On December 7, 2011, Bill 28, The Registered Human Resources Professionals Association Act, 2011, was introduced in the Ontario Legislature. If passed, the Bill would make the Human Resources Professional Association (the “HRPA”) a true professional regulatory body with the power to investigate and discipline members for failing to comply with conduct and practice standards.
In addition to establishing academic requirements for human resources professionals, the Bill creates general conduct and practice standards that will apply to human resources professionals and the violation of which would be grounds for discipline by the HRPA. The Bill also provides for the establishment of a complaint, discipline and appeal process that could include the awarding of costs against human resources professionals. In connection with the new disciplinary powers, the Bill would also provide for investigations and “practice inspections” permitting investigators to question individuals and compel the production of documents relevant to the investigations.
Other notable features of the Bill include:
- Several new professional designations that signify membership in the HRPA as well as professional qualifications;
- Penalties of up to $25,000 for interfering with an investigation or inspection or misusing the professional designations granted by the HRPA;
- Subjecting HRPA proceedings to the Statutory Powers Procedures Act, 1990 and the HRPA’s registration practices to oversight by the Office of the Fairness Commissioner;
- A new rehabilitative, non-disciplinary process to deal with members with medically or psychologically related performance issues; and,
- Providing the HRPA with the power to regulate both certified and non-certified members, and would therefore not affect or interfere with the right of any person who is not in the association to practice in the field of human resources.
Most private members’ bills do not become law; however, Bill 28 is sponsored by members from three political parties and it is unclear whether the Bill will be passed as introduced or at all. Although the future of Bill 28 remains unknown, one thing remains clear – the proposed legislative changes outlined in Bill 28 are significant.