In the past several months there have been numerous conversations and questions around the 2008 Security Services and Investigators Act and how that Act might apply to HR professionals. HR Consultants who carry out Workplace Investigations for organizations have been especially concerned because the legislation is somewhat unclear about who may or may not require an investigator’s licence.
CPHR Alberta reached out to the Solicitor General's Office for clarification where it was noted that yes, the Act did apply to HR Consultants who were hired by an organization with the sole purpose of completing a workplace investigation. This fact led CPHR Alberta to notify our consultants specifically about this requirement. Our members were understandably surprised upon receiving the notice.
With the feedback and questions received from our membership, CPHR Alberta decided to look deeper and sought a legal opinion. We have now seen two legal opinions that note the following:
There is no legal precedence around this Act and how it applies to HR consultants. There are also no instances where an HR professional has been implicated in contravention of the Act.
Section 10(m) of the Security Services Act - an exemption from the requirement to be licensed under the Act – is deemed to apply to HR professionals in contract positions.
Section 10(m) of the Security Services and Investigators Act (Act) states:
10 The following persons and classes of persons are exempt from the requirement to be licensed under this Act and the regulations:
(m) an employer and a person who is employed or engaged to perform security or investigative work solely with respect to employees or contractors of the employer, while acting within the scope of that employment or engagement;
The legal opinions advised that the word “engagement” would cover HR Consultants hired by organizations and therefore, it was deemed that this exemption applies to those HR Consultants.
If, however, you are an HR Consultant who is concerned due to the extent and scope of your investigations, your work may not fall under this exemption and therefore, we recommend that you reach out directly to the office of the Solicitor General and request a formal letter of exemption.