On March 11, the Government of Québec tabled Bill 3, called “An Act to provide for the implementation of the Entente entre le Québec et la France en matière de reconnaissance mutuelle des qualifications professionnelles and similar agreements,” in the National Assembly. The purpose of Bill 3 is to implement the agreement that Québec Premier Charest and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed on October 17, 2008. This historic text establishes a procedure for mutual recognition of professional competence, and thus facilitates the issuing of permits to allow individuals to exercise their profession or trade in both France and Québec.
The Bill enables swift implementation by Québec’s professional orders of mutual recognition arrangements reached with the corresponding professional orders in France. It also amends Québec labour legislation in order to improve mutual recognition in construction-industry trades.
In keeping with the efforts that have already been undertaken, the purpose of the new legislation is to enable the public and businesses to benefit as soon as possible from the know-how of French and Québec professionals and tradespeople. Competent individuals will thus be able to ply their profession or trade regardless of whether they have completed their training in Québec or in France.
In the words of Kathleen Weil, Minister responsible for the administration of legislation respecting the professions, “We are giving the professional orders the tools and flexibility to welcome competent persons in Québec as quickly as possible. The Office des professions du Québec, the Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec and the 45 professional orders have joined with us in a joint effort to facilitate labour mobility, and we commend them for their work.”
Minister of International Relations Pierre Arcand added, “With this Bill, Québec is following up the commitments it made last October. This historic agreement between France and Québec shows the priority that we place on the economy, Québec’s commitment to openness, and our ability to play a role on the international stage in order to fulfil the responsibilities flowing from the powers under Québec’s jurisdiction.”
According to Minister of Labour David Whissel, “The agreement between Québec and France is a very timely step forward. It will make it easier for qualified French people to work in Québec and means that Québec know-how will be recognized in France. Cooperation between the various industry players, unions and employers alike, with the support of the Commission de la construction du Québec, has already enabled recognition arrangements in nine construction trades. This points to the openness and leadership shown by Québec industry and our desire to continue the work that is already under way.”
Under the France-Québec agreement, the authorities responsible for trade and professional regulations in Québec have until December 31, 2010, to sign mutual recognition arrangements with their French counterparts.
France-Québec agreement on mutual recognition of professional competence