Decision on Bill 138 postponed as Ontario parliament adjourns

'Process just ran out of time,' says HRPA, which hopes to revive bill later

A highly anticipated decision on Ontario’s Bill 138 — which would regulate HR professionals in a manner similar to accountants in the province — has been postponed after the parliamentary session scheduled for private members’ bill adjourned one day early.

However, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) said it will push to have the private member’s bill reintroduced in the next session of the legislature after the Oct. 7 provincial election.

Bill 138, introduced in November 2010, passed second reading in March 2011 and was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government. HRPA had hoped for a third reading June 2.

The development is disappointing but not that unexpected considering how fast the whole process has gone, said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of HRPA in Toronto.

“This really started about May or June last year, so it’s about a year, which we knew from the get-go was very, very tight. Typically, it takes quite a lot longer — this can take two to three years,” he said. “The very fact that we had close to 90 per cent support from our chapters and members and we had all-party support and that the bill was passed unanimously on second reading and sent to the committee — all those things really helped it move forward very quickly. But, essentially, the process just ran out of time.”

It’s very possible the bill could have gone to third reading as there were no objections from any party, said Greenhalgh.

“But we always knew it was possible, given this is an election year, it could run out of time.”

To have the bill re-introduced in the fall, HRPA will have to wait to see which party wins the election and then find a sponsor. But the association already has a bit of a headstart, having gone through the procedure before, he said.

“We’ll start the process again and then we’ve got four years, we’ve got a lot longer, it won’t be as much of a rush, and a lot of the groundwork has been done — we have a draft, the committee was decided.”

And a lot of important lessons have come out of the process, such as the importance of having a public member on the board, said Greenhalgh.

“There are many things we can do in terms of looking at our processes internally for complaints investigations, appeals, and we’ll do all those things, we’ll carry on those.”

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