Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Friday, July 16, 2010

What the OECD Has in Mind for Canada

I found this today in the OECD 'Country Notes' for Canada.


Despite buoyant employment in recent years, the GDP-per capita gap vis-à-vis the United States remains substantial, reflecting to a large extent lower productivity levels.

Priorities supported by indicators

Reduce barriers to competition in professional services

Around 50 professions and 100 trades are regulated in one or more provinces. This limits interprovincial trade in services.

Actions taken: In April 2006, Alberta and British Columbia signed a comprehensive agreement to enhance trade in goods and services between the two provinces, providing mutual recognition of occupational certifications in both provinces. In September 2006, the federal government, all provinces and two territories agreed to achieve, by April 2009, compliance with the labour mobility provisions of the Agreement on Internal Trade for all existing regulated occupations.

Recommendations: Dismantle the remaining obstacles to inter-provincial trade and reduce the number of “regulated occupations”.

The Recommendations section suggests to me that some occupations, perhaps those like Personal Care Workers, might find it difficult to become recognised in the years ahead. Others may well lose their recognition. I would suggest that this is a way of making it easier for employers to bring unqualified people into the workplace.

Although the 'Red Seal' may appear to be a benefit to tradespeople it also obviously has the tendency to reduce labour costs overall by increasing the supply of labour where it might otherwise have been short.

I doubt that these changes are intended to benefit working people.


John FitzGerald said...

On the other hand, the assignment of so many responsibilities to the provinces (thank you, Imperial Privy Council!) is a barrier to both trade and to labour mobility, and that does not help people get jobs.

Unfortunately it's going to dstay that way. Amending the constitution to say that the residuary power resides with the federal govt. at all times (and not just during times of war as the IPC decided) would lead to just another acrimonious round of constitutional haggling -- if the provinces were willing to give up any power at all, of course.

Bill Bell said...

To be honest with you, John, I'm suspicious of my own opinion about the overall effect of the 'Red Seal' and similar stuff. I can see that it's a way of circumventing provincial barriers, as you say. What I don't see in Canadian politics is any strongly voiced desire to aid Canadian workers, especially those in the lower tail of income. Instead I see 'pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps' cynicism.