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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Members Are to be Seen, Not Heard

Are you a member of the HRPA? Has your cheque cleared?

Great - now please keep your head down and be quiet for the remainder of the ride.

Sounds harsh right? But what would one be lead to think that when the Toronto Chapter opens up discussion about the controversial bill 138 and gets shut down?

You haven't heard?

About a week ago, the THRPA Board of Directors sent out an email to all members that read:

Dear THRPA Member,

Recently Bill 138 “Registered Human Resources Professional Act, 2010” received First Reading in the Ontario Legislative House on November 23, 2010.

We encourage all THRPA Members to read this Bill as it concerns an Act respecting the Human Resources Professionals Association.

Bill 138 can be accessed by clicking HERE.

THRPA Board of Directors

In my previous blog, I questioned the lack of communication from the HRPA surrounding this bill as it seemed extremely sneaky.

As shown above, the THRPA created awareness of the bill to their members and looked for some dialogue, then a week later (today) this email is sent out by the HRPA:

As you may know, the Board of the Toronto Personnel Professional Association Inc. ("TPPA") has operated the Toronto Chapter of HRPA since 2004. The right of a third party to operate a Chapter of HRPA is dependent on its compliance with HRPA By Laws for Chapters and maintaining standards of good governance and compliance with the Code of Conduct for Chapter Directors. Since 2008, the Board of HRPA has grown increasingly concerned with TPPA's management of the affairs of the Toronto Chapter, including:

The rapid erosion of member equity. Since 2008, member equity has dropped from close to $400,000 to less than $20,000, receiving a qualified review from the auditor of the most recent financial statements;

A steady decline in member engagement. The Toronto Chapter now has the lowest level of member engagement out of all of the larger chapters and is in the bottom 10 percent of all chapters;

Lengthy delays and resistance to the adoption of the new Chapter By-Laws. The Toronto Chapter was the last of all Chapters to do so.

On November 29th and 30th, 2010 the Board of HRPA met with the Board of TPPA to express these concerns. On December 1st, the TPPA Board signed an agreement accepting the new Chapter By Laws and committing to address the HRPA Board's other concerns about the management of the Toronto Chapter.

In the weeks since the agreement was signed, the TPPA Board has failed to comply with its commitments to the HRPA Board. Further, TPPA's Board has continued to violate the Code of Conduct for Directors of Chapters of HRPA.

As a result, effective immediately, the TPPA Board is no longer permitted to operate the Toronto Chapter of HRPA. HRPA has an obligation and responsibility to govern the HR profession, to represent our members' interests and protect the reputation and integrity of the profession. The unwillingness of the TPPA board to adhere to good governance left HRPA with no other alternative.

Within the next seven days, HRPA will appoint an interim Board of Directors for the Chapter and, as soon as possible, establish a process to elect a new Board to run the Toronto Chapter.

If you have questions, please email


Antoinette Blunt, MPA, CHRP, SHRP

HRPA Board Chair

So are we living in a Police State?  The HRPA acts under the guise of 'furthering the profession' and 'membership development' but more often than not seems to only want to increase their control.
If this bill passes as is, I will personally not continue my membership with the HRPA.  I do not want to belong to a member-based organization THAT THINKS THEY should have more power than the police, that doesn't care about membership concerns, and has a complete lack of transparency.

Further, what organization would hire me knowing that the organization I am a member of could do an investigation at anytime, without a warrant, take what they want, and make my employer foot the bill?


  1. Thanks for pointing this out, as I hadn't actually read my HRPA-related mail today.

    I thought it might be interesting to compare the current by-laws to the by-laws Toronto was supposedly slow to adopt. (Interestingly, because these By-Laws were not the ones approved at the AGM, I do not see how EITHER set of By-Laws allows us to approve the new By-Laws at the "special" meeting [scheduled by the old board] for February 2011, or any meeting other than the AGM.)

    I should note the new By-Laws have way too many typographical errors to be considered a professional document.

    That aside, material differences between the Toronto by-laws and the HRPA-mandated Chapter by-laws are as follows:

    - Fiscal year no longer will match the membership year. Instead it will start in December.

    - SHRP designation added to list of membership types that can vote.
    - "General" members moved to non-voting
    - Removed the ability of the Association/Board to arbitrarily decide on other membership types with votes. (... does this mean that FCHRPs can no longer vote at the Chapter level?)
    - Members in the
    Practitioner, General or Student categories, who are in good standing, are eligible to
    hold any Chapter office except President
    (General and Student get new privileges... even though General can't vote anymore. Non-CHRP can't be President.)

    - New section declaring that the Chapter will be named "THE TORONTO CHAPTER

    - Appointment of the auditor will no longer be done at the AGM (It got moved to 8.5, looks like a mistake)

    - Remove reference of Chair (now it is only referred to as 'Past President')
    - New limitation: Board members cannot serve in the same capacity for more than 4 years.
    - Removed the requirement that Board members serve without renumeration (Are we going to start paying them now?)

    - Executives of Board given power to make decisions in between meetings (probably a good thing)
    - Removed voting procedures for Board meetings, as well as "Roberts' Rules of Order" (... probably not material, but odd.)
    - The Name, number and mandate of Chapter Officers are at the discretion of the
    Chapter. (new clause. But don't you dare call the Past President the Chair! as per above)
    - The initial slate of Chapter Officers will hold office for a term of three (3) years.
    Thereafter, ... [Text added, rest of text same as current bylaws]

    - Removal of the Chapter's "Complaints, Investigation and Discipline Committee"

    - Changes to By-Laws will now have to be approved by HRPA
    - May not conflict with the Association’s Code, Rules, Regulations, or

    - HRPA given power to dissolve Chapter (wait, didn't they just do that, in effect?)
    - Board given veto power over Members voting to dissolve the chapter

    - New section on Standing Committees
    - New section, establishing an "Advisory Council" composed of all of the Chapter's Past-Presidents

    Overall, I think these new By-Laws are rather sloppy and have not been presented to the members well (both in terms of getting buy-in, as well as following the existing By-Law Ammendment requirements!)

  2. I call BS on the TO Chapter President's claim that that Chapters were not advised of Bill 138. Carmine and Barry Wohl both lobbied the government back in May with other chapter members to introduce the bill. Sorry these guys have zero credibility in my eyes.

  3. Dear Eltan, I can understand how you may believe that we lobbied for Bill 138. We didn't lobby the government on the actual wording and powers that are in Bill 138. We have always supported a Public Act for HR. We were never consulted on the actual wording of the Bill nor were any member of HRPA consulted. We were only made aware of the wording after the First Reading in the House - does this seem right to you - is this how members should be engaged by the association that represents your interests? This is what everyone should be concerned about Eltan - feel free to contact me at


  4. In the interest of providing everyone with the response from the TPPA Board of Directors, the following two posts on this site contain two communications that were sent out to TPPA members this past week.
    They can also be found on our home page at

  5. December 22, 2010 Part 1

    Dear Members,

    Over the past few months, your Toronto Chapter Board of Directors has been working diligently in attempting to build a collaborative relationship with the HRPA board in order to ensure that your needs and rights as a member are effectively met. We have responded to all of HRPA’s requests throughout our discussions with them in a diligent and responsible manner.

    Regrettably we must inform you that it has become clear that HRPA has no intention of working in a collaborative and professional manner. Your TPPA Board of Directors has been subjected to unfair reprisals as seen in the communications which HRPA has sent out to all THRPA members and now publicly communicated through media channels and to all other Chapters across Ontario.

    It has become clear that we possess very different points of view on a number of fundamental issues including the very by-laws approved a by the Toronto Chapter. In addition we cannot support the newly proposed draconian regulatory legislation, namely, Bill 138. It was proposed in secret sessions and kept from members at large. We believe this law is simply not in the interests of our members, our profession or the people of Ontario.

    Consequently, your elected Board of Directors has reached a serious impasse with the HRPA Board and management. We cannot continue to dedicate our time to an HR association that does not allow us to fairly and transparently represent your interests. We are reaching out to you, our members directly to bring our own transparency to this urgent situation. The statements made by HRPA regarding our financial matters are misleading. Your chapter has appropriately managed the financial matters of the organization and has not diminished the funds as depicted by the HRPA. Expenditures made by the chapter have all been focused and directed on investments that provide members with valuable programs and services. This includes: Mentorship Program, ACT, e-Learning, Professional Development events, Business Excellence Awards, Senior HR Forums, etc. We have not diminished our funds, we have invested them back to our members. Our financials are audited by an independent firm each year and have been approved by our members each year at the Annual General Meeting. HRPA has had no issue with the Statements in the past that have received the same Auditors opinion.

    In response to the recent declarations from HRPA we have sent the following:
    December 21st, 2010

  6. Part 2
    "To: HRPA Board of Directors

    We are shocked and dismayed by your email of December 20. Your continued high-handed disregard of the members of our association speaks volumes as to your motivations. As a reminder, the Board of TPPA has been democratically elected by members of the HRPA. These are your members who have shown a desire to be part of a more localized organization, THRPA, in addition to HRPA. Our Board owes fiduciary duties to these members. Frankly, we are surprised that you do not seem to recognize your members’ direct and explicit desires.

    You have scurrilously accused us of not acting in the best interests of our membership. We have addressed any and all of your concerns quite directly. The bylaws will be put to the THRPA members as we are required to do by our charter. Your suggestion that we do not have to do so is contrary to law.

    Your statements about member engagement and financial matters are also misleading and written to manipulate our members as well as damage the professional reputations of the THRPA Board of Directors. With respect to your comment on the auditors’ statement, you have misled our members. As you know a “qualified review” is standard language that is used in any not-for-profit organization’s audit report. Furthermore, it is the exact same opinion that we have received every year in our audited statements since the inception of our corporation. We note that you that you have had no issue with the Statements in the past.

    We refuse to accept your edict. We believe it to be illegal and outside your jurisdiction. We are presenting these matters to our members at a meeting called for this purpose on February 3rd, 2011. Until that time, it is the intention of our Board to serve its members in accordance with the mandate we have been given by them.

    In addition, your privacy concerns are equally transparent and wrong. Our members are also members of TPPA Inc. which as you are well aware is a separately incorporated entity. We have every right, and indeed are obliged to communicate with them concerning matters that affect them. Again if you believe otherwise, we should canvass them. A step we would be eager to take.


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  9. Part 4

    Our Bylaws: You will lose your voice
    On November 29th your THRPA Board of Directors met with the HRPA Board of Directors to discuss a number of issues including our Chapter bylaws. We believed we had reached an agreement with HRPA on November 30th and received written confirmation to this end. This included the acceptance of the HRPA crafted new chapter bylaws, which have since been posted on the THRPA website. These bylaws are subject to your approval at the Special Meeting scheduled for February 3, 2011. Subsequent to receiving confirmation on this agreement we received additional conditions from HRPA that have been imposed upon us and to which no other Chapter in Ontario is required to submit. These conditions violate our freedom of speech and are in contravention of the legal THRPA by-laws approved by our Chapter members and the legal foundation of Toronto Chapter (as established in 2004 as a rightful heir of PAT established in 1935). We are an incorporated entity registered as TPPA Inc. and as such you are also members of TPPA Inc. and have participated in Annual General Meetings of the corporation since 2004. We cannot accept these new conditions and professional reprisals, as we believe they limit the rights of the Toronto Chapter and its members to freedom of speech, employment without borders and expressing individual points of view. Nor can these conditions be reasonably met. HRPA has unilaterally imposed By-laws on THRPA which curtail the rights of the chapter and Toronto members. They are plain and simple not in the best interest of our members.

    The THRPA Board of Directors was extremely disappointed by the manner in which HRPA decided to conduct the meeting on November 29th. HRPA had already decided BEFORE the meeting what the intended the outcome would be. This mischievous and egregious action cannot be accepted. We expected an open dialogue where we could explore our mutual interests for our members and the HR Profession, instead the HRPA Board of Directors threatened to remove us as your elected board representatives of THRPA if we refused to sign certain agreements immediately that evening. As HR professionals we would never advise our employers or clients to force anyone to sign a letter with these requirements and under duress. Why would HRPA dare to choose such an approach? We felt their actions were not merely disrespectful but potentially illegal. THRPA approved the new bylaws imposed by the HRPA and have submitted them to you, our members, for approval on February 3rd. However HRPA decided that we did not need member approval to pass the bylaws and hence decided to take action to remove us from our elected positions as your Board of Directors. We are simply following due process and diligence with respect to our governance responsibilities to our members. Their actions are not in the best interests of our members

  10. Part 5
    New Draconian Legislation Bill 138: Power Grab Solution for a Problem that does not exist
    With respect to Bill 138, we have not been involved in any consultation process with HRPA regarding the specific terms that are included in this alarming Bill. Members of the HRPA were not consulted prior to the First Reading of Bill 138 although there were representations to government officials by the HRPA board that they had done so. We do have concerns with many of the provisions in Bill 138 and we have not been afforded an opportunity to openly voice these concerns. December 3rd, ten days after the First reading at Queen’s Park, HRPA held a Webinar with Chapter Presidents and Chapter Government Liaison Directors. There was no opportunity to influence change of the current Bill. This is unacceptable and it is an offensive depiction of HR professionals who have not been provided with an opportunity to dialogue, consult and understand the serious limitations and implications of this Bill on their profession. Their actions are hurting our profession, yet we are denied an opportunity to speak.

    We have dedicated ourselves to helping our fellow Human Resources professionals develop forums for growth, establishing connections to Business leaders, promote Professional Development and building strong professional networks across Toronto. We will continue to dedicate ourselves to this cause and explore all options to achieve this goal.

  11. How You Can Help

    We need to act now to protect our profession. Here is what you can do:

    Write to the HRPA Board of Directors and let them be aware of your opinion regarding Bill 138 and the manner in which they have dealt with your elected Board of Directors.
    Write to your MPP about your opinion on Bill 138.
    Write to us at “” with your opinion the above matters. We represent you!

    We ask you for your continued support and feedback.


    TPPA Board of Directors

    As your Toronto HRPA volunteer Board of Directors, our duty and role are to represent you and your interests within our association, to keep you informed of developments that affect you, your careers and professions and to ensure that the Provincial Association acts in an appropriate and responsible manner at all times.

    Regrettably, we must report to you some issues which we believe are not in the best interests of our members. Specifically, our concerns are outlined below:

    Introduction of Bill 138: Recently, we discovered by accident a private members Bill, namely Bill 138, that had been encouraged and supported in sessions to the government , without consultation of association members, by HRPAO. We believe Bill 138 will be detrimental to our members and to the companies/organizations we represent.

    * This bill proposes a wholesale change in the powers and authority of the HRPAO. It provides for an investigatory committee with rights to look at clients’ files which potentially involve breaches of rights of privilege and privacy.
    * This Bill was introduced by a government MPP but is not a government bill and did not go through Legislative Council or consultation with us as paying members of our association.
    * We believe that the costs associated with this Bill for members and their employers will be prohibitive.

    Please carefully review the following points identified in Bill 138 when you review it:

    * Costs
    * Investigation & Investigation Powers
    * Control of Member and Member Firm
    * Individual Capacity
    * Custodianship
    * The right of a member of the Association to practice in the field of human resources is subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed under this Act.
    * Chapters
    * Specialties

    Please also note that:

    * The power given to HRPAO is extraordinary without any analysis that the public needs additional protection from those practicing in HR.
    * The reference to “Wills, estates and Trusts” is appropriate for accountants and lawyers, but what relevance does it have to HR?
    * Investigation – Where accountants and lawyers may be handling large amounts of client funds, we cannot see how this is required by our profession.

    Of secondary concern to us is:

    Lack of transparency and engagement: We know that you, as Human Resource Professionals, promote the principles of employee engagement and consultation daily in your workplace and expect the same from the association which represents you.

    Unfortunately, over the last year the following has occurred in our interactions with HRPAO.

    * As mentioned previously, HRPAO caused a bill to be presented by a government MPP in the house MP, without consultation with Chapter Presidents, Government Relations representatives, Chapters or members.
    * When the “Caprano’s” satire video was released, THRPA complained because it promoted violence in the workplace and was racist and sexist. As a “training video”, it was unacceptable for the Human Resources profession to sponsor it. Our complaints were ignored until many other Chapters complained as well. Our concern is, how can a Human Resources Professional organization not see the implications of this and why do they believe they can represent all of us without consultation in matters like this?


    Based on the above concerns, we have listed questions which we believe our 6,000 paying members have a right to have answered:

    * Why has the Bill been introduced and handled so secretly?
    * Who initiated Bill 138?
    * Who will benefit from the successful passage of Bill 138?
    * Why does HR need Tier I status? Tier 1 Associations are registered associations such as lawyers, accountants, etc. If indeed the public good needs protections, why have we not been made aware of this?

    We are deeply troubled by all of the above. We have served as volunteers on the THRPA Board and have successfully introduced:

    * Mentorship program involving just under 200 members annually
    * Toronto Business Excellence Awards
    * Initiated an association with Rotman’s to provide a Human Resources course for members of Boards of Directors
    * The ACT group for unemployed members, when HRPA stopped the funding
    * Highly successful chapter networking events
    * Senior HR Forum

    We believe that the Toronto Chapter is a vital part of YOUR association. We remain dedicated to representing your interests and to keeping you informed. This letter has been crafted to meet our responsibilities to you.

  14. Bill 138: Fact vs. Fiction:

    Bill 138 Comparisons:

    View Bill 138:

  15. Chapter engagement
    The Toronto chapter has an active membership and is delivering tremendous value to its members. There are 6,000 members that include students, new and experienced HR professionals up to and including senior HR executives. Each member has different needs and the Toronto chapter has delivered a wide range of programs and services to meet the diverse needs of its members.

    Just look at the activity held in Toronto:
    • The Toronto Business Excellence Awards held in November attracted more than 340 professionals, exceeding expectations from the event. This is the second year these awards have been held, attracting the who’s who in HR as well as recognizing the top CEOs. These awards celebrate excellence and build awareness of the strategic importance of HR in business. This event attracts a higher percentage of senior Human Resources members from the Toronto chapter than any HRPA event attracts from the entire Ontario membership.
    • The THRPA’s mentorship program has consistently attracted the interest of more than 250 members for the last two years and currently has a waiting list of over 80 members. This is the most successful program of all chapters in Ontario. The program’s size and success have also attracted the interest from the University of Ottawa for a potential study as a best practice.
    • More than 250 members attended Toronto Summerfest event and more than 200 attended our President’s reception at the 2010 Annual Conference.
    • More than 125 members consistently attend Toronto’s Annual General meeting. More members attend the Toronto AGM than the HRPA AGM for the entire association.
    • The Senior Executive HR Forums bring together the top talent in human resources at every event.
    • Professional development events have been well attended and valued by members, including our Breakfast and Dinner series.
    • The Assisted Career Transition (ACT) program brings together members in transition and provides them with information, speakers and help in finding their next role. Given the economic environment over the last few years this program is extremely valued by our members and has assisted many participants with finding their next job.
    The THRPA also disagrees with the form of measurement used by the HRPA to evaluate chapter engagement. The approach used to canvass and obtain feedback from a chapter with 80 members is very different than a chapter with 6,000 members.

    continued: part 3

  16. Part 3

    We wish to thank all of our members for the continued support we have received over the past couple of months. The emails and phone calls have been tremendous. We will continue to inform you of any developments. Please write to us at and go to our website for further updates at

    Toronto Chapter LEADERSHIP

    Carmine Domanico, President TPPA
    Yvonne Blaszczyk, FCHRP, Chair of Board
    Paula Benetello, CHRP, Treasurer
    Sussannah Kelly, CHRP, Chair, Senior Executive Forum
    Christina Lord, Secretary, Chair Sponsorship
    Cheryl Sproul, CHRP, Chair, Mentorship
    Terry Szwec, CHRP, Chair, ACT

  17. TPPA audited statements.

    The Chapter's net assets are now approximately $20,000. This is down from $365,000 at the end of FY07 - a drop of 94% in just 3 years. Our events lost almost $200K in FY10, almost double the loss from a year ago. In particular, revenue from events rose by $32,000 year-over-year, while expenses rose $117,000. Toronto’s overall deficit for FY10 is $180,000, compared to a deficit of $110,000 in FY09, and a deficit of $53,000 in FY08. Read the full financial statements

  18. Dear HR Facts - you have not understood and unfortunately you will never understand the financial investments, not losses, made for the benefit of members. Stop hiding behind an alias while you continue to distort the facts and fail to understand that the chapter exists to provide value to members.

  19. Say NO to BILL 138 at

  20. TOP 10 reasons to say NO to Bill 138