Bill 28, a private member’s bill that would regulate members of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in a manner similar to accountants, passed second reading March 1 in the Ontario legislature, according to CEO Bill Greenhalgh, in an email to members.
The bill is sponsored by three MPPs — David Zimmer (Liberal), Michael Prue (NDP) and Christine Elliott (PC) — who spoke “knowledgeably and strongly” in favour of the bill at the second reading, resulting in unanimous all-party support, he said.
“It is vital that HRPA members have a vehicle to evolve and deliver credible HR management that will create and foster success in the Ontario workplace,” said Zimmer, MPP for Willowdale. “It will enable HRPA to ensure the quality of the HR profession in Ontario, more control over their own destiny as a profession, the ability to command a premium in the marketplace, increased ability to influence public policy, increased attractiveness of HR as a career choice, and controlling the use of unauthorized individuals of the CHRP designation.”
Ontario businesses are in the midst of great change as business practices, economic conditions, workforce demographics and labour law all become more complex and interrelated, said Elliott, MPP for Whitby-Oshawa, and HR professionals are at the centre of this rapid change.
So the updated regulatory powers resulting from Bill 28 “would enable HRPA to better protect the public interest from incompetent or unethical human resource practitioners, help prevent abuse of corporate positions and, if abuse should occur, provide the public with an effective means by which to seek recourse,” she said.
The bill will not be a burden for employers, said Elliott.
“Membership in the HRPA is voluntary and the CHRP (certified human resources professional) designation is also voluntary. Nothing forces human resource professionals to be members of the association or forces human resource professionals to obtain the CHRP designation. The same is true with employers. This bill does not force them to hire CHRPs for their firms and businesses.”
As for businesses being at risk because of the bill’s section on investigations and entry without warrant, this is “a Trojan horse concern; that is, by hiring HRPA members, employers open their businesses to investigation by HRPA,” she said.
“Any investigation conducted by HRPA would need to relate to specific allegations of professional misconduct on behalf of a member. HRPA investigators would not simply be allowed to go on a fishing expedition. All information sought would need to be relevant to the allegations.”
Any disciplinary actions taken by the association can only be directed at members and firms registered with HRPA. The association has no independent jurisdiction with respect to employers, said Elliott.
“It’s also worth noting that all 39 public acts governing professions in Ontario include sections that deal specifically with powers of investigation. Although there are differences in the details, the powers of investigation are very similar across regulated professions.”
The bill has now been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government for review. At this point, it is unknown when this will take place, said Greenhalgh.
Following the committee stage, the next steps are a third reading and then a vote in the legislature. The final step would be to receive royal assent.
A link to the debate was provided by HRPA in its email. For more information on Bill 28, visit www.hrpaact.com.
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