Payroll Certifications

Payroll Certifications


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The Canadian Payroll Association's (CPA's) Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) certification programs are recognized nationally as the standards of excellence for payroll training.

The Association offers the only payroll certifications in Canada: the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and the Certified Payroll Manager (CPM). These programs prepare payroll practitioners to manage the compliance requirements of an organization's annual payroll cycle, deliver clear and reliable payroll information, and contribute a payroll perspective to organizational policy and strategy discussions. The CPA awards these professional certifications upon completion of core and compulsory courses that may be taken through classroom study at Mount Royal University. Certification from the CPA is a prerequisite for employment in payroll by more and more employers.


  • Prepare for a career in payroll management
  • Upgrade your existing skills by earning a recognized payroll management credential
  • Gain the compliance knowledge required to process an organization's annual payroll cycle
  • Learn to contribute a payroll perspective to organizational policy and strategy discussions
  • Enhance your human resources, information systems or accounting role with payroll management knowledge

Earning Your Certification
To receive certification, you must complete the Canadian Payroll Association core courses listed in the schedule below plus compulsory courses, complete the CPA's Application for Certification and fulfill the CPA's ongoing certification requirements: Payroll work experience, CPA membership, adherence to the CPA's Code of Conduct and Continuing Professional Education (CPE). The core courses offered vary each semester.

For a complete listing of the compulsory courses required (and approved equivalents) for certification, please refer to the CPA's website or contact For classes available at Mount Royal University, please contact our Open Studies area at 403.440.6282.

The CPA has an online database of accepted courses offered at other Canadian post-secondary institutions to assist you in finding suggested equivalents for the CPA's compulsory courses. Click here to access this database and for complete details on the CPA's Transfer of Credit procedure.


CPA Core Courses Winter
Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP)
Payroll Compliance Legislation
Payroll Fundamentals 1
Payroll Fundamentals 2
Certified Payroll Manager (CPM)
Introduction to Payroll Management
Applied Payroll Management
Please see "Earning Your Certification" for information on the required compulsory courses.
The above schedule is subject to change. Courses start on various dates within each semester.
Fall schedule and registration available in June. Winter schedule and registration available in November. Spring/Summer schedule and registration available in March.



All courses, including Introduction to Accounting (also called Financial Accounting Fundamentals), require a passing grade of 65% in order to be accepted toward certification.

Each program can be completed within 12-18 months. Visit for requirements and complete details on earning the PCP and CPM certifications.

Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) - CPA Course Fees / CPA Membership

For the PCP courses at Mount Royal University there is dual registration if students plan on the taking the payroll courses through the university.


Students must first register and pay the school's registration fees, and then they would register and pay the Canadian Payroll Association course fee ($340), along with the membership fee ($210), provided they are not a member already, which totals to $550 +taxes.

To enroll in the following courses, you must ensure that both the Mount Royal University tuition fee and the CPA course materials and exam fees have been paid in full. Please see the following chart for the breakdown of fees:

Fee Amount Type Membership Status Paid to
$495 Tuition - PCP courses MRU
$575 Tuition - CPM courses MRU
$340+GST* Applicable CPA Fee(s) - PCP courses Current CPA Member CPA
$550+GST* Applicable CPA Fee(s) - PCP courses New CPA Member CPA
$440+GST* Applicable CPA Fee(s) - CPM courses Current CPA Member CPA

*prices subject to change (see CPA Website for up-to-date fees)

Please register with Mount Royal University Continuing Education first to ensure there is space available for you and then register for the course online with the CPA.

Registrations complete with payment must be submitted to the Association no later than 10 business days prior to the course start date to ensure the timely delivery of printed course material and access to the online learning platform. For all registrations processed by the deadline described above, the printed course material will be shipped to your preferred mailing address by FedEx (a tracking number will be emailed to you) and you will be granted access to the learning platform one business day prior to the course start date. For the CPM Program, course materials will be provided at the first class to students who have paid the CPA fees.

PCP core courses do require students to complete discussion boards and submit assignments online . Access to Internet and a computer (laptop/desktop) is required (available for use at the Library).

Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) - Required Courses

The CPA's PCP certification (PCP) is the foundation of your career in payroll. Gain an in-depth understanding of the legislative requirements to keep your organization compliant throughout the annual payroll cycle. When you get certified, you join a growing community of supportive professionals and gain access to the resources you need to stay current and compliant.

Work Experience Requirement Application (WERA) : Effective January 1, 2015, individuals who wish to obtain the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification must have at least one (1) year of weighted payroll experience obtained within five (5) years before or five (5) years after the start of the Payroll Compliance Legislation course.

Those individuals who complete the education requirements (Payroll Compliance Legislation, Payroll Fundamentals 1, Introduction to Accounting and Payroll Fundamentals 2) for PCP certification but have not yet satisfied the WERA (one year of work experience) are considered a "PCP Candidate". The weighted payroll experience must be equivalent to one year of experience paying employees accurately and on time, in compliance with legislative requirements, contributing to the full annual payroll cycle.

Find out more about this new requirement by visiting the PCP Payroll Experience Requirement area in the Certification section of the CPA's website.

All courses, including Introduction to Accounting, require a passing grade of 65% in order to be accepted toward PCP certification.

Payroll Compliance Legislation
This is the first payroll course required for the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification. It provides an overview of payroll compliance responsibilities and payroll-related legislation, including employment standards and workers' compensation, and equips you with the tools to effectively communicate these to various stakeholders.
Note: It is recommended that students entering the program have basic math skills and communication competency.
Note: The Payroll Compliance Legislation course is also an optional course in Mount Royal's Human Resource Management Certificate.

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XPYM 20001 39 Hours. Fee: MRU - $495+ CPA -($550+GST)* *Course offered in Fall 2020

Payroll Fundamentals 1
This is the second payroll course required for the PCP certification. Gain an understanding of how to apply payroll legislation and calculate individual pay, from remuneration through deductions to net pay. Acquire the content and skills to communicate all aspects of the individual pay calculation process to external and internal stakeholders and be able to complete Records of Employment accurately.
Prerequisite: Payroll Compliance Legislation

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XPYM 20002 42 Hours. Fee: MRU - $495+ CPA -($580+GST)* *Course offered in Fall 2020

Financial Accounting Fundamentals**
Be introduced to financial accounting concepts, principles and techniques. Topics include Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), preparing and analyzing financial statements, the valuation of current assets and liabilities, measuring and reporting business transactions, and using financial analysis to support decision making. ( Note: This course is academically rigorous and includes textbook readings, quizzes, online assignments and a final exam.)

Textbooks (required):
Financial Accounting - Tools for Business Decision Making, Seventh Canadian Edition, (2017) with WileyPlus ISBN 9781119413103 (textbook and WileyPlus package available at the Cougars Campus Store).

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XACC 10100 36 Hours. Fee: $549 *Course offered in Fall 2020

Payroll Fundamentals 2
This is the third payroll course required for the PCP certification. Acquire knowledge of how to calculate and report government and third party remittances, year-end requirements, discuss payroll technology solutions and account for payroll at the compliance level for an organization. Master the content and skills to communicate these organizational processes and requirements effectively to internal and external stakeholders.
Prerequisite: Payroll Fundamentals 1
Strongly recommended: Introduction to Accounting (Financial Accounting Fundamentals) - required for PCP certification

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XPYM 20003 42 Hours. Fee: MRU -$495+ CPA-($580+GST)* *Course offered in Fall 2020


*Discounted CPA fee applies for current CPA members. See full "Fees" list above for more details. Prices subject to change (see CPA website for up-to-date fees).

**The accounting course is taken outside of the required core payroll courses, directly through a post-secondary institution and must be transferred into the student's file with the CPA. The transfer fee per credit is $50 + applicable taxes. Please refer to the CPA's section on Transfer of Credits for further details. Taking Financial Accounting Fundamentals (Introduction to Accounting) before Payroll Fundamentals 2 is recommended but not mandatory.

Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) - Required Courses

The CPM certification is a valuable credential providing the management skills needed by experienced PCP certification holders to advance their career in payroll management. New students must have at least two years of experience with responsibility for an organization's payroll function (obtained in the past five years), including being accountable to management for the accuracy of employees' pay and all government statutory remittances, or equivalent experience.

Each CPM student must submit a Payroll Experience Prerequisite Application (PEPA) and receive approval from the CPA prior to enrolling in the Introduction to Payroll Management course.

The CPM certification requires five courses:

1. Introduction to Payroll Management (IPM) (Prerequisites: Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) certification and payroll experience)

2. Organizational Behaviour Management (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)

3. Managerial Accounting (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)

4. Compensation & Benefits Management (transfer of credit; offered at post-secondary institutions)

5. Applied Payroll Management (APM) (Prerequisite: Introduction to Payroll Management)


Introduction to Payroll Management
This is the first core payroll course in the Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) certification program. It prepares professionals to manage a payroll department by introducing them to the most applicable core management subjects such as effective decision making and project management. It builds on the foundation of a Payroll Compliance Practitioner's experience, knowledge and application of legislative monitoring and effective communication of payroll programs and policies.
Prerequisites: PCP Certification and 2 years of payroll work experience.

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XPYM 20004 39 Hours. Fee: MRU -$575+ CPA-($440+GST)* *Course offered in Fall 2020

Applied Payroll Management
This course is the final core payroll course in the CPM certification program, providing professionals with the opportunity to apply relevant management processes in a payroll department context. Benchmarking, best practices development, human resources skills - such as monitoring, motivating, assessing and supervising personnel - are utilized to enable the payroll professional to achieve organizational and career goals.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Payroll Management
Recommended: Organizational Behaviour, Management Accounting, and Compensation & Benefits (required for CPM certification)

Subject (for registration): Payroll Management

Subject code: XPYM 20005 36 Hours. Fee: MRU -$575+ CPA-($440+GST)* *Course offered in Fall 2020


* Prices subject to change (see CPA website for up-to-date fees).

Bibi Hoque BCOM, CPM Bibi Hoque Payroll Instructor
Bibi Hoque is a payroll and human resources professional experienced in end-to-end complex payroll in both unionized and non-unionized environments. She has over 15 years of experience as a payroll professional in a variety of small and corporate businesses throughout the province. Her corporate experience spans various industry sectors and includes work with such leading brands as Canadian Pacific Railway, Calgary Stampede, Calgary Public Library and Bentley. Currently, Bibi works in a busy and challenging environment as a Payroll Supervisor with the Calgary Public Library. As a payroll team lead she is experienced in streamlining manual processes and developing new processes. In addition, she is well-versed in employment standards and team management, and is a subject matter expert in HRIS implementation projects.

Bibi possesses a Bachelor of Management degree. She also obtained her Human Resources Manager certification, and completed her PCP and CPM courses from Mount Royal University.

Bibi's passion in payroll brings her to the next step in her career to instruct payroll courses at Mount Royal University. She is looking forward to share her knowledge and experience in the field, and train individuals to be successful payroll practitioners. Bibi facilitated payroll and HRIS training sessions for managers, supervisors and timekeepers in a variety of workplace environments.

Bibi's volunteer work includes being a reading buddy at elementary schools and community event management.

Cindy Southam CPM ce_img_cindy_southam
Payroll has been part of every position in Cindy Southam's 35 year career, starting with a focus on accounting, taking on roles such as Accounting Manager and Controller. Each position allowed her to learn a new industry and make positive changes to internal processes. When she spent a week in San Antonio taking the American Payroll Association's payroll management course, the decision was easy to specialize in payroll.

Cindy Southam, CPM, is the Payroll Manager at FMC Technologies Canada Ltd., where she is responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate payroll for the Canadian employees. Cindy began with FMC in 2016 and has been involved in projects like evaluating the current payroll systems for compliance and functionality, implementing best practices and liaising with both the Accounting and HR departments to manage risk and change . Cindy was the Co-Chair of the Canadian Payroll Association's 2016 Annual Conference and Trade Show in Calgary, and the Vice-Chair of the CPA's Calgary Branch.

Instructing was the natural next step in her career and being able to instruct at the same institution where she received her certification is just that much better. Watching the students who are new to payroll, and even Canada, progress through the program and gain knowledge and confidence gives Cindy a great sense of achievement.

Dipika Dosajh Dipika Dosajh Picture

Dipika Dosajh has worked as a Payroll Analyst for the last 5 years. She had been teaching Payroll Fundamentals 2 with Mount Royal University since 2016, and is a Subject matter expert For Canadian Payroll Association. She loves teaching, sharing and getting knowledge and experience from people. She enjoys the success of her students, as she feels their success is her success.

"Great teacher, great course, great university."

Kim Fitzgerald, Payroll Administrator
Mark's Work Wearhouse

"The course opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. Our instructor was great and was very helpful with her knowledge and experience."

Charissa Sparrow

"I walk away from each class feeling more confident, more connected and more valuable to my company and the industry."

Hilary Schmitt, Payroll Specialist

"Detail and organized class presentation with real life examples help create a fantastic learning environment..."

Anita Antwi

"The experience of studying at Mount Royal with an experienced, respectful and responsible instructor makes me recommend anyone interested in the payroll certifications to enroll."

Consuela Garcia de Duarte

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Contact us

For information about this program:
403.440.6861 or 1.888.392.3655
Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary AB T3E 6K6

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