CPE – Continuing Professional Education – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Canadian Payroll Association's Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirement?

The Canadian Payroll Association requires that all PCP and CPM certification holders maintain certification by complying with three requirements:

  • Maintain a membership with the Canadian Payroll Association through a Professional membership or the Organization membership of their employer (annual membership fees required)
  • Adhere to the Canadian Payroll Association Code of Professional Conduct
  • Meet the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements

What are the timelines and due dates for the CPE requirement?

The Association's CPE cycle runs annually from January 1st to December 31st. Certified members must submit a "CPE Declaration" online through the Association's website to confirm that they have met the annual CPE requirement by the annual December 31st deadline.

  • PCP Certification holders will be required to attain and declare 14 hours of CPE annually
  • CPM Certification holders will be required to attain and declare 21 hours of CPE annually

What activities qualify for Continuing Professional Education (CPE)?

Many activities qualify for CPE hours. CPE includes activities that promote the skills and competencies directly related to payroll or influencer communities such as accounting or human resources. CPE can also be gained through opportunities that build other skills and competencies that contribute to an individual's professional development in their career, such as communication, interpersonal skills and project management.

View the Approved Activities Listing to find out what qualifies.

I am unsure whether my activities can be counted toward my CPE requirement. How can I find out if they meet the CPE requirements?

All CPE approved activities are listed on the Approved Activities List. If a particular activity does not appear in the Approved Activities List, we encouraged you to consider the following question when selecting the CPE activities: "Does the activity further my abilities as a Payroll Professional?" If the answer is yes then select the activity.

Is it mandatory to log my CPE hours through the Activity Tracking Tool provided by the CPA?

No, it is not. The CPA provides a "CPE Activity Tracking Tool" which enables you to keep track of your CPE completed activities. It is not mandatory, but is provided for your convenience. All certification holders are asked to keep a personal record of their CPE activities, along with documentation to prove completion (where applicable) for at least three years, in the event they are chosen for a CPE compliance audit.

Most activities that you complete through the CPA will be automatically entered into your CPE file as long as you have registered with the Association directly.

If you participated in a CPA webinar, but were not the individual who purchased the session, you will also need to log this individually. When adding in this activity, please enter the Provider/Source as "Webinar - Canadian Payroll Association".

I have been out of the workforce for part of the CPE cycle due to a maternity leave. Are hours pro-rated in any way for someone in my situation?

For maternity/parental leave, go to the CPE Activity Login Page and enter the end date of your maternity/parental leave in "Activity Date", then go to "Activity Type" and choose parental leave from the drop down menu.
Hours awarded will be populated at the bottom of the page in recognition of your leave from the payroll profession.

What is a CPE compliance audit?

The Canadian Payroll Association conducts random audits of CPE hours for certified members. The audit is designed to ensure that certified members are adhering to the requirements of certification by completing ongoing CPE. In the event of an audit, a certified member will be contacted by the Association and asked to provide evidence of CPE fulfilment.

In the event of an audit, what activity documentation should I provide?

Certified individuals are required to keep documentation that supports their CPE activities. Certified members must keep records of their CPE activities for six plus one years. Examples of appropriate documentation include course receipts, confirmations, transcripts and course outlines.

What will happen if I do not comply with the CPE requirement?

CPE is an important component of the Canadian Payroll Association's certification programs and it is one of the three ongoing requirements to maintain certification with the Association. CPE ensures that PCP and CPM certification holders  keep current with the ever-changing legislation and regulations and continue to enhance their own professional development.

Failure to comply with the CPE requirements will result in the withdrawal of the PCP or CPM certification.

What is a CPE Declaration and how do I submit it?

The CPE Declaration is an online form that requires certified members to declare annually that they have fulfilled the required CPE hours to maintain their certification. When a PCP or CPM has completed the requisite number of CPE hours in their given cycle (14 hours for a PCP and 21 hours for a CPM), they must submit a CPE Declaration to affirm their CPE compliance.

I am a newly certified member. How would I find out about my CPE cycle information and deadline?

The Canadian Payroll Association's CPE cycles run annually from January 1 to December 31. However, the Association recognizes the recent educational investment and rigorous learning that newly certified members have undertaken to achieve certification, and as such, will extend the initial CPE cycles for these members.

Newly Certified in 2015

  • PCP Certification holders who were certified in 2015 will be required to attain and declare 14 hours of CPE prior to December 31, 2017 after which they will be required to attain and declare 14 hours of CPE annually
  • CPM Certification holders who were certified in 2015 will be required to attain and declare 21 hours of CPE prior to December 31, 2017 after which they will be required to attain and declare 21 hours of CPE annually

Newly Certified in 2016

  • PCP Certification holders who become certified in 2016 will be required to attain and declare 14 hours of CPE prior to December 31, 2018 after which they will be required to attain and declare 14 hours of CPE annually
  • CPM Certification holders who become certified in 2016 will be required to attain and declare 21 hours of CPE prior to December 31, 2018 after which they will be required to attain and declare 21 hours of CPE annually

The CPA encourages newly certified members to continue their educational enrichment through CPE. Should you have an opportunity to complete the annual CPE hours within this calendar year, it will be accepted toward your CPE requirement for the extended cycle. All members must submit a "CPE Declaration" online through the Association's website to confirm that you have met the annual CPE requirement by the end of their CPE cycle. CPE declarations are due by December 31st of each year.

Can any CPE hours be carried over?

Some activities can be carried over such as courses with a minimum of 30 credit hours in payroll career-related topics such as accounting, human resources, interpersonal skills or business communication completed through an accredited Public College or University can be applied to both the current annual CPE requirement and the following year's requirement. 

Additionally, PCP certification holders that complete either the Introduction Payroll Management (IPM) or Applied Payroll Management (APM) courses toward the Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) certification through the Canadian Payroll Association will also satisfy both the current annual CPE requirement in which the course was taken as well as the following year's requirement. This also includes the CPM transfer credit courses of Organizational Behaviour, Managerial Accounting, and Compensation and Benefits.

Why is the new CPE reporting cycle annual?

After reviewing benchmarking of continuing education processes from other associations, The Canadian Payroll Association made the decision to streamline 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 will enable you to keep your knowledge up-to-date annually and better communicate your new learning with your employer and the CPA.

How can I be CPE compliant?

Every certified member is on an individual path based on their own goals. Many activities qualify as "new learning" opportunities for CPE hours. CPE opportunities can be activities that promote the skills and competencies directly related to payroll or influencer communities such as accounting or HR. "New learning" can also be gained through opportunities that build other skills and competencies that contribute to an individual's professional development such as communication, interpersonal skills or project management.

Examples of Canadian Payroll Association activities that would count towards CPE are:

  • Attendance at a Professional Development Seminar (PDS) or a National Payroll Week (NPW) Event;
  • Acting as a Subject Matter Expert and reviewing certification or professional development materials; or
  • Keeping up-to-date by reviewing Canadian Payroll Association resources such as DIALOGUE magazine or the e-Source legislative newsletter.
  • CPA's free webinars

Examples of activities completed outside of the Canadian Payroll Association are:

  • Successful completion of a post-secondary course such as accounting, HR or interpersonal skills;
  • Communication opportunities, such as Toastmasters;
  • Acting as a volunteer in your community and building interpersonal skills;
  • Participating in internal work training;
  • Implementation of a new payroll system, merging with another organization and large scale organizational change such as terminations;
  • Government-Sponsored seminars and web seminars including those offered by the CRA, ESDC and Service Canada Provide internal training courses for colleagues or subordinates.

Remember whenever you are unsure whether or not an activity would count towards your CPE hours, you should ask yourself the following question: "Does the activity further my abilities as a Payroll Professional?" If the answer is yes then the activity meets the CPE criteria.

There is a "CPE webinar" available on our website that can provide you with invaluable information on how to fulfill your CPE requirement effectively.

Consult our "Approved Activities List" for guidelines and tips on what qualifies towards CPE.