Questions and Answers regarding Chapter 7 (Labour Mobility) of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Q1: What does Chapter 7 do?
A1 The purpose of Chapter 7 is to ensure that any worker certified, licensed, registered or officially recognized in one province or territory, upon application, will be certified, licensed, registered or officially recognized for that same occupation by any other province or territory without the worker being required to undertake any material additional requirements, such as education, training, examination, or assessments.
Prior to the implementation of the Chapter, workers in regulated occupations may have experienced barriers, such as requirements to take additional training or examinations, when applying for certification to work in other provinces and territories within Canada.
Q2: Why is labour mobility important?
A2 Labour mobility, as a key element of labour market efficiency, contributes to sustaining economic growth, innovation, productivity and Canada’s competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy.
Regulated workers already active within the labour force are able to find job opportunities more readily throughout Canada. Further, immigrants to Canada, who are quickly becoming a critical source of skilled labour, are more easily integrated into the workforce. Ultimately, employers can attract and quickly hire workers in regulated occupations where there are regional and industry-specific skills shortages. While helping to address current labour market challenges, this flexibility also becomes particularly important in the case of regional or national emergencies, such as a pandemic or natural disaster.
Canadian workers benefit from greater standardization at the regulatory level that a more consistent approach to assessment and certification brings. Through on-going dialogue and the sharing of best practices, regulated occupations will encounter fewer obstacles to full labour mobility and will have access to tools and information that will facilitate national coordination and consistency across jurisdictions.
Ensuring full labour mobility within Canada is also particularly important as Canada and individual provinces and territories enter into labour mobility agreements with other countries.
Q3: Who is covered?
A3: Approximately 15 percent of workers in Canada are employed in occupations where a license or certificate is available or required. To find out if your occupation is regulated and subject to the obligations of Chapter 7, please contact the labour mobility coordinator in your jurisdiction.
Q4: How will I know if my qualifications are recognized in another province or territory?
A4: Most regulated occupations fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Therefore, a certified worker should contact the regulatory authority of the province or territory in which they wish to be recognized. Standards for regulated occupations in Canada generally have a high degree of commonality. However, some provinces and territories may have government approved exceptions which will involve additional requirements. These exceptions are publicly posted on this website.
Q5: How will this national agreement affect a certified tradesperson?
A5: A large portion of Canada’s skilled trades workers are certified through a province or territory and hold an interprovincial standards Red Seal endorsement which is based on nationally accepted industry standards. This standard supports skilled trades workers, enabling them to practice their trades wherever there is demand for their skills. Under the amended Chapter 7, provinces and territories are obligated to recognize trade certificates of qualification with or without a Red Seal endorsement.
Provinces and territories are obliged to recognize each other’s certificates not bearing a Red Seal. However, where a non-Red Seal endorsed certification is determined to not cover equivalent scope, a province or territory may declare an “exception” to labour mobility and require additional training or examination before a tradesperson can work in the jurisdiction. Workers holding a certificate not bearing a Red Seal should contact the regulatory authority in the province or territory where they seek to work to determine whether additional requirements exist.
Q6: What kinds of additional requirements can a regulator impose on a worker coming from another province or territory?
A6: Regulators may impose both material and non-material additional requirements on a worker coming from another province or territory.
Based on information provided by regulatory bodies, each province and territory will assess and determine what additional measures it deems as material. This may be determined on a case-by-case basis for each occupation which it regulates.
Chapter 7 permits a regulatory authority to impose non- material additional requirements on a worker. Examples of non-material additional requirements include: paying application fees, obtaining insurance as may be appropriate, posting bonds, providing evidence of good character and offering evidence that his or her certification from another jurisdiction is in good standing. Workers may be required to demonstrate language proficiency if this has not been previously assessed and to demonstrate knowledge of the measures maintained by the destination province or territory applicable to the practice of the occupation.
Chapter 7 permits a regulatory authority to impose a material additional requirement ONLY when the justification for the requirement has been reviewed and approved by the government maintaining it. Material requirements may include additional exams, training, assessments and declarations. Factors which determine if a requirement is material, include: the requirement itself, its cost, options on ways to complete the requirement, delay in the ability and time required to complete the requirement and whether a temporary or conditional certificate is granted while the applicant completes the requirement.
Additional material requirements may be imposed on a worker if a government has approved an “exception” to labour mobility, due to a clear and significant difference in academic credentials, education, training, experience and examination of assessment methods. In such cases, provinces and territories must demonstrate that the difference being addressed by the material measure results in a significant deficiency in skill, area of knowledge or ability (see also Answer 9).
Q7: What impact will the amendments have on maintaining high standards?
A7: Each province and territory has the right to set and maintain its own standards. Regulatory authorities for most occupations have reported that occupational standards across Canada are already very consistent. Chapter 7 calls on governments to collaborate with regulatory authorities and adopt, to the extent possible and where practical, common interprovincial occupational standards as a way to achieve labour mobility objectives. If necessary, provinces and territories also maintain the authority to approve an exception to labour mobility where additional education, training, experience, or an examination is justified to achieve a legitimate objective.
This being said, the purpose of the amendments to Chapter 7 is to eliminate or reduce measures adopted or maintained by jurisdictions that restrict or impair labour mobility in Canada. Governments are committed to on-going dialogue and sharing of best practices that will mitigate obstacles to labour mobility while ensuring recognition of and adherence to high standards across the country.
Q8 Why would a government have an “exception”?
A8: A province or territory may choose to approve an exception when there is a significant variation in certification requirements with other provinces or territories.
A province or territory has to clearly demonstrate that the additional certification requirement is necessary to achieve a legitimate objective, and to close the gap on a significant deficiency in skill, knowledge or ability of the worker.
Q9 How does a government set an “exception”?
A9: The province or territory will have to identify the legitimate objective, the additional requirement, the jurisdictions to which it applies and the rationale for it. Once the exceptions are approved by a Government, the province or territory will inform the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, and the exceptions will be publicly posted on this website.
An exception may be approved to achieve a legitimate objective in the area of: public security and safety; public order; protection of human, animal or plant life or health; protection of the environment; consumer protection; protection of the health, safety and well-being of workers; provision of adequate social and health services to all its geographic regions; and programs for disadvantaged groups.
Q10 How are governments ensuring that the protection of public health and safety will be upheld?
A10: Governments fully acknowledge that the primary role of regulatory authorities is to ensure public health and safety. If necessary to ensure the public health and safety, a Government can approve “exceptions” to labour mobility, where it is demonstrated that a significant difference in standards poses a risk to public health and safety. A Government can therefore impose additional requirements on incoming practitioners already licensed elsewhere in Canada in the same occupation. Exceptions will be publicly posted on this website.