Proposed Ontario Labour Mobility Act
The Ontario Labour Mobility Act, 2009 will be introduced in the Ontario Legislature today to strengthen support for full labour mobility for Canadian workers.
Amendments to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) endorsed by Canada's premiers in January 2009 commit all provinces and territories to improving labour mobility for certified workers in professions and trades.
If passed, the legislation would support Ontario's commitment to implement the labour mobility provisions of the AIT in Ontario. It would establish a Labour Mobility Code to govern how Ontario regulators will support full mobility for out-of-province workers who are already certified. Regulators include such organizations as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Professional Engineers Ontario and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority.
The proposed legislation would ensure that a worker certified to practice in one province or territory will be entitled to be certified in that occupation in Ontario without having to complete additional material training, experience, examinations or assessments.
The Act would recognize that Ontario regulators can set standards that are considered necessary to protect the public. At the same time, it would encourage regulators to work with their colleagues across Canada to achieve common standards, where possible.
Other key elements of the proposed legislation include:
• Allowing workers to apply for certification in Ontario without having to be a resident of Ontario.
• Allowing the responsible Minister to review a regulator's practices and take all necessary steps to ensure those practices comply with the Labour Mobility Code that is set out in the proposed Act.
• Enabling the Ontario government to impose fines on regulators who do not remove mobility barriers such as additional material testing and training, and to recover any fines imposed on Ontario by an AIT panel because a regulator did not work with the government to comply with the Code.
• Amending existing Ontario laws to conform with the Labour Mobility Code.
• Enabling the Ontario government to comply with the AIT's dispute resolution process.
If passed, the following provisions will take effect immediately upon the Act coming into force:
• The Act would override provisions in any other Act, regulation or bylaw that conflict with the Labour Mobility Code.
• The Act would apply to applications made on or after the day the Act comes into force or to any application where a final decision has not been made by that date.
• To make it easy for workers to get information, the Act would require regulators to publish on their websites all certification requirements for workers already certified in Canada.
Furthermore, if the Act is passed, regulators will need to amend any inconsistent regulations and bylaws within 12 months of the Act coming into force.