Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario as a Regulator

Bill 138, the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010 received first reading in the Ontario Legislature on November 23, 2010. The aim of the Bill is to make human resources a regulated profession and empower the HRPA to ensure the quality of the HR profession in Ontario. Becoming an official regulatory body will enable the HRPA to ensure that human resources professionals are competent and behave in an ethical manner.

The HRPA hopes that the changes will help raise the credibility of the HR profession and support the premium that designated members command in the workplace. The changes also offer:

  • More control over HR as a profession
  • Increased ability to influence public policy
  • Increases the attractiveness of HR as a career choice
  • Controlling the use by unauthorized individuals of the “CHRP” designation

The HRPA will become a regulatory body similar to the regulatory bodies that govern lawyers, engineers and chartered accountants. However, subsection 2 of the proposed Act states:

This Act does not affect or interfere with the right of any person who is not a member of the association to practice in the field of Human Resources.

Meaning: the HRPA would regulate both certified and non-certified members, but wouldn’t restrict or limit the ability of non-association members to practice in the field of human resources (at this time). It will however restrict the use of any title or initials that could be confused with one of the protected titles by the public.

These titles are found in the following chart:

English designation

French designation

Initials of designation

Registered Human Resources Professional

Professionnel en ressources humaines inscrit

R.H.R.P., P.R.H.I.

Associate Certified Human Resources Professional

Professionnel associé en ressources humaines agréé

A.C.H.R.P., P.A.R.H.A.

Certified Human Resources Professional

Professionnel en ressources humaines agréé

C.R.H.P., P.R.H.A.

Senior Human Resources Professional

Professionnel en ressources humaines principal

S.H.R.P., P.R.H.P.

Certified Industrial Relations Counsellor

Conseiller en relations industrielles agréé

C.I.R.C., C.R.I.A.

The Bill sets out procedures for dealing with complaints against the association’s members and firms and establishes a disciplinary process, including the right to appeal disciplinary orders.

Bill 138 grants investigation and inspection powers to the association. The powers of investigation are the same, word for word, as those found in the Chartered Accountants Act, 2009, and the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009. These powers are in the interest of public protection.

The Bill would also allow the HRPA to inspect the practice of a member or firm if they are considered incapacitated because of a physical or mental illness, condition or disorder, another infirmity or excessive use of alcohol or drugs. It further states:

The committee may, on its own or on motion, order the member to undergo a medical or psychological examination.

If professional misconduct is suspected, an investigator may also:

At any reasonable time, enter and inspect the business premises of the individual or firm under investigation, other than any part of the premises used as a dwelling, without the consent of the owner or occupier and without a warrant.

The investigator can also question the individual concerned and his co-workers, along with examining and removing any documents deemed relevant, such as client files. Section 53 of the Bill states:

No person shall obstruct an investigator or inspector executing his or her duties or withhold from him or her or conceal, alter or destroy any document or thing relevant to the investigation or inspection.

Those guilty of an offence are liable to pay a fine up to $25,000.

The Bill also establishes a process for determining and addressing the impact of specified bankruptcy or insolvency events on the practices of members and firms of the association.

Furthermore, it includes provisions respecting the minimum requirements for professional liability insurance that association members and firms must carry, including requiring proof of the insurance.

With the tabling of Bill 138, the HRPA is shifting its regulatory focus to members’ conduct and protecting the public they serve. In 2009, the HRPA introduced its Rules of Professional Conduct, and this year launched a searchable online register of its membership and an Office of the Registrar section on its website to explain the regulatory processes to the general public.

Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of the HRPA, writes that the purpose of creating the HRPA in 1990 was “to ensure its members are professionally competent and act in an ethical manner.” The HRPA would create the standards for the HR industry would regulate itself. That purpose wouldn’t change with the move toward government regulation. The association would gain power to enforce its rules and standards and to investigate and discipline members and firms.

At the same time, the HRPA says its recent actions demonstrate a “renewed commitment to self regulation”, which presumably means that the association is expecting more from non-members, whether or not the Bill passes.

The big news though is the investigative and enforcement powers that the association would gain if the government passes the Bill. Ordering a member to undergo a medical or psychological assessment and entering and investigating any business premises with neither consent nor warrant are significant powers, and the Ontario Government must feel very confident in the HRPA’s ability to use the powers wisely. Of course, the association will also be bound by its own code of ethics, standards and now legal regulations, so perhaps the government has all the more reason to trust the association.

At any rate, with the HRPA at 20 years old, it looks like the human resources profession is growing up and maybe about to come into its own. I’ll be watching to see what happens with Bill 138, and if it passes, I’ll be very interested in seeing how it affects the HR profession—members, non-members and firms.

Comments

  1. Regulatory capture, pure and simple

    This has nothing to do with protecting the public and everything to do with restricting access to the profession, restricting supply and supporting income.

    The points raised in support of this move – supporting the premium that designated members command in the workplace, increased ability to influence public policy, increases the attractiveness of HR as a career choice – these aren’t proper functions for self-regulating professions, they’re functions for advocacy organizations.

  2. This is a ridiculous idea. There is no need for regulation of the HR function. There is plenty enough regulation of workplace issues without adding this. Greg

  3. Certainly some demonstration is needed – at least for good public policy – that there is a problem in provision of human resources services (everything from an office manager who hires two secretaries to a department that manages thousands) that requires a regulated monopoly. This is more than the simple, common and totally unjustified statutory monopoly over a title that should be acquired under the Trade Marks Act as a certification mark.

  4. Just an FYI HRPA and its members have been regulated since 1990 and was given the right by the government to grant the CHRP designation.

    This is nothing new, all it does is update its current act to bring it into the 21st century. The bill does not grant HRPA to regulate the whole HR profession in Ontario, only its members. The act it almost identical to the CMA act. The bill is pretty much a standard template for self-regulating professions in Ontario.

  5. Claude Balthazard

    Actually, HRPA is already a ‘‘non-governmental body that exercise authority delegated by law.’ It appears as such in Table 1 of the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009.

    Bill 138 will not make Human Resources a regulated profession, this was done 20 years ago by our current Act. Few Human Resources professionals seem to have read the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990. In fact many do not seem to know that this Act even exists.

    The powers that would be granted to HRPA by the Act are identical to those granted to CMA Ontario by their Act. These powers are nothing ‘special,’ these powers simply come with the territory.

    Bill 138 was what the Office of legislative Counsel felt we should have, not what HRPA asked for.

    For decades, we have said that we wanted to be ‘just like the accountants.’ Well, we got our wish. Yes, there are significant powers that come with that, but there are significant accountabilities as well. For instance, there will be three Lieutenant Governor-in-Council appointees to the HRPA Board, our proceedings will be subject to the Statutory Powers Procedures Act, 1990, and our registration practices will be subject to oversight by the Office of the Fairness Commissioner.

    The big difference is not in the content of the Act but the fact that it is a public act. Although “an act is an act,” public acts command more respect than private acts. The fact that this is a public act rather than a private act make all the difference.

    And yes, “the Ontario Government must feel very confident in the HRPA’s ability to use the powers wisely.” It is unfortunate that some Human Resources professionals do not share this sense of confidence in our own profession.

  6. It is freakishly rare for an unregulated (by anyone but themselves) title-monopoly body like HRPAO to have a public statute. The only reason the CMAs and the CGAs have one is that they have the potential (in the case of CGAs, the authority) to license and regulate public accountants, i.e. auditors. CAs have had a public act for longer because they were until recently pretty well the only body of public accountants. One may not be a public accountant without a licence, whereas anyone can at law be an accountant or a human resources person with or without any licence or any skill.

    One understands why a body might like to educate and market its members as having reliable skills, and as being subject to that body’s oversight about how they practise. This is a matter of marketing and perfectly legitimate, but its usefulness to the members of the body and even to their potential customers does not justify a public statute when the activity itself is not subject to regulation in the public interest.

  7. Could this have been accomplished through a certification mark rather than a stand-alone statute?

  8. Bill 138 is definitely controversial.

    Everything from the bill itself, to the way it was snuck into the LAO without consulting members.

    While we could argue for days about whether HR should be a Tier 1 profession or not, the main point is – should the HRPAO have this kind of power?

    And second, if it is so good for members and in their best interest – why was it submitted without consultation?

    And why when the Toronto Chapter (THRPA) set up a meeting for February to discuss bill 138 were they so quickly shut down?

    Ironic timing perhaps?

    Ya, I doubt it too.

    The HRPAO will continue to shell out this stuff like it is good for you… But are you buying it?

  9. A similar letter was sent out to members of the Toronto Personal Professionals Association members earlier this week.

    As your Toronto PPA volunteer Board of Directors, our duty and role are to represent you and your interests within our association, to keep you informed of developments that affect you, your careers and professions and to ensure that the Provincial Association acts in an appropriate and responsible manner at all times.

    Regrettably, we must report to you some issues which we believe are not in the best interests of our members. Specifically, our concerns are outlined below:

    Introduction of Bill 138: Recently, we discovered by accident a private members Bill, namely Bill 138, that had been encouraged and supported in sessions to the government , without consultation of association members, by HRPAO. We believe Bill 138 will be detrimental to our members and to the companies/organizations we represent.

    * This bill proposes a wholesale change in the powers and authority of the HRPAO. It provides for an investigatory committee with rights to look at clients’ files which potentially involve breaches of rights of privilege and privacy.
    * This Bill was introduced by a government MPP but is not a government bill and did not go through Legislative Council or consultation with us as paying members of our association.
    * We believe that the costs associated with this Bill for members and their employers will be prohibitive.

    Please carefully review the following points identified in Bill 138 when you review it:

    * Costs
    * Investigation & Investigation Powers
    * Control of Member and Member Firm
    * Individual Capacity
    * Custodianship
    * The right of a member of the Association to practice in the field of human resources is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed under this Act.
    * Chapters
    * Specialties

    Please also note that:

    * The power given to HRPAO is extraordinary without any analysis that the public needs additional protection from those practicing in HR.
    * The reference to “Wills, estates and Trusts” is appropriate for accountants and lawyers, but what relevance does it have to HR?
    * Investigation – Where accountants and lawyers may be handling large amounts of client funds, we cannot see how this is required by our profession.

    Of secondary concern to us is:

    Lack of transparency and engagement: We know that you, as Human Resource Professionals, promote the principles of employee engagement and consultation daily in your workplace and expect the same from the association which represents you.

    Unfortunately, over the last year the following has occurred in our interactions with HRPAO.

    * As mentioned previously, HRPAO caused a bill to be presented by a government MPP in the house MP, without consultation with Chapter Presidents, Government Relations representatives, Chapters or members.
    * When the “Caprano’s” satire video was released, TPPA complained because it promoted violence in the workplace and was racist and sexist. As a “training video”, it was unacceptable for the Human Resources profession to sponsor it. Our complaints were ignored until many other Chapters complained as well. Our concern is, how can a Human Resources Professional organization not see the implications of this and why do they believe they can represent all of us without consultation in matters like this?

    Based on the above concerns, we have listed questions which we believe our 6,000 paying members have a right to have answered:

    * Why has the Bill been introduced and handled so secretly?
    * Who initiated Bill 138?
    * Who will benefit from the successful passage of Bill 138?
    * Why does HR need Tier I status? Tier 1 Associations are registered associations such as lawyers, accountants, etc. If indeed the public good needs protections, why have we not been made aware of this?

    We are deeply troubled by all of the above. We have served as volunteers on the TPPA Board and have successfully introduced:

    * Mentorship program involving just under 200 members annually
    * Toronto Business Excellence Awards
    * Initiated an association with Rotman’s to provide a Human Resources course for members of Boards of Directors
    * The ACT group for unemployed members, when HRPA stopped the funding
    * Highly successful chapter networking events
    * Senior HR Forum

    We believe that the Toronto Chapter is a vital part of YOUR association. We remain dedicated to representing your interests and to keeping you informed. This letter has been crafted to meet our responsibilities to you.

    Regards,

    Your TPPA Board of Directors

  10. As the point was brought up in the comments section of this posting, I am wondering if someone could clarify the reference to powers in both Bill 158, the Accounting Professions Act 2010 and the proposed Act before the Legislature relating to the HR profession, Bill 138.

    Unless I’m reading the Acts (yes, I’ve read them) incorrectly, I do see a fundamental difference in how an investigation on a member/member firm might take place, and must disagree with Mr. Balthazard’s assertion that the “powers…are identical”. They appear to me, to be fundamentally different in both tone and application.

    Bill 158 states:

    Powers
    51. (1) In conducting an investigation under this Act, an investigator may,
    (a) on reasonable notice, enter and inspect the business premises of the individual or firm under investigation, other than any part of the premises used as a dwelling, during regular business hours or at another time agreed to by the individual or firm;

    the wording of Bill 138 relating to the same circumstances is as follows:

    Powers
    52. (1) In conducting an investigation under this Act, an investigator may,
    (a) at any reasonable time, enter and inspect the business premises of the individual or firm under investigation, other than any part of the premises used as a dwelling, without the consent of the owner or occupier and without a warrant;

    I would like to have a better understanding of the philosophy behind the drafting of the HR legislation that allows for search and seizure without notice, consent or a warrant, and would appreciate any light that a member could shine on this for me.
    Regards,

  11. This specific blog summary concerning Bill 138 leaves me with two questions:

    Question 1) if a business or other association provides services the HRPA may consider as being within their jurisdiction, what could the immediate and longer term implications be? Examples of such services and providers would include; recruitment agencies, compensation consultants, training companies, employment branding and communications, benefits, Health and Safety providers, retirement, employee counseling and assistance etc. etc. It strikes me that HR areas of interest are not as well defined as other professional bodies such as; accountancy, legal, medical etc.

    Question 2) if Bill 138 is so beneficial to the HR profession, why is there such a strong and polarized separation between the HRPA and the executives of both the Toronto and York Regions HR Associations? What is going on? Something smells fishy on the ‘Clapham omnibus’

  12. Yes… I have seen several emails, discussions on the subject, and the debate is heating up!

    I presume the debate stems from the fact that members were never really told that this bill was set to be tabled in legislature on such a date, and provided with a draft prior to the tabling of such a bill for comments and feedback.

    Despite the concerns members and non-members have about Bill 138, I think they would have received this initiative a bit better if everything had been communicated directly to them, not through an article in the Canadian HR Reporter.

    In the last couple of days, the HRPA has tried to rectify the situation and provided some documents to inform and help members or any interested stakeholders understand Bill 138 and objectives. They are posted on the home page of the HRPA website. Also, Bill 138 will be discussed on the first day of the HRPA conference on Feb. 2, 2011.

    Don’t forget that the legislative process allows for feedback, opinions and comments!

  13. Tom, my understanding of the jurisdiction of this Act is that it is similar to Acts covering other professions you’ve mentioned, such as accountancy. This act only extends to cover members of the Association and the firms they represent.

    An individual who does not belong to HRPA might offer similar services to that of an HR professional who does, but they would not be bound by the act and could not represent themselves as a member of the Association or as a CHRP if they did not hold the designation. This is similar to a bookkeeper who provides bookkeeping services, but who does not represent themself as an Accountant under Bill 158.

    Likewise, I could give my own opinion on a legal situation as an HR Professional with certain experience but I could not represent myself as a lawyer, and therefore my opinion could and would not be considered “legal advice” in the same sense as that of a lawyer.

    The codes of professional conduct we, as (any) Association members, agree to on joining ideally become part of our professional credibility and should be an asset in our careers. We can choose whether to belong to a given association or not and we need to ensure we’re representing ourselves honestly to others either way.

  14. I think that the executive of the HRPA have good intentions, and I support many of their efforts to build the profession and our association, but they are forgetting who they are doing business with. We are HR professionals and one of our strengths is in developing policy. The argument that our association should adopt the policies of other professional associations in a cookie cutter manner, simply because it is convenient for legislators, goes against the grain of everything that we do as HR professionals.

    In developing policy for employers, we have to take in a wide variety of factors in order to create policy that is constructive, in keeping with legislation, enforceable, and designed so that the desired results are achieved. In other words, we develop custom solutions to meet the needs of business. We don’t simply adopt the policies of other organizations because it is convenient. It’s not hard to understand why Bill 138 is so important to us and why it has to be done right.

  15. Andrew… very good point!

  16. Recent emails sent to members over the past few weeks concerning HRPA and Bill 138, the communications contained misinformation. Please read FACT vs. FICTION

    Bill 138: Fact vs. Fiction:
    http://www.hrpa.ca/OfficeOfTheRegistrar/Pages/Bill138FictionandFact.aspx

    Bill 138 Comparisons:
    http://www.hrpa.ca/Documents/Side-by-sideacts.pdf

    View Bill 138:
    http://www.hrpa.ca/Documents/theact/b138.pdf

  17. Although I will be perceived as biased in this matter (I represent TPPA Inc.) let me point out that Bill 138 is a private members bill (albeit a member of the governing party). It is not being put forward as government legislation representative of government policy. Suggestions or implications that it would have gone through the type of policy review as government legislation is simply incorrect. Many of the flaws in the drafting and the process have already been pointed out and are simply unanswerable. There certainly has been no consultation with businesses and I suspect many of those will be disturbed by some of the “powers” in the legislation. There are policy reasons for those powers in other statutes that may be very different from those that might exist in this situation especially in circumstances where in order to carry on the profession at all one must be licensed by the governing body. Calling something a fact and then repeating it does not make it so.

  18. Yes Gary is right… it is a private member’s bill and not a government bill… so was not drafted by the government nor was it reviewed by the government when tabled. When the bill will receive second or third reading debate and review by a legislative committee, it will be reviewed by members of the government and other parties.

  19. Veronica, thanks for you reply. Although I understand your analogy of the ‘the bookkeeper’ I am also equally aware the controls and limitations other associations place on specialized activities. As examples the bodies governing engineers, physicians, lawyers, Chartered Accounts etc. are very strong in controlling both the activities of members and non members.

    I would note that these professions have clearly understood areas authority, as example we would never be in a situation where we ask a lawyer to write a prescription for a drug or an engineer to provide audited financial statements, or a CA to extract a tooth (although having my budgets cut for many years, they might enjoy taking teeth as well).

    The challenge I have is the fuzziness of HR activity. I not sure what clearly defines unique Human Resources activities. As examples:

    Discipline and termination seems more appropriately handled by lawyers. Collective bargaining and dispute resolution is also well supported by boutique law firms.
    Compensation is well support by Compensation and Accounting Associations
    Benefits and Pensions are equally well covered by the Benefits and Actuarial Associations
    Recruitment is well supported by the large number of search agencies
    Downsizing and outplacement by the transition companies
    Training by the Training Association, Colleges, Universities etc. etc.
    Employee Branding and Communications by those Associations and Communications Companies
    If all of the above is not enough, every manager in every company can rightfully see themselves responsible for all of most of the above.

    So my question is; projecting out a few years, if Bill 138 is passed, what will the HR Association lay unique claim to, and what are the implications?

    Thanks

    Tom

  20. Meeting the Interim Board and more facts about Bill 138

    Interim Board

    The \Toronto Chapter ‘Meet the Interim Board’ Meeting\ at the Intercontinental Hotel on the evening of January 13th went well. It was a full house of about 120 people including many HRPA board members, and of course, the Interim Board members.

    There were no details given regarding the reasons why the old TPPA board was dismissed and to some extent this is understandable because the investigation is still not complete. Apparently there will be a meeting in the 3rd week of March (perhaps the 24th) where the report on the investigation will be disclosed. At that same time the newly elected board will be presented. Spokespersons from the HRPA board indicated that at that time questions will be answered in response to member concerns about their actions. In my opinion, it would be preferable that the results of the investigation be released beforehand so that good and thoughtful questions can be formulated in order for the membership to come to closure over this matter.

    As for the HRPA board, it was clear that it was in their right to take this action, as they are accountable for the behavior of the individual chapters. They are also accountable for the removal of the TPPA board and seemed very confident that they had done the right thing. Hopefully, that is the case since the old TPPA board was democratically elected. There was a strong sense in the room that resolution about these issues be handled properly, so that confidence in the HRPA could be restored.

    Details concerning the election process were laid out. Nomination forms are now available. Claude Balthazard will be vetting all candidates to ensure that they are members in good standing. Any member other than those with a student membership can be a candidate for the new board. The HRPA board decided that members of the old TPPA board will not be allowed to run, but that those former members who resigned from this board would be able to be candidates.

    Bill 138

    Bill 138 was discussed. A spokesperson for the HRPA board said that David Zimmer MPP was the sponsor for the bill. See
    http://www.davidzimmer.ca/ The HRPA board is representing Bill 138 as a Government Bill, but there is some confusion as to whether this is a private member’s bill from a sitting member of the Liberal Government caucus, or it is a bill coming from the Liberal Government.

    Many members of the audience expressed concern about the contents of Bill 138 and how input from individual members was being received. There was frustration expressed by some HRPA members as the forum was not conducive to handling the issue. In my opinion, a better forum might be a public debate (with representatives from business, labour and the legal profession in attendance) between advocates for the current format of Bill 138 and those that would amend the bill. The HRPA board appeared to be unified in their support for Bill 138. It also appeared that the board wanted to control the discussion regarding Bill 138. To some extent discussion was shut down with boosterism – \Don’t you want to be a ‘Tier 1\ profession\ just like the CAs, CMAs and MDs?\

    I could be convinced that Bill 138 is fine in it’s present format, but I’m not there yet. I would like to hear more input from sources with independent legal and legislative expertise in order to get a more informed perspective.

    Overall the meeting was civil. There were no members of the old TPPA board in attendance – at least that I could see. I heard that there will be a meeting with supporters of the old TPPA board and critics of Bill 138 sometime soon at the Royal York Hotel.

    There is a lesson to be learned out of this crisis. Member engagement is very important. More of us should be attending meetings and demanding transparency from those elected. Those that we elect are just ordinary people and as ordinary people they can be tempted to misuse there powers or influence – as members we have to save them from themselves from time to time, while giving them space to work on our behalf. The only way to do that is to keep an eye on them and give them input on a consistant basis. In this day and age, the command and control organization does not fit in well with an educated and informed constituency. However, if we don’t participate more, than we get the governance we deserve.

  21. David Zimmer Private Members Bill re Registered Human Resources Professionals Association Act 11-23‏

    Please view for the record.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGkCyG9Tpw&feature=related

  22. Bill 138 – original and previous versions

    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=2436&detailPage=bills_detail_related&Intranet=

    FYI – background research material

  23. The bill is NOT a government bill. Government bills are introduced only by ministers, not by parliamentary assistants. HRPAO got a good sponsor in the PA to the Attorney General, but it’s still only a private member’s bill.

    It is also a private bill, meaning it affects only the people named in the bill. It has no impact on non-members.

    The reactions of the provincial executive to internal contestation have been extreme. They have taken over at least one large branch (Toronto) and have threatened to cancel the membership (and thus the right to use the designation CHRP) for those who have led the resistance.

    It seems to me that the current leadership of HRPAO has disqualified itself for the increased powers granted in the bill, by its complete and paranoid abuse of its existing powers.

    ….

    BTW there is not a good parallel between giving HR advice when not a member of HRPAO and giving legal advice when not a lawyer. Since HRPAO has only a monopoly of title, anyone can do the activity, just not use the protected title. The Law Society has a monopoly of practice, so whatever you call yourself, you can’t practise law unless you are a member of the Law Society. Doctors, engineers and architects, among others, also have monopolies of practice: you just can’t do the activity at all without being in the regulatory scheme. Accountants, except for public accountants (auditors), are not regulated and anyone can be an accountant, but you can’t use the protected titles CA, CGA or CMA (or RPA or ACCA) without being a member of the appropriate organization. (Protection can come from a specific statute or from the Trade Marks Act in some cases.)

  24. Claude Balthazard

    Let me respond to a few of the above posts.

    Yosie Saint-Cyr said:
    Yes Gary is right… it is a private member’s bill and not a government bill… so was not drafted by the government nor was it reviewed by the government when tabled. When the bill will receive second or third reading debate and review by a legislative committee, it will be reviewed by members of the government and other parties.

    That is not quite how it goes.
    Bill 138 is a private members bill and not a government bill, but that does not mean that it was not drafted by the government.
    Bill 138 was drafted by the Office of Legislative Counsel. The Office of Legislative Counsel reports to the Attorney General. The Attorney General has broad responsibilities associated with Government legislation. These responsibilities have been described as twofold. One is to oversee that all legislative enactments are in accordance with principles of natural justice and civil rights. The second aspect of this responsibility is to advise on the constitutionality and legality of legislation. Legislative Counsel plays a key role in ensuring the legal integrity of Government legislation. Legislative Counsel also has a direct responsibility to the Legislature as the Office also drafts all private member’s bills.
    It is true that private member’s bills do not always get the same level of scrutiny as government bills before they are introduced.

    But the situation with Bill 138 is different from the typical private member’s bill. The Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010, was taken nearly word-for-word from the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009. The Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, was introduced as part of Bill 158 which was a government bill introduced by the Christopher Bentley, Attorney General. Indeed, one of the specific reasons why the Office of Legislative Council chose to use the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, as the basis for the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010, was that the former had gone through such scrutiny and had all the kinks worked out.

    Gary Luftspring said:
    “There are policy reasons for those powers in other statutes that may be very different from those that might exist in this situation especially in circumstances where in order to carry on the profession at all one must be licensed by the governing body. Calling something a fact and then repeating it does not make it so.”

    OK. Let go to the source and read what is in the Acts.
    Section 2 of the Chartered Accountants Act, 2009, states: “This Act does not affect or interfere with the right of any person who is not a member of the Institute to practise as an accountant. “
    Section 2 of the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, states: “This Act does not affect or interfere with the right of any person who is not a member of the Corporation to practise as an accountant.’
    Section 2 of the Certified General Accountants Act, 2009, states: “This Act does not affect or interfere with the right of any person who is not a member of the Association to practise as an accountant.”
    This may surprise many but accountancy is not a licensed profession. That is why some businesses and individuals have the choice to hire bookkeepers rather than accountants to do their accounting work. What is licensed in Ontario is public accounting, which is done through the Public Accounting Act, 2004. But not all accountants are licensed to practice public accounting. In this respect, the Human Resources profession is in the same position as the accounting professions.

    Veronica Martin said:
    “Unless I’m reading the Acts (yes, I’ve read them) incorrectly, I do see a fundamental difference in how an investigation on a member/member firm might take place, and must disagree with Mr. Balthazard’s assertion that the “powers…are identical”. They appear to me, to be fundamentally different in both tone and application.”

    Bill 158 introduced three separate acts—the Chartered Accountants Act, 2009, the Certified General Accountants Act, 2009, and the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009. As referred to above, HRPA has published a side-by-side comparison of these acts including the proposed Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010.

    All four acts are very similar, in regards to most clauses the wording is identical but there are some differences. The proposed Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010, is virtually identical to the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009. The provisions in regards to investigations differ somewhat among the accounting acts. The Chartered Accountants Act, 2009, and the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, have identical provisions whereas the Certified General Accountants Act, 2009, has slightly different provisions. The Office of Legislative Council specifically chose to go with the provisions as they are in the Chartered Accountants Act, 2009, and the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, as a matter of consistency with the rest of the Act.
    Given that the provisions relating to investigations are word-for-word identical in the proposed Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2010, and the Certified Management Accountants Act, 2009, I just can’t see how they would be “fundamentally different in both tone and application.”

    Veronica Martin said:
    “Tom, my understanding of the jurisdiction of this Act is that it is similar to Acts covering other professions you’ve mentioned, such as accountancy. This act only extends to cover members of the Association and the firms they represent.”

    That is absolutely correct.

  25. As a purely technical matter of legislative drafting, the Office of Legislative Counsel acts for private members when they draft private member’s bills, and Legislative Counsel have a solicitor-client relationship with the MPPs. As a result, the government is not told that the bills are being prepared, unless the sponsoring MPP him- or herself chooses to tell a minister.

    Thus there is no policy review whatever of a private member’s bill by government – political side or public service side – before it is introduced. So the content of a private member’s bill, whether the introducing member is a member of the governing party or not, does not necessarily represent government policy.

    The Office of Legislative Counsel, being a highly competent operation, looks to the best sources it can find. In this case it looked at recently enacted public legislation for a parallel to the powers that it was instructed to put into the HRPAO bill.

    What the Office of Legislative Counsel did not do, because it’s not its job, and what no one else in government did, was to consider whether the HRPAO needs the powers that the bill gives it. Were there problems in dealing with its members (not in regards to insubordination!) or in exercising its powers over them or for their benefit under the 1990 private legislation? Are the powers given to the accounting bodies appropriate for a body governing human resource professionals, most of whom are employed rather than freelance? Does it matter that the accounting legislation was inspired by the need to have a good framework for the accounting bodies’ actual or potential power to license public accountants, while HRPAO has no foreseeable parallel role?

    I express no views on the answers to these questions. I merely point out that the existence of the bill does not mean that anyone in government (beyond the sponsor of the bill acting as a private member) has considered them, and they are legitimate questions in considering the desirability of the bill or any provision of it.

  26. John,

    The Ontario Legislature doesn’t have the equivalent, even informally, of the federal gov’t’s the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament, right.

    The Research Branch is a non-partisan body that provides advice and research to members of Parliament in matters related to the performance of their duties as parliamentarians (clapping like trained seals not included)

    I can imagine that, if the Ont.Legislature had the equivalent of the Research Branch, the member who sponsored the bill under discussion might have got better advice than he or she seems to have received. Doesn’t mean he or she would have listed though.

    (Disclosure – I worked for the legal division of the RB for about 1 year: 1981-82).

    David

  27. The Ontario Legislature has the Legislative Library, which has an excellent research staff. I have seen a number of its memos (produced for MPPs and tabled in committee hearings) and they are of high quality. But I seriously doubt that the average private bill (not just private member’s bill) gets any research done on it, as to need, environment, etc, before it is introduced. I expect the MPP accepts the advice of the constituents who are advocating the bill, unless there is some reason to wonder if there is more behind it.

    Also, I am not sure if the Legislative Library has the ability to do research beyond what is already published somewhere, i.e. could it go ask questions of HR professionals about their needs or their satisfaction with the administration of HRPAO? I have never heard of research from that body of that kind, but I could be overlooking some capacity I have not seen exercised.

  28. I, obviously, apologetically, do not know how the Ont. Legislative Library research staff.

    When I was in the Legal Division of the Research Branch (of the Library of Parliament) most of the work we did was for the opposition and gov’t backbenchers because they didn’t have access to the Ministries lawyers and other experts. Given the mandate of the Library of Parliament as stated on its website which includes

    “Provide customized research and analysis to parliamentarians and their staff”

    “Support legislators and committees with the information they need to examine the issues of the day, consider legislation, and hold the government accountable”

    I suspect some money could be found in the Research Branch’s budget to do appropriate research beyond merely paper reviews. The Research Division’s staff includes far more than must lawyers. I think it’s correct to say we viewed ourselves as (allowing for more limited resources) equivalent to the reserach staff of the US Library of Congress. (Our beer was better, too, and Hull wasn’t far away.)

    For what it’s worth, the federal Access to Information Act was going through the committee stage while I was in the the Research Branch. One or more of my colleagues worked for the non-gov’t committee members. It’s almost 30 years ago, and I can’t, now, remember to a specific incident – but even if could I probably would be in breach of something I signed back then if mentioned it – but it’s my overall recollection that my colleague(s) helped to increase the scope of access beyond what would have been the case if the gov’t members had their way. I doubt very much their work was limited to paper reviews. They slogged for “real” evidence to support the arguments they provided the opposition members.

  29. The Top 10 Reasons why Bill 138 Must Be Stopped!

    1. Protecting the Public: HRPAO has not provided any examples of issues that have arisen in the past 20 years that would relate to the protection of public interest. Legislation already exists to protect the public: ESA, Ontario Human Rights, WSIB, OHSA, Pay Equity, etc.

    2. Lack of Transparency and Engagement: No consultation in the development of the Bill and the impact on members of the Association. Demonstrating a complete lack of transparency and engagement by HRPAO with its members. This Bill was introduced as a Private Members Bill; it is not a government bill and did not go through Legislative Council or consultation nor was it reviewed by government when it was tabled.

    3. Regulation Already Exists: Bill 70 – passed in 1990 provides appropriate regulation of the HR Profession already.

    4. Unnecessary Investigative Powers: Provided to HRPAO to regulate the profession

    5. Impact on Employers/Clients: Investigative powers and control extends beyond members and to their employers/clients

    6. Loss of Jobs: Bill 138 will create hardships and barriers to employment in Ontario

    7. Tremendous Member Feedback: Bill 138 does not represent the needs of the members.

    8. Different Rules for HR Professionals: The right of a member of the Association to practice in the field of human resources is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed under this Act. This does not apply to other HR professionals who are not members of the Association.

    9. Prohibitive Costs: Significant increase in costs for members and their firms to be certified and maintain certification. Bill 138 will create hardship for all companies operating in Ontario.

    10. Lack of Democracy and Professionalism by the current leaders and the governors of HRPA: The current HRPA organization has used reprisals and threats against anyone within the Association who opposes Bill 138. Members are demanding their resignations. Why provide more powers to this Association?

    Join the hundreds of HR professionals who are voting NO to Bill 138 at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41862.html

    We urge you to take the time to read through the Bill for yourselves at the following link:
    http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session2/b138.pdf

    HR Police State in Ontario – Toronto Fights Back:
    http://hr.toolbox.com/blogs/search-for-mutual-success/hr-police-state-in-ontario-toronto-fights-back-43222

    Bill 138: An Offer You Should Refuse:
    http://inyourfacehr.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html

    Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario as a Regulator:
    http://www.slaw.ca/2010/12/16/human-resources-professional-association-of-ontario-as-a-regulator/comment-page-1/#comment-756327

    Please direct all comments, concerns and questions to tppa.inc@gmail.com

    We understand some people may be reluctant to speak out. Please be assured that your correspondence and identity will not be released to HRPA without your prior approval.

  30. Claude Balthazard

    Here is a message that HRPA sent to its membership earlier today.

    I’m pleased to report that Bill 138 passed second reading at the Ontario Legislature yesterday. As with any private member’s bill, all three parties were invited to make remarks about the Bill. At the conclusion of debate all three parties agreed that Bill 138 was needed and it passed unanimously.

    Following normal protocols, the Bill was referred to the “Standing Committee on General Government” for hearings at which point you will be able to present your views. This is a step which we welcome as it will give an opportunity to provide input on this Bill which represents the coming of age for the HR profession. The timing of those meetings is still not known but we expect them to be in the next 6-8 weeks.

    Following the committee stage, the next steps are a third reading and then a vote in the Legislature. If that passes the Bill would then go for Royal Assent. We will ensure that you are kept up to date on this progress.

    During the debate, there were a number of incorrect statements brought forward and it is our duty to correct these inaccuracies.
    a. The removal of the Toronto Chapter directors was a governance issue and had nothing whatsoever to do with the Act. A separate corporation called TPPA had been running the Chapter as an agent of the Association. As is the case with all Chapter Boards, TPPA was required to exercise good management and good governance in the operation of the Chapter – this did not occur. More on TPPA.
    b. To date, Chapters and Members representing 85% of the full Membership have sent letters of support for the Bill to their MPP’s. On the other hand, only 2% of our members have signed the “Anti-Bill 138” petition. It is worth noting that there are also duplicate and “anonymous” signatures in the petition.
    c. Consultation surrounding this Bill started in 2008 and there have been close to 50 separate events including Chapter discussions and webinars, as well as articles in newspapers, our own 360 monthly newsletter publication and much discussion at the 2009 and 2010 AGM’s and Conferences. In total, thousands of members have been exposed to the material and had opportunities for input. More on Bill 138 Consultation.

    On a separate but related matter, we are aware that for some time, many of our members in the Toronto area have received unsolicited email communications from organizations and individuals related to the former Board of the Toronto Chapter of HRPA (now called “hrinontario”, not all of whom are HRPA members).

    We have received inquiries and complaints about these unsolicited emails and the use of member email addresses and we take this matter very seriously.

    We have initiated legal steps to prevent this but in the meantime, if you find you are being troubled, you can stop emails by following these instructions. You can also issue a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.

    At HRPA, we are committed to professionalism, responsiveness to our Members’ needs and interests and accountability for effective stewardship of our Members’ investment of time, money and engagement. For ongoing updates on the Act, please log in regularly to the home page of our website.

  31. The Ontario bill on human resource professionals has been re-introduced as Bill 28 – sponsored by a member from each of the three parties in the Ontario Legislature. It appears to do what its predecessor mentioned in this thread did.

    People more expert than I in the controversy will be able to tell if any of the concerns so vigorously expressed about the former bill have been addressed in the new version.