Is Your HR Department Truly Professional?

Whether you are looking to start an HR department internally or hire a consultant for some critical projects, there are important changes in the HR profession within Ontario that you should be aware of. 

While you don’t have to a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association to practice HR, companies may prefer to deal with a regulated professional.  By hiring an HRPA member, companies ensure that they are hiring someone who has met the established standards and requirements for certification.  All members are required to follow the HRPA Rules of Professional Conduct and follow a recertification process every three years, ensuring continuous learning and upgrading of key skills.

Outplacement counsellor assisting employeeHuman Resources as a regulated profession in Ontario is relatively new, having received Royal Assent in the legislature on November 6, 2013.  The Act provided a framework for membership within the association, prohibited the use of designations by unauthorized individuals, and set out procedures for dealing with complaints about members, including a disciplinary process.  The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is the professional regulatory body and the professional association representing the over 20,000 Human Resources professionals across Ontario.

The HRPA protects the public interest by ensuring that human resources professionals registered with and certified by HRPA are competent and act in an ethical manner.  Consider it a built in quality assurance process that ensures your business interests are protected.  They have instituted a complaint and investigation process and a separate discipline process to ensure that concerns or issues about a member’s conduct are properly investigated and resolved. 

Recent changes to the certification framework were announced on October 29, 2014, creating three distinct designations within the profession. 

Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP): Entry Level

Human Resources professionals at Entry Level act in roles that are mostly administrative in nature.  They may play a contributing role within a larger HR function or a singular role within a small HR function and play a supporting role in  executing tasks passed down from management, and operating at the tactical and transactional levels. 

Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL): Professional Level

At the Professional level, the specialist or generalist responsibilities performed can include managing projects, programs, and initiatives, implementing plans passed down by senior management, and delegating tasks to entry-level staff. In professional matters, individuals at this level can act independently .

Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE): Executive Level

The most senior level of specialists or generalists possess a high level of experience and responsibility such as leading the HR function in large organizations, developing and executing significant HR projects, working with Boards or HR Committees, dealing with executive compensation, and having responsibility for HR strategies in support of long term organizational goals.   

Members of the general public can search the HRPA member directory to verify the membership status of an HR Professional, including details of any disciplinary action.

It is important to note that there are other specialist HR certifications available  which are separate from those offered by the HRPA and as such are not covered by the Ontario regulatory framework.   HR professionals may hold one of these certifications in addition to or in place of their CHRP/CHRL/CHRE designation.