News Releases

Panel releases report on trade dispute of a Crane Operator from Quebec and Ontario

Winnipeg – April 23, 2021 - A Panel has ruled on a dispute under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) between a private person from Quebec and Ontario regarding labour mobility for Tower Crane Operators.

The Complainant holds a crane operator (“Grutier”) certificate issued by the provincial regulator for the crane operator trade in Québec and is entitled to operate not only mobile, but tower cranes, in Québec. He has received permissions from other provincial regulators to operate tower cranes in their jurisdictions. However, he was informed that he was not entitled to operate tower cranes in Ontario by the provincial regulators there. The Complainant stated Ontario’s refusal to permit him to pursue his occupation there is contrary to Ontario’s obligations under the AIT.

The Panel was comprised of: Denise Ann LeBlanc (Chair), Phyllis Smith, and J. Christopher Thomas. The Panel held a hearing on January 9, 2012, and issued its Report to the Parties on February 23, 2012.
In its findings, the Panel concluded that:

  • The Québec occupation of crane operator (“Grutier”) matches the Ontario occupation of Hoisting Engineer, Branch 3 (Tower Crane Operator).
  • Ontario’s measures that restrict access to the practice of the occupation of Hoisting Engineer, Branch 3 (Tower Crane Operator) by the Complainant, a person recognized in Québec (and other jurisdictions) as qualified to operate tower cranes, have impaired internal trade and have caused injury to the Complainant.

Accordingly, the Panel has recommended that:

  • The Panel awards costs to the Complainant in the amount of $1,500.00 to be paid by the Respondent.

The AIT is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by Canadian First Ministers in 1994. Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada so as to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market. Since 1994 First Ministers have continued to strengthen the AIT especially on labour mobility issues.

Access to the dispute resolution mechanisms of the AIT is open to governments, individuals and businesses. For more information on the AIT and its dispute resolution procedures contact:

Anna Maria Magnifico, Executive Director, Internal Trade Secretariat
T: 204 - 987-8094
or email:

Biographical Notes – Panel Members

Denise Ann LeBlanc is a lawyer practicing in the areas of asset recovery and insolvency, corporate and business transactions, including shareholder agreements, and real property and land use planning. She works with major developers in the acquisition, subdivision and development of multi-phased residential and commercial projects, with institutional lenders in major secured project transactions. Ms. LeBlanc was also an arbitrator/adjudicator in the New Brunswick Small Claims Court during its existence. She is a Supplementary Member of the New Brunswick Securities Commission and is an accredited adjudicator with the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators. She is a past president of CBA New Brunswick and sits on a number of committees of the Law Society of New Brunswick.

Phyllis Smith, Q.C., is a partner of the law firm Emery Jamieson LLP and practices in a number of areas including energy and utility regulatory matters, arbitrations (primarily but not exclusively collective agreement arbitrations) and civil litigation. She is a member of the Arbitration and Mediation Society of Alberta and the Grievance Roster of Alberta Mediation Services. She is a past president of the Law Society of Alberta and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and is the past Chair of the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association.

J. Christopher Thomas Q.C. is a lawyer and arbitrator in Vancouver whose practice is focused on international trade and commercial law with an emphasis on dispute settlement. He has held the position of Assistant Professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Ottawa and Assistant Professor and subsequently Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia. He acted as a Senior Policy Advisor to the federal Ministry of International Trade during the Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations and the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. He has published extensively on topics related to the FTA, NAFTA, the GATT/WTO, and international investment law