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One day before April Fool’s Day when the much-disputed Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) goes into full effect between BC and Alberta, a report authored by expert trade lawyer Steven Shrybman concludes that TILMA, other similar agreements currently in development, and the recent changes to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) will only further deregulate provincial policies that protect communities and the environment and threaten public services.

The report, titled ‘State of Play: Canada’s Internal Free Trade Agenda’ provides an update on TILMA and the state of various trade agreements between Ontario and Quebec (OQEPA), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick (PARE) and Saskatchewan (so-called Economic Partnership with BC and Alberta) and challenges the need for these agreements in the first place. It is being simultaneously released by the Council of Canadians on March 31 at press conferences in Halifax, Moncton, Ottawa, Toronto, Regina, Calgary and Vancouver.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has rejected the need for TILMA in BC and Alberta. “TILMA doesn’t improve labour mobility, it weakens the ability of governments to provide quality public policy and fair labour standards,” says Paul Moist, National President of CUPE. “This cannot and should not be a model for new agreements in Canada”.

Shrybman’s report argues that agreements like TILMA serve to dismantle local control of municipalities and force labour, environmental and social policy standards to harmonize to the lowest level.  It highlights the role the federal government has played in encouraging the implementation of new agreements and notes that it has even threatened to use its constitutional powers to force their implementation. The report also investigates the connection between TILMA and other trade deals under consideration, both interprovincially and with the European Union.

“The true purpose of this domestic ‘trade’ agenda is to impose broad constraints on the exercise of governmental and public authority under the rubric of addressing trade barriers,” says Steven Shrybman.

“We’ve been asking the governments where the actual barriers are that they claim exist. TILMA is a barrier to democracy and handing over public policy decisions to corporate interests is more than a bad joke,” says Carleen Pickard of the Council of Canadians. “These kinds of agreements should not be allowed to continue.”

Canadian Union of Postal Workers Vice President, George Floresco was present to warn of the dangers present in private court systems, from the union’s experience when the United Parcel Service challenged the Canadian government and the postal service through NAFTA in 2000.

For More Information:
Dylan Penner, Media Officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685,
CUPE Media Relations, 613-852-1494