It’s been rumoured as a possibility for months and now it’s official: Quebec’s provincial HR association has rejoined the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA).
Having relinquished its membership in 2010, the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés du Québec (CRHA) decided to come back as an associate member, meaning it is not paying membership fees and it does not have voting rights.
“We were approached by the Canadian council with the option of rejoining and because we want to share best practice and we think we can help our other colleagues in their own challenges, we thought, ‘Why not join again?’” said Manon Poirier, general manager of CRHA in Montreal.
“Our objective is to collaborate with our colleagues across Canada — I think our members see value in making sure that our professional order has ties with other Canadian bodies.”
CCHRA has really moved the yardstick in terms of the governance model, in focusing on bettering and promoting the profession and working on a number of endeavours including research projects and revising standards — and Quebec has seen that, said Tony Ariganello, president and CEO of the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) in Vancouver and CEO of CCHRA.
With the entry of Quebec, CCHRA said it brings together associations that represent more than 24,000 HR professionals across Canada.
It’s important Quebec has come back onboard, said Chris McNelly, CEO of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta (HRIA) in Calgary.
“It shows unity and co-operation throughout the country to ensure that we are advancing the HR profession in the best interests of the public and in the best interests of our members.”
The member provinces are all committed to the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, so they are all promoting and branding the CHRP as a professional designation in HR, said Ron Gauthier, CEO and CHRP registrar at the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba (HRMAM) in Winnipeg.
“The other thing for us is of course strength is in numbers and so when we look at collaboration and as it relates to standards and ethics and research and professional development and other programming that we might be looking at, that collaboration and expertise will help, given the size of Quebec and how many members they have… as we move forward and look at developing the profession.”
CCHRA lost a considerable number of members it represents — along with funding — when Ontario’s HR association gave up its membership in 2014, according to Ian Turnbull, managing director at management consultants Laird & Greer in Toronto.
“It’s terrific that Quebec has come back… I know that they were sad to leave but they felt it was a political necessity, so I’m thrilled that they’ve seen the political necessity to come back and to be collaborative.”
As for Quebec being an associate member, it’s far more important that the province is at the table because it should mostly be about collaboration, said Turnbull.
“If you have to have a hard vote and to be counting the votes to figure out if you’re going to win or lose, then you probably haven’t discussed the issue enough because the nature of (CCHRA) should be collaborative, and 99 times out of 100, it shouldn’t have issues that it has to respond to in a quick and emergency fashion. So it should have time to form committees and talk to members and meeting amongst themselves to go back and talk to the provinces and come back again.”
While not a full member, CRHA has been coming to CCHRA meetings and is willing to contribute in many different ways, said Ariganello.
“The difference is they’ll be paying in kind eventually through PD (professional development) content that they will supply and share with the other provinces… and some of the exam costs,” he said, adding CCHRA is revisiting its national exam as it has been using a United States vendor and it’s probably time to “go Canadian.”
There’s also the chance Quebec will become a full member.
“What they stated there is they want to see the continuing evolution and strategic plan for CCHRA to demonstrate to their members the value,” he said.
For now, CRHA is joining as an associate member, said Poirier.
“The idea for us is to come back to the table and collaborate with the national initiative, but I guess we did that transition to see if we can actually have a full membership with the Canadian council. So we’ll see with time.”
If the associations can all work together, it’s for the best, she said.
“I mean, does it need to be one association? I don’t know, but as long as we’re working towards the same goal and using a coherent and constant approach, it would be ideal. To me, it’s not about which organization would be better or stronger, it’s how can we collectively make it that HR professionals get the recognition they deserve and they continue to better their competencies and that the public understand that they are protected when there’s HR people.”
As for potential synergies, self-regulation is one area of commonality since CRHA is already a professional order.
“There are a lot of other associations and other provinces that are working towards becoming a professional order so I’m sure that all the work that Quebec has done to get to that status, we can probably contribute and help other associations to get that status of professional order,” said Poirier.
“There’s a lot of services that we offer our members that… would be of interest to other provinces, but overall (it’s about) just working together to further the profession and its credibility in the Canadian market — that’s our main driver.”
There are definitely synergies in terms of how CRHA regulates its members for the protection of the public, said McNelly.
“We learn what works and what doesn’t from Quebec. They have a very impressive relationship with government and so we want to learn and understand from that because we see the value of connecting with government, ensuring that any changes that are related to HR in terms of employment practices, that HRIA and other provinces are interested primary stakeholders for the government to rely upon for advice and guidance.”
Quebec brings a lot to the table in terms of its size and numbers, said Gauthier.
“They’ve spent a lot of time in their province developing and looking at the ethics and standards and credentialing requirements and all those kinds of things.”
And on the professional development side, it’s about working together to ensure the associations are providing a high level for all members, he said.
One of Quebec’s strengths is in professional development, which generates 40 per cent of the order’s revenue, said Ariganello.
“There’s synergy there for the other provinces to capitalize on and work together with Quebec.”
There’s actually a lot of commonality with CRHA and even though it departed the national body several years ago, it still has a very similar competency framework along with a national exam, he said.
“The framework is not that apart and that distant, so they felt a lot of synergy that can be had, both at a national level and provincial level.”
The Quebec association should also be interested in CCHRA’s push to have a voice for HR at the federal level and also launch research projects that could be used both nationally and provincially, said Ariganello.
“Those are the things they really want to get some value out of… and, of course, our international alliances.”
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