Professional or Skilled Tradesperson

What is labour mobility under the NWPTA?

Labour mobility is the movement of workers between jurisdictions without requirements for additional examinations or training to practice their occupation.

What are the benefits of labour mobility?

Labour mobility provides choice and opportunity for workers and employers. When workers are required to undergo additional training or examinations to practice an occupation that they are already certified to practice in another NWPTA province, the worker, their families and employers who are trying to staff positions suffer from the uncertainty, additional costs and time that it takes to re-certify.

How does the NWPTA improve labour mobility between British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba?
The NWPTA obligates the NWPTA provinces to remove barriers to the free movement of workers between the provinces. The NWPTA also requires the regulatory authorities in the NWPTA provinces to certify workers that are already certified in another NWPTA province without requiring material additional training or examinations.

What workers are covered by labour mobility under the NWPTA?

Any worker certified for an occupation by a regulatory authority is covered by the provisions of the Agreement.   If you are unsure how labour mobility applies to your occupation, please contact the organization that issues your license or certification.

What if an occupation is not regulated in one of the provinces?

If an occupation is only regulated in one or two provinces, then (1) a certified worker moving to the province where the occupation is unregulated cannot expect to be certified; and (2) an uncertified worker must obtain certification prior to working in a province that requires certification.

Are the NWPTA provinces allowed to continue regulating occupations as they see fit?

A fundamental part of labour mobility is the obligation of the Governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and their regulatory bodies, to review and reconcile the different approaches to regulating occupations. However, each province retains the right to set its own standards under the NWPTA for legitimate objectives, such as to ensure the protection of the public, consumers and the environment.

What impact does the NWPTA have on public health and safety?

The provinces acknowledge that a primary role of regulatory bodies is to ensure public safety, consumer protection and other legitimate objectives. The NWPTA labour mobility requirements are not intended to undermine this fundamental mandate of regulatory bodies. Each province may continue to set occupational standards as they see fit and as are supported by their governments.

What about differences in labour standards, minimum wage laws, and so on?
Labour standards and codes, minimum wage laws, employment insurance and workers’ compensation are currently exempt from the NWTPA.

Will additional occupational requirements still be allowed?

The standards for regulated occupations in the NWPTA provinces are generally very similar. Where they are not, a province can impose a material additional measure (such as an exam or course) provided that the province can demonstrate that the measure is for a "legitimate objective," such as preventing a risk to the public, to the consumer, or the environment. Additional requirements are also permitted where they are not material.

What registration requirements are allowed?

Under the NWTPA, registration requirements are permitted so long as they are not material or discriminatory. Certified workers may be asked to complete registration requirements, such as:

  • An application or registration form;
  • Paying a fee, such as a licensing or registration fee;
  • Providing evidence of good character and good standing from their home province; or
  • A non-material jurisprudence course or exam related to the laws and rules governing the occupation in the receiving jurisdiction.

What does non-discriminatory mean?

Non-discriminatory means that any additional registration requirements shall be no less favourable than the best treatment the regulatory authority accords, in like circumstances, to its own workers.

Don't the changes make it easier for skilled professionals to leave the province?

Labour mobility exists to facilitate the free movement of workers across jurisdictions, but the final choice is always up to the individual worker. The ability to work in any province in Canada is seen by many as an aspect of citizenship that should be available to all workers. While it may become easier for workers to move out of a province, it will also be easier for a province to attract new workers and for all workers to have greater access to opportunities.

What impact will labour mobility have on maintaining standards?

Regulatory bodies for almost all professions have reported that occupational standards in the NWPTA provinces were very consistent before the NWPTA. In most cases, there will be no changes to current practices other than ease of obtaining certification.

How are these changes expected to benefit employers and increase employment opportunities for professionals and skilled tradespersons?

While these changes will guarantee mobility in terms of recognition of certification and provide greater opportunities and choice for workers and employers, they do not guarantee anyone a job. People who want to move to another province will need to compete for jobs.

Will skilled workers and professionals moving from province to province incur any new costs, or see any fees eliminated as a result of this Agreement?

Processes should be faster with an associated reduction in costs related to reassessment, and greater certainty and reduced wait time for certification prior to employment.  However, skilled workers and professionals still have to pay any registration or membership fees that are levied by the regulatory body of the receiving jurisdiction.

Which trades certificates will be recognized by the NWPTA?

All valid certificates in a trade or occupation issued by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be recognized under the NWPTA. This includes certificates in Red Seal trades that do not have a Red Seal endorsement.

How does the NWPTA affect the Red Seal Program?

The Red Seal endorsement is a recognized standard in jurisdictions across Canada, one which employers look for. It will continue to be recognized. The NWPTA provinces will continue to support the Red Seal Program.

How does the NWPTA affect people who have Red Seal endorsements?

The NWPTA does not change any of the benefits that people who have a Red Seal endorsement have acquired. Rather, the changes facilitate movement between provinces of workers who are certified in trades and occupations that are not covered by the Red Seal Program.

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