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Will CETA bring better labour mobility with Europe?


August 6, 2014
By Anthony Capkun

August 6, 2014 – A new Conference Board of Canada report suggests easier movement of workers between Canada and the European Union (EU) could lead to commercial gains under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The board encourages Canadian businesses to begin preparing now to take full advantage of the coming opportunities.

“Removing barriers to labour mobility could make it easier for Canadians to tap into the vast EU market and beyond. However, Canadian businesses need to start planning now, even before the deal is completed,” said Danielle Goldfarb, associate director of the board’s Global Commerce Centre.

CETA is expected to remove labour mobility barriers related to gaining temporary entry and permission to work (from 90 days to 3 years), and getting recognition of professional and technical qualifications. Improved labour mobility under CETA addresses an important barrier to traded services and investment, adds the board, both of which may be less visible than exports of products but represent significant future commercial potential for Canada.

Even after the deal is finalized, however, professional associations will have to reach agreements with their European counterparts on mutual recognition of credentials, says the board, adding that federal and provincial governments should take steps to ensure the deal ends up holding the best promise for success.

According to the report, “Across the Sea with CETA: What New Labour Mobility Might Mean for Canadian Business”, businesses looking to move their workers or provide services under CETA should:

• Encourage professional associations to negotiate mutual recognition agreements (MRA) with EU counterparts.
• Encourage governments to support business groups and professional associations.
• The final agreement should make it easy and predictable for Canadian businesses to send workers to the European Union with their spouses and families. Businesses should actively monitor the remaining negotiations and implementation of the deal.