It’s a package deal

Where did this whole ‘regulation’ thing come from?  Up until recently, the word ‘regulation’ was not part of our vocabulary, at least not in reference to the Association–what happened?  Here and there one comes across the opinion that the Association should grant the designation but that it should not be involved in regulating its members.  How did it come to be that the Association got involved in regulation?

Reading old documents gives some clues as to what happened here.  Indeed, if we look at any Association document pre-dating 2007, the words ‘regulation,’ or ‘regulatory,’ or ‘regulator’ were not to be found anywhere.  Even documents from the period when our current act was passed don’t refer to regulation.

If we go back to documents from that time, we find phrases like ‘getting official recognition from the provinces for the CHRP’ and ‘government acknowledgement of the CHRP remains a key goal of HR professionals.’  It would appear that many thought of legislation as governmental recognition for the CHRP designation and not really anything more than that.

The problem is that is not quite how the government sees it.  The government doesn’t ‘recognize designations’ it ‘creates professional regulatory bodies.’  In other words, from the perspective of the government, the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, was not about recognizing the CHRP designation but about the creation of a regulatory body that would govern and regulate its members.  From the government’s perspective, professional regulation is a package deal.  Yes, giving statutory protection to the CHRP designation was part of package but the package also included all the other aspects that we would now call ‘regulation.’

It was never going to be the case that we would get statutory recognition for the CHRP designation without also getting all the other components of the package.  Perhaps the concern at the time was to get statutory recognition for the CHRP designation, but what we got was the full regulatory package.

By means of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, HRPA had become a full-fledged professional regulatory body—the interesting aspect, however, is that it took us years to realize what had happened when our Act was passed.  For a long time, few realized that HRPA was a professional regulatory body.  In fact, even today some are not convinced that this is really the case.

So what happened to trigger the realization that HRPA was indeed a professional regulatory body?  Well, it probably wouldn’t be correct to say that any single event triggered the realization that HRPA was a full-fledged professional regulatory body; nonetheless, Bill 14, the proposed Access to Justice Act, 2006, was certainly an important factor.  Bill 14 included the following–that “a person who is acting in the normal course of carrying on a profession or occupation governed by another Act of the Legislature, or an Act of Parliament, that regulates specifically the activities of persons engaged in that profession or occupation” is “deemed not to be practising law or providing legal services.”  Notice the word “regulates” in the wording of the statute.  The idea here that the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, is an act of the Legislature that regulates specifically the activities of persons engaged in the profession.  The exception in Bill 14 relates to regulation not to the granting of the designation.  It is because HRPA is a professional regulator that its members fall under the exception provided for in the Access to Justice Act, 2006.  That got the ball rolling.  Then there was the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009, where HRPA appears on Line 12 of Table 1 under “non-governmental regulatory authorities—private acts”—again the word “regulatory.”

So, it took some time but there has been an emerging realization as to what really happened twenty years ago with the passage of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990.  The recognition of the CHRP designation was just one aspect of a bigger package deal.  That bigger package deal was ‘becoming a professional regulatory body.’

In the last few years, we have been working hard to catch up with the obligations that being a professional regulatory body brings.  Some may not be entirely comfortable with HRPA’s regulatory powers, but that doesn’t change the fact that HRPA is a professional regulatory body and has been for over twenty years.  The fact that many didn’t realize that this was the case doesn’t change the fact that HRPA is and has been a professional regulatory body for over twenty years.

Claude Balthazard, Ph.D., C.Psych., CHRP.

VP Regulatory Affairs

cbalthazard@hrpa.ca

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