Frequently Asked Questions

Easily find the answers to your questions on membership, professional development programs, certification and JobConnect!

To obtain the PCP certification, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Complete all the required courses.
  2. Transfer non-core payroll course(s) to the CPA (e.g., Introduction to Accounting).
  3. Complete the Work Experience Requirement Application (WERA).
  4. Ensure you have an active membership with the CPA.

Once these requirements are met, the Certification Declaration will be emailed to you. You must read and submit the declaration online within the PCP certification timeline to receive the certification.

The PCP certificate will then be mailed to the preferred address in your file 6-8 weeks after your declaration is processed.

After reviewing the continuing education processes of other associations, the CPA streamlined its CPE reporting cycle to an annual process. The one-year CPE cycle provides for a clearer and more consistent process for all certified members. It enables you to keep your knowledge up to date each year and better communicate your new learning to your employer and the CPA.

Not every category of responsibilities on the PCP Work Experience Requirement Application is required to be represented, but there are restrictions in instances where a position is only responsible for small portion of the payroll function. For example, in some large companies, there may be a payroll role in which the employee enters the weekly data for all staff but does little else related to payroll. This position would have a very high percentage (90-100%) of experience in the Payroll Administration category and would therefore be unlikely to qualify.

The majority of payroll positions are typically a mix of 4 or 5 different categories depending on the role.

Payroll work experience is 2 years of weighted payroll experience where you are responsible for the payroll function of an organization, including being accountable to management for the accuracy of employees' pay and statutory remittances, or equivalent experience, obtained within the past 5 years.

This experience must be demonstrated to, and approved by, the CPA through the Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application (PEPA). The CPA must approve your application before you can enroll in the Introduction to Payroll Management course.

To reset or create a password, click on Member Centre (at the top right corner of the website) or click on My Profile (in the Membership menu). Then click on “Forgot password.” Enter your CPA number and click on “Submit.” An email will be sent to the preferred email address you have on file with the CPA providing instructions on how to reset or create our password.
If you need help, contact

Students must submit an official transcript. Grade reports, photocopies, scanned copies and transcripts printed from the institution's website are not accepted.

We will return your official transcript if you indicate this on the Transfer Credit Application and include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your transfer application.

The weighting of the PCP Work Experience Requirement is determined by the number of hours per week spent completing payroll-oriented tasks. Using the standard 35-hour work week, the number of months spent completing qualifying work experience can be calculated. For example, if you spend 20 hours per week on payroll-oriented tasks and have held the position for 16 months, you would be granted a total of nine months (20 / 35 * 16 = 9.14). Only a full completed month of experience will be counted (no fractions, decimals or rounding).

If payroll is only one of your functions, you may require more than one year in the position to meet the requirement.

You are eligible to send the Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application (PEPA) for assessment once you have obtained your Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification. You must submit your completed application with all supporting documentation at least 4 weeks before you intend to start the Introduction to Payroll Management course. You will be advised of the status of your application within 20 business days of the date it is received by the CPA.

You will be sent an acknowledgment email when your Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application (PEPA) is received. You will be advised of the status of your application within 20 business days.

If you are self-employed, your clients can be your verifiers. Self-employed individuals may be contacted by the CPA for an interview.

An official transcript is a copy of a student’s permanent record. It is printed on secure paper and/or has the college seal. It is usually signed by the registrar. Only the official transcript will be accepted; copies and scans of the official transcript are not acceptable.

The annual membership fee depends on the membership category. Click here for current fees.

The course cost depends on the study method chosen. Click here for more information. 

Note: In-classroom students must first register with the post-secondary institution and pay the applicable tuition fees. Then they must register with the CPA and pay the CPA registration fees to be sent the course materials and access to any online components. Students must have membership with the CPA on order to register for a course.

Approved PCP work experience is one year of weighted experience in the field of payroll involving paying employees accurately, on time and in compliance with legislation while contributing to the annual payroll cycle. This experience must be demonstrated to, and approved by, the CPA through the PCP Work Experience Requirement Application (PCP-WERA).

The CPA provides a detailed guide to completing the application and a sample application on its website. Please note this application is an example only. Eligible PCP candidates will be provided with access to the application once they qualify. You will be advised of the status of your application within 20 business days of the date it is received by the CPA.

A verifier is a person who is, or was, your direct reporting manager and has a professional business relationship with you, such as your current or past employer. Family members are not eligible to verify your experience.

As of January 1, 2013, the minimum pass mark is 65% for all PCP and CPM courses, including challenge exams, started on or after that date. This minimum pass mark applies to courses taken online or through continuing education, as well as through a full-time program at a recognized college, university or private career college.

Courses completed prior to January 1, 2013, do not have to be retaken if a mark of 60% was obtained. However, courses that started on or after January 1, 2013, require both a final overall course mark and a final exam mark of 65%. This policy also applies to all transfer credit courses. 

If you are reinstating your certification, you must obtain a minimum pass mark of 65% on the Payroll Knowledge Evaluator (PKE) assessment you are required to complete as part of the reinstatement process.

The PCP Work Experience Requirement is a one-year weighted payroll job experience requirement for the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification that you must complete within 5 years before or 5 years after you start the Payroll Compliance Legislation course if you are completing the program online or through continuing education.

For students taking the PCP courses through a full-time program at a recognized college, university or private career college, the PCP Work Experience Requirement timeline begins once you complete the Payroll Fundamentals 2 course.

Representatives and other employees are covered under Organization membership. The Organization Membership is for an organization and can cover two or more people depending on how many people you wish to add under the organization’s roster. The fee for this membership depends on the number of employees the organization has in total. Please refer to the pricing chart.

Organization Membership includes:

  • Membership for two main representatives who receive all of the CPA publications and communications and can enjoy all of the benefits the membership has to
  • The two main representatives include a primary Payroll Representative and a Second Payroll Representative.
  • Organization membership includes the option to add additional representatives at $130 plus applicable taxes, and other employees.  

Payroll Representative:

The primary Payroll Representative is the main contact person for the organization and the only person that has the authority to make changes to the membership, such as:

  • Adding or removing an employee from the roster;
  • Changing the name, address or contact information of the organization or any other information pertaining to the organization’s membership.

The Payroll Representative will receive the annual membership renewal notice, the receipt for membership dues paid, a membership card, a  printed copy of DIALOGUE Magazine and has voting rights during the Annual General Meeting and CPA’s Board of Director’s Election.

Second Payroll Representative:

The Second Payroll Representative can only act on behalf of the organization to advise us if the Payroll Representative is no longer with the organization and provide the new payroll representative contact information.

The Second Payroll Representative will also receive a printed copy of DIALOGUE magazine, a membership card, but will not have voting rights as our membership policy only allows one Representative per organization to vote during election occasions.

Additional Representatives (Not mandatory: You can add as many employees as you wish at no extra cost):

Additional Representatives can be added to an organization membership at a fee of $130 plus taxes and will also receive the printed copy of DIALOGUE magazine and a membership card. Like the Second Payroll Representative, the Additional Representative can only act on behalf of the organization if the Payroll Representative and Second Payroll Representative are no longer with the organization to provide the CPA with new contact information. Additional Representatives do not have voting rights.

Other Employees: 

You also have the option to add other employees to the membership roster to receive our electronic communications and e-newsletter, and gain access the electronic version of DIALOGUE magazine. They do not, however, receive a membership card though they are still considered members.

These are employees that can be added under the organization roster as Other Employees. They will receive the member rate to attend all CPA events and/or to take our certification courses. They also have access to all other benefits of membership.

There are three types of membership:

  • Professional Member: You are certified as a Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) or Certified Payroll Manager (CPM).
  • Associate Member: You would like to take advantage of the benefits of memberships, and you are not certified nor is your company a member. This is also an option if you are a student pursuing the PCP certification.
  • Organization Member: Your organization operates, is responsible for or has an interest in Canadian payroll. Member benefits can be enjoyed by all relevant employees.
To view a detailed description of each type of membership, please click on Types of Membership.