Questrade is an online discount brokerage, and I'm the senior manager of talent management services, which basically constitutes human resources. I ensure employment standards are met, support recruitment and benefits policies and procedures and deal with more urgent day-to-day matters that come up in employee relations.
I went to the University of Waterloo and received a double degree in business and communications, specializing in human resources. I then did a post-graduate degree in HR at George Brown College. Most recently, I completed a continuing education course in human rights compliance through York University. I'd say 30 to 40 per cent of my job deals with human rights and diversity issues. I'm a certified human resources professional, and every three years I'm required to do 100 hours of learning as part of my certification.
We're a company of 350 and continue to grow, so recruitment and equity are huge parts of what we do. We have to be aware of how we're training managers and line staff to ensure that they're not breaching human rights standards.
The course gave me tools to further educate the HR team, such as fact sheets and tips on key things to look for in recruitment. I reorganized and branded that material for Questrade managers. With the help of this course, I updated our policies and procedures.
One of the best parts of the course was the dialogue. It allowed you to network with others who are in the profession but not necessarily in the same industry. You were able to get a broad picture of other areas - policing, public sector and unionized environments - from a human rights perspective. It was good to hear those views, to sit with people in similar roles and have discussions. It helped me feel confident about the guidance I provide.
There are a lot of challenges in terms of getting buy-in from all levels of the company to be cognizant of important issues that come up from a human rights or employment standards perspective. It's much easier for me to digest the information in a classroom setting as opposed to reading the Human Rights Code or doing a webinar.
Understanding finance and the markets can be intimidating, but an HR person is able to know what everyone does. You get exposure to all levels, whereas in other fields you would be stuck in one realm. That's really beneficial and interesting, as opposed to the tunnel vision of working in one department.