The Governments of British Columbia and Alberta have signed an agreement to establish a single market. The British Columbia-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement is intended to facilitate and promote the growth of trade and commerce, including labour mobility between the two provinces. With respect to labour mobility, the agreement contains a process for reconciling occupational standards so that skilled workers in a number of regulated occupations (e.g., nurses, architects, engineers) will have their qualifications recognized in both provinces.
Once fully implemented, the agreement will cover all government measures affecting trade, investment, and labour mobility in all sectors of the B.C. and Alberta economies. However, there are some exceptions to the application of the agreement. It does not apply to provincial measures relating to first nations peoples, water, and taxation. Health and social policy, including labour standards or codes, minimum wages, employment insurance, and workers’ compensation are also excluded.
The B.C. and Alberta governments expect the agreement to assist businesses in both provinces by allowing goods, services and labour to flow freely across the provincial border. Both governments anticipate this reduction in barriers will expand trade, create jobs, and support the development of the two provinces. Businesses will need to register only once for both provinces and investment rules will be the same in each province.
The “Agreement on Internal Trade” reached in 1994 will continue to apply to trade between B.C. and provinces other than Alberta.