On March 1, 2012, the Ontario legislature passed second reading
of Bill 28, the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2011.
Bill 28 is a Private Members' Bill that was first introduced on
December 7, 2011 by Liberal MPP David Zimmer. It was co-sponsored
by Christine Elliott of the Progressive Conservative Party and
Michael Prue of the NDP.
If passed, Bill 28 would replace the existing Human Resources
Professionals Association of Ontario Act, 1990, which establishes
the Human Resources Professional Association ("HRPA") as
a self-regulating professional association. Currently, the HRPA
grants the Certified Human Resources Professional
("CHRP") designation, sets standards of practice, and
addresses professional misconduct, incapacity or competence issues.
According to Ms. Elliott, the existing legislation is outdated, due
to the fact that business practices, economic conditions, workforce
demographics and employment/labour law have all become more complex
and interrelated. Bill 28 would give the HRPA broader powers of
self-regulation, and render it a true professional regulatory body
much like those governing lawyers and accountants.
Key features of Bill 28 include the following:
It does not affect or interfere with the right of anyone who is
not a member of HRPA to practice in the field of human resources.
Human resources professionals will not be forced to join HRPA or to
obtain any designations. Similarly, employers will be at liberty to
hire whomever they wish for their human resources needs.
It establishes several professional designations that only HRPA
members may be authorized to use, including Registered Human
Resources Professional, Associate Certified Human Resources
Professional, Certified Human Resources Professional, Senior Human
Resources Professional and Certified Industrial Relations
Counsellor. Misuse of these professional designations will
constitute an offence carrying a fine of up to $25,000.00.
It provides for the establishment of a complaints, discipline
and appeal process, including the power to award costs against a
member who is the subject of the proceedings.
The HRPA will have broad discipline powers in the event a
member is found guilty of professional misconduct, including the
revoke or suspend membership;
impose restrictions or conditions on a member's right to
practice in the human resources field;
issue a reprimand;
direct a member to take rehabilitative measures, such as
professional development, counseling or treatment; and
impose a fine.
The HRPA will be empowered to investigate and determine whether
a member is physically or mentally incapable of meeting his or her
obligations under the legislation. In the event incapacity is
found, the HRPA may suspend membership or impose restrictions or
conditions on a member's right to practice in the human
It provides for investigations and inspections of members'
human resources practices, including the power to enter and inspect
business premises, question individuals, require the production of
relevant documents, and remove documents for the purpose of making
copies. Obstruction of an investigation or inspection would
constitute an offence carrying a fine of up to $25,000 on
It provides for custodianship of a member's human resources
practice in certain circumstances, including where the member's
membership has been revoked or suspended, the member has died or
disappeared, the member is incapacitated, or the member has
neglected or abandoned his or her practice.
The HRPA has lobbied for new legislation for the past couple of
years. It has indicated that Bill 28 "will help raise the
credibility of the HR profession and support the premium that
designated members command in the workplace" and "will
better safeguard the public interest by enhancing its regulatory
and oversight powers to ensure that [HRPA members'] workplaces
are fully compliant with existing and future provincial workplace
Bill 28 has been referred to the Standing Committee on General
Government for review. It will not become law unless, and until, it
passes third reading and receives royal assent. While most Private
Members' Bills do not become law, Bill 28 has support from all
three parties in the legislature and may therefore have more
promise. We will monitor the progress of the Bill and keep you
apprised of its status.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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