Self-Regulation : FAQ

General Self-Regulation Questions

What is professional Self-Regulation?

Who has jurisdiction?

What does it mean to protect the public interest?

When would a government be more likely to regulate professions?

What is the difference between regulation and licensure?

What is the difference between professional association and professional regulatory body?

What is a dual-object professional organization?

When might there be a conflict between mandates?

What does it mean to be a member of a regulated profession?

What constitutes a Profession?

 

HRMAM & Self-Regulation Questions

Is HRMAM currently a professional association or professional regulatory body?

Why pursue self-regulation?

What are the benefits of self-regulation to an HR professional?

What has HRMAM done so far?

What are the next steps?

Will this mean more changes to the CPHR designation?

There are three levels of regulation. Which are we pursuing?

How will Self-regulation affect those HR practitioners who are not CPHRs?

 

The Regulation of the HR Profession in Other Provinces

Which provinces are regulated?

 

CPHR: Nationally-recognized through mutual recognition

What is mutual recognition?

  

 


 

What is professional Self-Regulation?

The most common definition of ‘regulated profession’ is that the profession has a governing or regulatory body that is sanctioned by law to govern or regulate a profession. Being recognized by the government as a regulated profession is seen by many as the difference between being just another self-declared profession and a ‘real’ profession.

 

Professional regulation can be thought of as a form of consumer protection. Self-regulation is based on the concept of an occupational group entering into an agreement with government to formally regulate the activities of its members. As a condition of delegation of such regulatory powers, the governing or regulatory body is required to apply such powers in a manner that is guided by the public interest.

 

Because the government puts a lot of trust in the ability of the professional governing or regulatory bodies to put the public interest first, there are a number of mechanisms that governments have introduced to keep the professional governing or regulatory bodies honest – ministerial accountability; increasing the number of government appointed members on councils and boards, and introducing agencies that have oversight over some aspects of the operations of the professional governing or regulatory bodies.

 

 

Who has jurisdiction?

The regulation of trades and professions falls under provincial authority for the most part. Because the Canadian Constitution Act, 1867 assigns to the provinces the authority to make laws in relation to property and civil rights, there is simply no way for there to be a national regulatory body for Human Resources.

 

The fact that professional regulation falls under provincial jurisdiction is important. This means there can be subtle or big differences in how professions are regulated from province to province.

 

What does it mean to protect the public interest?

In exchange for regulatory powers, the regulatory body is expected to operate in the public interest, whether this is stated explicitly in the enabling legislation or not. The fundamental principle of professional self-regulation must be in the interest of the public. It is true that the being self-regulated does provide benefits to the profession but the main reason to be self-regulated is to protect the public, not to enhance the status of the profession (however, that is an ancillary benefit).

 

Essentially, the primary purpose behind all regulatory body activity should be to protect the public from incompetent or unethical practitioners and to ensure the effective provision and access to professional services not to forward the interest of the profession and its members.

 

When would a government be more likely to regulate professions?

  • The public does not have the capacity to evaluate the competence of the professional (before it may be too late to do so)
  • The public does not have the choice of practitioner
  • There is an imbalance in the power of the service provider and that of those who receive services
  • When the consequences of the actions of incompetent or unethical practitioners are serious

 

Another point to note is that governments are less likely to regulate a profession when the clients or users of the professional service are mainly businesses.

 

What this boils down to is that it is not whether the profession ‘deserves’ to be recognized as a profession that concerns government; rather, it is whether the public needs protection that will motivate a government to regulate a profession.

 

What is the difference between regulation and licensure?

There are three levels of regulation:

Registration – The least involved form of regulation. All professionals to be listed on a sanctioned register.

Certification – Essentially the stamp of approval given to an individual for meeting pre-determined requirements. Certification is often associated with monopoly use of a specific title or professional designation (“protection of title”). This model protects the public by providing information about the qualifications of designation holders so that the public can make an informed decision about who they want to receive services from.

Licensure – This is a much more restrictive form of professional regulation. Licensure provides an occupational group with monopoly control over who can practice a profession. Only those individuals who have met specific requirements to enter a profession are issued a “license” to practice the profession or to perform certain “controlled acts”. Entry requirements are quite detailed and often include attaining specified educational requirements and completion of some form of licensing examination.

 

Note: Professions in which there is no licensure are sometimes called voluntary professions in that individuals can choose not to be members of the professional body and still practice the profession. In some voluntary professions the consequences of losing one’s designation are such that the designation becomes licensure-like.

 

What is the difference between professional association and professional regulatory body?

The difference between professional associations and professional regulatory bodies is that the former serve the interests of their members whereas the latter serve the interests of the public. This is a fundamental difference.

 

The mission of professional regulatory bodies is to minimize and mitigate the risks to the public that may arise from the practice of the profession. As such, their main goals are to:

  • Define criteria for registration with and certification by the professional body
  • Provide guidance to members in the form of codes of ethics, rules of professional conduct and standards of practice
  • Maintain a public register which contains information about individuals registered with the professional body, and
  • Investigate complaints about members and discipline members as required.

 

Professional associations are constituted to serve the interests of their members by:

  • Providing networking opportunities,
  • Publish information of interest to its members,
  • Conduct research,
  • Stage conferences, seminars, and workshops,
  • Maintain job boards,
  • Negotiate preferential rates for their members for various products and services, and
  • Lobby governments to influence policy in furtherance of the interests of their members.

 

That being said, there are some overlaps in activities but the reason for doing those activities will differ. For example, both will provide professional development opportunities however the professional association offers these workshops to help members advance their careers while the professional regulatory body will offer the workshop because it remedies a specific knowledge or skills gap which poses some risk to the public.

 

What is a dual-object professional organization?

 

In some professions, you will see two separate bodies: a professional association and a regulatory body. In others, you may find that one body is both the regulator and the association. This can happen for a few reasons: profession is newly regulated; the profession is fairly small; or, the risk of harm to the public is relatively low.

 

While there is potential for conflict between the two mandates, member interests must yield to public interest whenever the two conflict.

 

When might there be a conflict between mandates?

It’s important to note that the interest of the public and the interests of the profession are not always in conflict but that it can happen. An example would be in regards to setting standards for entry into the profession. Professional regulators in their concern for the safe practice of the profession may set requirements which limit the number of individuals who may qualify whereas professional associations are often interested in attracting as many members as they can.

 

Another example would be that professional regulators might set a number of limits on the behaviour of professionals and introduce mechanisms to assure continued competence. These measures may be seen as burdensome by members.

 

What does it mean to be a member of a regulated profession?

There is a difference between being professional and being a professional. Many individuals who are not members of a regulated profession would say that they ascribe to professional attitudes and values. The key difference is the existence of a professional regulatory body and the acceptance on the part of the professional of the authority of the professional regulatory body.

 

Regulated professionals accept that their regulatory body can:

  • Establish standards of qualification, ethics, competence, and professional practice;
  • Take action to ensure that such standards are maintained;
  • And that their regulatory body can hold its members accountable for upholding these professional standards.

 

What constitutes a Profession?

HR professionals perform a unique, definite, and essential service to society, relying on a body of knowledge, specialized training and influencing skills in the performance of their duties. In performance of their responsibilities, they can have challenging and sometimes conflicting demands placed upon themselves and their decisions. These considerations entrench the need to abide by a professional code of conduct and ongoing professional development.

 

These are just a few of the hallmarks of a ‘profession’ and not simply an occupation. The HR role has evolved to that of a profession. The field of human resources has a designation, a code of conduct, exercises significant influence within an organization and impacts the working population. It is safe to say that human resources is now a profession.

 

Is HRMAM currently a professional association or professional regulatory body?

HRMAM is a professional association working towards becoming a professional regulatory body.

 

Why pursue self-regulation?

The overarching reason to regulate a profession is to ensure the public is protected from incompetence or unethical choices of its professionals.

 

Earlier, we mentioned the reasons why a government would regulate a profession. With respect to human resource professionals, members of society, working or otherwise:

  • Do not have the capacity to evaluate the competence of the HR professional chosen for them until an interaction in the workplace;
  • Cannot choose, select or shop for human resources support (excepting independent consultants) – they have the one selected by the employer;
  • Suffer from the imbalance in informational power, organizational insights and knowledge of employment related matters between the HR professional and those in receipt of their guidance, and
  • Can be significantly impacted monetarily, physically or emotionally by the consequences of poor, unethical or even absence of HR decisions.

 

 

What are the benefits of self-regulation to an HR professional?

While the main reason for self-regulation is protection of the public, there are ancillary benefits to the profession of HR such as:

  • Enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the HR profession, the CPHR designation and HRMAM to both internal and external stakeholders. This would mean:
    • More control over your career path
    • Ability to command a premium in the marketplace
    • Increased opportunity to influence public policy
    • Increases the attractiveness of HR as a career choice
    • Protect against the use of the CPHR designation by unauthorized individuals
  • Acknowledge that CPHRs possess a high-level of ethics, knowledge and skill and are protected by regulatory safeguards to complete this work, to create value for the organizations that employ them and protect the legal rights of workers in the workplace

 

What has HRMAM done so far?

HRMAM has spent the last 18 months learning more about Self-regulation. This includes speaking with government, other associations, other self-regulated professions as well as our provincial counterparts to better understand the process and implications.

 

What are the next steps?

We are still in the early stages of our journey to Self-regulation. We will continue to meet with a wide variety of stakeholders including our members as we develop our Self-regulation proposal. Stay tuned for information sessions in early 2016. These conversations with stakeholders will inform our proposal to the Government of Manitoba.

 

Will this mean more changes to the CPHR designation?

Our 2013 Professional Practice Analysis, conducted nationally, made several recommendations on how to elevate the CPHR designation to be on par with other professional regulatory bodies. We have been working with our provincial counterparts to introduce these recommendations. While some have been introduced, there are still more recommendations to be introduced, which you will see happen over the next year. These recommendations will elevate the CPHR designation.

 

There are three levels of regulation. Which are we pursuing?

Earlier we mentioned ‘registration’, ‘certification’, and ‘licensure’. We are seeking ‘certification’ which would mean those professionals who hold the designation would essentially have a ‘stamp of approval’ and would include ‘protection of title’ for the CPHR.

 

How will Self-regulation affect those HR practitioners who are not CPHRs? Will this restrict non-designated HR professionals from practicing HR?

Because we are seeking ‘certification’ and not ‘licensure’, HR practitioners who are not CPHRs would still be able to practice HR. This is about providing the public and HR professionals with a choice. Individuals practicing HR do not need to be members of HRMAM, just as they do not need to be members of HRMAM now. For our 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. 

 

  

The Regulation of the HR Profession in Other Provinces

Which provinces are regulated?

The HR profession is regulated in two provinces: Quebec and Ontario. These are the only two provinces that delegate provincial powers of regulation to the professional association. Both are regulated at the certification level.

 

Alberta and Saskatchewan have both put forward submissions to their respective governments. BC is developing their submission.

  


CPHR: Nationally-recognized through mutual recognition

What is mutual recognition?

As mentioned previously, professional designations are provincially legislated. Provincial associations can enter into agreements with other provincial associations whereby they will agree to mutually recognize equivalent designations granted in other jurisdictions. This is called mutual recognition and is governed, in part, by inter-provincial agreements such as the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)(Provincial legislation).

 

Mutual recognition is not the same as 'multi-jurisctional validity'. An individual who has been certified in one province does not, by the same fact, 'have the designation' in all other provinces. To have the right to use the CPHR designation in Manitoba, one must be a member of HRMAM. 

 

CPHR Canada (formerly known as The Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA)), of which HRMAM is a member, is a coordinative body - it is not a professional association and it is not a regulatory body. Provincial associations belong to CPHR Canada, individuals do not. 

 

Essentially, the CPHR is not a national designation, it is a nationally-recognized designation through the mechanism of mutual recognition.

 

 


 

Further questions? Please contact us at hrmam@hrmam.org

Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Manitoba (CPHR Manitoba)
1810-275 Portage Avenue / Winnipeg, Manitoba / R3B 2B3
tel. 204.943.2836 / fax. 204.943.1109 / email. hello@cphrmb.ca

For additional information please visit: CPHR.CA

People Leading Business.™