BY Antoinette Blunt, MPA, CHRP, SHRP



The vision of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is to be a global leader in advancing the profession as the essential driver of business strategy and organizational success. That means HR must continue to evolve. Such evolution has resulted in the advancement of a regulatory framework, and most specifically, the Rules of Professional Conduct. The mandate for the development of these rules stems from the Human Resources Professionals Act of Ontario, 1990, which gives HRPA the regulatory authority for human resources management in Ontario. The Rules of Professional Conduct were designed to protect the public (organizations, businesses and clients) by ensuring human resources professionals are competent and behave in an ethical manner.

The Rules of Professional Conduct support human resources professionals and provide the assurance and public protection that is so necessary for self-regulating bodies such as HRPA. The rules incorporate HRPA’s Code of Ethics but provide more behavioural specificity to help guide the practice of HRPA members. When members renew their membership to HRPA, in 2009, in addition to confirming they will abide by the Code of Ethics, they will also verify their commitment to follow the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Over the next year or so, HRPA will continue developing Standards of Practice that will provide more specific guidance in certain areas deemed necessary to support our members.

Making it happen

The need for practice standards or guidelines will be defined through inquiries made to the association, complaints or other communications from members or from the general public. Emerging trends in human resources or the workplace environment may demand the development of new standards or guidelines. New or amended legislation (such as the Employment Standards Act or the Labour Relations Act), may also require the revision of existing standards or guidelines. A literature search will be carried out to inform the development of these guidelines and to incorporate current evidence-based information.

Standards and guidelines will be developed with expert professional assistance if required and input from the HRPA’s Professional Standards Committee. In addition, the association may consult with members, and when appropriate, with other key stakeholders such as employers and government—anyone who may be affected by the standard or guideline. Consultation may also be warranted and could occur through a number of means such as member surveys and focus groups with potential revisions based on the feedback obtained. Approval would first require review and input from the Professional Standards Committee with recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval. Approved standards or guidelines and any subsequent amendments would be communicated to our membership.

The introduction of these rules reflects a milestone in the maturation of the human resources management profession in Ontario. Self-regulation is a privilege.

This article first appeared in the June/July 2009 issue of HR Professional magazine

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