The difference between a professional association and a regulatory body (Guest commentary)

It seems inevitable that HR is on the path to more regulation
By Claude Balthazard
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/17/2008

The distinction between a professional association and a regulatory body is one that is not well understood. But it’s important to the HR profession and its evolution, and a distinction that may well become even more important in the future.

In HR, professional associations and regulatory bodies are within the same organizations. Although it is possible to think of regulation as one of the things professional associations do, it’s actually better to think of professional associations and regulatory bodies as two separate organizations under the same roof.

That’s because professional organizations are all about serving the interests of members. That is why they came about in the first place. Professional associations create networking opportunities, publish information of interest to members, conduct research and stage conferences, seminars and workshops. They have job boards, they pull together affinity programs for members and they lobby on behalf of members’ interests.