MASH Sector

What effect will this agreement have upon other levels of government within Alberta and BC?

The agreement applied to local governments as of April 1, 2009. Prior to the implementation date, Alberta and BC conducted consultations and negotiations with municipalities, academic institutions, health authorities, school boards (MASH Sector) and Crown Corporations under this agreement to determine what level of TILMA coverage was most appropriate.

In July 2008, BC and Alberta, after a number of consultations with the MASH sector, agreed to extend the TILMA to cover the MASH sector. As of April 1, 2009, TILMA was amended to include the MASH-sector provisions.

Find out more information about procurement thresholds for government and other public entities.

Will governments still be able to control business operating conditions-things like municipal licensing and taxation, land use regulations, health and safety requirements?

Yes. TILMA does not restrict the ability of local and provincial governments in those areas. It does require governments to make sure their measures are non-discriminatory, and do not impose any more restrictions on trade, investment and labour mobility than absolutely necessary.

What roles do the Governments of Alberta and British Columbia play as opposed to municipalities, academic institutions, school boards and the health sector (the MASH sector) in regard to the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA)?

The Governments of Alberta and British Columbia are the Parties to the TILMA and are bound by its provisions. As such, they have a duty to ensure compliance with all of its provisions, including those regarding labour mobility and procurement.

MASH sector entities are not a party to the TILMA. However, under TILMA, the Governments of Alberta and British are obligated to ensure that MASH sector entities are compliant.

What entities are covered by the term MASH sector?

MASH sector refers to: regional, local, district or other forms of municipal government, school boards, publicly-funded academic, health and social service entities, as well as any corporation or entity owned or controlled by one or more of the preceding entities.

What is the deadline for the MASH sector to comply with TILMA?

As of April 1, 2009, all MASH sector entities must be compliant with TILMA.

What if a MASH entity is unable to comply with TILMA because the governing legislation, regulations or bylaws don't allow them to?

The Governments of Alberta and British Columbia are required to comply with TILMA and will make whatever changes are necessary to legislation to achieve compliance. For example, the Governments of Alberta and British Columbia will request that municipal governments take necessary action to remove bylaws or other internal policies that might result in barriers.

What are the key elements of TILMA for the MASH sector?

Key points for the MASH sector provisions are as follows:

Procurement Thresholds

MASH sector procurement thresholds under TILMA have been set at:

  • $75,000 for goods;
  • $75,000 for services; and
  • $200,000 for construction.

These thresholds were adopted from a joint proposal made by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). They have been designed to minimize the administrative burden for MASH sector entities in relation to procurement.

In addition, MASH sector entities will not be required to alter long-standing procurement contracts entered into before TILMA was executed. MASH sector entities may also continue to procure using standing offers made available by their provincial government that enable them to order goods directly from suppliers at prescribed prices over a specific period of time.

Business Licensing

TILMA encourages municipalities to consider mutually recognizing or otherwise reconciling their business registration and reporting requirements.

TILMA does not prevent municipalities from requiring licenses for mobile, permanent, or different classes of businesses, or to charge different fees for those different types of licenses. This interpretation permits municipalities to maintain policies that allow them to collect higher fees for persons or businesses that do not reside or maintain a place of business in the municipality.

Land Use Bylaws

Municipal land-use measures (such as zoning) are exempted from TILMA, provided that the exercise of the measure does not constitute preferential treatment of local workers, investments, goods, businesses, or services over those of the other province.

Further Amendments

The Governments of Alberta and British Columbia have agreed to re-engage in consultations with the province's MASH sector if any further TILMA amendments are being considered that could affect their interests.

What kind of consultations were there on TILMA?

After TILMA came into force on April 1, 2007, there was a two-year transitional period where the agreement did not apply to the MASH sector. This transition period allowed the Governments of Alberta and British Columbia to work with these stakeholders to determine how TILMA would apply to them before full implementation of the agreement on April 1, 2009.

In Alberta, the Government of Alberta conducted a series of workshops with more than 200 elected and administrative officials from the MASH sector to discuss the impact of TILMA on their operations. The province also consulted with MASH- sector associations such as the AUMA and AAMDC. In July 2008, the presidents of both the AUMA and AAMDC made statements reflecting their satisfaction with the TILMA MASH sector agreement.

In British Columbia, consultations with MASH-stakeholder organizations were held across the province beginning in May 2007 and were attended by elected officials, administrators, and staff of municipalities and municipal organizations, college and university authorities, the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA), and hospital administrators. Consultations continued throughout the transitional period which ended on April 1, 2009.

What impact will TILMA have on MASH sector procurement processes?

Under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), the MASH sector has, since 1999, been required to provide open and non discriminatory access to their procurements to all provinces and territories where the value of those tenders meets or exceeds specified thresholds.

Under TILMA, MASH sector entities will be required to provide open access to their procurements when the value of those procurements meets or exceeds $75,000 for goods and services, and $200,000 for construction.

According to TILMA, what does procurement cover?

Procurement refers to the purchase, rental, lease, or conditional sale of goods, services or construction. It does not include government assistance such as grants, loans, equity infusion, guarantees or fiscal incentives, or government provision of goods and services to persons or other government organizations.

Who can I contact if I have more questions on procurement?

The Government of Alberta's Trade Development Office is responsible for the ongoing administration and implementation of the procurement provisions of TILMA for the province. The office also provides consultative and advisory services about the procurement provisions of the agreements to Alberta government ministries and the MASH sector entities.

For more information, please call (780) 427-4111 or send an e-mail to the Acting Manager, Trade Development at

In British Columbia, the Procurement Governance Office is responsible for the ongoing administration and implementation of the procurement provisions of TILMA, and the office also provides consultative and advisory services about the procurement provisions of the agreements to British Columbia government ministries, Crown corporations, and the MASH sector entities.

For more information, please call (250) 387-2338 or send an e-mail to the Senior Procurement Governance Analyst at

What do the TILMA provisions on labour mobility mean to MASH sector entities?

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

Under TILMA, Alberta and British Columbia agreed to reconcile or mutually recognize occupational standards for those occupations regulated in both provinces where the scope of practice was similar. As of April 1, 2009, more than 100 occupations have full labour mobility between Alberta and BC. For this reason, pprofessionals and skilled tradespersons certified in one province are recognized as qualified in both. The benefit of TILMA is that workers do not need to go through material examinations or training to practice their chosen occupation.

The recognition of certificates from the other province means that MASH sector entities have far more options when hiring for occupations where workers are required to be certified by a regulatory authority. For example, Alberta municipalities hiring a certified welder will now be able to consider candidates who obtained their certification in British Columbia and vice versa.

What must MASH sector entities do to comply with the labour mobility provisions of TILMA as an employer?

MASH sector entities must ensure that their hiring practices and policies do not discriminate or contain restrictions to labour mobility for workers from the other province. Under TILMA, MASH sector entities are required to eliminate any preferential hiring practices they may have had in place that provided advantages to local candidates over ones from the other province.

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