Legal Words

With legislation changing constantly, how can HR professionals keep up?

By Karen Stone, CHRE

The past decade of employment law has seen more change than ever before. In Ontario, our commitment to strong human rights legislation is commendable – and it takes a lot of research, knowledge and fast-paced legal advancement to keep up with emerging areas of the law. 

Issues such as family status accommodation, medical marijuana in the workplace, gender and identity rights, emerging definitions of disability, psychological safety in the workplace and changing employment standards legislation are only a few of the fast-changing areas of the law. 

With all of this evolution of law, it can be challenging for employers and HR professionals to keep abreast to ensure compliance is achieved. The challenge is even more complex when we have multiple legislative changes occurring at the same time, or when the changes have different effective dates and different requirements, depending on the size or classification of the employer (we’re looking at you, AODA).

These changes can appear overwhelming. It’s enough to make anyone take a few deep breaths into a paper bag. 

However, as always, we here at the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and HR Professional are doing our utmost to help you navigate those changes. For our October Employment Law issue, both of our main features discuss the critical information you need to stay compliant with the changing legal landscape. We’re also proud to be hosting our annual HR Law Conference at the St. Andrew’s Club and Conference Centre this month, with a standout roster of the biggest names in employment and labour lawyers. 

At HRPA, we’re very proud of the leading-edge employment law knowledge that our members possess. Each of our three HR designations has an employment law component, so organizations can rest assured they are hiring a designated HR professional who has thorough knowledge of legal compliance – and with our continuing professional development (CPD) requirement, that knowledge is always being updated and refreshed. 

While it will always require hard work and commitment to keep on top of complex legal changes, the dedication we’ve shown toward this endeavour is testament to the professionalism of HR. We have become a trusted business partner when it comes to safeguarding our organizations from legal risk – and that is certainly something to be proud of.  n

Karen Stone, CHRE, is chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association.