advice and counsel on corporate governance practices generally and on corporate secretarial matters; supervise the company's share capital generally, including the preparation of allotment letters, issue of share certificates, handling of transfers and transmissions of shares, forfeiting of shares, etc;
Ensure that the company's financial records are kept in accordance with the relevant legislation and the annual accounts and reports are prepared in the form and at the time required;
Monitor the preparation of any tax returns and ensure that management is aware of the need for compliance with the various taxation provisions;
Monitor the organization's insurance requirements and ensure that these are brought to the attention of the appropriate officer;
Be conversant with all applicable current statutory requirements and provisions in relation to the company's activities and ensure compliance with them;
Supports the Chairman and the Board with communication to other officers, auditors, shareholders or other stakeholders as required;
Advise the directors on disclosure and other compliance obligations of the company and of the directors under the law.
CGIC graduates are equipped for this list of projects.
Are Chartered Secretaries executive secretaries or administrative assistants?
Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are not executive secretaries or administrative assistants, they are corporate professionals, hired by and reporting to the Board of Directors of their companies. While Boards of Directors are responsible for the overall operations and performance of companies, they rely on the company's officers to carry out Board policy and to provide them with competent advice and guidance to ensure the company meets its legal and regulatory obligations.
What is a Chartered Secretary or Governance Professional?
Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are senior professionals trained in law, finance, governance and strategy. They principally work as company secretaries or in other similar roles. They are obliged to uphold the highest standards of governance practice and ethical behaviour.
Highly valued by employers for their training, Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are the primary source of advice on governance to their board. Broadly, this can span everything from legal and accounting advice, to the development of strategy and corporate planning.
What do Chartered or Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals do?
It's difficult to provide a clear-cut answer. Chartered secretaries occupy a unique position in the company's management team and their duties and responsibilities often cut across all departments. The image conjured up by the term "chartered secretary" is somewhat Dickensian. Think of poor Bob Crachit toiling away as a loyal scribe in Scrooge's business. Happily, this image of depressing servitude is a million miles away from the duties of today's chartered secretary.
It is important to keep in mind that the duties and responsibilities of chartered secretaries differ widely from organization to organization. However, certain key areas can be identified:
Corporate Governance matters
Develops agenda and supporting materials, and acts as official recording secretary for:
Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Corporate Records (development and maintenance)
Stock Exchange Requirements (i.e. stock transfer)
Roles and responsibilities:
Main contact person for directors, officers and shareholders
Provides training for new directors and officers
Advises the company's officers (i.e. chairman and CEO) on company matters
Liaison between the company and its shareholders
Generates shareholder communications
Responsible for shareholder relations
Compliance/ Regulatory and Legal matters
Filing of statements and reports to the Canadian Securities Commission "insider" trading reports
Administration of company's corporate code of conduct and the development of other company-wide policies and procedures.
What is the history of the Institute?
Recently re-named the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada at the 2019 annual general meeting, "the Institute" was initially established in 1891 to promote and maintain professionalism in the fields of commerce and administration.
The Institute celebrated the Centenary of its Royal Charter in 2002, originally granted on November 4, 1902. Under its Charter, the Institute has as its objective "the promotion and advancement of the efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs" (Article 4). Efficient administration remains a fundamental bedrock of organisational success today. In 1964, to reflect the wide scope of the profession and more fully describe the status and capabilities of its members, its name was changed from the Institute of Secretaries to The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Now known as the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada, the Institute continues to serve in unique in the global business environment - it is the only organization to provide a professional program and designations for chartered secretaries and administrators recognized worldwide. All members join as students of the Institute and, after completing a program of study, become Associates of the Institute and receive the ACIS designation. More seasoned members may apply to become Fellows of the Institute, usually after 8 years of appropriate work experience, and receive the FCIS designation.
As the organization of professional administrators in Canada, CGIC is committed to strengthening and advancing the efficient administration of every type of organization in business and government.
What is the Secretary Bird?
The secretary bird, a native of southern Africa, acquired its name by the supposed resemblance of its black feathery head plumes to a secretary with a quill pen behind its ear. Strange as it may be, the bird was aptly named as some of its characteristics are appropriate to the secretarial profession.
The Institute's Secretary Rusell Day must be given credit for adopting the secretary bird as its crest in 1896. Through a study of the bird, he discovered that its most prominent characteristics were alertness and its ability to successfully prey on snakes. This signified the vigilant character to be instilled in every chartered secretary. A creature of habit, the bird mates for life and is fiercely protective of its territory being a classic, portrayal of a Chartered Secretary's pursuit of high ethical standards.
Russell Day had also shipped from South Africa a specimen of the bird to present it to the Institute. The mascot was mounted in a glass case but unfortunately was destroyed when the Institute's premises were bombed on December 29, 1940. However, it was later replaced and resumed its duty as a symbol of high professionalism among chartered secretaries.
What exemptions do I qualify for and what courses do I need to take?
Depending on their academic or professional background, candidates may be eligible for some module exemptions. View our most common routes to entry.
How much time will I need to study?
We recommend 200+ hours of study per course.
How will I receive my study materials?
All study materials and in electronic format and will be accessible to you through your online account with CGIC. Please note that you are able to access the study materials for a module once you have paid for that module.
Can I get hard copies of the study materials?
No, we do not provide hard copies of the study materials.
What will be included in the study materials?
The study materials will include all of the necessary readings, sample exam papers, and past exams with marking (when available).
What are the cut-off dates for registration as a student of CGIC?
April 1st is the last day to register for the June exams and September 15th is the last day to register for the November exams.
Do I need to take any online classes before the exams?
No. All modules are self-study.
Are there any study groups or online group forums?
All courses are self-study. Any study groups would have to be organized on your own time. CGIC’s Director of Education can help with putting you in contact with other candidates.
Is there a timeframe I must complete my exams in?
Exams take place in June and November of each year. If you enroll for the June exams, you are required to write your exams during that exam session. If you would like to defer your exams to the next exam session, you will be required to pay a deferral fee.
If I am not living in Canada and I am studying in India, can I sit my examination in India?
Exams are delivered online. You can take the exam anywhere.
You will require a computer/laptop that has a webcam and microphone as well as Internet connectivity.
What is the exam format?
Exams are in short and long answer (essay) format.
What if I fail the exam?
You will need to achieve a score of 50% or higher in order to pass the course.
What grade do I need to pass the exam/course?
If you fail and wish to re-write your exam, you will be required to pay a re-sit fee to write the exam again.
Who is eligible to be covered by the MOU between the ICSI and CGIC?
All persons that are Associates or Fellows and are a fully paid-up member in good standing for a minimum of two years of ICSI are eligible to be covered by this MOU.
How do I prove that I am a member of ICSI?
You will need to get your membership verified through the ICSI online process. Click here for more details.
Do I have to be resident of Canada to study with CGIC?
No, as long as you are a Fellow or Associate of ICSI for two years or more, you are eligible to enroll with CGIC.
Can I transfer my membership between ICSA divisions?
All members of the ICSA are members of the same Institute, regardless of which division they are registered in. If you wish to transfer your membership, please contact the ICSA division where you are a member and they will arrange for your details to be transferred.
Please note there will be a one-time transfer fee plus any outstanding membership fees to transfer out of or into the Canadian Division that must be paid before transferring.
Will I need to have post membership experience in order to become a member of CGIC?
Membership of your Institute assumes that you have the minimum number of years of experience. You will only need to study the additional subjects to qualify for membership with CGIC.
Will I become an Associate or a Fellow of the other Institute once I have met all the requirements?
Yes, if you are a Fellow of your Institute you will become a Fellow of CGIC and if you are an Associate you will become an Associate of CGIC.
Do the terms of the MOU entitle me to gain a student visa?
No. CGIC does not assist a person with obtaining a visa for study, or visa of any kind. All matters pertaining to student visa are a matter for the individual. CGIC does not support applications for employment or residency visas in Canada.
What jobs are available to me once I obtain my certification from CGIC?
You can visit the Employment Opportunities page of our website for a list of recent postings and it is also recommended that you visit Canadian job search websites.
Will CGIC assist me in finding work in Canada?
No. Finding work is a matter for each member. The MOU does not entitle a person to assistance from CGIC in securing employment. All matters pertaining to employment are a matter for the individual.
Once I attain membership does this entitle me to an automatic visa to study or work?
No. When you become a member of CGIC through this MOU there is no automatic entitlement to attain a resident/work visa. Attaining a resident/work visa is a matter for each member and the MOU does not entitle a person to a visa, nor does CGIC assist a person to attain a visa to work. All matters pertaining to resident/work visas are a matter for the individual.
We accept payment by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or by cheque.
Do I need to pay for all of the courses at one time?
No, you can pay for one module at a time, as you take them. Please note that you must pay for the module before you will be given access to the study materials and we do not recommend taking more then two at a time.
Study materials are included in the cost of the course, and the cost of exams is included in your registration fee.
Will I have to pay a membership fee to CGIC?
Yes, you will be expected to pay a membership fee to CGIC annually.