Significant progress has been made recently in creating a new economic space for Québec, a far-reaching plan to stimulate the economy and employment.
The plan is based on five major projects: signing a France-Québec agreement on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications of skilled workers; signing a Québec-Ontario agreement on trade and the economy; promoting an economic partnership agreement between Canada and the European Union; full implementation of the Agreement on Internal Trade (Canadian provinces and territories), in particular the section dealing with labour mobility; accelerating the recognition of professional qualifications of individuals trained outside Québec and the recruitment of temporary workers.
Accordingly, the National Assembly passed a bill on June 9 allowing implementation of the agreement between Québec and France for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, as well as other similar agreements. The bill follows through on commitments made in October 2008 by Premier Charest and President Sarkozy to facilitate and expedite the process for obtaining permits to practice a regulated profession or trade in Québec and France.
In addition, two new mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) were signed in June as part of the Québec-France agreement: one between the Québec Bar and the National Bar Council of France and the other between the Québec professional order of land surveyors (Ordre des arpenteurs-géomètres du Québec) and the order of surveyors (Ordre des géomètres-experts) in France. These arrangements bring to 18 the number of MRAs concluded between professional orders and trades since the agreement’s initial signing. It is expected that close to 100 similar arrangements will be signed between authorities in France and Québec by the end of 2010, thereby giving faster and easier access to the regulated trades and professions concerned.
The Québec government also introduced a Canadian labour mobility bill. Discussions between Québec and other Canadian provinces and territories resulted in approving changes to the Agreement on Internal Trade so as to ensure full mobility for Canada’s labour force. The legislative changes will enable Québec to expand its potential pool of qualified workers by facilitating access to regulated professions and trades.
Moreover, to supplement initiatives taken for improving the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad, the government introduced a bill aimed at creating an Appeals Commissioner position for the purpose of receiving and examining grievances lodged by individuals against a professional order. The position would be created within the Professions Office of Québec (Office des professions du Québec).
Québec’s new economic space
Québec-France agreement on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications