Marie-Josée Maheu, PCP
The Senate of Canada – Gatineau, QC
Marie-Josée Maheu’s payroll career has taken her to some lofty heights; she has met the Queen and Bryan Adams and travelled with Jean Chrétien.
Payroll has also meant that she has seen Canada’s whole political sphere — without having to run for office.
“I worked for Elections Canada, where our political process begins, then for the Governor General’s office, where our laws see Royal Assent, and now for the Senate, where our laws are passed,” Marie-Josée says. “My career has been interesting!”
During her time with the Governor General’s office, the staff all pitched in to help with events, which allowed her to rub shoulders with some notable individuals, including Queen Elizabeth II. “I curtsied to her and have pictures with Prince William and Kate,” she says. A huge highlight for her was meeting rock star Bryan Adams. “He was my idol. I felt like a teenager — I blushed.”
Marie-Josée is even a military veteran, having served for 10 years with the Canadian army as an administrative clerk. During military service she travelled to India with former prime minister Jean Chrétien. She admits that her reason for joining the army was not noble. “I had a crush on a guy,” she laughs. “I was 20, I fell in love. He was in the air force and I thought joining the military would make him love me more.” Although that first romance did not last, another one did: Marie-Josée met her husband in the army.
And her professional love affair with payroll also started there. She was exposed to some payroll work and wanted more challenges in that area. So, in 2003, she left the army for a payroll position at Elections Canada. She then spent 12 years with the Governor-General’s office as the Senior Compensation and Benefits Provider. For the past six years, she has been the Chief Compensation Officer with the Senate of Canada.
“Payroll is my niche,” she says, adding that she likes to see the impact of her job on people’s lives. “I also like the challenge of always working on a deadline. Payroll people thrive on stress!”
She knows that payroll is critical to staff morale, and she also knows that her role contributes to the financial wellness of the Senate. “The Senate serves the citizens of Canada,” she says, adding that precision in payroll reduces costs. “For taxpayers, it is vitally important that we are accurate and efficient.”
Marie-Josée is proud of her career, and has enjoyed its unusual perks. She describes payroll professionals as “a special kind of breed” who blend personal empathy with expert payroll knowledge.
“To be successful in payroll, you need to be passionate.”