The straight answer – to elevate the credibility of the human resources profession.
For HR to be seen as a profession on par with other leading professional groups – engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc. the next step in our evolution is to become recognized as a true self-governing professional association.
Self-regulation is not just about SAHRP regulating members, it’s about members regulating members. Obtaining recognition as a self-regulated profession means that the Saskatchewan Government has recognized that our members themselves are in the best position to regulate the standards required of the HR profession, including certification standards and standards of professional conduct. That’s why we have engaged our membership in two important policy advisory groups addressing the topics of professional practice and developing draft regulations for self-regulation.
Becoming a ‘profession’ is much more than bringing together like-minded individuals for learning and networking events. It’s important to distinguish that professional associations are not ‘clubs’. While networking is often a benefit of membership, professional associations are about ensuring qualified professionals are providing trusted services to all their stakeholders. Professionals are needed to ‘protect the public’ and this is a broad concept – protecting them from what? Essentially, the incompetent practice (or work) related to the HR profession.
We believe it’s time to prepare ourselves and our members for the responsibility and obligation that comes with the label – ‘Professional’ – and this means that change is necessary in order for us to become a true self-governing body for the HR profession.
HR as a Regulated Profession – What would it really mean?
By Claude Balthazard, VP for Regulatory Affairs of the HR Professionals Association, Ontario, Canada
It is often assumed that the leading edge of HR as a profession is either in the U.S. or the U.K., but with regard to the regulation of the human resource profession, two Canadian jurisdictions are blazing the trail for all others.
By regulation, we mean official governmental sanction to oversee and regulate members of a profession. Although many professional organizations, through self-governance, do some of the same things that government regulatory bodies do, the “difference that makes a difference” is official governmental engagement. In Québec and Ontario, the provincial HR associations—the Ordre des CRHA et CRIA du Québec (ORHRI) and the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPA)—have received this official governmental sanction to regulate the HR profession.
VIEW FULL ARTICLE HERE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Why do SAHRP members need a regulatory act?
A. A regulatory act would enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the HR profession, the CHRP designation and the SAHRP in the eyes of both internal and external stakeholders; we cannot be a Tier 1 profession without a serious and effective professional regulatory body.
The act and accompanying by-laws would allow for clear identification of the public interest as it pertains to ethical behavior, competence of practicing HR professionals, organizational compliance with increasing labour and employment regulations, and the need to balance interests
The act would carve out a more respected place for the HR profession in organizations and society by creating partnership with government in balancing interests between employees and organizations in pursuit of better societal outcomes overall.
Q. How would a regulatory act directly impact members?
A. It will enable members to ensure the quality of the HR profession in Saskatchewan through:
· • More control over our own destiny as a profession;
· • Ability to command a premium in the marketplace;
· • Increased opportunity to influence public policy;
· • Increases the attractiveness of HR as a career choice and;
· • Protect against the use of the CHRP designation by unauthorized individuals.
Q. How would a regulatory act raise the credibility of the profession?
A. An act would acknowledge that the SAHRP members possess a high-level of ethics, knowledge and skill, and are protected by regulatory safeguards to complete this work, to both create value for the organizations that employ them, and protect the legal rights of workers in the workplace.
Q. How do members voice their support or concerns regarding professional regulation?
A. Members will be able to contact the SAHRP directly to provide input into the process.
Q. What does it mean for the CHRP designation?
A. Legislation will guarantee that the SAHRP will be the sole provider of the CHRP, the public will have complete confidence that the Association’s members are fully qualified for the job, and possess the most current qualifications; the result will be a heightened prestige for the HR profession, and the HR practitioner.
Q. Why is this important to the business community and the public?
A. The public can place greater confidence in accredited professionals supported by a full scope Tier 1 professional association. The regulatory powers resulting from an act would enable SAHRP to better protect the public interest from incompetent or unethical human resource practitioners, help prevent abuse of corporate positions and, if abuse should occur, provide the public with an effective means by which to seek recourse. Additionally, members can point to their legislation in their adherence to a Code of Professional Conduct.
Q. Will self-regulation result in a fee increase for members?
A. Based on research completed by the SAHRP Board, self-regulation will not result in an immediate fee increase. However, fees have not increased in several years and the cost of doing business is increasing. With increased professionalization comes the need for increased investment in continuing professional development activities. Members can expect a modest fee increase to be phased in over the next few years but there will not be an increase in 2014.
Q. Are we seeking the power of licensure on our Act?
A. No, it is about providing the public and HR professionals with a choice. Individuals practicing HR do not need to be members of SAHRP if they choose not to be regulated. For its part, however, the Association intends to make the public aware of the advantages of dealing with regulated professionals. Other regulated occupations, including accounting, have voluntary or non-compulsory certification or licensing requirements. This means you can do the work of the profession without registration, but if you want to use the protected title of the profession you must register with the regulatory body first and meet all conditions of the designation.
Q. Will this act have expanded powers over HR Professionals who are not members?
A. The act would 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. However, anyone who is accredited with the CHRP designation in Saskatchewan must be a member of the SAHRP, and membership for non designation holders will be seen as an asset.
Q. Will the act restrict member’s ability to use other HR professional designations?
A. SAHRP will have the authority to grant only those designations that we own and we have that right today. Anyone can establish an HR designation and grant it as long as it does not conflict with any that fall under SAHRP intellectual property rights.
Q. What does it mean if an act grants the Association powers to investigate members?
A. By government legislation, all professional self-regulating bodies must follow rules and guidelines that offer protection to the public by ensuring that the professionals they regulate are competent and act in an ethical manner. Part of this obligation would require SAHRP to deal with complaints and investigation of claims. They are intended for use in exceptional circumstances only and are the same as those granted to all professional regulatory bodies governed by a public act in Saskatchewan.
Q. What actions could trigger an investigation?
A. An investigation is triggered when (1) there is a complaint filed with the Association in writing against a member of the Association and (2) the Complaints and Discipline Committee is of the opinion that the allegation requires investigation. SAHRP has a duty to investigate all credible complaints against a member of the Association.
Q. Having access to confidential files seems to confer unusual and excessive powers on the Association.
A. The government and the courts view these powers as essential to ensure that professional bodies are able to deal with complaints effectively. They are intended for use in exceptional circumstances only and are the same as those granted to all professional regulatory bodies governed by a public act in Saskatchewan.
Q. Why would an act have a clause that could require a member to pay for an investigation?
A. An act would give the Complaints and Discipline and the Appeals Committees the authority to award costs of proceedings against the member such as costs incurred by the Association arising from the investigation, prosecution, hearing and, if applicable, appeal of the matter that is the subject of the proceeding. This would be ordered only in exceptional circumstances, for example, when a member has been found guilty of misconduct and the actions of the member have caused the Association to incur costs that could have been avoided.
Q. What happens if the complaint is made in bad faith or in retaliation by a disgruntled employee?
A. The SAHRP’s Complaints and Discipline Committee reviews all claims and before any formal investigation is conducted; it determines if a complaint is frivolous, groundless, vexatious or in bad faith. If so, it would notify the complainant of its intention to dismiss the complaint and unless further information was received to substantiate the complaint, it would be immediately dismissed as frivolous or vexatious without any investigation or hearing.
Q. How does it impact CHRP’s who are teaching HR?
A. Teaching HR is within the scope of practice of HR professionals. Members of SAHRP who teach HR are subject to SAHRP’s Rules of Professional Conduct.