CEO Message – January 2017

Choose your own adventure

Bill GreenhalghIt’s that time of the year again for HRPA – the hustle and bustle of the holidays may be over, but the excitement of another great Annual Conference & Trade Show is just beginning.

As always, I’m looking forward to sharing a world-class conference experience with our members – but I’m particularly pleased with the offerings HRPA has in store for you this year as we celebrate 75 years of the Annual Conference & Trade Show.

The conference is always a highly interactive, flexible experience that our attendees can essentially design for themselves, creating a personalized schedule with nine outstanding keynotes (more than any other conference in the world) and over 100 sessions to choose from. But this year, the conference will be even more interactive, with more opportunity than ever for attendees to get involved.

Claude Balthazard, VP Regulatory Affairs and Registrar at HRPA will be conducting five focus groups with attendees who want to share any thoughts about HRPA’s role as a professional regulator. The sessions will be one hour in length and will be highly interactive, but they are limited to 10 participants per session. You can register to participate in a focus group via the regular registration process.

The HRPA Mobile Conference app is another way to tailor your conference experience – available for IOS, Andriod, Windows and Blackberry platforms, the app offers an interactive floor plan, session and speaker information and allows you to bookmark Trade Show exhibitors.

The mobile app experience will be even better this year with the launch of #ACGames, our app-based contest for conference attendees. The contest is based on a points system where attendees will accumulate points throughout the registration and event period. The attendee who receives the highest total points in the game will win our Grand Prize, while the runners up will be able to pick donated exhibitor prizes via our Prize Draft.

This also marks the first year that our magazine, HR Professional, is publishing a special issue dedicated solely to the Annual Conference & Trade Show. You’ll be able to pick up a print copy of the conference issue – the only print issue for the year – as well as explore the new digital-only HR Professional at a dedicated kiosk at the HRPA booth.

For senior executives, we’ll be offering three intimate dinner presentations with keynote speakers, during which you’ll be able to connect with a small group of senior-level peers while exchanging thought leadership and discourse on some of the most pressing issues of the day. Executives can register for the dinners at this link.

If you’re as excited as we are about the exemplary conference speakers and exhibitors, you can learn about them on the Conference website through our new blog series, In Profile, and our video series, AC Speakers Corner and Trade Show Check-In.

If you haven’t registered for the Annual Conference yet, there are only a couple weeks left to do so – it promises to be a year to remember.

We hope to see you there!

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – December 2016

Looking back, moving forward

Bill Greenhalgh

Another year has come and gone, and as we close the door on 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the milestones HRPA reached this year.

2016 was a great year for your association. At better than six per cent growth, we exceeded our membership growth target. We equalled our best-ever member retention percentage at 91 per cent. Retention of first-year members, always the most vulnerable group, improved by over one-third to 80 per cent. Satisfaction with the Annual Conference and Trade Show and with our Professional Development offerings remains at well above 90 per cent. Attendance for senior leadership events improved dramatically from under 400 registrations in 2015 to over 900 registrations in 2016, thanks in part to the calibre of our CHRO event calendar.

As of November 30, 86 per cent of Hire Authority job postings year-to-date specify that a professional designation is required or preferred so it is encouraging that 14,680 members (almost two-thirds  of total membership) are now professionally designated, including 260 CHREs.  We successfully introduced our CHRP and CHRL law exams and Job Ready Program and by year-end had introduced computer based testing, eliminating forever manual testing methods. Test-takers will now have a more convenient way of scheduling all exams, with a window of available time slots instead of being limited to Saturdays, and the new process provides more secure testing technology than traditional paper-based Scantron exams.

With strong member input, we researched and presented half a dozen research whitepapers on HR related issues to policy makers and the latest, on Millennials, was covered by over 230 print, radio and TV outlets across Canada and the US. And through ISO, the International Standards Organization, we initiated a program to create a global HR competency framework in partnership with nine other countries.

In June, we launched a new HRPA website, a new Hire Authority job board, a new iVolunteer online volunteer management and recognition community, as well as committee and chapter communities. We completed a massive upgrade to our ecommerce system, greatly improving the user experience for members. We upgraded our phone system so it is easier to reach the staff members you need to speak with, and we continue to be one of the leanest associations with the highest per capita staff productivity among tier-one regulators.

2016 was a very good year, but it is just the start of our 3-year strategic plan. There is still much more to do — but we are off to a terrific start. To each of you, I wish you a very happy holiday season and a healthy and safe 2017.

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – November 2016

Stronger workforce, stronger economy

Bill GreenhalghEmployers in Ontario have been facing a growing problem for some time now: the disconnect between the skills they need, and the skills job applicants have to offer.

The skills gap has been the subject of much commentary, but identifying the problem is only the first step. Finding workable solutions is what we must do next – and that is what HRPA intended to do in our newest research report, Strengthening Ontario’s Workforce for the Jobs of Tomorrow.

Canada has the highest proportion of adults with a post-secondary education among all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, and the cost of those degrees is roughly double the OECD average, according to 2014 OECD data. Yet more and more of those highly qualified degree holders struggle to find jobs in their field, as I wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

Although there is no official Statistics Canada data on the subject, an estimated one in three Canadian graduates are currently working in low-skill jobs unrelated to their education, according to a 2015 CBC report. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of HR professionals feel that Ontario students, workers and businesses do not currently have sufficient access to labour market data to help build their future prosperity, according to a 2016 HRPA member survey. Not knowing what jobs are, or will be, available makes it a challenge for young people to decide on the right course of study.

HRPA’s new report, which you can find at this link, offers several key recommendations for strengthening the workforce in Ontario and better aligning education, training and employer and industry needs. The recommendations drew from the expertise of our members, which we collected in member surveys earlier in the year. If there is a theme to those recommendations, it is that of collaboration. There must be a strong environment of collaboration between the government, educational institutions and industry if we are to build a better workforce, and keep Ontario competitive.

A full 59 per cent of our members feel that Ontario students, workers and businesses do not currently have sufficient access to labour market data – yet 65 per cent feel that it is “very important” to have accurate data provided.

We’re calling for better and more centralized labour market data – a recommendation that was endorsed by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel in June – as well as for educational institutions to work more closely with businesses in developing curricula.

We’re also calling for employers – and specifically, HR – to maintain the critical focus on on-the-job training, and asking that government find ways to provide support for the associated costs.

And the skills gaps are significant. HRPA surveyed its members to determine what are the most important attributes are of a highly skilled worker, as well as what skills might be missing. The top three characteristics selected were:

  1. Well-rounded critical thinker, analytical with problem-solving skills. Creative, imaginative and resilient;
  2. Strong communication skills; and,
  3. Able to work in complex and evolving environments.

The education system needs an overhaul, one HRPA member said in the membership survey. And that could not be more accurate. We need more programs which are specifically designed to understand the current skill level of incoming workers, and can then address any gaps so that these people can join in the workforce faster and more efficiently. That’s what are members have told us – so we took their recommendations directly to the decision-makers.

HRPA presented the report at Queen’s Park to a group of Members of Provincial Parliament, Cabinet Ministers and parliamentary staff in late October, the same week Premiere Kathleen Wynne had spoken out on the importance of the topic. Our relationship with the provincial government and role as a trusted advisor continues to grow as we build the body of research and thought leadership we contribute to the ongoing public dialogue.

Our next upcoming research report, entitled HR & Millennials: Insights Into Your New Human Capital, will be released at the end of this month, so stay tuned for some interesting findings.

As a further update, please feel free to read the article that appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of Canadian HR Reporter about HRPA’s work with the ISO on creating a global competency framework for HR.

And if you’d like to participate in any of our initiatives, we’re always happy to hear ideas and feedback from our members – feel free to get in touch!

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh

CEO Message – October 2016

Have designations, will travel

Bill GreenhalghYou may have already heard, but HRPA had some exciting news this past month. We’ve made an important stride toward taking our designations and competency framework to the next level: the global level.

In August, I went to Singapore to present our core competency framework to a technical committee (TC260) of the International Standards Organization (ISO).  I presented the framework with a recommendation that ISO should mandate a multinational working group to develop global standards in HR integrating competency frameworks from various countries into a single global framework.

The committee endorsed HRPA’s proposal unanimously, and created a new working group to develop that harmonized framework, for which I was named Chair.

Currently, there are only a handful of countries that have comprehensive and detailed core competency frameworks in HR; these include Australia, the U.S., the UK and HRPA’s in Canada. HRPA’s competency framework is the newest in the world, allowing us to provide our members with the most up-to-date competency framework globally.

Having a global competency framework will help enhance the human resources profession worldwide; create a common basis for education, training and talent selection; and facilitate the mutual recognition of designations between countries, meaning that it will become easier for you to gain valuable international experience with your CHRP, CHRL or CHRE in hand.

However, just as an employer’s recognition of your HR designation reflects the validation of your capability, the ISO’s recognition of HRPA’s competency framework proposal as an initial foundation reflects the validation of all we have worked to achieve these past few years in regards to offering our members the most rigorous and respected designations possible.

The next steps in the process will be for each national standards association to issue a call within their countries for subject matter experts to provide input. The timeline on establishing the framework to completion is estimated at three years.

If you’d like to be involved in this, or any of the other ongoing ISO standards HR projects, the first step is to be accredited by Standards Canada and you can apply via this link.

As always, we welcome the input, expertise and involvement of our members – and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to help shape the future of HR.

Allowing you the freedom and flexibility to leverage the value of your designations wherever your career takes you is a critical endeavor for us. That’s why HRPA built our designations on a foundation of recognition, rigour and respect – a foundation that transcends boundaries.

Kind regards,

Bill Greenhalgh


CEO Message – September 2016

Delivering digital

Bill GreenhalghIt’s no secret that the business world is undergoing a dramatic digital shift, and the pace of technological change will only continue to intensify. The world has become wireless, instantaneous and borderless; convenience, connection and community are the watchwords of the day.

Convenience, connection, community. Those are three words that not only describe the needs and values of a high-tech business world; they also apply to our mission here at HRPA as we strive to provide our members with the best possible value for their membership. We’ve seen how these technological changes have impacted our members, and we are committed to working on the front lines of the digital shift to provide the best possible value.

In June, we launched our newly redesigned website, The new site features a clean, responsive design, optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile use, and it’s easier to navigate and more user-friendly. With member experience in mind, we dug into the traffic data to ensure that the most-referenced content is no more than two clicks away.

June also saw the redesign of HRPA’s online platform Hire Authority. As Canada’s top HR job board, Hire Authority provides an easy, user-friendly channel for our members to connect with employers.

But those are not the only digitally-oriented changes in the pipeline. Beginning in 2017, HRPA’s examinations will be paperless, offering members the convenience and flexibility to write exams online. Members will no longer have to go to a specific location – and perhaps drive a couple of hours to do so – in order to write exams.

The ultimate goal – which feeds into a core part of our strategy – is to make exams so flexible that members can write the exams anytime, anywhere, and have it proctored right then and there.

Another exciting change in the works is the development of our new digital-only version of HR Professional magazine. Next year, HR Professional will evolve into a digital publication that our readers can access across devices. Coupled with the new digital platform will come a deeper and more robust slate of the top-tier content, insight and thought leadership that our members have come to expect.

Providing our members with full-featured digital platforms isn’t just about convenience – though that is, of course, an important consideration. Going digital is also about aligning ourselves with the best practices of socially responsible organizations that strive to make the best decisions for the communities and environments they are a part of. While we already made use of recycled paper to publish HR Professional, we’re now taking that green initiative one step further by moving to a fully paperless platform.

Some of the other innovative digital offerings HRPA has in place for members include the CPD Skills Assessment tool – you can pay a visit at The tool is a convenient, timely way to benchmark your current skills, discover potential areas for development, and take your HR career to the next level. There’s also our online volunteer portal, with which you can quickly and easily find volunteer opportunities. You can visit our iVolunteer portal at The portal makes it easy for members to connect with career-boosting volunteer opportunities at the click of a button.

It’s important for us as a professional association to keep pace with the leading practices of top-tier organizations, and providing a full-featured digital experience is an essential part of that. But first and foremost, our digital evolution is about enhancing our valued relationship with each and every one of our members. We want to deliver convenience, create connection and build community – and every step we take in that regard is taken with our members in mind.

Best regards,

Bill Greenhalgh