Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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.

Similar to requirements in other professional fields like accounting and human resources, the PCP Work Experience Requirement enhances the quality of PCP graduates. It assures employers that certification holders can step into a payroll position with a limited amount of training because they have both payroll knowledge and payroll experience. The PCP Work Experience requirement elevates the profile of the PCP certification program with stakeholders, enhancing recognition of PCP certification as a fundamental requirement for a payroll position.

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 completed month of experience will be counted (no fractions, decimals or rounding).

You need to fulfill the PCP Work Experience Requirement if you:

  1. Successfully completed the PCP courses prior to January 1, 2015, but did not submit your Certification Declaration.
  2. Completed some but not all the PCP courses prior to January 1, 2015.
  3. Started the PCP courses after January 1, 2015.

Effective January, 2015, students who have completed some but not all of the PCP courses have 5 years (until January 1, 2020) to complete the education requirements, satisfy the PCP Work Experience Requirement and submit the PCP Certification Declaration.

If you started the PCP courses after January 1, 2015, you have to complete the 4 educational requirements of the PCP certification within 5 years and obtain at least one year of weighted payroll experience obtained within 5 years before or 5 years after the start of the Payroll Compliance Legislation course if you are taking courses 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. 

If you are currently a PCP, you are not affected by the PCP Work Experience Requirement as long as you maintain certification by fulfilling the ongoing requirements. In fact, you may benefit from the enhanced status of the PCP program as a result of the PCP Work Experience Requirement.

Yes. If you have less than one year of applicable payroll experience in your current or past position, you can combine positions to satisfy the one-year requirement. You must complete a separate application form for each payroll position being submitted for assessment.

Yes. Your payroll experience must be obtained within 5 years before or 5 years after the start of the Payroll Compliance Legislation course if you are taking courses 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 when you complete the Payroll Fundamentals 2 course.

No. As payroll requirements vary significantly from country to country, to obtain the PCP certification, you must have at least one year of weighted Canadian work experience in payroll.

If the organization does not have an official job description for the position you would like to submit for the Work Experience Requirement Application (WERA) assessment, you must prepare a detailed job description yourself and submit it to your verifier for approval.

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.

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 your application for assessment when you finish the PCP educational requirements. You will be provided with access to the application once you qualify. 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 your Work Experience Requirement Application (WERA) is not approved, you will be provided with details on what information and/or documentation is outstanding. You can reapply once you meet the requirements.

Yes, the CPA will accommodate approved leave requests. Individuals are eligible for one year of maternity/paternity/parental/adoption leave upon providing us with the appropriate supporting documentation. Health-related and other issues will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of appropriate documentation are Records of Employment (ROEs), doctor’s notes and proof of disability insurance. Note: Social insurance numbers on documentation should be blacked out.

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

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.