The pandemic has brought about an increased focus on the work that people do, and in particular, where they can do the work. Last week, the Alberta Government proposed Bill 49, the Labour Mobility Act, which aims to make it quicker for trained, out-of-province professionals to work in Alberta. When it comes into force, the Labour Mobility Act will mandate the time for self-regulated professional bodies to decide whether an out-of-province professional can work in Alberta.

Currently, various legislation dictates when and how self-regulated governing bodies may admit members into their profession. The proposed Act will establish uniform processes and timelines for recognizing the credentials and training of out of province workers for all regulated professions. Under the proposed Act, the entire time for processing an application from an out-of-province worker will be reduced to a maximum of 40 business days. Regulated bodies will be required to provide written acknowledgement of receipt an applicant's application within 10 business days of receiving it. The body will then have 20 business days to decide whether to register the proposed member. The applicant is to be notified of the regulator's decision within 10 days after it was made.

In addition to establishing these fixed timelines, Bill 49 will require regulatory bodies to comply with terms found in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which include: working with regulatory bodies in other provinces to reconcile differences in occupational standards, and gathering information from applicants for the purpose of registering an applicant.

When the Act passes, Alberta will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to impose strict timelines on self-regulatory bodies to process applications from out of province professionals. It will apply to all regulated professions, including doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers and engineers.

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