Professional or Skilled Tradesperson

What is labour mobility under TILMA?

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, 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 TILMA improve labour mobility between BC and Alberta?

TILMA obligates the Alberta and British Columbia governments to remove barriers to the free movement of workers between the provinces. TILMA also requires Alberta and BC regulatory authorities to recognize each others' certified workers as qualified without requiring material additional training or examinations.

What workers are covered by labour mobility under the TILMA?

To be covered by TILMA labour mobility workers must be:

  1. In an occupation that is a regulated occupation in both Alberta and BC; and
  2. Currently certified, licensed or registered in that occupation by either a BC or Alberta regulatory authority.

Therefore, a regulated occupation is one where there exists legislation that governs the practice or title of an occupation and there are provincial occupational standards or requirements that an individual must meet to be issued official recognition such as a license, certificate or registration.

If you are unsure if labour mobility applies to your occupation, please contact the organization that issues your license or certification. View the list of contacts.

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

If an occupation is only regulated in one province, then a certified worker moving to the province where the occupation is unregulated cannot expect to be certified.

Occupations that are only regulated in one province are placed on a Transparency List for the information of workers. Find out more about the TILMA Transparency List.

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

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

Does TILMA affect the provinces' ability to introduce occupational health and safety measures?

No. The agreement calls on the governments to work together to enhance occupational health and safety standards. However, standards and regulations to protect occupational health and safety are considered legitimate objectives under the agreement-meaning that governments can introduce measures that do not fully follow TILMA if necessary to meet the occupational health and safety needs of workers.

What impact will the proposed changes have on public health and safety?

The provinces fully acknowledge that the primary role of regulatory bodies is to ensure public safety and consumer protection. TILMA labour mobility requirements are not intended to undermine this fundamental mandate of regulatory bodies. Each province will continue to set occupational standards as they see fit and as are supported by their governments. If necessary to ensure public health and safety, a government retains the right to impose training and examination requirements on incoming certified workers so long as the additional requirement is necessary to meet a legitimate objective.

What about differences in labour standards, minimum wage laws, and so on?

Labour standards and codes, minimum wage laws, employment insurance and worker's compensation are exempt from TILMA.

Will additional occupational requirements still be allowed?

The standards for regulated occupations in Alberta and BC 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 TILMA, 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 requirements are considered material?

Under TILMA, material requirements are situational and are generally defined by access, location, duration, frequency and content. For example, an online, open book, 25 multiple question exam is typically not considered material. A two week course culminating in a one hour exam offered only once per year in a classroom setting is considered material.

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 opportunity.

What impact will labour mobility have on maintaining standards?

Regulatory bodies for almost all professions have reported that occupational standards in Alberta and BC were very consistent before the TILMA. In many cases, there will be no changes to current practices, while in other cases Alberta and BC have agreed upon a higher standard. If a province does have concerns, it is entitled to maintain additional measures so long as it can justify the measures as serving a legitimate objective.

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 a reduction in costs related to reassessment, and greater certainty and reduced wait time for certification prior to employment.

Which trades certificates will be recognized by TILMA?

All valid certificates in a trade or occupation issued by Alberta or BC will be recognized under TILMA. This includes certificates in red seal trades that do not have a Red Seal endorsement.

How does TILMA 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. Alberta and BC will continue to support the Red Seal program.

The TILMA specifically mentions the Red Seal Program and requires the Parties to the Agreement to recognize a worker who holds a certificate bearing the Red Seal endorsement as qualified to practice that trade.

The strength of the Red Seal Program is common interprovincial occupational standards supported by National Occupational Analyses and developed by industry across Canada.

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

The TILMA 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.

Which trades certificates will be recognized by TILMA?

All valid certificates in a trade or occupation issued by Alberta or BC will be recognized under TILMA. This includes certificates in red seal trades that do not have a Red Seal endorsement.

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