Eliminating Barriers to Worker Mobility: Increasing the Availability of Skilled Labor in Alberta's Oil Sands Industry
— Published on July 22, 2008
- The demand in Alberta for skilled workers is projected to continue to grow rapidly, especially for oil sands construction projects. A ready supply of out-of-province workers would help to prevent construction project delays and cost overruns.
- Provincial licensing and certification requirements, federal employment insurance rules, and the lack of reciprocal agreements with other countries constrain skilled workers from entering the Alberta workforce.
- To improve the mobility of skilled workers, Alberta should move unilaterally to honor certifications awarded to skilled workers in other provinces until mutual agreements are negotiated.
- The Canada Employment Insurance program should be reconfigured as a real insurance program, with worker contributions based on actual claims. Doing so would reduce the incentive for workers simply to collect payments instead of seeking employment in Alberta or other areas where demand for labor exists other than on a seasonal basis.
- Revise the North American Free Trade Agreement to facilitate the cross-border flow of skilled trades from Mexico and the United States in the same manner as teachers, doctors, and other professionals currently enjoy.
- To improve the accessibility of foreign workers to Alberta and other Canadian labor markets, Canada should seek bilateral arrangements with additional countries.
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