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Junior CHRP would be welcome

Too many established, upcoming HR professionals without university degree feel abandoned by their associations. Oh, and the CHRP should cover employment law too

By Todd Humber

In the April 8 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, we outlined the fact that the required professional capabilities (RPCs) for the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation are currently undergoing an in-depth review.

There is little doubt this is more than just a minor tweak — it is a significant review, and it could alter the CHRP designation considerably. It is a story we are following closely, and we will keep you up-to-date as things progress.

But, in the interim, we get to play the guessing game as to what might be unveiled when all the dust settles from the consultations.

Employment law

In my unscientific conversations with HR professionals, there seems to be a consensus that consideration should be given to adding deep knowledge of employment law as a core part of the CHRP.

That makes a lot of sense. Yes, employers keep legal counsel — either in-house or at an external employment law firm — on speed dial. For obvious reasons, an HR professional should never take on the role of employment lawyer.

But a sound understanding of the basic principles of the law as it relates to the workplace is fundamental. HR professionals, particularly senior ones, should be well versed in employment standards and the common law so they can speak confidently at the table and in conversations with their lawyers.

HR professionals should have a thorough understanding of concepts like reasonable notice and the enforceability of restrictive covenants like non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in contracts. They should know — and keep current on — how high the bar has been set when it comes to just cause dismissals and that, even in the case of something as severe as theft, extreme care needs to be taken.

Many HR professionals already know plenty more than this about the law, but encoding it into the DNA of the CHRP would elevate the designation even further.

Junior designation

One of the reasons the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) is conducting the review is to examine whether a new, junior HR designation should be introduced, according to Antoinette Blunt, chair of the standards advisory committee.

That would be a smart move for all of the associations across the country, because there are a lot of HR professionals who don’t have a university degree — and many of them are feeling isolated and abandoned by the degree requirement for the CHRP.

At the HRPA conference in Toronto earlier this year, a number of HR professionals approached me to voice their displeasure with the CHRP — not because they didn’t like it, or think it worthwhile, but because they had a college diploma and not a university degree.

A common question from this group was: “Why would I go back to school now, when I’m already working full time, in order to get this designation?”

Because of that frustration, some of them felt like they didn’t have a home anymore with their provincial HR association. Some type of junior designation, that doesn’t require a degree or the three-year experience assessment, would be music to the ears of this crowd — and it could also bolster the membership ranks of the associations.

Adding a degree requirement to the CHRP designation made a lot of sense in terms of raising the bar of the profession.

But associations have to remember that you don’t need a CHRP to practice HR in Canada, and shutting the door to this large segment of professionals — and what that means in terms of lost opportunities for them when it comes to training and development, mentoring and so on — isn’t doing the profession any favours.

Todd Humber is the managing editor of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. He can be reached at or visit for more information. 

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Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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