Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

May 15, 2009 10:30 ET

Government of Canada Supports Labour Mobility for Social Workers

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 15, 2009) - Stakeholders from across the country are set to develop a strategy to improve labour mobility for social workers thanks to support from the Government of Canada. The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Not only does labour mobility encourage international competitiveness, it is a fundamental right of citizenship," said Minister Day. "Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our government continues to support the removal of barriers to labour mobility for all Canadians."

The British Columbia College of Social Workers will receive $41,895 from the Government of Canada to bring together regulators from all provinces and territories at its Social Workers Labour Mobility Meeting. During the meeting, participants will discuss inter-provincial mobility and the effective pan-Canadian implementation of Chapter 7 (Labour Mobility) of the Agreement on Internal Trade.

"In today's economic conditions, encouraging qualification and certification recognition across Canada is more important than ever," said Minister Day. It benefits workers and employers alike; offering workers a wider range of opportunities and employers a broader selection of candidates."

Labour mobility refers to the freedom of workers to practice their occupation or trade wherever opportunities exist. Each year, approximately 200,000 Canadians relocate to a different province or territory and look for work.

Barriers to labour mobility exist when a certified worker in one province or territory has to be re-certified in another province or territory, which leads to extra costs and delays. Given the current economic conditions, the new labour mobility commitments aim to allow Canadians to work anywhere in the country without having to undergo re-certification.

While the main focus of this project is to help Canadian-trained social workers, full labour mobility will also apply to internationally trained workers who are certified to work in Canada.

The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories and regulatory authorities to eliminate internal trade barriers and enhance labour mobility in Canada, in an effort to improve employment opportunities as well as give employers access to a larger and richer pool of human resources.


The Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), which was signed by all provinces and territories and the Government of Canada, came into effect in 1995 with a goal of facilitating the movement of people, investments and services across Canada. In December 2008, changes to Chapter 7, which addresses interprovincial labour mobility, were announced.

These amendments ensure that any worker who is certified for a regulated occupation in one province or territory can be certified in any other province or territory. The new Chapter 7 will come into force once approved by all provinces and territories. In order to facilitate this goal, the federal, provincial and territorial governments are working with regulatory authorities across Canada.

The British Columbia College of Social Workers project will allow regulatory authorities that govern social workers to build and agree on strategies and next steps to enhance the mobilitiy of social workers, consistent with Chapter 7 of the AIT.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

- gain clarity on requirements of new provisions under Chapter 7 of the AIT regarding outstanding issues such as assessment and recognition of grand-parented practitioners;

- build consensus on a process to develop competency requirements that reflect skills acquired through both two-year college programs and university bachelor degree programs;

- explore if current examination processes are valid for competency assessment and a useful requirement for registration; and

- lay the groundwork for future discussions on a framework for the recognition of international social work credentials.

For more information on labour mobility, visit the following Web site:

This news release is available in alternative formats on request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    National Media Relations Office