CCHRA sets goals for boosting HR

Group focusing in on completing five key goals in the next three years

With a new president in charge, the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations also has a new strategic vision — and new challenges — for the next three years.

The strategic vision, accepted by the board in October, has five primary goals to be accomplished by 2007, said Genevieve Fortier, president of the CCHRA since October, and vice-president of HR with Montreal-based Reitmans. (See sidebar below.)

Fortier hopes to achieve three of those goals by the time her mandate ends in October 2006: Firmly establish CCHRA as the voice for HR on national issues, forge new ties with the federal government to provide input on HR issues, and continue to promote the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.

“I want to make sure we will be solidly anchored as the national voice on HR issues,” she said. A new forum of HR professionals will meet once or twice a year to discuss strategic national issues and the possibility of what, if any, lobbying the CCHRA can do.

A federal government affairs committee will also be created to ensure the council is developing a stronger connection with Ottawa. Right now, the HR profession has to fight to be heard on the national stage, she said.

Whenever changes to the Canada Labour Code or the human rights code are considered, or even when new tactics in the national skills strategy are mulled, Ottawa should look to the CCHRA for input, she said.

From its inception in the mid-’90s the council has largely focused on promoting the profession and setting professional standards, primarily through the establishment of national standards for the CHRP.

With CHRP national standards a reality since 2003, and with some of the kinks in the process being ironed out, the council now intends to step up its marketing and promotion of the designation across the country.

Until now, CCHRA money has only been designated for campaign design. A proposal should be ready for board approval in March, at which point funding will be decided upon. The provinces have already been promoting the CHRP, but a national campaign overseen by a national association should have even greater benefit, she said.

Further, the council will continue to work to ensure the CHRP process is a good one.

When the national knowledge exam (the first of two examinations for CHRP candidates) was first conducted in September 2003, many candidates claimed the exam was unfair and barely one-half passed. Improvements have been made, both to the exams themselves and to the preparation supports available to those taking the exams, said Fortier.

Since the first exam, interest in both the knowledge exam and the professional practice assessment (the second exam in the certification process) has been higher than expected. That proves the national standards are being well-received, she said. Results have also improved. For the second sitting of the knowledge exam, 74.3 per cent passed, and for the third sitting, in October, the pass rate was 83.5 per cent.

The first professional practice assessment was conducted last spring and 88 per cent passed, with the success rate dropping to 79 per cent at the second sitting in October.

“It has been said from the beginning that the exam would change,” she said. The independent board of examiners reviews each exam. “If there are problematic questions we remove them and replace them,” she said. “But there is also much greater and much better exam preparation by the registrants.”

Aside from certification, Fortier will also be involved with recertification. Beginning in 2006, CHRP holders will have to earn recertification through the demonstration of a commitment to continuous learning and development. Though most of the provincial bodies have had some sort of recertification process, Ontario and Quebec have not. Late last fall, a recertification committee was struck to create a recertification log which will be used to prove the completion of the requisite professional development. A random audit process will be used to ensure all log entries are legitimate. That process also has to be finalized and ready to go by 2006.

Fortier will also be working to increase the ranks of the CCHRA, which has about 30,000 members. There is no target because it is difficult to say how big the pool of potential members is, she said. And each province is already working to increase its membership so at the quarterly meetings of the council executive a review of practices and successes will be discussed. But the CCHRA won’t be imposing anything, she said.

However, she cautioned against any membership drives motivated by quantity rather than quality. The profession gets stronger when quality members, dedicated to advancing the profession, join the association, she said.

CCHRA strategic goals to 2007

National voice: Ensure CCHRA is the strongest voice on national HR issues. Establish and engage a national forum through the CCHRA that is representative of the Canadian HR profession.

Stronger government relations: Establish strong governmental relationships to influence the design and implementation of labour laws and regulations in Canada. The goal is to have CCHRA consulted on policy development and legislation on all HR-related issues.

Promote CHRP: Ensure that Certified HR Professional designation national standards and CCHRA are recognized across Canada. The development of a national marketing campaign will be necessary. This will require massive investment over a few years.

Promote effective HR: Advance the effectiveness of organizations through the promotion of effective HR management. To achieve this goal (planned for delivery in 2007), the establishment of partnerships in research will be required.

Promote CCHRA internationally: Ensure CCHRA is recognized internationally for its credibility and influence on HR best practices and the profession. Ultimately, the CHRP will be recognized as equivalent/portable with other designations such as those in the United States and United Kingdom.

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