HRPA 2014 Year in Review

Bill GreenhalghAs 2014 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on what HRPA has accomplished on behalf of its 21,000 members.

The biggest accomplishments—the passage of The Registered Human Resources Professionals Act (in late 2013) and the introduction of our new HR certification model and three new designationsneatly wrap up the final objectives of our most recent strategic plan: most notably to establish HRPA as Tier 1 regulator of the HR profession.

These two accomplishments act in concert to bring about this fundamental shift in HRPA’s role.

Firstly, the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act gives formal, legislative recognition of HR as a Tier 1 profession and for HRPA to regulate the profession in the public interest.

Secondly, with this recognition comes the need to solidify the professionalization of the HR profession, and our new certification framework and designation model lays the foundation for this to happen.

The new model is a competency based framework that not only tests an updated body of HR knowledge reflecting the needs of today’s HR professionals and organizations but the ability to apply that knowledge—similar to other top tier professions including law or engineering.

And similar to other top tier professions, the new model also incorporates supervised work experience programs for entry level (CHRP) HR practitioners to manage the transition from academic knowledge to professional competencies. Finally, all candidates must write a case-based performance exam, where everything learned in school, in the professional program, and in supervised experience, comes together.

HRPA members played a key role in creating this new framework over 2014. We received overwhelming response from members to participate in focus groups that helped us completely update the existing HR Body of Knowledge (which hadn’t been effectively updated since 1996). The new framework has been thoroughly modernized for HR practice in a business environment that has changed considerably over the past 20 years, and includes 213 HR functional competencies and 15 enabling competencies (things like business acumen and negotiation) across three levels of HR practice.

The framework is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a gamechanger for the HR profession. Indeed, some day we may see other HR regulators around the world adopting this framework—and with mutual international recognition means even greater acceptance of HR as a profession.

We are very pleased that we have the full backing of the HRPA membership in our professionalization project. In this year’s Member Satisfaction Survey, we asked you several questions around HRPA’s role and performance as a professional regulator. You came back with strong support, with positive response rates ranging from 74 to 82 per cent.

Expanding HRPA influence

A key mandate of HRPA’s new act is protecting the public—including the health of Ontario workers.

Over the past couple of years, HRPA has been working with partners like the Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace to help organizations build and promote psychologically safe workplaces.

This year we created a web resources and professional development to educate HR professionals and employers around effectively manage mental health issues in the workplace.

And we continued working with Government towards the goal of building an accessible Ontario by 2025. In support of Ontario’s AODA workplace initiatives, this year we rolled out a comprehensive Accessibility Certificate program for HR professionals in four cities across Ontario, and produced a free webinar series around Accessibility standards for customer service, employment and information and communications.

HRPA Thought Leadership

Over 2014, HRPA continued its HR research activities, including membership surveys and joint projects with partner organizations.

In April, HRPA published a member survey on unpaid internships that found almost two-thirds (62%) of Human Resources professionals believe unpaid internships not tied to education or training should be illegal.

In May, HRPA released Apprenticeship Reform: Ontario’s future depends on it—a paper calling on Ontario’s new College of Trades must make changes to its apprenticeships regime, including modernizing the certified tradespeople-to-student ratio required to train apprentices, and ensuring fair and transparent classification of compulsory trades.

In June, HRPA polled the membership on employee engagement as an HR metric, and found eighty per cent of respondents strongly supported the metric, with more than a third saying it’s a concept that’s increased in importance over the years.

And in October, HRPA partnered with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association on research that found workplace compassionate care leave policies increase engagement and retention for employees caring for terminally ill loved ones.

All in all, it’s been a very productive year that sets us up well for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

On behalf of HRPA, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Holiday and the very best in 2015.


Bill Greenhalgh

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