This bill contains administrative amendments to the Labour Mobility Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act to reflect the fact that the Government of Manitoba and the governments of Canada and other provinces and territories have approved a new domestic trade agreement, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement. The agreement also provides for a mechanism to resolve trade disputes between provinces and allows workers to find domestic jobs, Pallister said. During negotiations on the terms of the agreement, the parties were guided by the following principles: the existing agreement on internal trade requires the provinces and territories to list all the goods and services they authorize for trade. The former used the New West Partnership Agreement, a trade agreement that harmonizes the rules and allows labour mobility between Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan as a model for the Canadian free trade agreement, Pallister said. The fact that the provinces got the agreement was supposed to be a “surprise,” Pallister said, but was eventually published in a March 22 Council order that gave the Manitoba Premier and Trade Minister approval for the signing of the agreement. In addition, the dispute resolution process has undergone a number of administrative and procedural changes, but it relies heavily on the AIT and NWPTA. Disputes can still only be heard by a compliance panel after mediation and consultation have been exhausted and sanctions can only be imposed if a party does not comply with GASTA after being notified by a compliance panel. The CFTA maintains both the conflict mechanisms between businesses and businesses that exist within the EEA. As with the AIT and NWPTA, the respondent remains the government, not a regulatory organization.
In addition, monetary penalties are paid to a fund intended to promote domestic trade, not as compensation to the complainant. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are parties to the NWPTA and CFTA and must meet the obligations of both agreements.