CEO Message – September

Building confidence in HRPA member complaints investigations

Bill Greenhalgh

In HRPA’s annual membership survey, we include questions about professionalization and professional regulation. One question that has caused us some concern is around the perception of fairness and impartiality in HRPA’s investigations into complaints against members. Over the past two years a sizeable minority (36%) have expressed doubts—by answering don’t know/not sure— about this issue.

HRPA’s VP Regulatory Affairs Claude Balthazard has written a detailed article on why HRPA members should feel confident that any investigation into a complaint made against them would be fair and impartial. I urge you to read the full article, but I will use this column to give you a quick explanation of why members can feel 100% comfortable with how complaints are handled.

There are eight basic reasons

  1. As a quasi-judicial body, HRPA is subject to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, 1990 which sets standards of fairness for all key proceedings. The same rules apply to tribunals such as the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, and the Ontario Labour Relations Board, to name just a few.
  2. Any decisions by the Complaints Committee—and for that matter, all regulatory decisions made by HRPA—are subject to judicial review, eventually, by a division of the Ontario Superior Court. As a start, any affected party can appeal directly to HRPA’s Appeal Committee and if that is not satisfactory, through the Ontario Court system where matters such as the fairness and impartiality of the process that led to the decision would be considered.
  3. HRPA Panels that review complaints are made up of three highly experienced members. To prevent even an inadvertent or unwitting bias, one of the individuals on the panel will usually be a member of the public with no affiliation to the Association.
  4. When appropriate, the Complaints Committee panels will appoint an external investigator to conduct the investigation. These external investigators are very skilled, thorough and have to be fair and impartial. Should the case be referred to the Discipline Committee, the investigation report would be disclosed to the member and the investigator would be subject to cross-examination.
  5. All adjudicative panels, including panels of the Complaints Committee, have access to Independent legal counsel for advice on procedural matters.
  6. HRPA has implemented an extensive Code of Conduct for Members of Adjudicative Committees dealing with conflict of interest; the conduct of hearings; decision-making; the handling of confidential information; and behaviour vis-à-vis other members of the panel. All members of adjudicative committees must agree to abide by this code before taking on any adjudicative duties.
  7. HRPA provides training and has developed a series of webinars on various facets of regulatory adjudication such as regulatory governance; panel assessment skills; conducting investigations; conducting hearings; writing reasons; and process review skills. Members of adjudicative committees, including the Complaints Committee, must complete the requisite modules before they can be assigned to a panel.
  8. The Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2013, imposes a duty of confidentiality upon all who are covered by the Act and this would include anyone involved in the review of any complaint. The Act treats the need for confidentiality very seriously and provides for fines, which would be levied by the regular courts, of up to $25,000 for any person found in breach.

With all these safeguards in place, many of which have been created or upgraded in the last two years, all members can feel reassured that any complaint will be dealt with fairly, impartially and with total confidentiality.

Love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a note at

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – August 2015

HRPA 2016 Annual Conference

Bill GreenhalghI know it’s August and most of you are probably concentrating on enjoying the rest of your summer or getting ready for September, but HRPA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Trade Show – January 20-22, 2016 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – is only five short months away. Let’s take a look at what HRPA’s conference team is putting together for this year’s event:

Keynote speakers: From neuroscience to rock n roll

The 2016 conference has an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers. Coming from backgrounds as diverse as economics, sport, entertainment, science and broadcasting, the conference’s eight keynotes offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for inspiration, education or entertainment. Among them includes CIBC economist Benjamin Tal who will explore the global forces affecting our economy and the critical link between economics and HR; Olympic gold medalist and mental health champion Clara Hughes who will discuss her struggles with depression and her work to end the stigma around mental illness in Canada; CBC broadcaster Rex Murphy will talk candidly about the influence of human resources and its effect on current events; and former Moist frontman David Usher will show how you can bring creativity, innovation and inspiration to your work.


A big part of the annual conference is professional development and with more than 130 sessions across all HR disciplines—HR leadership, occupational health & safety, employee relations, organizational culture, total rewards, and more—you will come away with both CPD hours and a head full of practical HR learning you can use and apply straightaway in your own organizations.

I invite you to attend my own session Aligning HR to Business Strategy to learn what CEOs want and value most from HR professionals and what HRPA is doing to develop the next generation of HR executives.

Trade Show

And of course, a no-miss part of the event is Canada’s largest HR trade show. Attend this free show to browse among more than 250 exhibitors—including some of the biggest names in the industry—and learn about the latest HR products and services. Plus make connections with representatives from Canada’s leading HR schools, consultants and small HR service providers.

Start your 2016 off right with three days of HR learning, networking and inspiration at HRPA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Trade Show. I hope to see you there!

Register by Oct 15 and save $275 >>

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – July 2015

Introducing HRPA training needs analysis tool

Bill Greenhalgh

At the 2016 Annual Conference, HRPA will introduce a new online training needs analysis tool that will help members create an individually tailored continuing professional development plan in about thirty minutes.

This new assessment tool will allow you to complete a half-hour assessment based on HRPA’s new HR Competency Model, and receive a personal development plan report based on the results.

The plan will highlight both an individual’s HR competency strengths and gaps and recommend and prioritize specific areas for professional training and development options.

The plan can also be used by the individual as their business case for their employer to invest in the learning and development outlined in the report.

The questions in the training needs analysis are underpinned by HRPA’s new HR Competency Model that tests an updated body of knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge, at all levels of HR practice. Your personalized report will provide insight into your expertise across the competencies in the new framework.

A similar tool has already been rolled out and is in use by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI). It has proven very popular with members and has helped AHRI identify and address gaps in its professional development programming.

New website and ecommerce platform

I’m also pleased to announce that HRPA will be unveiling both a new website and ecommerce platform later this year, the first such upgrades since 2008.

The new website will be much simpler to navigate and optimized for the increasing numbers of members who access and use the site via smartphone. And in keeping with HRPA’s commitment to accessibility, the site will also be fully compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) WCAG 2.0 AA standard which doesn’t come into effect until 2021 for not-for-profits with 50 or more employees.

We will also be rolling out a new and (very much) improved ecommerce platform and member management system to better serve members’ online needs.

From HRPA, we wish everyone a happy and safe summer.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – June 2015

Introducing HRPA’s new chair: Brenda Clark, CHRE

Bill GreenhalghHRPA welcomed a new board chair at HRPA’s annual general meeting in May. Brenda Clark, a long-time board member at both the provincial and Ottawa chapter level, will serve as HRPA chair over a two-year term.

Brenda is principal and founder of Advanced Corporate Health, an Ottawa HR consultancy, and an HR professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. She holds both the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation and the Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation.  She has been a member of the provincial Board of Directors of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) for the past four years and was previously the Chapter President of the HRPA Ottawa Chapter.

Brenda’s areas of expertise include Human Resources Strategic and Operational Leadership; research (policy/program research and design) and Occupational Health and Safety and Employee Wellness. She has worked for a number of organizations determining industry leading practices and providing for policies and programs to reduce the risk of illness/ injury and ensure legislative compliance. Brenda is also an expert in Disability Management and has been successful in implementing measures to control for loss time due to occupational/ non-occupational injury or illness.

Brenda has been teaching at the University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management since 2006 in Organizational Behaviour; Occupational Health and Safety; and Strategic HR Planning.  Previous to that she taught for two years at Algonquin College in Occupational Health and Safety.

Brenda obtained the Advanced Program in Human Resources Management Certificate from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto after completing a Masters in Science (Project Management) from the University of Quebec, Outaouais. She holds a Baccalaureate in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa, Ottawa; an Occupational Health Nursing Certificate from Algonquin College, Ottawa and a Registered Nurse Diploma from Canadore College, North Bay.

Brenda will be instrumental in leading HRPA as it embarks on a new inspirational strategic direction that ensures everyone–HR professionals, government, business and the public—understands that HR is a genuine profession with unique skills and capabilities that bring value to organizations through people strategies.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – May 2015

Advice for the aspiring CHRO

Bill GreenhalghWant to work your way up to Chief Human Resources Officer? Bill Conaty, former SVP HR at General Electric, has some advice for you: Become a problem solver and not a problem identifier.

“I’ll always remember something a GE executive once told me: ‘Whenever I have a meeting with HR, I have my list, she has her list, and by the end I have both lists,’” he told a capacity crowd last week at HRPA’s first HR Executive Authors Series event at Toronto’s Hazelton Hotel.

The lesson? If you want to be a welcome sight in the CEO’s office, don’t add to the pile of issues they need to sort out. Instead, give them a heads up on the issue—as well as a description of how you’re dealing with it and assurances that it’s being resolved.

That’s what Conaty did during a long career working under GE’s Jack Welch. And it was this experience heading up HR at General Electric, as well as his new book The Talent Masters, that he discussed at the event.

In Conaty’s estimation, CHROs are in high demand in North American corporations, but they also have the shortest shelf life among C-suite executives (only 20% last seven years in the role before they’re replaced—usually by an external hire.)

But if you do get the job and you want to succeed, you need to convince the CEO that you’re up to the task, because “HR is only as impactful as the CEO wants us to be,” he said.

During his time at GE, Conaty turned Welch’s thinking about HR 180 degrees—from the opinion that anyone can do HR to understanding that human resources is the most important part of the organization, with a mandate of anticipating business needs, attracting and developing the best talent to fulfill them and building a leadership pipeline that ensures organizational success over the long term.

And besides knowing your business and industry inside/out, some other bits of advice Conaty had for aspiring CHROs included:

  • Find a critical fit between the CEO and CFO. “You have to work well with both functions. The CFO bring the numbers and the CHRO balances that out with the people side and employee advocacy.”
  • Have the courage and confidence to push back when you see things being done that run counter to the organizations’—and your own—values.
  • Develop the trust of the entire senior management team—not just the CEO.
  • And never forget the “human” in human resources: “The best leaders balance a passion for the business with a compassion for people,” he said.

Upcoming HR Executive Authors Series events

HRPA is hosting several other HR Executive Authors Series events over 2015 including:

Culture Connection: How Developing a Winning Culture Will Give Your Organization a Competitive Advantage with Marty Parker, CEO, Waterstone Human Capital

June 18, 2015

The Real Deal on People: Straight Talk on How the CHRO Creates Business Value with Les Dakens, former CHRO Maple Leaf Foods and CN Rail

September 16, 2015

Optimizing Organization Design: A Proven Approach to Enhance Financial Performance, Customer Satisfaction and Employee Engagement with management consultant Ron Capelle

October 14, 2015

The Behaviour Breakthrough with Steve Jacobs, Chair and Senior Partner of The Continuous Learning Group (CLG) consultancy

November 4, 2015

Learn more and register for these events.

CHRO Quarterly Dinner Series

Join HRPA, Les Dakens and senior HR executive peers for straight talk on how the CHRO creates business value.

This exclusive dinner series provides insights into and discussion of all the critical CHRO functions and illustrates the theory with case studies from real companies, real executives and real situations.

Learn more and register for these events.


Bill Greenhalgh