Seeking self-regulation (HR Associations)

Following in the footsteps of Ontario and Quebec, most of the provincial HR associations are vying for self-regulation, along with focusing on membership offerings, partnerships and tools for HR

Seeking self-regulation (HR Associations)
The majority of Canada's provincial HR associations are vying for self-regulation in 2018. Shutterstock

Government relations high on CPHR Canada’s agenda

Recently, CPHR Canada has been focusing its efforts on two areas that somewhat overlap: research and government relations.

“In terms of being able to influence policy and be there to be the voice of the HR profession in Canada, one of our goals was to try to make those connections with government, to provide them with information as to who we are, what we do, what our members can offer, and also make sure that we’re engaging in different aspects, like researching topics of interest so that we can provide that information for our members, but also for government to consider and look at,” says Shannon Railton, chair of the Vancouver-based association.

As an example, the group issued the white paper Canada 150 and Beyond: The Role of Human Resources in Canada’s Prosperity, and presented it to MPs at a parliamentary reception in Ottawa.

“There’s an employment and workplace aspect to a number of things that our members could be offering expertise on and we could be commenting on that would be helpful for government,” she says.

CPHR Canada is also partnering with the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA), of which Railton is president. The two are working on a research paper looking at the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“That will be very interesting for our members, as well as it’s something that will be of interest to our government, for sure,” says Railton.

CPHR Canada is working through NAHRMA in producing a set of general code of conduct standards that it can use and bring forward to the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), she says.

“We’re looking for ways to bring something forward as models that others can follow,” says Railton.

CPHR Canada is also working on research with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the United States.

“Research has been hugely important for us, to make sure we’re contributing more on a national scale and international scale to support the needs of HR professionals. But also I think that it looks good for Canada to be leading some of this as well,” she says.

As for the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario (which left the national body in 2014), CPHR Canada is “exploring conversations right now” about the two associations working together, says Railton.

“They’ll have a new CEO at some point, and so hopefully that will spark some further conversations for us.”

B.C., Yukon focus on rebranding, self-regulation

This past year was an interesting one for Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) British Columbia & Yukon, largely driven by its rebranding, according to Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO.

“We’ve been successful at launching a new designation, a new brand, and I think what I’m most proud of is the fact we have consistency, not only with the designation — which we had with the old CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) — but more so from an entity standpoint, an organizational standpoint, so everybody is now known under the CPHR umbrella with the provinces associated to it, which is something we never had before. It was always confusing, when you talked about HRMA (B.C.), HRIA (Alberta) — the letters didn’t stand for much — now you can associate much stronger.”

As for self-regulation, that continues to be a challenge for the association because of changes in government. But CPHR British Columbia & Yukon is initiating discussions with some of the ministers, says Ariganello, who’s based in Vancouver.

“With the old Liberal government, there was a lot of confusion as to who owns the file,” he says, so it became a “hot potato.”

“Ultimately, we ended up with the (BC) Public Service Agency who is going to support our initiative, and then the election triggered and everything stopped, and now we have a new government. So we have to start the whole process again, so we’ve begun discussions with a number of MLAs and key people in government,” says Ariganello.

“It’s a very slow process… but one we’re not letting go (of).”

Under the accreditation program, there are now nine different colleges and universities involved across British Columbia, he says.

“It’s gone very well, the response from the educators has been very positive, as well as the students, so we’re happy with that initiative.”

The 5,800-member association also negotiated a new HR Toolkit with Thomson Reuters (publisher of Canadian HR Reporter) that is being offered nationally to members of CPHR Canada.

It’s a catalogue of forms, templates and checklists that can be downloaded for free, such as sample offer letters, self-appraisal worksheets for performance reviews, employee vacation request forms or health and safety orientation checklists, says Ariganello.

“It launched just a month ago, we’re really proud of that,” he says.

“Essentially, any member of our organizations, the provincial bodies, can access various forms with respect to what they do in terms of their HR functionality… that a lot of small businesses don’t have the capacity to do.”

Alberta aiming to re-establish sense of HR community

Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Alberta has had a very successful year, according to CEO Peter Dugandzic in Calgary.

 “The focus of our business plan was to provide exceptional customer service but, at the same time, raise the value proposition for our members with respect to the membership fees they pay annually. So, by and large, our focus has been to execute the business plan deliverables to the net benefit of our members, certainly the profession and the broader HR community.”

For one, CPHR Alberta was restructured, which included hiring a full-time professional development specialist and creating partnerships with the Canadian Payroll Association and the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute.

“There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel — we might as well take advantage of what’s out there now and partner with like-minded agencies,” he says.

The association has also created a 24-hour on-demand platform to host videos and webinars for personal learning, and enhanced chapter autonomy this year by providing more independence to local chapters to organize their own events, says Dugandzic.

On the self-regulation front, the association met with more than 40 government officials in connection with its application, and then updated and resubmitted the application, along with participating in a number of regulatory reviews, he says.

“We’re looking to hear back in quarter two of 2018 in more substantive terms in terms of where we are on the application. We are hoping that in 2018, we get approved for self-regulation.”

Next year, CPHR Alberta’s main focus will be on raising the profile of the brand and designation, and the business community itself with respect to “What is the designation?” he says. “(So, it’s about) the value of the designation, the value HR professionals bring to business, and the role HR professionals play.”

Membership is down, sitting at under 6,000 this year, says Dugandzic, citing the downturn in the economy and the association’s inability to meet members’ needs in the past. But CPHR Alberta is looking to re-establish a strong sense of community with the HR profession across the province.

“I think we lost some of that through the amalgamation of the regional chapters,” he says. “Now that we’re gaining some credibility and trust back from the membership, the whole sense of community needs to be repositioned.”

Saskatchewan launches major marketing campaign

Having officially become Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Saskatchewan in April 2017, the association launched a major marketing campaign this past October.

 “We’re still… hoping to achieve self-regulation at some point, so we did a marketing campaign targeted at business and government… and on HR moving business forward,” says Nicole Norton Scott, executive director of CPHR Saskatchewan.

The ads on TV, radio and in print — with the TV commercials featuring the CEOs of Connexus Credit Union and Federated Co-operatives Limited — talked about the importance of the CPHR designation and self-regulation.

“Any marketing we can do on the profession and designation is very important… it builds awareness of the HR profession,” she says, adding the ads were created by the same agency that worked on the national rebranding campaign for CPHR.

“It’s very exciting for Saskatchewan because we have never done this,” says Norton Scott.

“It feels good when you see your brand in the public, so that’s the first time we’ve done this, and we’ve had a really good response.”

As for self-regulation, CPHR Saskatchewan is continuing to push forward despite the challenge of dealing with a changing government, as Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall recently announced he is resigning, she says.

“We are still working with the government and our stakeholders to achieve (self-regulation).”

CPHR Saskatchewan is also encouraging members to write letters to their MLAs to promote the work of the association.

The 1,350-member association is also partnering with CPHR British Columbia & Yukon to offer an on-demand learning platform that the B.C. association created, says Norton Scott, and the Saskatchewan group will also join other CPHR provinces in offering an HR toolkit from Thomson Reuters (publisher of Canadian HR Reporter), to help members with tasks such as job descriptions, offer letters or interview questions.

And in the new year, the association will be launching an online continuing professional development tool for the CPHR designation, as CPHR Saskatchewan has still been using a paper process, she says.

“Online is all good if it works, so it has to work efficiently and be better than paper, so to speak. It costs money to put these things online and we didn’t have the infrastructure, but now we’re working on that.”

Manitoba continues path towards self-regulation

Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Manitoba is hoping to follow in the steps of Ontario and Quebec on the path towards self-regulation.

“We made our official submission to the province of Manitoba to get legislated to regulate the profession in Manitoba,” says CEO Ron Gauthier. “We just started the ball rolling.”

The association will work towards satisfying any conditions necessary to see it move forward in the provincial legislature in 2018.

“It’s huge,” he says. “Really, it signifies the growth of the HR associations across Canada. Nationally, all of the provinces have made it a top priority.”

“Everyone’s at different stages in terms of where they are in working on their submissions, but it really changes the profession to become a true professional business association.”

Self-regulation will turn CPHR Manitoba’s focus towards protecting the public and developing members, says Gauthier.

“It becomes a dual role, whereas right now we are focused on developing our members, creating better credentialing for them, and making them more professional, which essentially makes workplaces better.”

The journey towards self-regulation status follows a rebrand in alignment with the national HR body, which worked to refocus the efforts of the Manitoba association.

CPHR Manitoba has worked hard to implement different path routes to becoming a CPHR, including a non-degree route and senior-level option, he says.

The organization has also accredited six of the nine post-secondary HR programs that conform to 80 per cent of the competency framework within the province — a big step, says Gauthier.

CPHR Manitoba’s membership total grew slightly in 2017, and now rests at 1,464. The growth came via younger members, including CPHR candidates and students, he says.

In 2018, the organization will attempt to reconnect with the 3,500 self-declared human resources professionals reportedly working in the province, to make them aware of changes to the profession as well as salary benefits associated with a proper designation, says Gauthier.

And, going forward, the target audience of the association’s efforts will include senior business leaders as well as potential CPHRs — both students and non-member HR practitioners.

Ontario focuses on research, finding new CEO

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario saw significant changes and progress over the past year.

It marked its 75th Annual Conference & Trade Show in January, and also hosted a CHRO Conference with more than 60 leaders gathering for a day of thought leadership that included HR influencer Dave Ulrich and panels discussing the role of the CHRO in relation to the CEO and the board.

The association, which has about 24,000 members, also launched new tools, such as DNA 360, a strategic organizational self-assessment tool for HR leaders, and implemented computer-based testing by the Office of the Registrar to ensure greater security and convenience during the testing process.

HRPA also released several white papers, including: research on gaps in education and employability in Ontario high schools; a government submission on Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act; the impacts of medical marijuana in the workplace; the impacts of artificial intelligence on HR professionals; and a policy analysis of upcoming changes to workplace violence and harassment, as well as maternity and parental leave.

The association also published a study with Deloitte, The Intelligence Revolution, and presented research and recommendations to provincial MPs.

2017 saw the departure of CEO Bill Greenhalgh, who resigned after more than a decade at the association. Gary Monk, vice-president of finance and IT, was subsequently named interim CEO.

“There comes a time for everything,” said Greenhalgh in September. “I’ve been with the association coming up to 12 years and I’d never intended to stay that long. Seven years after I thought I would leave, it’s time to leave.”

An executive search process for a new CEO is well underway, according to the HRPA, and Karen Stone has also been welcomed as board chair.

Looking ahead to 2018, the association’s annual conference starts Jan. 31 and will focus on the theme “The Intelligence Revolution.”

Quebec embraces role of protecting public

The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) in Montreal takes its mission of protecting the public seriously, says general manager Manon Poirier.

“The highlight, for me, of the past year… was fully embracing the role of protection of the public through our members.”

As an example, the Quebec association — which recently rejoined Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Canada following a six-year lapse — conducted an awareness campaign during the #MeToo movement to aid employers with policy surrounding the prevention of sexual harassment, she says.

The issue has always been an important one for the CRHA, says Poirier, and the organization worked to offer tools, training opportunities and content to businesses across the province.

“Obviously, in light of what’s going on around the globe, it became more important and gave a voice to a topic that we’ve often tried to highlight, especially with the government,” she says. “A lot of our organizations in Quebec are very, very small.”

“Eighty per cent of organizations are small companies — 10, 15, 20 employees. There’s no HR.”

With a provincial labour standards review underway, the CRHA hopes that obligations of organizations increase going forward to ensure work environments are healthy and safe, says Poirier.

Diversity also remains a priority for the association, as a gap remains in the unemployment rate for citizens with foreign education. The CRHA has offered recommendations to the provincial government to aid in the integration of immigrants going forward.

The 10,123-member association continued to grow in 2017, though many are expected to exit through retirement in the years ahead, she says.

“We need to make sure that, as a profession, in order to achieve our mission — which is to protect the public — that… the new HR professionals become CPHRs.”

In 2018, the association hopes to deliver a refreshed competency framework profile to better align the profession with the future of work. It is also aiming to review the available pathways for those aiming to become a CPHR.

“We’re saying to our members and to HR: ‘HR will be about AI (artificial intelligence) and it will be about technology,’ and our professionals need to be able to help organizations facilitate those innovation processes, over and above everything else we do,” says Poirier.

Nova Scotia separates from Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia’s HR association bid goodbye in 2017 to its P.E.I. members as the group finalized a split into two separate factions.

“(Chartered Professionals in Human Resources) CPHR Nova Scotia worked closely with the founding directors to establish CPHR Prince Edward Island,” says Sheila McLean, CEO of CPHR Nova Scotia in Halifax. “This investment provides an increased opportunity to create a P.E.I.-specific professional community for HR increasing engagement and knowledge sharing locally, benefiting both the HR professionals and organizations in P.E.I.”

Because of the change, the new group in Nova Scotia now has 700 members, down from 1,000 the previous year.

In addition, the Nova Scotia association rebranded itself (it was formerly the Human Resources Association of Nova Scotia) and “this has been well-received by members,” according to McLean.

As in all other provinces, legal marijuana is a topic on the front burner for 2018 and the association is educating its members on the implications, she says.

“We have hosted, and continue to host, professional development sessions relating to marijuana in the workplace, with the most recent one being at our annual law seminar in November,” says McLean. “We have another session scheduled for January that will also look at the topic in relation to the non-safety-sensitive workplace as a lot of discussion is often on the safety-sensitive workplace.”

The response to these sessions (and others) has been encouraging with “ratings that are currently in the high 90s as rated by our participants,” she says.

The ongoing influx of new residents to the province is something HR departments will continue to address, says McLean.

“Large immigration to Nova Scotia continues to offer employers access to new talent, while also highlighting the importance to ensure workplaces are culturally aware, including identifying and addressing any barriers that may exist.”

The provincial government also introduced a wage control measure that limits the amount of increases in public sector contract bargaining, which will have to be managed by HR, she says.

“For employers in the unionized public sector, a key influencer this year has been the introduction of the Public Sustainability Act relating to public sector wages.”

Prince Edward Island heads out on its own

In a bold move, Prince Edward Island decided to separate from Nova Scotia in 2017, becoming Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Prince Edward Island.

The province had originally formed an association back in the 1980s, before joining forces with Nova Scotia in 2002.

“With the rebranding of CPHR, and the collective, every province started to become aligned to use the same branding, there was an opportunity there to say, ‘If there’s a time, this is probably the time to do it, to go off back on our own and see how things go.’ That was really the trigger for it,” says Detry Carragher, chair of CPHR PEI in Charlottetown.

“There was absolutely no animosity or any reason why we needed to separate from Nova Scotia, and they’ve actually been really supportive to help us getting established… our board’s been talking about really having a strong Atlantic voice, so (that means) making sure that we have good relationships with our Maritime counterparts.”

CPHR PEI has about 85 members but there’s a real opportunity to get out and network with the province’s HR community “because we have feet on the ground here now,” she says, noting the association is hoping to add 120 members, with a mix of chartered and non-chartered professionals.

There are a lot of operational and governance items that have to be worked through, says Carragher, but in 2018, they will be asking members about what types of professional development they are looking for, and what issues concern them, such as marijuana in the workplace, sexual harassment or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Everybody has different needs, so based on that, what are the priorities?” says Carragher.

The association has already created its initial strategic plan, focusing on strong engagement with the HR community in the province, and looking at the needs of individual HR professionals and the organization, she says.

“I’m always big on what’s happening on a national scale and how does that impact you as an HR professional? There’s the work we do in organizations but then where does that fit with everything else?”

In addition, CPHR PEI is striving towards having its first annual conference in the fall.

New name, new executive director in New Brunswick

The rebranding of New Brunswick’s HR association was a “major event” that will hopefully help pave the way toward self-regulation, according the group’s inaugural executive director.

“We’ve been trying to work with the other professional associations to establish partnerships in better recognizing the profession,” says Luc Page, executive director of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) New Brunswick in Moncton, N.B.

“That’s one of our biggest steps, our main goal in the next coming year... I see (self-regulation) coming in the next two years, because we had to develop a three-year operational, strategic plan.”

The group is using the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) model to help substantiate its efforts toward self-regulation, he says.

“First of all, you need to present a business case and you need to use an example of a business association that is serving a population with a certain amount of members.”

To prove it can become self-regulating, CPHR New Brunswick has about 400 designated members (out of a total of close to 900 members) who must complete 100 hours of professional development every three years, which is one of the things the CPA does as well, says Page.

The advent of marijuana legalization is also one of the major events on the horizon for 2018. And CPHR New Brunswick will be part of the roll-out, he says.

“The federal government has approached the HR association to try to see how we could work together to facilitate the implementation of the new policies, new regulations regarding the legalization of marijuana in the workplace... That is the hot topic of the HR world.”

Currently, the organization is conducting a series of round-tables to explore possible new rules when marijuana use in the workplace is a legal reality, says Page.

“Nothing has been determined at this point, but it’s just trying to find the most strategic and effective way to implement those new policies and regulations to make sure we don’t bypass any laws.”

Marijuana a hot topic for Newfoundland & Labrador

With the advent of legal marijuana in 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador — with its heavy reliance on the petroleum industry — will have to look carefully at new regulations for HR departments, according to the president of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) Newfoundland & Labrador.

 “For a lot of our members, there is going to be a lot of work coming down in terms of what companies are doing to develop policies and protections, particularly given the Newfoundland economy, (with) a lot of oil and gas and safety-sensitive environments,” says Neil Coombs in St. John’s.

“That’s certainly a big thing we are seeing with our membership and with a number of other organizations.”

But will most HR departments be ready when marijuana becomes legal on July 1? There’s going to be some work to do, says Coombs.

“Obviously, it’s a bigger priority for some than others: People who are in a heavily safety-sensitive environment,” he says. “A lot of it is a moving target because there are a lot of unanswered questions at this point.”

Also in 2018, the association is looking for “stronger engagement with students in the province,” says Coombs.

“We’re driving to get those students engaged, working with the university on the accreditation of their business program for the CPHR designation.”

The first step for the Newfoundland and Labrador association was to establish student chapters in the local university and colleges, he says.

Self-regulation is the long-term goal for the HR industry group, made up of about 150 members, says Coombs.

“We’re striving to get the process started; we’re a little behind, but I think (it’s about) just setting the foundation for self-regulation in talks with the province.”

But the small number of members who are part of the association is a challenge, he says. “We continue to struggle with membership numbers a little bit.”

Hopefully, the CPHR branding effort was a good first step in showing the provincial government and HR professionals they are a “voice for HR” in Newfoundland and Labrador, and they continue to focus on “elevating HR within the province,” says Coombs.

“The launch of the national brand was very successful for us provincially; it certainly helped with the members in terms of brand recognition.”

National payroll association continues lobbying efforts

With the electronic delivery of T4s set to debut this year, the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) will be switching gears in terms of its advocacy focus.

The CPA is currently working with the federal government to set up a real-time payroll information sharing solution for employment insurance (EI) administration, according to president Patrick Culhane.

The goal is to eventually eliminate the use of the record of employment (ROE), as well as negate the need for requests for employer information, he says.

“That is the big project we have going forward.”

Another focus is an additional reconciliation remittance for large employers with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to deal with the complexities and sophistication of payroll and benefit calculations, he says.

“That’s another successful piece of advocacy for us.”

A further successful lobby surrounded EI changes, which reduced the waiting period from two weeks to one. The CPA ensured ROE deadlines did not change, and also pushed to establish a transitional period around waiting periods for short-term disability plans in an effort to save employers money, says Culhane.

The CPA continues to provide education and advocacy on payroll programs for its membership base of 19,500 organizations, representing 43,000 payroll staffers across the country.

In December, it unveiled a new website in an effort to expand its outreach beyond the traditional member base, says Culhane.

“We’ve got a totally new look and feel,” he says. “It’s a change in focus. Basically, we’re going to be using the website, not solely as a member service, but also as more of an outreach for prospective members… The revamp is crucial to us and it’s been in the works for over two years.”

Meanwhile, employment standard revisions in both Alberta and Ontario have driven a record 5,300 payroll practitioners to register for year-end seminars hosted by the CPA, says Culhane.

“Our responsibility is to assess the implications of (the changes).”

Member census results indicate 97 per cent of members view the CPA as service-oriented, 95 per cent are satisfied with services received, and 92 per cent would recommend the organization to a colleague or friend, he says.

Each of these key indicators improved by a full percentage point since 2014, says Culhane. “We’re really, really pleased with that.”

Volunteers continue to drive Strategic Capability Network

Suanne Nielsen’s first year as president of the Strategic Capability Network (SCN) has been eye-opening.

“What I’ve learned is how very special our volunteers are,” she says. “The actually run the organization on behalf of our members. The president’s role is actually quite small in comparison.”

The 762-member association sees HR professionals gathering each month to hear from experts on a variety of relevant subjects.

SCN was founded nearly 40 years ago and has chapters in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, London and Waterloo, Ont.

Also the chief talent officer and corporate secretary at Foresters Financial in Toronto, Nielsen took on the role of SCN president in April. “I’m really proud and humbled to be leading this organization at this time, as we look forward to providing more value for our members,” she says.

One of Nielsen’s first decisions as president was to embark on a listening tour, consisting of member surveys and focus groups discussing societal values and future possibilities. The tour is nearing its conclusion and feedback is being summarized.

Two members have been added to the leadership team to help refresh strategy: Rogers’ Lara Root and RSA’s Mark Edgar, who is also taking on the role of programming chair.

SCN’s driving principles continue to be thought leadership and community, says Nielsen.

“What I’ve really learned is that one is not more important than the other,” she says. “Our members want thought leadership that is not just about HR and business, but really about business issues that have to do with people.”

Monthly events give HR practitioners the opportunity to grow their networks while seeking real-time advice from their peers on issues they are dealing with in their respective workplaces.

The focus of SCN sessions in 2018 will include challenges associated with the gig economy, the changing world of work, and adapting to new employee expectations, says Nielsen.

“Many aspects of our offering will continue, and we will be reshaping them so they can add even more value.”

Changing of the guard at SHRM as Jackson exits

After guiding the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to record growth over the past 12 years, president and CEO Henry (Hank) Jackson retired in 2017.

In December, former board member Johnny Taylor Jr. became the organization’s new CEO.

Under Jackson, SHRM’s membership swelled to 289,000. He also launched SHRM Certification in 2015 — including the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) and SHRM-SCP (Senior Certified Professional) credentials held by 106,000 HR practitioners.

SHRM-certified professionals report greater career satisfaction, higher salaries and more promotions, says Jackson.

“It is why we continue to invest in this program and stress the importance of recertification to keep up with the dramatically changing demands of our work.”

“Our society is thriving,” he says. “(SHRM) continues to influence the agenda for the global practice of HR. It advocates to make the new workplace work. It develops HR experts to lead wherever they are in their career. And, as a thought leader for the profession, it brings together the best people and practices of HR.”

“I am pleased to have been a part of this remarkable journey.”

SHRM has members in 165 countries, representing 70,000 organizations — of which 571 are in the United States. The organization’s current membership total is over 290,000.

A 2017 highlight included SHRM’s annual conference, held in New Orleans with 15,500 HR leaders attending — the second-largest attendance in event history.

This year, the organization will host its annual conference in Chicago, in conjunction with the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) World Congress.

Additionally, regulation changes by the U.S. government continue to affect the work of HR practitioners, including alterations to visa and immigration policies.

Potential reform to the U.S. tax and health-care systems could profoundly affect the workplace, says Jackson.

“We are on the verge of something big and important. It’s HR’s time — our time — to lead the future of business and work.”

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