– – – Province Continues to Lead Improvements in Mobility: Bjornson
A dispute-resolution panel has made a precedent-setting ruling in favour of Manitoba under the national Agreement on Internal Trade on labour mobility for public accountants, Entrepreneurship Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson announced today.
“We continue to support the commitments of the Council of the Federation to ensure full labour mobility in Canada and felt it was important to take action to support Manitoba certified general accountants,” said Bjornson. “The panel findings confirm the direction from Canada’s premiers that certified workers from one jurisdiction will have their certifications recognized in another jurisdiction without requiring additional training.”
The minister noted that Manitoba has been a leader in labour mobility improvements in support of workers and businesses in Manitoba, as well as the rest of Canada. This dispute is the first to be heard under the revised labour-mobility chapter of the national Agreement on Internal Trade, which came into effect in April 2009.
In the summer of 2011, Manitoba led a formal request for a dispute-resolution panel regarding how Ontario addressed labour mobility related to public accounting. British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan agreed with Manitoba and joined as interveners in the dispute.
The Ontario government had posted an exception to labour mobility related to public accountants. The exception limited the right to practise public accounting in Ontario to accountants who met Ontario’s specified assessment curriculum only. This meant that certified general accountants practising public accounting in Manitoba, or anywhere else in Canada, could notbe licensed to provide these services to clients in Ontario without completing Ontario’s specific method of curriculum and assessment.
However, the panel ruled the exception should be removed and Ontario should allow certification without any additional training.
“We commend the Manitoba government for demonstrating the courage and integrity to lead this challenge of Ontario’s inappropriate mobility restriction,” said Grant Christensen, chief executive officer of the Certified General Accountants Association of Manitoba. “Our professional certification and regulatory standards are second to none and they serve the public exceptionally well.”
If Ontario does not appeal this panel ruling, it will have until April 2012 to comply with the panel recommendations. The recently revised Agreement on Internal Trade now includes financial penalties for provinces that fail to comply with panel rulings, in order to ensure dispute panel rulings are implemented.