Why all the changes to the certification process?

Few members have failed to notice the changes that have been made to HRPA’s certification process over the last few years.  Some appear bewildered by the changes, some are wondering why these changes are being made, and there are those who believe that such changes are just a ‘cash grab’ on the part of HRPA.  The purpose of this article is to explain the reasons driving the changes that have been made to HRPA’s certification process and the changes that are yet to come.

There are three drivers that have shaped the evolution, and will continue to shape the evolution of the the certification process at HRPA:

  1. Compliance with the law
  2. Meeting externally validated standards of excellence for certification processes
  3. Better serving all stakeholders by ensuring that the CHRP certification process is up-to-date

Let’s look at each in turn.

1.      Compliance with the law.

There are three kinds of initiatives here: (1) complying with new statutes that apply to HRPA, (2) complying with statutes that don’t technically apply to HRPA but which adherence to demonstrates social responsibility; and (3) rectifying gaps in our compliance with statutes enacted in the past.

HRPA is a non-governmental body that exercises authority delegated by law.  As such HRPA is listed in Table 1 of the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009, as a regulatory authority that governs by means of a private act.  HRPA’s policy on mutual recognition, which was approved by the HRPA Board of Directors in December 2009, brought HRPA policy in line with the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009, and the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990.  Among other requirements, the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009 requires regulatory authorities to publish on a publicly accessible website maintained by the regulatory authority, every requirement that the regulatory authority imposes, as a condition of certification in a regulated occupation, on applicants who are already certified in the same occupation by an out-of-province regulatory authority.  HRPA’s policy on mutual recognition was posted on the HRPA website a full year ahead of the requirements of the Act.

In 2006, the Ontario Legislature enacted the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act (now known as the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006).  The purpose of this Act is to help ensure that “regulated professions and individuals applying for registration by regulated professions are governed by registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.”  Technically, this Act does not apply to HRPA in that HRPA does not appear on Schedule 1 of this Act.  Nonetheless, on June 26, 2009, the Board of HRPA made the commitment to be in compliance with the Fair Registration Practices Code which comprises Parts II and III of the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006.  Since then, HRPA has implemented many changes, especially in regards to the tracking of internationally educated professionals and the documentation of its appeal policies.

Complying with the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, would appear self-evident in that it is the Act that created the HRPA and defined its statutory authorities and obligations.  Nonetheless, fully realizing our identity as a professional regulator is not something that happened overnight when the Act was passed in 1990; it has been an on-going process that continues to this day.  Consider our new certificate—until very recently our certificate did not acknowledge that it was issued by HRPA pursuant the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, this was important and has been changed.

Compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is another act that has an impact on HRPA’s certification process.  HRPA has published its privacy policy on its website; in addition, the Association has introduced many changes to protect the personal information of its members.  The Board of HRPA has committed itself to full compliance with PIPEDA standards in relation to our certification process.

Other examples would include the public register.  The Regulated Health Professions Act, 1990, (RHPA) required professions governed by the Act to publish their registers online by June 2009.  Of course, the RHPA does not apply to HRPA, but it does set the standard and communicates the expectations of the Ontario Legislature in such matters.  HRPA made its statutory register available online on January 30, 2009, and has recently implemented a major upgrade to its public register.

2.      To meet an externally validated standard of excellence for certification processes

HRPA wants to have a world-class certification process. Period.  But saying that the Association wants to have a world-class process and actually living up that an externally validated standard of excellence for certification processes are two different things.  There exists two externally validated standards of excellence for certification programs—specifically, the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 and the NCCA standards.  NCCA stands for National Commission for Certifying Agencies.  NCCA accredited programs certify individuals in a wide range of professions and occupations.  To date, NCCA has accredited over 200 programs from more than 100 organizations.

At the June 2009 meeting of HRPA’s Board of Directors, the HRPA Board made the commitment that HRPA would attain NCCA accreditation.  Some may wonder why HRPA has chosen to pursue accreditation by an American body.  The answer is simple—being world-class means meeting world-class standards, and the world-class standard for certification programs are the NCCA standards.  For readers who may be interested, the NCCA standards are available online at http://www.credentialingexcellence.org

In March 2011, HRPA achieved NCCA accreditation for its CHRP certification process becoming the first Canadian credentialing body to do so.

3.      To better serve all stakeholders by ensuring that the CHRP certification process is up-to-date

Finally, some of the changes are driven by the imperative to keep the designation current.  There are a number of stakeholders that count of the designation being current: members, those who hire certified HR professionals as employees and as consultants, the public, and the government.  The profession of HR has changed dramatically over the last decade or so and will continue to change.  The field of certification is also evolving with new ways of doing things being developed all the time.  HRPA is committed to keeping the certification process up-to-date with all these developments.

HRPA’s certification process has seen a number of changes and will continue to evolve as we move forward.  Nonetheless, it is also the case that HRPA’s certification process has retained the same basic architecture that was laid out at its inception in 1989.

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

4 thoughts on “Why all the changes to the certification process?

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