Mentoring and bridging programs most popular choices to integrate IEPs

Canadian HR Reporter
June 1, 2009
By Claude Balthazard

The issue of internationally educated professionals (IEPs) is one the HR profession still has to come to grips with. In 2006, the Ontario legislature passed the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act to ensure the registration practices of professional regulatory bodies did not impose unfair barriers to the registration of IEPs. Similar acts were passed in two other provinces Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Although these acts do not apply to the HR profession, the integration of IEPs into HR is an issue we need to address.

About one in three respondents to the Pulse Survey indicate they are IEPs. This is likely an over-representation of this segment. (The fact we don’t have a good handle on the number of IEPs in HR speaks volumes in and of itself.) This is not really a surprise as the topic of the survey would be of special interest to this segment. To correct for this over-sampling of IEPs, we looked at the responses of IEPs and non-IEPs separately.

It is not surprising to find IEPs and non-IEPs have different opinions. Indeed, 61.4 per cent of IEPs, but only 23.5 per cent of non-IEPs, think the HR profession should do a lot more to attract and integrate IEPs into the profession; 72 per cent of IEPs, but only 29.3 per cent of non-IEPs, think the attraction and integration of IEPs should be among the top priorities of our professional associations. As well, IEPs feel it is more important for professional HR associations to offer programs to attract and integrate IEPs into the HR profession than non-IEPs.

Interestingly, IEPs and non-IEPs are quite similar on most demographic variables tenure, size of company and seniority. On the other hand, IEPs are less likely to hold the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation than non-IEPs (37.2 per cent versus 49.8 per cent) but more likely to hold another HR designation (23.2 per cent versus 9.4 per cent).

Both IEPs and non-IEPs agree it is more difficult for IEPs to become full members of the HR community. And the relative ratings for the different kinds of programs HR associations should offer are similar for both groups. Bridging programs and mentoring programs are deemed most important, while the biggest difference is with respect to increased flexibility regarding certification requirements. IEPs feel flexibility is much more important than non-IEPS the difference in average ratings is almost a full rating unit (2.22 for IEPs versus 3.16 for non-IEPs).

Some non-IEPs say, during the current economic conditions, Canada should take care of its own HR professionals first, while others say the talents of qualified IEPs will surely be needed once the economy recovers.

As for increased flexibility in the certification process, some express concern such flexibility would make the designation “easier to get” for IEPs than for non-IEPs. On the other hand, many IEPs are frustrated their training from outside Canada was not given the credit it was due because of the inflexibility of some policies.

Finally, several people say this topic is simply not worth their time and is a make-work project.

Claude Balthazard is director of HR excellence and acting registrar of the Human Resources Professionals Association in Toronto. He can be reached at

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Reference: Canadian HR Reporter