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4 required courses (159 hours)


Classroom | Learn more


Complete in 12 to 18 months | Learn more


Courses start at $505, plus National Payroll Institute fees

Payroll is the administrative process within an organization that involves ensuring that every employee is paid correctly, calculating the appropriate payroll taxes and correctly deducting miscellaneous items.

The National Payroll Institute (formerly The Canadian Payroll Association) designation programs are recognized nationally as the standards of excellence for payroll training. The Institute offers the only payroll designations in Canada: the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and the Certified Payroll Manager (CPM). The Institute awards these professional designations upon completion of core and compulsory courses offered through classroom study at Mount Royal University.

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.

Designation from the National Payroll Institute is becoming an increasingly common prerequisite for employment in payroll. Join a growing community of supportive professionals and gain access to the resources you need to stay current and compliant. In addition, earning a bona fide credential can boost your salary range by an entire band.


Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP)

The Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) designation 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. Increase your understanding of how to apply payroll compliance legislation and calculate individual pay. Learn how to communicate organizational processes and requirements effectively to internal and external stakeholders.


Highlights and benefits

Earn a recognized credential — Enhance your career prospects

Real-world knowledge — Learn from experienced industry professionals

Enhance your life — Develop your personal and professional skills

Gain hands-on experience — Demonstrate workplace competencies to potential employers

 Important notice:

Effective June 1, 2023, the Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation will be suspended. Current students will have the opportunity to take required courses from February to May 2023. As of June1, 2023, these courses will no longer be scheduled.

If you have any questions, please contact us at or 403.440.6861


Interested in the Canadian Payroll Manager (CPM) designation?

In addition to the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) designation, we are pleased to offer the Canadian Payroll Manager (CPM) designation.

Learn more


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. Find out more about this requirement by visiting the National Payroll Institute website.

To receive designation, you must complete the National Payroll Institutes' core courses listed in the schedule below plus compulsory courses, complete the Institutes's Application for Certification and fulfill the ongoing designation requirements: Payroll work experience, Institute membership, adherence to the Institutes 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 designation, please refer to the National Payroll Institute website or contact

The National Payroll Institute has an online database of accepted courses offered at other Canadian post-secondary institutions to assist you in finding suggested equivalents for the compulsory courses. Access the Transfer Credits database and find complete details on the Transfer of Credit procedure.

The National Payroll Institute requires that all courses, including Introduction to Accounting, have a minimum passing grade of 65% on each of the courses and final exam in order to be accepted toward designation. Schools may have a different passing grade than the Institute. If a student has passed a course with the school, it does not mean they have passed with the National Payroll Institute.

The Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) can be completed within 12-18 months. Visit the National Payroll Institute website for requirements and complete details on earning the Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) designation.

The listed course hours indicate the estimated time to review the online learning units - your actual time spent completing assignments may vary.

Course schedule by semester

(Sept. - Dec.)
(Jan. - April)
(May - Aug.)
Payroll Compliance Legislation  
Payroll Fundamentals 1  
Payroll Fundamentals 2  
Financial Accounting Fundamentals Not offered at Mount Royal at this time. Visit the National Payroll Institute website or contact for more information.

This schedule is subject to change. Courses start on various dates within each semester. Fall schedule and registration is available in June; Winter schedule and registration is available in November; and Spring/Summer schedule and registration is available in March.