CPHR Canada keeps busy with government relations, partnerships
Overall, the past year has gone very well for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada, according to Neil Coombs, chair of the board.
One of the biggest areas the association has worked on is government relations, in responding to federal government issues. These included pay equity and Bill C-65 around harassment and violence, says Coombs, who is also a partner and principal consultant at Higher Talent in St. John’s.
“We also presented to the tax and fiscal policy senate committee in the pre-budget consultations where we weighed in on the need for investment in education, particularly the need for skills creation around the impacts of AI and how work is changing with technology.”
The national body — which represents 27,000 HR members across nine provinces and three territories — has also conducted meetings with MPs and others on Parliament Hill, he says.
“(It’s about) making sure that when there’s significant issues that impact Canadian workplaces and Canadian HR professionals, we should be the voice that they’re reaching out to talk to.”
CPHR Canada has also been busy working with other HR associations such as the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA).
“We did some significant work around developing a code of conduct for HR professionals in Canada, and that was presented to NAHRMA and the World Federation (of People Management),” says Coombs.
CPHR Canada also signed a mutual recognition agreement with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the United States, allowing for CPHRs to receive the SHRM designation, and vice versa.
“That was a big win for us,” says Coombs. “A number of provinces... reported they got a lot of feedback from membership and they’re very pleased to get that designation.
CPHR Canada has also been focused on establishing a working relationship with Ontario’s Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), he says.
“We’ve met with HRPA’s chair and had some positive discussions. I’m personally pleased with the progress. As you know, ultimately, we’d love to have HRPA back at the table with CPHR Canada but that may take some time. So for now, we’re focused on ensuring that at least we’re both working in the same direction, we’re both trying to enhance the profession,” says Coombs.
And CPHR Canada will continue to focus on its brand, he says.
“We’re going to increase our spend on marketing and ensure there’s a better understanding of who CPHR Canada is, and the value that our professionals have on the workplace.”
CPHR BC & Yukon sees success with HR tech forum
Chartered Professionals of Human Resources (CPHR) British Columbia & Yukon had a good year in 2018, with growth in membership of about three per cent, according to CEO Anthony Ariganello.
That brings the total to about 5,800 people.
The association has also seen strong growth in members taking on the new CPHR designation, along with solid member engagement in events. For instance, CPHR BC & Yukon held its inaugural HR Technology Symposium and Showcase in Vancouver at the end of October.
“It was very well-attended, with individuals at various levels, but mostly senior levels, who were very interested,” he says. “We continue to push the boundaries of bringing in new things and new ideas. We’ve had very good member satisfaction.”
The Vancouver-based group has also seen close to 400 members sign up for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) designation since CPHR Canada signed a mutual recognition agreement with the Alexandria, Va.-based association.
As for the push for self-regulation, there have been no developments because of the changeover in government, says Ariganello.
And with the very slim minority they hold, their priorities are “elsewhere,” he says.
Going into 2019, CPHR BC & Yukon will work hard at being more vocal to help government fulfil its agenda with respect to anything that’s HR-related, says Ariganello.
“We created a public policy committee aimed at really supporting government on a number of initiatives,” he says, citing labour standards and temporary foreign workers as examples.
The group will also be pushing out more messaging about the CPHR brand in 2019, he says.
“Next year, we’re looking at doing more. We took a year of reprieve because of the financial funds that were available to us.”
As for British Columbia, HR professionals are challenged by very low unemployment, he says.
“Part of the challenge is getting people to come here and work here because of the cost of living; it’s just so expensive.”
New players in the area are also both a blessing and curse.
“With Microsoft and Amazon announcing new headquarters here, especially in the technology sector, that’s creating some of a concern for some HR practitioners: ‘Are we going to have enough people here, and will it drain from other organizations where people are now?’” says Ariganello.
Alberta responds to membership needs, feedback
When Peter Dugandzic took over Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Alberta, membership satisfaction was very low, he says.
“Services were misaligned to member needs; members were concerned about transparency; we didn’t have a clear path to the future and, as an organization, we failed to execute on what we committed to deliver.”
The new CEO’s mandate was to improve the lines of communication between management and members about any shortcomings.
“They provided the feedback, we listened, we developed a five-year plan and we began to execute,” says Dugandzic.
Since then, the level of transparency around what CPHR Alberta does, and how it communicates, has been improved through various channels, he says, including quarterly reports to the board and online town halls each quarter.
Over a two-year period, the association has reduced its deficit by 80 per cent, he says.
It’s also increased the value proposition by focusing on professional development, with access to 300 courses through post-secondary institutions, customized courses for the regions, more than 20 webinars and a video-on-demand system, says Dugandzic.
“We’re not a publicly traded company but we do have stakeholders and those are our members, so we simply focused on making sure that their needs were being met through enhancements and in terms of how we deliver our services.”
Overall engagement activity is at a record high, he says, with more than 21,000 members in total attending the various events, including upwards up 1,000 people for a single webinar.
The membership base has also stabilized, with turnover down from 18 to 14 per cent, and total membership of 5,600, says Dugandzic. “All in all, it’s been a very successful two years.”
The association is also one step closer to self-regulation through an aggressive government relations program, he says.
“While we’ve made tremendous improvement in terms of not only working with government to advance new legislation, and certainly enhancing our recognition through things like a day on (Parliament Hill) and working with global public relations to advance our cause, we would have had ministerial approval had it not been for the impending election.”
And Alberta’s economy continues to be a challenge, he says.
“While… a significant piece of the economy is driven by the oil and gas sector, it’s the whole uncertainty in the economic climate which is having an impact on investment and diversification.”
New code of conduct introduced by CPHR Saskatchewan
Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Saskatchewan has had another busy year, according to Nicole Norton Scott, executive director and registrar.
For one, the 1,200-member association introduced a newly adopted code of ethics and standards of professional conduct.
“We always had one. However, (this has) a bit more rigour and detail to guide those HR practitioners because it’s for… all members that belong to the association, whether they have the designation or not,” she says.
CPHR Saskatchewan also continues to drive towards self-regulation, and to work with government — as seen with an MLA reception it held in March.
“It was an opportunity for MLAs to come to the legislature where we talked about who we are, about the profession, the designation, and why were seeking self-regulation,” says Norton Scott.
Eighty-three per cent of members support the idea of self-regulation, according to a CPHR Saskatchewan survey in 2018. But they also want to hear more about what that means to them, she says.
As a result, CPHR Saskatchewan held town halls in places such as Regina, Prince Alberta and Moose Jaw “to communicate with the members in person and talk about the board’s strategic plan and what it means for the members,” says Norton Scott.
CPHR Saskatchewan also held two executive HR series events.
“It’s an opportunity to connect with senior HR practitioners at organizations, an opportunity for the association to connect with them, as well for them to continually build their network,” she says, adding “those executive people are very much ambassadors.”
The association also focused on professional development opportunities, along with releasing results from its HR Trends reports.
“The hiring confidence index is slowly increasing in Saskatchewan — it was low,” she says.
Brand reputation marketing is another goal as the association looks to boost awareness.
“We’re going to put a lot of energies into the branding, the marketing, building the value, what does it mean for current members and... potential members, and also for the business community.”
CPHR Manitoba enjoys rising membership numbers
A four-pronged attack was the strategy for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Manitoba through 2018.
Efforts included: positioning members as thought leaders; promoting the refreshed CPHR brand; growing the membership base; and pushing for self-regulation at the provincial level, according to Ron Gauthier, CEO of CPHR Manitoba.
The Manitoba group has also worked in tandem with provincial post-secondary institutions to accredit seven HR programs, and more schools are seeking to hire CPHRs as instructors for HR programs, he says.
In terms of the rebrand — which aligned the provincial body with the national association — research shows more Manitoba business leaders are now aware of the brand following heavy promotion through marketing and conferences, he says.
Regarding membership, totals have now risen to 1,490 — slightly below the association’s highest level of 1,505 a decade ago, says Gauthier.
The majority of the increase was attributable to both CPHR candidates and student memberships.
“That really bodes well for the future,” he says.
A total of 113 graduates of accredited HR institutions applied to become CPHRs last year, even as National Knowledge Exam (NKE) participation continued at a steady pace, according to Gauthier.
“We thought most of the young students were the ones writing the exams, but we’re finding that it’s people that are working that are now choosing that maybe there’s more value in the designation.”
The organization’s strategic plan will undergo a re-evaluation sometime later this year, he says.
As for self-regulation, the submission to protect the public continues to rest before the provincial government, says Gauthier.
“Our long short-term goal is to get to the point where maybe we can have the legislation drafted in the near future.”
With new CEO, Ontario goes through ‘major transformation’
Since becoming CEO of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario in June 2018, the association has gone through a pretty major transformation, both inside and out, says Louise Taylor Green.
Internally, it’s embraced its regulatory role “and made some enormous strides,” she says, citing, as an example, the work HRPA conducted on the measurement of performance of professional regulatory bodies. As a result, the association’s registrar was invited to present that work at the Council for Licensure Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) conference.
HRPA has also conducted comprehensive organizational analysis to inform the development of a refreshed strategy, she says.
“We wholeheartedly believe that the HR profession has come of age and is impacting organizations, employees and the public at large in profoundly positive ways — changing culture; enabling physical and psychological safety at work; driving change and transformation programs; strategically sourcing talent; training and developing staff and leaders; designing total rewards programs that drive performance; curating a highly-valued employee experience,” says Taylor Green.
“We see a flourishing HR profession on the horizon, but one that needs some structural reinforcements to ensure the resources and tools that enable the highest standards of professional HR practice are a constant.”
Externally, HRPA has been reaching out to its 23,266 members and the public to gain insights about beliefs and perceptions around the HR profession.
It commissioned a survey that found most Ontarians have no idea if and how HR is regulated. Public confidence in HR professionals in respect of honesty and ethical standards also needs to improve, says Taylor Green.
Looking ahead, HRPA’s overarching focus for the next several years is to inspire professionalism among members, she says.
“Promoting and protecting the public interest by regulating the practice, competence and professional conduct of our members is our paramount interest.”
There are also plans for the development of a public advisory council, says Taylor Green.
“In addition, we will begin a process to investigate how the public at large can suffer harm as a result of poor HR practice. The results of this research will be utilized to establish professional practice guidance, resources and tools for professionals, and it will also inform potential updates to our professional competency framework and member learning offerings.”
Quebec’s CRHA to unveil new strategic plan in 2019
Refreshed provincial labour standards and a new competency framework made for a transformative year at the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) in Montreal, says general manager Manon Poirier.
In June, the Quebec government updated its work rules, including changes to overtime, pensions and leaves of absence, and CRHA was heavily involved in the process.
“I don’t think it was quite the ‘modernization’ of the labour standards,” she says. “It was tweaks and little add-ons and little measures to help families and individuals. But it wasn’t fundamental.”
The association launched a new competency framework in November, following a design process that involved 250 people from both HR and non-HR backgrounds, says Poirier.
The group dug into the future of work and the profession to create a framework that will help transform HR through changes in technology, numeral literacy and artificial intelligence, she says.
“We do believe that we need to transform,” says Poirier. “There’s quite a bit of new elements in the competency framework that we believe is absolutely needed to support the transformation of the profession.”
For now, the CRHA’s new framework differs from that of CPHR Canada, though the two bodies are working on alignment opportunities, she says.
CRHA is also working with Quebec universities to synchronize programming wherever possible, says Poirier.
Heading into 2019, the association is focusing on a certification program that aims to reserve investigations of incidents of workplace harassment for HR professionals, she says.
“We feel that an investigation that is rightly done by someone that’s competent would have an impact in making sure that our workplaces are safer and without harassment.”
A new strategic plan fleshing out ways HR can protect the public will also be unveiled this year, according to Poirier.
“We define our protection of the public well beyond making sure that our CPHRs are competent, and they’re doing a good job and giving great advice. Ultimately, our mission… is to allow each person to work in an environment that is safe, that is innovative, that is collaborative.”
The CRHA is also aiming to continue supporting its membership base of 10,440 with skills development and liaising with employers and managers, she says.
New year means new CEO for CPHR Nova Scotia
Recruiting a new leader tops the agenda for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Nova Scotia, which will bid goodbye to Sheila McLean, the group’s CEO since 2007.
“Once our new CEO is in place in early 2019, we will begin working on our next strategic plan and furthering the work we have been doing on strengthening our member value proposition and enhancing the knowledge of the CPHR designation and the HR profession in the business community, as well as working towards our strategic focus of enhancing the workplaces in our communities,” says Layla Khalil, chair of the board at CPHR Nova Scotia in Halifax.
Legalized cannabis was a hot topic for the association in 2018, which has 635 members after separating from the Prince Edward Island association in 2017.
“In 2018, we further enhanced our partnerships with the business community through a partnership with the chamber of commerce on a ‘cannabis in the workplace’ event to increase the awareness and readiness of businesses,” says Khalil. “Hundreds of business leaders had the opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders and discuss how the changes may impact their own businesses. This was in addition to the ongoing activities we had been doing to help our members prepare their own organizations.”
“We will continue to monitor the impact of cannabis legalization and other workplace trends to tailor our programming and resources to meet the needs of our members and the HR community.”
Continuing education was a new initiative for the Nova Scotia association last year, she says, as the group launched a post-secondary accreditation partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College, “which means the institution’s HR program has been accredited from a knowledge content perspective relating to the CPHR designation.”
Just like other HR associations, CPHR Nova Scotia completed a rebranding and that has been very well-received, says Khalil.
“The consistency of our brand with other provinces has helped increase the awareness of the HR profession and the CPHR designation.”
With help from other associations, CPHR PEI ready to serve members
After being in business for about 18 months, Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Prince Edward Island is set to ramp up efforts to attract new members and better serve its existing base.
The province teamed up with Nova Scotia in 2002, after starting up on its own in the 1980s, before heading out solo again in 2017.
“When I look at everything we had to do, from transitioning our members from Nova Scotia over to P.E.I., that was a monumental piece of work; making sure there was continuity and files and documentation processes and then everything from the background, like setting up all the structural pieces, bylaws, constitution, HST numbers, online member-management system — there’s a lot of stuff,” says Detry Carragher, chair of CPHR PEI in Charlottetown.
But the HR group was not left on its own when setting up shop, says Carragher, as other CPHR chapters also pitched in.
“We have what’s called a chief staffing officers group. We get together a few times throughout the year, but we’re always sending questions back and forth like ‘Do you have a policy on this? And what’s your practice on this?’ We do inquire a lot and really everybody’s been very helpful to share processes, and then just looking at how to refine that and what are the considerations for each of those areas.”
Some of the bigger topics tackled in 2018 were setting up the certification committee, looking at the requirements around the National Knowledge Exam (NKE), and moving people through that process, says Carragher.
“There’s not a standard pathway to the CPHR designation across Canada. But I think we’re all kind of working collectively to get there.”
The P.E.I. association currently has 95 members, up from 85 last year, and work on its website is close to completion.
“(We are) making a few changes to the structure of the website so we can communicate more effectively with our members. We’re adding a number of other things for 2019,” says Carragher.
With the enhanced website in place, CPHR PEI will be “looking at a recruitment strategy, really a member-development strategy,” she says. “And because there really hasn’t been a physical presence for an organization on P.E.I., now we just need to get the message out and then build on that.”
And though the timing is still unclear, self-regulation is a main goal, says Carragher.
“Our counterparts are moving a little faster than we are on the East Coast with that. It’s something that’s definitely on the radar.”
Education tops agenda for New Brunswick HR association
A new partnership with the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is a “big win” for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) New Brunswick.
“People that will be graduating from NBCC with the diploma will be exempted from writing the NKE, which is the National Knowledge Exam,” says Luc Page, executive director of CPHRNB in Moncton. “That’s a big win for us.”
Besides the obvious goal of providing members with increased education, the partnership should help attract new members to the 874-strong organization, he says.
As well, greater integration with CPHR Canada has provided even more educational opportunities.
“At the national level, our members were able to be recognized with the SHRM designation (from the Society for Human Resource Management in the U.S.), we were able to establish a partnership with them,” says Page.
But the Progressive Conservatives taking over from the Liberals in 2018, and forming a minority provincial government, might be tricky to deal with, he says.
“Right now, the new government is in place and they’re all new. We’re trying to establish relations by being present on various committees, and also to meet with our local MLAs to have a bigger voice.”
The rebranding of the group’s look and feel continues, says Page, and is going quite well.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with the financial resources that we have.”
“We did a marketing campaign, we did put some advertising on various billboards, at the national level as well at the provincial level,” he says. “Probably we will need to consider maybe increasing our dues in the next year in order to be competitive in the market to do more marketing and have a bigger budget on branding.”
And an ongoing outreach program continues to spread the message about the new branding and the association.
“We’ve been doing a lot of presentations and recruiting at the post-secondary level, promoting the brand throughout,” says Page.
“We sponsored a lot of events as well, like the Atlantic provincial trucking association, which was really good for us.”
For 2019, more partnerships are on the program, he says.
“We’re looking at maybe partnerships with the Atlantic HR associations... on some branding activities where we can share the cost and promote a better awareness of the designation and continue to market.”
CPHR NL works to combat declining membership numbers
For a province of its size, Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Newfoundland & Labrador should have more than 1,000 members, according to its president.
Currently, CPHR NL has 145 members.
“Our challenge is that we didn’t really grow the members’ numbers, but I think that those members are fairly loyal because the ratio of people that actually have their designation is much higher,” says Leroy Murphy.
“Part of that challenge, too, is in St. John’s — that’s where the bulk of our organization or members are, but we’ve got to get out to the other areas of the province,” he says.
“It’s very difficult to draw those people in when they’re a bit more isolated, so we’ve got to get more increased focus on getting the rest of the province involved.”
It’s a major emphasis for 2019, says Murphy.
“Every year, our board of directors is almost predominantly from St. John’s. (But) this year, we have somebody from Corner Brook that we will be able to hopefully rely on, and we’ve been talking about maybe how can we do some events elsewhere.”
On the positive side, “financially, things have improved” and hopefully collaborations will help this continue, he says.
CPHR Canada partnerships have enhanced membership offerings, says Murphy.
CPHR NL is also hoping that by affiliating with a prominent local university, it will help increase the number of members, he says.
“We’re working on a partnership with the Gardiner Centre, and they’re an offshoot of the Faculty of Business at Memorial University. They do a lot of professional-development training for industry people and so we’re going to partner with them to do a one-day seminar for HR leaders... We’ve never done anything that big before and I think that will help put us on the map a little more here in Newfoundland.”
Rebranding, which started last year, has helped expand the organization’s profile, he says.
“That’s gone really well because, coincidentally for us, when we were rebranding, we were redeveloping our website, so the timing was perfect… That really adds some weight to the recognition of the title CPHR.”
But efforts to establish a self-regulation body have not gone as successfully, says Murphy.
“We’ve not progressed nearly as far as we would like, and we’re trying to reassemble a new team.”
“The problem is volunteers in such a small organization... trying to get people to do these kinds of things, is very challenging,” he says. “I think this year we’re going to be able to really make an actual solid push, because we’ve gotten past a rebranding, we have our strategic plan, and other elements of our strategic plan are coming together.”
Tzanetakis takes helm of national payroll association
In July, Peter Tzanetakis replaced longtime leader Patrick Culhane as president of the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) in Toronto.
So far, the transition has been positive, with the CPA continuing in its advocacy role amidst multiple provincial government transitions, he says.
“At the provincial level, there’s been a lot of changes, obviously,” says Tzanetakis. “Whenever a new government comes into place and they make changes, that obviously impacts the legislation.”
“It’s been a very busy year, and I suspect it’ll continue to be busy in light of some of the changes here in Ontario, but also in the years to come as other governments come into power.”
The CPA works to influence change and then inform members about their legislative requirements and critical payroll issues, he says.
The association provides payroll education and advocacy for its membership base of 20,117.
In 2019, the CPA will work to professionalize payroll practitioners, putting emphasis on certification and the importance of the function, says Tzanetakis.
“When things go smoothly, no one really thinks about payroll,” he says.
“It’s when sometimes things don’t go so smoothly that it comes to the forefront.”
The CPA will undertake a strategic planning initiative in the coming year, looking at changes in the economy, market, technology, and the nature of work, according to Tzanetakis.
“We want to make sure that our value proposition continues to stay modern and relevant to members and prospective members.”
Legislative upheaval is fuelling interest in the CPA, says Tzanetakis.
“Legislative change is really driving that because, at the end of the day, payroll practitioners really want to make sure they’re on top of all of the change that’s happening — and change is happening at a pretty rapid pace,” he says.
“That’s really been a driving force certainly this year, and we don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.”
SCNetwork celebrates 40 years of thought leadership
For the past four decades, the Strategic Capability Network (SCN) has provided Canadian human resources professionals with networking opportunities and thought leadership.
The 809-member association sees HR professionals gather for monthly sessions in both Toronto and Calgary to hear from a variety of subject experts on issues facing HR.
Later this year, the network will celebrate its 40-year anniversary.
Members appreciate the value offering, and extras are on the way for 2019, says SCN president Suanne Nielsen in Toronto.
CHRO peer forums — groups of about 20 non-competing HR leaders — will be standardized and expanded to more members, she says.
These groups meet periodically to provide support and learning opportunities, complementing SCN’s broader goals, says Nielsen.
“There’s lots of interest in this, and we believe this is going to be a key element of our long-term member growth strategy.”
Over the past year, issues such as diversity and inclusion, the future of work and the gig economy took the spotlight at the association’s monthly meetings.
Thanks to the work of programming chair Mark Edgar — senior vice-president of HR at RSA Canada — SCN’s focus continues to meet the needs of senior members, says Nielsen.
SCN chapters in Ontario in Ottawa, London and Waterloo continue to operate informally, she says.
And the association operates thanks to the generosity of volunteers and sponsors, says Nielsen.
“We are able to offer great programming for our members, largely because we have a group of wonderful corporate sponsors.”
SCN continues to give back to the broader community, and has contributed more than $13,000 to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto over the past three years, according to Nielsen.
Three issues fuel new growth at 70-year-old SHRM
While 2018 marked the 70th year of operation for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Alexandria, Va., a fresh look at the present and future spurred growth, says president and CEO Johnny Taylor Jr.
That included: the #MeToo movement around sexual harassment; a “very hot” economy leading to an unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent; and low national birthrates contributing to a labour shortage and skills gap.
This confluence of factors created a unique opportunity for HR, says Taylor, who became CEO in December 2017.
“We could have very well run from it, and instead we embraced it and said, ‘You know? Actually, there was some pretty darn good HR practice going on. (Is there) room for improvement? Indeed. The opportunity for us here now is to realize how important HR is.’”
In 2018, the society gave guidance on workplace harassment, created a seven-state pilot program to develop the country’s youngest workers, and pushed employers to broaden their job-candidate pools to include veterans and people with criminal backgrounds, he says.
SHRM also retooled its branding campaign — previously focused on certification — to highlight the effect HR can have on harassment, immigration, skills gaps and workforce management.
“What we found was these issues spoke not just to HR people… but to actual everyday employees.”
Through SHRM’s campaign, Americans began to understand why HR certifications are important, says Taylor.
“There is no part of us that is going away from our mission, which is our core — HR people,” he says.
“But it is expanding the communication and the branding of it to people who it may not be so clear to them why they should care about HR.”
Membership has swelled to 306,000 following the “biggest growth year ever,” says Taylor.
In 2019, SHRM’s focus will be squarely on expanding the supply of workers, he says.
Employers will need to begin looking at non-traditional recruitment opportunities, such as the formerly incarcerated, older workers, immigrants, veterans and those who are disabled, according to Taylor.
“Once you find those people, you’ve got to train them. It’s a great idea to say, ‘We’re going to open our hiring window to take people who historically were overlooked.’ But what you have to acknowledge is if you have someone who’s been in federal prison for 15 years, you can’t expect that you’re going to bring them into the workplace and tomorrow, they’re going to be functional.”
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