At a time when the triple-designation approach of Ontario’s Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has caused confusion for the HR profession in Canada, we want to ensure there is no confusion about this: HRPA does not speak for the majority of Canada — that role belongs to CPHR Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA).
This confusion is indicative of what is happening to the HR profession in Canada, as we see a large division starting to appear. Case in point: Due in part to Ontario’s recent denigration of the CHRP, and in part because of continued market confusion, the rest of Canada has changed its premier designation from CHRP to CPHR — Chartered Professional in Human Resources.
Unfortunately, while HRPA was very much a founding figure in establishing our national designation and association years ago, that support changed when it unilaterally decided to leave the national association a couple of years ago; that distance was furthered by its decision to begin the lowering of the CHRP — and the established framework it represented — by placing it at the junior entry level of its exclusive three-tier system of HR designations… in Ontario.
All of this occurred despite objections from the rest of Canada, and a formal request that it not make the CHRP the lowest of the three designations.
“In Ontario” is the important part to bear in mind, and it is why we are reaching out to members and stakeholders to remind them — the CHRP designation as we knew it is no longer relevant outside of Ontario.
Moreover, its new “easy-access” entry status does not speak to a fraction of the designation’s essential strengths or to the framework supporting the efforts of current designation-holders.
As a result, whatever standard emerges from Ontario, or is promoted by its principals, it can speak only for Ontario, and remains flawed in a fundamental principle — after all, how can you promote a multinational standard when you have fragmented your own standard three times over, to the cost and dismay of human resources professionals across your own country?
In regard to the recent Canadian HR Reporter article, “Multinational ISO standard for HR competencies pushed by HRPA,” the authority for such an initiative lies outside the hands of the Ontario-only HR body.
Moreover, this unilateral ISO (International Organization for Standardization) initiative has been opposed at the national level (CPHR Canada), as well as by HR bodies from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) representing 93 member countries and nearly 700,000 HR practitioners. Letters to the ISO have already been written by the U.S., Australia, and the WFPMA denouncing this initiative and recommending it be scrapped.
Accordingly, for HRPA to suggest this is an exciting initiative to have as a foundation for enhancing the profession around the world, and that the Standards Council of Canada and the ISO endorsed it, doesn’t tell the full story.
Thus, we are delivering a simple message on a global level — don’t be fooled. The CPHR designation should be the only designation to represent Canada — and this holds true well beyond participation in the ISO.
CPHR Canada is also the only Canadian delegate representative to both the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA) and WFPMA.
HR has become increasingly global and CPHR Canada is at the forefront in building partnerships internationally.
On the national level, we have our work cut out for us, but that work is greatly alleviated by the fact that the CPHR designation adheres to all previously celebrated aspects of the CHRP — namely, one vision, one framework and one voice.
It has taken decades, and the work of thousands of professionals, to reach this point, and of that we can be justifiably proud as Canadian HR professionals.
I speak from personal experience when I say that what has happened in Ontario has caused harm to the human resources profession. When I was CEO of CGA Canada, I was involved in bringing together the three accounting bodies into one (CPA), and I can attest that this divergence in designations, at a time when convergence is the norm, only harms the profession rather than bolsters it.
Before HRPA moved in this direction, I offered my suggestion and recommendation to stay the course for the betterment of the profession and membership as a whole, but HRPA chose not to. For now, we live with the dichotomy.
CPHR Canada will always welcome the Ontario association back to the national association, if it is willing to respect every other province and territory’s commitment to one vision, one framework and one voice.
However, in the meantime, those looking for a global standard in human resources excellence need look no further than the CPHR designation.
Anthony Ariganello is the Vancouver-based president and CEO of the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) and CPHR Canada.
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