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Despite their avoidance of public discussion, it appears that Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders have reached an agreement on labour mobility that will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.

The new labour mobility agreement includes a tribunal mechanism to resolve internal trade disputes, coupled with up to $5 million in penalties for governments that fail to comply with the terms of the agreement.

By amending the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), CUPE believes our premiers have failed to protect public services and maintain quality regulation standards. This agreement penalizes provinces who wish to strengthen credentials and standards, while empowering corporations and investors to sue provincial and municipal governments that get in the way.

For workers, the horizon is equally bleak. Common accreditation has been achieved, but only at the expense of standards. Any agreement on standards and regulations across the province will settle at the lowest common denominator, not the highest.

As the meetings continue, the premiers are currently discussing internal trade. Watch cupe.ca for current updates and analysis.