Premiers agree to national labour mobility

Workers certified in one province will be recognized across the country by 2009

The rest of Canada is following British Columbia and Alberta's lead to create true national labour mobility with the aim of allowing Canadians certified in one province to work anywhere in the country.

At the Council of Federation meeting in Quebec City, the premiers agreed to amend the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) as of Jan. 1, 2009 to allow any worker certified for an occupation in one province or territory to be recognized as qualified in that occupation in all other provinces and territories.

By the next council meeting in August 2009, there will be a full agreement by the provincial governments to accept credentials from other provinces, said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer.

"We believe working people and their families want to have a situation where they do not have to go through 13 separate accreditation processes but rather one accreditation process," Doer told a news conference outside the council meeting.

"We believe that a teacher is a teacher, a nurse is a nurse, a welder is a welder and we believe that will be accomplished with the accreditation acceptance of each of our jurisdictions."

Alberta and B.C., frustrated by delays with the national AIT originally signed in 1994, signed a bilateral provincial trade agreement of their own in 2006. The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA), which recognized or harmonized more than 60 professional and trade standards between the two provinces, came into effect in 2007.

As for the amendments to AIT, the premiers stated any objections to full labour-market mobility will have to be clearly identified and deemed necessary to meet a legitimate objective, such as the protection of public health or safety.

ā€œUnder the new amendments, individuals will be able to take full advantage of their talents and education by having the freedom to seek the best opportunities for themselves and their families where they exist,ā€ said B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell.

Provincial labour ministers will meet in the fall to ensure they meet the targeted date.

Latest stories