Join STEP: Get TEP Certified

Essay Program

The Essay Program is an educational pathway to full STEP membership (TEP) and is available to a select group of practitioners that hold a recognized professional designation and have 5 years of continuous post-designation/qualification experience in trusts and estates. The essay program is well suited to those that have already achieved a level of expertise in a trusts and estates related field and wish to demonstrate their knowledge through a series of academic papers.  The essay program requires students to demonstrate depth and breadth of knowledge in 3 distinct topic areas.

Accepted Designations/Qualifications

  • LLB, LLM, JD (5 years post-articling)
  • Quebec Notary
  • Financial Planning Designation (CFP, PFP, RFP, PlFin)
  • Financial Investment Designation (CFA, MFisc, DFisc, CIWM)
  • Member Trust Institute (MTI)
  • Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI)
  • Insurance Designation (CLU)
  • Accounting Designation (CPA, CA, CGA, CMA)

Essay Topics, Program Requirements and Intake Dates

Three essays must be completed, each from separate topic areas, in order to complete the program.  Students in this program are not permitted to write on self-selected topics.

English Essay Topics and Questions

French Essay Topics and Questions

Essays must be between 2,500 and 3,000.  Students are expected to demonstrate depth and originality in addressing issues that are at the forefront of professional practice. Students have 4 years to complete 3 essays; the first essay must be submitted within 12 months of registration.  Essays are marked at two intake dates, May 1st and October 1st each year.

Membership Requirement

Registration into any of the educational routes offered by STEP Canada requires that you have a membership in good standing. Upon registering into your first course, your registration for affiliate membership will be added to your course registration. Membership fees are not pro-rated and the membership cycle runs from April 1st to March 31st annually. The annual membership fee for students (affiliate and associate levels) is $220 + tax per year. You are required to keep your membership in good standing for the duration of your program.

Program Fees and Registration Process

Each essay submission is $375 plus applicable tax. Registration is completed through the MY STEP account. Create an account at, then select Essay Program Registration.  You will be directed to an application form that must be completed by yourself and a guarantor to sign the experience declaration section.  A direct-report, senior manager, or a regulated professional with one of the qualifying designations that has knowledge of your work can sign the experience declaration section.  Once the form is complete, you can proceed with your online application.  You will pay for your submission and select your intake date. 

Experience Requirement for Full Membership (TEP)

Once you have completed the essay program, you can apply for full membership if you have at least two years of continuous, current work experience where a significant amount of your time (approximately 50%) has been dedicated to trusts and estates work. As the trusts and estates industry is multi-disciplinary, this experience can be filled by many different roles and responsibilities. 

Getting Started

  • 1
    Create and Activate your Account

    To get started with the Assessment by Essay program, Create a New STEP Canada Account. Once completed you will receive an account activation email, please be sure to check your junk folder.

  • 2
    Enroll online through the MY STEP Portal

    Once logged in to your MY STEP account you will have access to the Education menu, select Assessment by Essay Enrollment. Course registrations are processed within two business days. Once your registration is complete you will receive an email with course access instructions.

Connect with the Education team

If you need further information about the Assessment by Essay program and would like to connect with our Education team quickly, you can schedule a meeting using the calendar below or send an email to