The Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CPHR) designation, formally known as the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), is a widely recognized credential within the field of human resources (HR) in Canada.

Accepted by nine provinces and three territories, the CPHR designation is a standard of quality for HR professionals. Having this designation communicates to others that you possess the experiences and expertise necessary to lead organizations through the different challenges of the present-day workforce. CPHRs focus on continuous professional development (constantly advancing their skills, abilities, and knowledge), and are able to utilize the most up-to-date HR tools and practices in any given workplace.

In order to obtain the CPHR designation, individuals must meet the minimum requirements for education, knowledge of HR competencies, professional conduct, and work experience. They must also become a member of their provincial HR association. There are seven different pathways to CPHR designation. Most require candidates to have several years of professional work experience, and include an educational component, either though a university program or by the National Knowledge Exam (NKE). Individuals can also be exempt from writing an NKE if they have an accredited diploma or degree in human resources.

The CPHR pathways are designed to ensure that HR professionals show competency in nine key human resources areas:

  • Strategy
  • Professional practice
  • Engagement
  • Total rewards
  • Labour and employment relations
  • Health, wellness, and safe workplace
  • Learning and development
  • Workforce planning and talent management
  • Human resources metrics, reporting, and financial management
What is the CPHR Canada?

The CPHR Canada began as the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA). CCHRA changed their name in October 2016, unifying HR professionals under one professional body and one professional designation recognized across Canada (apart from the province of Ontario).

According to Amr Shokry, a professor in Ashton College’s Human Resource Management Diploma program, this was a positive change in the HR field. “In the past, there was only one way to get the professional designation: to pass an exam and then to gain three years of experience in a Canadian company. Now, there are many different ways, including a combination of education, work experience, among other things.  I believe that it provides more options for HR professionals, which is reflective of our diverse demographics in Canada.”

CPHR Canada currently represents 27,000 members. They are, according to their website, “the national voice on the enhancement and promotion of the HR Profession.”

Ontario’s HR designation

In 2014, Ontario’s HR association, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), chose to leave CCHRA, although the reasons are not entirely clear why. That same year, the HRPA introduced a tiered certification framework with three new designations:

  • Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP): entry level
  • Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL): professional level
  • Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE): executive level

These levels are designed to operate as a ladder from one designation to the next, however you may enter at any level.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. According to Shokry, there is quite a bit of confusion between Ontario’s system and the CPHR.

“It’s unfortunate that the country is split into two systems at the same time, and I’m hoping that in the near future both organizations will find a compromise and fully unify the designation.”

In the meantime, however, Shokry the CPHR designation can be advantageous to anyone interested in pursuing a career in HR, as it covers almost all Canadian provinces and territories.


About Ashton College

Founded in 1998, Ashton College has become a national and international force in the field of higher education. Ashton’s Diploma in Human Resources Management ensures a fast pathway to CPHR designation.


See also:

6 online resources to help boost your career


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