North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation
Canadian Intergovernmental Agreement
Given that Canada has entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC) with the United Mexican States and the United States of America;
Acknowledging the commitment to promote, to the maximum extent possible, the labour principles set out in the NAALC;
Recognizing that partnership and cooperation between the federal, provincial and territorial governments are essential in order to achieve the goals of the NAALC and the goals of the NAFTA;
Affirming the importance of continuing interjurisdictional cooperation on labour matters;
Recognizing the roles and respective responsibilities of the federal, provincial and territorial governments in labour matters;
Recognizing that labour laws in Canada apply to workplaces and workforces that for the most part fall within provincial or territorial responsibility; and
Confirming that nothing in this Agreement affects in any way the respective powers, status or jurisdictional authority of any of the signatories to this Agreement;
The undersigned governments have agreed as follows:
The objectives of this Agreement are to:
- continue to ensure cooperation with regard to labour matters through the effective and efficient implementation of the NAALC;
- establish a mechanism that will provide for the full participation of the provincial and territorial governments with the federal government in the implementation, management and further elaboration of the NAALC in accordance with the terms of this Agreement; and
- define roles in the implementation, management and further elaboration of the NAALC.
Rights and Obligations of the NAALC
The signatory governments to this Agreement shall enjoy the rights of the NAALC and shall be bound by its obligations in accordance with their respective jurisdictions.
Note : In this Agreement, when the context requires, words in the singular include the plural.
- A Governmental Committee is hereby created to develop and manage Canada's involvement in the NAALC including, without limiting the foregoing, the establishment of Canada's positions and approaches as well as the preparation for, participation at and follow-up to meetings of the Council of the Commission for Labour Cooperation (Council).
- The Governmental Committee will be composed of the ministers responsible for labour, or their designees, from each signatory government. It will be co-chaired by the federal minister and a minister from one of the other signatory governments, the latter chosen for a one-year term, and in a manner to be determined by the Governmental Committee. The Governmental Committee will meet at the ministerial level at least once a year and as necessary.
- The Governmental Committee will be supported by a Committee of Senior Officials composed of representatives from each signatory government. It will be co-chaired and operate on the same basis as the Governmental Committee.
- Both Committees will function on the basis of consensus, unless otherwise specified in this Agreement.
- Both Committees will cooperate with the appropriate intergovernmental committees on international trade when addressing trade-related matters under the NAALC or the NAFTA.
- Representatives of governments that have not signed this Agreement may participate in the meetings of both Committees. They will have the opportunity to comment and will normally be invited to participate in cooperative activities of the NAALC and, as appropriate, in other activities under this Agreement. They shall not be included in the determination of consensus under paragraph 4 above.
- The Committees will perform their functions in a cost-effective manner. To this end, existing intergovernmental mechanisms such as the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation (CAALL) may be invited to provide support as appropriate.
- Secretariat services for and as assigned by the Governmental Committee will be provided by the federal government. Other signatory governments may second officials for this purpose as well as to the National Administrative Office (NAO).
- The Governmental Committee will adopt its own rules of procedure.
Representation on the Commission for Labour Cooperation
The federal Minister of Labour will represent Canada on the Council. Canadian delegations to Council meetings will be determined by the Governmental Committee and will normally include a representative of at least one other signatory government. Participation in Council working groups and other bodies of the Commission for Labour Cooperation will be established by the Governmental Committee.
Provision of Information
- The Governmental Committee will provide a forum for the on-going mutual exchange of information between and among the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments regarding issues related to the NAALC.
- As a general rule, all documents relating to the operation of this Agreement and to Canadian activities under the NAALC will be provided promptly to all governments. All governments will be advised promptly of all other NAALC documents and will be provided with the documents upon request.
- The NAO will immediately convey to the provincial and territorial governments any request pursuant to sub-paragraphs (a), (b) or (c) of Article 16(2) of the NAALC for information for Secretariat reports and studies and in response to a request from an NAO. The signatory government concerned will prepare an appropriate response, consulting with other interested governments, and will transmit the response to the NAO, for submission to the Secretariat of the Commission for Labour Cooperation (Secretariat), or to the requesting NAO.
- Where information is requested from the NAO pursuant to the NAALC, the signatory governments shall ensure that all the rights and obligations of the NAALC are respected, including those of Article 44 (Protection of Information). The NAO will only convey information on or regarding a province or territory after the provincial or territorial government concerned has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to provide written advice to the federal government regarding the information that may be conveyed and the information that must be withheld in accordance with the NAALC and domestic law.
- The Secretary of the NAO shall regularly prepare and submit to the Governmental Committee reports on:
- communications received from the public on labour law matters arising in the territory of another Party;
- NAO activities under Article 16 of the NAALC; and
- NAO activities under Part Four of the NAALC.
Cooperative Consultations, Evaluations and Resolution of Disputes
- The NAO will promptly bring to the attention of the Governmental Committee any public communication which may warrant a request for consultations pursuant to Article 21 of the NAALC.
- Notwithstanding the general rule of consensus, if the NAO or a signatory to this Agreement brings to the attention of the Governmental Committee practices on the part of another Party to the NAALC that may be inconsistent with that Party's obligations, the Canadian Representative, after an opportunity for discussion and comment in the Governmental Committee, will as a general rule pursue the matter in accordance with the terms of the NAALC.
- If, exceptionally, the Canadian Representative should wish to delay or not to pursue a matter, the Canadian Representative will cooperate with the government that raised the matter, with a view to developing an agreed course of action.
- The NAO will immediately convey to provincial and territorial governments any request for NAO consultations pursuant to Article 21 of the NAALC. Where the request concerns a provincial or territorial matter of a signatory government, that government shall respond promptly by providing the relevant data or information to the NAO for transmission to the requesting NAO. Any such NAO consultations under the NAALC shall include representation from both the federal government and the other signatory government concerned.
- When the Canadian Representative receives a request for ministerial consultations under Article 22 of the NAALC relating to a provincial or territorial matter, the Canadian Representative shall immediately notify the signatory government concerned. The signatory government shall respond promptly by providing the relevant information to the Canadian Representative. The Governmental Committee shall have the opportunity to discuss the matter before ministerial consultations occur. When the request concerns a provincial or territorial matter, the ministerial consultations under the NAALC shall include representation from both the federal government and the other signatory government concerned.
- The Canadian Representative will immediately convey to provincial and territorial governments any request to convene an Evaluation Committee of Experts (ECE) pursuant to Article 23 of the NAALC. When the practices of any signatory government are analyzed by an ECE, that government shall have the opportunity to provide through the Canadian Representative comments on the information submitted to the ECE, written submissions, written views on the draft report and written responses to recommendations in the final report of the ECE. The government concerned will prepare these comments, submissions, views and responses in consultation with other interested governments.
- When the Canadian Representative is notified of a request for consultations under Article 27 of the NAALC, the Canadian Representative shall immediately notify the signatory government concerned. The signatory government concerned shall report to the Governmental Committee on the circumstances and there shall be an opportunity for the Committee to discuss and comment. When the request concerns a provincial or territorial enforcement practice, the consultations under the NAALC shall involve, and include representation from, both the federal government and the other signatory government concerned.
- When a special session of the Council is requested under Article 28 of the NAALC, the Canadian delegation to the Council will include representation from the provincial or territorial government whose enforcement practice is the subject of the dispute.
- Notwithstanding the general rule of consensus, in the event that a signatory government is the subject of a request for an arbitral panel under Article 29 of the NAALC, the dispute settlement procedures will be led and positions established by the government or governments whose enforcement practice is the subject of the dispute.
- Where a provincial or territorial government enforcement practice is the subject of an arbitral panel, the federal government shall participate in all proceedings. Where a federal enforcement practice is the subject of an arbitral panel, any province or territory may provide appropriate advice or assistance.
- A provincial or territorial government may invite the federal government to co-manage an arbitral panel procedure where the provincial or territorial practice is the subject of the dispute.
- The Governmental Committee will be kept informed and have an opportunity to comment on arbitral panels in progress.
Each signatory to this Agreement shall take all necessary measures within its jurisdiction to implement any action plan or ensure payment of any monetary enforcement assessment, with respect to the non-enforcement of its labour law, imposed by an arbitral panel pursuant to the NAALC.
- Any implementation of an action plan or payment of a monetary enforcement assessment shall be the responsibility of the government whose labour law is the subject of the complaint under the NAALC.
- The Canadian Representative will consult with the government whose enforcement practice is the subject of a dispute prior to making a written declaration pursuant to paragraph 6 of Annex 46 of the NAALC.
- Further to paragraph 3 of Annex 39 of the NAALC, the Canadian Representative will seek to ensure that any monetary enforcement assessment expended in Canada will be expended in the jurisdiction whose enforcement practice was the subject of the complaint.
National Advisory Committee
The Governmental Committee will establish and appoint members to a National Advisory Committee to advise it on the implementation and further elaboration of the NAALC. The National Advisory Committee may provide advice on its own initiative or at the request of the Governmental Committee.
Each government shall bear the cost of its own participation in the ongoing implementation of this Agreement, including costs related to its participation in delegations, committees or working groups established under the NAALC.
Any modification of or addition to this Agreement shall be by agreement of the signatory governments.
Entry Into Force
- This Agreement shall enter into force upon the signature of the federal government and a minimum of one provincial government. The federal government will notify the other Parties accordingly under Annex 46 of the NAALC.
- A provincial or territorial government may sign this Agreement at any time and the federal government will amend the declaration under Annex 46 of the NAALC accordingly.
A government may withdraw from this Agreement six months after it provides written notice of its intent to withdraw to the other signatory governments and the federal government will amend the declaration under Annex 46 of the NAALC accordingly. If a government other than the federal government withdraws, the Agreement remains in force for the remaining governments.
The English and French texts of this Agreement are equally authentic.
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