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10 Best Canadian Payroll Software for CAD Businesses in 2022

Best Canadian Payroll Software Shortlist

Here’s my list of the best Canadian payroll software that I’ll cover in this article:

  1. Xero

    Best for straight-forward payroll needs for small teams

  2. Ceridian Dayforce

    Best cloud-based HCM suite with compliance-centric payroll

  3. Easypay

    Best for small to medium-sized businesses seeking a well-established solution

  4. Rise

    Best software for reliable regulatory compliance and Canadian tax knowledge

  5. QuickBooks Payroll

    Best for existing QuickBooks users eager to maximize the platform

  6. Knit

    Best for time-strapped small businesses with immediate payroll needs

  7. Wagepoint

    Best payroll solution for user experience and “human-friendly” support

  8. Collage

    Best for tech-forward organizations seeking a cutting-edge software solution

  9. Humi

    Best payroll software for teams seeking an easy-to-understand, user-friendly option

  10. Payworks

    Best for fast-growing companies with plans to scale up

I recently purchased a best-selling money management book backed by thousands of positive reviews. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that the American author had tailored the content to U.S. readers. While some of the principles were universal, many of the specifics weren’t relevant to me as a Canadian. Not a big deal when it’s a small purchase like a paperback. But when it comes to choosing the best payroll software for your Canadian organization, you’ll want to be confident the tool is fluent in Canadian finance.

This article covers the 10 best Canadian payroll software on the market that serve the specific needs of Canadian businesses. These payroll software will save you time by cutting down on manual input, helping you to reduce errors and increase accuracy. They can even handle many year-end taxation tasks on your behalf. Curious to see who made the list? Let’s get started.

Selection Criteria

Wondering what I look for when evaluating the best Canadian payroll software for this list? Here’s a summary of my selection criteria:

  1. User Interface (UI): I chose payroll software systems that are well-organized visually, and designed in an appealing manner that makes it easy to find the functionality you’re looking for.
  2. Usability: I selected software with user-friendly interfaces that are easy to navigate, whether the user is a human resources manager or a small business owner.
  3. Integrations: The software solutions I’ve chosen improve productivity by offering functionality that integrates with other systems like time tracking, invoicing, direct deposit, and other mobile apps.
  4. Value for $: All the software solutions in this list are cost-effective, with most priced per employee with an additional monthly base fee.

Canadian Payroll Software: Key Features

  1. Canadian compliance: Rather than spend precious time Canadian-izing a tool made for American taxation, these payroll software options have built-in reporting specific to Canadian business needs.
  2. Automated calculations: Automated functions allow you to do things like replicate past pay runs and calculate deductions with greater accuracy and efficiency.
  3. Self-serve for employees: It’s far easier for employees to access their pay stubs and T4s themselves than it is for HR professionals to add this task to their laundry list of to-do’s.
  4. Multiple payment options: All the payroll software in this list enable you to pay employees via direct deposit or cheque, and easily calculate payment for salary employees, freelancers, and hourly employees alike.

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Overviews of the 10 Best Canadian Payroll Software

Here’s a brief description of each Canadian payroll software solution, including each tool’s best use case, some highlighted features, and screenshots to give you a sense of the user interface. 

1

Xero

Best for straight-forward payroll needs for small teams

If you’re a current Xero user with simple payroll needs, this add-on is an excellent option. While Xero is quick to mention that larger teams with more complex payrolls may need to integrate a third-party app, small teams in Canada with only a few employees will find this functionality offers everything they need.

With the payroll option, Xero users can manually input vacation leave, hourly rate, hours, and taxes, and calculate deductions. To run payroll that is recurring, you’re able to copy a previous pay run and make changes to keep it current. Pay stubs can also be emailed or printed directly from Xero.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include simple online pay runs, pay records, salary and wage payments, and vacation leave.

Integrations include Capsule CRM, DEAR Inventory, Deputy, Expensify, EzzyBills, HubSpot, Tradify, and WorkflowMax. It’s worth noting that Xero also integrates with a number of the other software named in this list, in case you’re an existing Xero user but your needs are beyond what their payroll functionality can offer.

Pricing for Xero begins at $17 per month and plans are based on the extent of your needs. Xero also offers a free trial.

Free trial available

From $17 per month

Pros

  • Lengthy list of integrations
  • Simple, straight-forward functionality
  • Existing Xero users can run payroll from within this familiar tool

Cons

  • Exclusively available within Xero
  • Does not accommodate larger teams
  • Most data needs to be manually inputted
2

Ceridian Dayforce

Best cloud-based HCM suite with compliance-centric payroll

Ceridian Dayforce is a recognized HCM leader with a team of in-house compliance experts who remain continuously on top of regulatory changes. You can also offload day-to-day benefits administration and payroll entirely to their team, freeing up your time to focus on other tasks. This payroll software is an excellent solution for Canadian companies who plan to scale internationally, given that Ceridian supports payroll delivery in more than 160 countries. 

Ceridian’s consolidated pay and time engine simplifies the payroll process while increasing accuracy with real-time calculations. Ceridian will manage and file taxes on your behalf, aligning with all provincial and federal regulations. Employees can also access their pay stubs and tax information directly with their self-serve feature. 

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include talent management, real-time audits, smart benefits, workforce management, managed payroll, and streamlined HR tools.

Integrations include CIBC SmartBanking for Business and QuickBooks.

Pricing for Ceridian Dayforce is available upon request, and a 60-day free trial is available.

60-day free trial

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • Two-month free trial
  • Scalable; supports payroll in 160+ countries
  • Reliable in-house compliance support

Cons

  • Some mobile app limitations
  • Timesheets are presented in biweekly view, not weekly
  • Transparent pricing not readily available
3

Easypay

Best for small to medium-sized businesses seeking a well-established solution

Easypay has been providing payroll services to Canada’s small to mid-sized businesses since 1985. Within this payroll software, users can serve any combination of hourly, salary, or commission-based employees, and pay them on a number of different schedules including weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, and monthly by both cheque or direct deposit. The Easystub feature also enables employees to view and download pay stubs and T4s. 

Easypay allows you to print individual or batched ROEs, and it will calculate EI, CPP, and tax for all provinces. Year-end reports like T4 and RL-1 can be filed directly through Easypay. There are no limits on the number of employees you can manage within the system, allowing this platform to grow with you as you scale. 

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include direct deposit, self-serve pay stubs and T4s, extensive audit and reporting capabilities, automatic deductions, benefits, and multi-departmental costing.

Integrations include Adagio, Sage300 ERP, SAP, and QuickBooks, among others. 

Pricing for Easypay starts at $439 per year. A 45-day free trial is also available.

45-day free trial

From $439 per year

Pros

  • 45-day free trial
  • No limits on number of employees
  • Trusted provider with a proven track record of over 37 years

Cons

  • Windows-based platform may be problematic for Mac users
  • Tech-forward companies may crave more cutting edge technology
  • Visual design of interface is basic
4

Rise

Best software for reliable regulatory compliance and Canadian tax knowledge

Rise is a Canadian payroll software that places compliance first. Their solution has been designed to make sure that small business owners and large enterprises alike are paying and remitting taxes on time and with accuracy in accordance with both provincial and federal regulations. If you’re thinking about switching from an existing payroll provider, Rise will even talk to the CRA and government agencies on your behalf, to ensure that the transition runs smoothly and without errors or oversights.

Flexibility is huge for Rise, and they make sure to offer customization as a standard feature. For example, you can run payroll as many times as you need, cancel a pay run, make payments off-cycle, or even pay out a bonus without having to calculate tax. Automatic tax remittance is built in via a Canadian tax engine that’s compliant with all regulations.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Integrations include Freshbooks, Intuit Quickbooks, WealthSimple, and Xero.

Features include employee benefits, time management, recruiting, onboarding, time off requests, scheduling, time tracking, and unlimited pay runs.

Pricing for Rise begins at $6 per employee per month. A $30 minimum monthly base fee applies for small businesses with less than 20 employees. A 90-day free trial is available for their Optimize module.

90-day free trial of their full-feature model

From $6 CAD/employee/month for the basic People Management + Payroll configuration

Pros

  • Cost effective
  • Very easy to pull documents like ROEs
  • Responsive support staff

Cons

  • Some manual data entry is necessary when vacation requests are canceled
  • Reports could use greater customization options
  • Few integrations available
5

QuickBooks Payroll

Best for existing QuickBooks users eager to maximize the platform

We can probably all agree that less is more when it comes to software solutions. The QuickBooks payroll services function allows QuickBooks users to remain within a familiar interface while covering all their payroll needs. If you’re currently using QuickBooks for accounting, the ability to run payroll through a single interface (and without investing time to learn a new tool) makes this an appealing option.

With QuickBooks, you can run payroll with multiple pay schedules and frequencies, establish sick leave and vacation policies, track time, and file taxes directly. QuickBooks prepares all your year-end forms like T4s and RL1, and fills in ROEs on your behalf. Their secure employee portal provides your team with self-serve pay stubs and vacation tracking, and when you onboard you’ll have a dedicated payroll specialist to help set you up, with free support throughout the process.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include time tracking, tax filing, payroll runs, easy access to forms, an employee portal for self-serve, workers compensation, and free onboarding.

Integrations include Gusto, BigTime, Method:CRM, Shopify, Square, and PayPal.

Pricing for QuickBooks starts at $25.50 per month, with an additional $4 per employee per month. Users can also take advantage of their 30-day free trial. 

30-day free trial

From $25/month, though you’ll only pay 50% for the first 3 months

Pros

  • Easy and efficient tax filing system
  • Industry leader in accounting means existing trust in accuracy and reliability
  • Excellent option for existing QuickBooks users

Cons

  • Businesses with remote employees may incur additional costs for province-specific filings
  • May not be the best option for non-QuickBooks users
  • Setup services and expert review are only available in higher tiers
6

Knit

Best for time-strapped small businesses with immediate payroll needs

If you’re a Canadian small business owner who needs to set up payroll ASAP, Knit is the software for you. This cloud-based tool is designed to be easy to adopt, promising speedy setup with accurate payroll from day one. In a single click, users can calculate payroll and remit taxes to the CRA based on their specific scheduling needs. You can pull ROEs and employee reports, address EHTs and WSIB, and store T4s for employees to have self-serve access. Pay cheques can be direct deposited into employee bank accounts.

If your business needs support beyond the basics, Knit offers a support team of Canadian payroll experts. Users have the option of asking questions and managing payroll themselves, or outsourcing payroll management for Knit to conduct on your behalf. 

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include direct deposit, tax filing, automatic payroll calculations, WCB and EHT remittances, and online pay stubs.

Integrations include QuickBooks Online, TSheets, and Xero.

Pricing for Knit starts at $43 per month and the tool offers a 30-day free trial.

30-day free trial

From $43 per month

Pros

  • Accurate and efficient compliance with Canadian regulations
  • Support team can take over payroll management on your behalf
  • Easy to adopt and get started fast

Cons

  • Better suited to desktop than mobile app use
  • Slightly higher price point
  • Primarily for Canadian small business owners
7

Wagepoint

Best payroll solution for user experience and “human-friendly” support

Wagepoint serves over 20,000 small businesses in Canada and boasts a 99.9% uptime reliability record. This user-friendly payroll software solution was designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use, offering an extensive library of tips and guides to help get you started. Wagepoint emphasizes the human aspect of their platform and aims to provide “friendly, caring” support, making it an excellent choice for small businesses who are new to payroll services.

Wagepoint enables you to pay employees via direct deposit, generate and submit ROEs, and automate all your Canadian taxation compliance including federal and provincial/territorial income tax, CPP/QPP, EI/QPIP, and year-end T4 and T4As. Incomes, deductions, paid time off, workers compensation and employer health tax/health services fund are all automatically calculated for you.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include automated payroll taxes, direct deposit, self-serve access to pay stubs, responsive customer service, ability to pay employees and freelancers, year-end T4s and reporting, and paid time off tracking.

Integrations include 7shifts, Deputy, Slack, QuickBooks, uAttend, and Xero.

Pricing for Wagepoint is available upon request and is based on your number of employees and how often you pay them. A free trial is also available.

Free trial available

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • Long list of integrations
  • User-friendly system that prioritizes the human element
  • In-depth customer support

Cons

  • Seasoned payroll staff may not take full advantage of extensive support functionality
  • Some reporting features may require manual customization
  • Paid time off and time tracking are add-ons
8

Collage

Best for tech-forward organizations seeking a cutting-edge software solution

Collage aims to provide best-in-class payroll services to Canadian businesses by combining the expert knowledge of HR professionals, benefits experts, and in-house tech wizards. Backed by a venture launchpad called Diagram, Collage has built the platform to deliver a cutting edge solution that will evolve the landscape of Canada’s fintech industry. 

Collage offers unified HR and payroll including benefits integration. Clients are assigned a dedicated CPA-approved payroll manager who is available to answer questions about your organization’s specific needs. This means that when tax season rolls around, you can rest assured that your adjustments, returns, T4s and reconciliations will be completed on time, and in compliance with the current regulatory requirements.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include year-end processing, unified HR and payroll, automatic calculations, compliance with Canadian regulations, extensive reporting, and dedicated payroll managers.

Integrations are not mentioned in Collage’s materials, but their platform does integrate with some benefit providers.

Pricing for Collage begins at $8 per user per month, and a variety of add-on features can be purchased a la carte. A free demo is also available.

Free demo available

From $8 per user, per month

Pros

  • Responsive customer support
  • Easy to streamline processes like onboarding
  • Simple, easy-to-use software

Cons

  • Training module could use further enhancement
  • No mobile app
  • Platform is so customizable that it doesn’t offer a “one size fits all” configuration
9

Humi

Best payroll software for teams seeking an easy-to-understand, user-friendly option

Payroll is, by nature, complicated. Humi aims to take the guesswork out of payroll and HR software by making their interface as intuitive and easy-to-use as possible. HR info such as hires, terminations, vacation usage, and benefits are integrated with payroll processing, making dual entry a thing of the past. Employees can also access self service pay stubs, vacation requests, and benefits inquiries, and easily receive direct deposits.

Humi provides an excellent option for Canadian businesses or teams with HR in Canada because T4s, Records Of Employment (ROE), Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) remittances, and Employer Health Tax (EHT) applications are automatically included in the platform. Multi-province payroll makes it easy to manage employees across the country. And Humi’s tax engine is specifically designed for Canadian regulations, making any audit and compliance efforts that much easier.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include automatic T4s and ROEs, records and reporting, EHT calculations, direct deposit, self-serve pay stubs, multi-province payroll, benefits, and automatic CRA remittance.

Integrations include Greenhouse, Voila!, Workable, Xero, and Zapier.

Pricing for Humi is based on your number of employees and how many modules you’d like to integrate into your program. A free demo is available prior to signing up.

Free demo available

Pricing upon request

Pros

  • Covers all Canada-specific payroll needs
  • Clean and intuitive design makes it easy for employees to self-serve
  • Easy tracking of all employees

Cons

  • Growing list of integrations means some of your existing providers may not yet be on the list
  • Documents require some elbow grease to customize
  • Free trial does not include exact customization, so some guesswork must be done
10

Payworks

Best for fast-growing companies with plans to scale up

Payworks is a comprehensive payroll software that’s perfect for businesses planning to scale up. With 12 offices located across Canada from coast to coast, they provide localized support with expert knowledge regarding provincial regulations. When an organization starts working with Payworks, they are assigned a dedicated Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) service representative who becomes their go-to expert, meaning that you won’t need to waste time retelling your story every time you call customer support.

Payworks offers a complete year-end package, custom reporting, and unlimited previews. In addition to the standard features like direct deposit and stat pay calculators, Payworks also supplies helpful checklists and videos on year end proceedings, and will even file on your behalf.

Standout Features and Integrations:

Features include scalability, unlimited previews, auto filing, direct deposit, and continuous enhancements.

Integrations include Microsoft Excel, Simply Accounting, and QuickBooks.

Pricing for Payworks is available upon request, and is based on the extent of the functionality your team will require. A free demo is also available.

Free demo available

From $23/pay period

Pros

  • Easy and efficient year-end support
  • Multiple locations across Canada ensures provincial expertise
  • Dedicated customer service representative saves time and frustration

Cons

  • Additional cost for absence management
  • Transparent pricing isn’t readily available
  • Benefits integration currently doesn’t allow termination mid-month

The 10 Best Canadian Payroll Software Summary

Tool Free Option Price
1
Xero

Best for straight-forward payroll needs for small teams

Free trial available

From $17 per month Visit Website
2
Ceridian Dayforce

Best cloud-based HCM suite with compliance-centric payroll

60-day free trial

Pricing upon request Visit Website
3
Easypay

Best for small to medium-sized businesses seeking a well-established solution

45-day free trial

From $439 per year Visit Website
4
Rise

Best software for reliable regulatory compliance and Canadian tax knowledge

90-day free trial of their full-feature model

From $6 CAD/employee/month for the basic People Management + Payroll configuration Visit Website
5
QuickBooks Payroll

Best for existing QuickBooks users eager to maximize the platform

30-day free trial

From $25/month, though you’ll only pay 50% for the first 3 months Visit Website
6
Knit

Best for time-strapped small businesses with immediate payroll needs

30-day free trial

From $43 per month Visit Website
7
Wagepoint

Best payroll solution for user experience and “human-friendly” support

Free trial available

Pricing upon request Visit Website
8
Collage

Best for tech-forward organizations seeking a cutting-edge software solution

Free demo available

From $8 per user, per month Visit Website
9
Humi

Best payroll software for teams seeking an easy-to-understand, user-friendly option

Free demo available

Pricing upon request Visit Website
10
Payworks

Best for fast-growing companies with plans to scale up

Free demo available

From $23/pay period Visit Website

Other Options

Here are a few more options that didn’t make the best Canadian payroll software list:

  1. ADP Workforce Now

    Best all-in-one solution for time tracking, benefits, talent, HR and payroll management

  2. Push Operations

    Best full-service payroll software for food services companies

What Makes Canadian Payroll Software Unique? 

Canada’s payroll requirements are notoriously complex. Both employers and employees pay payroll tax and contribute to CPP and EI. Payroll taxes include both federal and provincial taxes, meaning that companies with employees spread across Canada need to navigate many varied deductions. This is why payroll software specifically for Canadian companies is so helpful – because it takes the guesswork out of the deductions and taxation process, ensuring that your company remains compliant and your employees receive their pay without issue.

Other Resources 

One of the biggest benefits of cloud-based payroll software is that it’s constantly being updated. As new functionality becomes available and each solution adopts it in their own time, the list of the best Canadian payroll software will inevitably evolve as time goes on. 

This helpful article on the 10 Key Benefits of Payroll Software can help you learn the main principles and navigate future changes.

If you’d like to further enhance your payroll knowledge, you won’t want to miss this fantastic article on How to Manage Payroll for Small Businesses.

To remain up-to-date on all the latest insights from top thinkers in Canadian HR and payroll, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. From there, you’ll have access to articles and podcasts interviews from passionate industry experts, right from the comfort of your own inbox.

By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.

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