OTTAWA - Provincial premiers are hailing a new labour-mobility deal as a historic step that will grease the wheels of the Canadian economy amid the downturn.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the premiers signed an internal-trade agreement on Friday that will enable workers accredited in one province or territory to work in another without having to be recertified.
"We have taken the stand that as of April 1, 2009, a journalist will be a journalist, a nurse will be a nurse, a plumber will be a plumber, and credentials will be recognized by each other across the country," said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer.
Employees in various professions have long complained of having to go through a long recertification process before they can ply their trade in another province.
Under the deal, the provinces have also agreed to a new dispute-resolution mechanism that will allow penalties of up to $5 million on jurisdictions that throw up domestic trade barriers.
The deal was announced as Harper and the country's premiers continued to discuss ways to cushion Canadians against the recession.