Act to regulate HR profession passes second reading

Industrial relations designation would be created

Ontario is one step closer to passing an act that would see its HR professionals regulated in the same manner as accountants. Bill 138, a private member's bill, passed second reading in the Legislature on March 3.

The bill would provide the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) with more power to regulate its 20,000 members. This includes professionals who would be designated as Certified Industrial Relations Counselors (CIRC) after passage of the bill.

Introduced by MPP David Zimmer, the bill would allow the HRPA to inspect the practice of a member or firm should they be suspected of misconduct. As a result, members may be required to undergo medical or psychological testing.

Dr. David Doorey, Labour and Employment law professor at York University, worries that allowing the HRPA to govern professionals designated with Industrial Relations (IR) credentials could lead to further problems.

"An IR expertise requires both education in IR and labour law, and experience in a labour relations environment. Yet the current HRPA standards do not require members to have taken advanced courses in IR, or even a single course in labour or employment law,” says Dr. Doorey. “A unionized workplace in particular is governed by a complex set of legal rules. The fact that HRPA apparently does not recognize this raises serious doubts in my mind about whether HRPA has the legitimacy and expertise to be designating IR professionals."

The bill will also allow investigators to question co-workers and confiscate any professional documents that may be relevant to the investigation. Those guilty of an offence are liable to pay a fine up to $25,000.

The bill was first introduced on November 23, 2010 and would repeal the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, which created the HRPA’s predecessor, the HRPAO, and gave it the right to grant the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

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