HRPAO to drop ‘Ontario’

New logo, brand reflect international reach: CEO
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/07/2009

On a Sunday in March, JPMorgan Chase bought out Bear Stearns, one of the top five investment banks in the United States, for $260.5 million US, or $2 US a share — about one per cent of what the bank was worth two weeks earlier. As news of the fire sale broke the following Monday, investors around the world panicked over fears of a major U.S. recession and the Toronto Stock Exchange dropped 300 points.

“In Canada, and particularly in Ontario, we operate now in what is pretty much a borderless world,” said Bill Greenhalgh, chief executive officer of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario. “A bank fails in the U.S. and our stock market plummets. There’s hardly a thing that happens in the world that doesn’t somehow, somewhere affect us.”

To reflect this business reality, and to reflect the international reach Canada’s largest HR association has as an expert in areas such as diversity and sustainability, the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario is changing its brand and logo from HRPAO to HRPA, said Greenhalgh.

The change will be gradual and take about one year. For now, the logo will be HRPA of Ontario.

Once members and other stakeholders get used to the new acronym, the association will drop “Ontario” altogether from the logo.

“It’s to encourage our members to have a much more international perspective and to convey to people in other countries and other provinces that we do have that international outlook,” he said.

“Our legal name will always remain Human Resources Professionals of Ontario. That will never change. But our trademark name, which we operate under, will become HRPA.”

Greenhalgh points out other HR associations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management in the U.S. or the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in England, don’t identify themselves geographically. Even the British Columbia Human Resources Management Association’s logo drops the B.C. and is just HRMA.

The Ontario association communicated the rebranding effort to members in an e-mail last month and so far the response has been positive, said Greenhalgh. He stressed the rebranding isn’t an effort to expand membership outside Ontario.

“Day to day, it’s a reminder of the need for an international viewpoint. We’re not looking at grabbing members from other provinces or from anywhere else,” he said.

“There are many things that happen outside of our borders that as a profession we need to be conscious of.”

Many of the association’s members work in roles where they have some kind of international responsibility or they at least need to consider the international ramifications of the company’s strategy, he said.

Not a replacement for CCHRA

The new logo isn’t a sign the Ontario association, the third largest HR association in the world, is trying to become Canada’s national HR association or supplant the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA), said Greenhalgh.

“We’re not trying to replace CCHRA. They’ve got their own role to play,” he said.

That role includes lobbying the federal government, maintaining and developing professional standards and administering the exams for the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

“We have a clear mandate to be the voice of the profession in Canada,” said Lynn Palmer, CEO of CCHRA in Ottawa.

Her group supports the Ontario association’s rebranding initiative and sees it as a means to better serve members in the province, said Palmer.

“HRPA of Ontario is doing a lot of things to ensure they remain relevant to their members,” she said. “The interests of their members extend outside the borders of the province.”

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