New bill aims to speed up certifications for more than 100 professions

·2 min read
Premier Jason Kenney spoke about Bill 49 at a news conference in Edmonton on Monday.  (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta - image credit)
Premier Jason Kenney spoke about Bill 49 at a news conference in Edmonton on Monday. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta - image credit)

The Alberta government wants organizations that regulate physicians, lawyers and about 100 other professions to approve the credentials of workers from other provinces within 20 working days.

The requirement is proposed in Bill 49, the Labour Mobility Act, which was introduced in the legislature on Monday.

The government says applications submitted by professionals can sometimes be delayed which hurts Alberta businesses. Premier Jason Kenney says the bill sends a message to regulatory bodies in the province.

"You can't sit on the file for more than a month," Kenney said.

Labour and Immigration Minister Tyler Shandro said the legislation will smooth the path for professionals from other provinces to work in Alberta.

"The act will make Alberta the first and the only jurisdiction in Canada to legislate timelines for registration decisions," Shandro told a news conference.

"Regulatory authorities will be required to look at applicants and give registration decisions within 20 [working] days.

"And that means that if someone is certified as a professional and they submit the necessary documents and they meet all of the requirements, they can expect to get to work within one month, upon applying."

Under the bill, a regulator would need to let an applicant know their request was received within 10 days and the decision must be made within 20 working days.

The regulator has another 10 days to let the applicant know the decision.

Regulators would also be required to publish information on fees and what documentation is required in Alberta on their websites.

They would also need to set up a timely review process and keep a record of decisions for three years.

The bill also applies to government departments that regulate occupations like driver examiners and home inspectors.

The bill proposes maximum fines of $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for organizations that fail to meet the new deadline.

The government plans to work with regulators to ensure they have the capacity to meet the timelines before proclaiming the bill into law. Officials say they were consulted prior to the bill's introduction.

NDP labour critic Christina Gray said the United Conservative government is using the bill to hide how its policies have pushed professionals away from Alberta.

"The UCP's war on health-care workers, their lack of an affordable child-care deal for growing families, and their backwards curriculum have made Alberta a less desirable place to live and work under the Kenney government," she said.

"Rising household costs like auto insurance and utility bills, which have soared under the UCP, are also deterring young families from coming to Alberta."

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