The government of Alberta has decided that this delay imposes too large a cost.
Introduced in the legislature on Oct. 25, Bill 49, the Labour Mobility Act, calls for regulatory authorities to take a maximum of 40 days to process the credentials of workers already certified elsewhere in Canada. The bill is expected to attract skilled workers by streamlining and standardizing these processes.
Back in 2019, Jason Kenney pledged to “Work with other provinces and territories to better harmonize provincial mobility for apprentices and skilled tradespeople.” This move is a step in that direction and is expected to draw nurses, doctors and other in-demand professionals to the province at a time when they are sorely needed.
Bill 49 addresses the barrier to interprovincial trade that arises with delayed processing and recognition of credentials earned in other provinces, and is part of a broader strategy to reduce barriers to trade within Canada. While there are no internal tariffs between provinces, over time, each province and territory has introduced laws and regulations that hobble the movement of goods and services across borders.
The Canadian Free Trade Agreement, signed in 2017, was intended to reduce and eliminate these barriers to the free movement of goods and services within Canada. However, in general, the progress of the signatories has been disappointing, with only Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario having since progressed in the spirit of the agreement and reduced the number of barriers they maintain.
Ontario recently announced proposed legislation to help attract skilled workers from abroad, which was surely welcome news to internationally trained professionals who face layers of occupational and regulatory requirements that act as barriers to beginning their careers in Canada. However, this will do little to address inter-provincial trade barriers, the elimination of which would be equivalent to an estimated 3.8 per cent increase in Canada’s GDP per capita.
Alberta is currently the only province that will legislate timelines for these regulatory decisions and reduce this administrative barrier to labour mobility. Considering that every thousand additional workers who move into Alberta in response to lower migration costs can grow the economy by $141 million, this move is an advantageous one.
Alberta has been a leader in eliminating barriers to interprovincial free trade in the context of the CFTA. Other provinces should follow Alberta’s lead in this matter. With the need for a post-COVID economic rebound, eliminating trade barriers is low-hanging fruit that every province should pick.
Krystle Wittevrongel is a Public Policy Analyst at the Montreal Economic Institute.
Submitted by the Montreal Economic Institute, an independent public policy think tank based in Montreal. MEI is a Troy Media Editorial Content Provider Partner.
Through its publications and media appearances, the MEI stimulates debate on public policies across Canada by proposing reforms based on market principles and entrepreneurship.
© Troy Media
Troy Media is an editorial content provider to media outlets and its own hosted community news outlets across Canada.