Industry Canada

Industry Canada

June 07, 2007 12:21 ET

Canada's New Government Commits to Full Labour Mobility

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - June 7, 2007) - The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, proposed today that the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) be strengthened to ensure that Canadians enjoy the benefits of full labour mobility by April 1, 2009. The Minister made this proposal to his provincial and territorial counterparts at today's meeting of the Committee on Internal Trade held in St. John's.

"Canadians should be free to work and to have their occupational qualifications recognized across the country," said Minister Bernier. "This should be a right of citizenship."

This proposal is delivering on commitments made by the Government of Canada in its long-term economic plan Advantage Canada and in Budget 2007.

"Once again, our government is moving forward to get things done for Canadians. We want to take action to foster a stronger economic union by working with provinces and territories to eliminate barriers to labour mobility within Canada," said Minister Bernier. "With leadership, political will and flexibility, we can eliminate barriers to the movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada."

Minister Bernier led the discussion on labour mobility and proposed that the AIT be amended to include mutual recognition of occupational qualifications by default and that a more effective dispute resolution mechanism be incorporated into the AIT. These provisions would be similar to those in the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) signed by British Columbia and Alberta in April 2006. TILMA provides for mutual recognition by default if parties cannot reconcile measures. It also has a strong dispute resolution process, with monetary penalties for non-compliance.

"Under TILMA, B.C. and Alberta have recognized that full labour mobility means workers enjoy the recognition of their credentials across provincial and territorial borders," said Colin Hansen, B.C.'s Minister of Economic Development. "It is encouraging to see the Government of Canada commit to full cooperation in order to make this vision a reality for all workers."

"Alberta and B.C. both believe that full labour mobility would benefit all provinces in Canada," said Guy Boutilier, Alberta's Minister of International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations. "In our joint cabinet meetings, Premiers Stelmach and Campbell worked to remove barriers to labour mobility, and the TILMA is a model for Canada. The Atlantic Premiers' recent visit to Alberta shows how important interprovincial trade and labour mobility are. Addressing these issues nationally will improve our economic efficiency and make our country even more competitive."

Provinces and territories agreed to look at the Minister of Industry's proposal and recommend that the Chair of the Committee on Internal Trade consult with the Forum of Labour Market Ministers on the matter.

The establishment of the AIT in 1995 was a first step in removing existing barriers, preventing new ones and harmonizing interprovincial standards. A dozen years later, hurdles to interprovincial labour mobility and commerce still exist.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of Industry
    Isabelle Fontaine
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations