Labour Mobility

"Labour Mobility means that Canadians have the right to pursue a career in their chosen profession anywhere in the country."

- First Ministers Conference on the Economy, January 16, 2009


Nova Scotia is better able to compete in a global economy when the provincial workforce follows best practices, and when professionals and tradespersons in regulated occupations are able to move freely across provincial boundaries.

To make this happen, Nova Scotia has signed the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). Chapter 7 of this agreement allows professionals and tradespersons in regulated occupations to move between jurisdictions in Canada. The purpose of Chapter 7 is to make sure that any worker who is certified for an occupation in one province or territory is recognized as qualified and certified for that occupation as soon as they apply in any other province or territory, without having to take further training or examinations.

Governments have given the regulatory authorities (also called regulators or regulatory bodies) the authority to both establish occupational standards and maintain public safety. Most of these regulatory bodies are independent of government. In Nova Scotia the RPL and Labour Mobility Unit works with regulatory bodies in the province to improve processes to recognize and certify workers.

The Labour Mobility Coordinating Group – LMCG – which represents federal, provincial, and territorial governments, is a working group of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) and  implements Chapter 7. The website provides clear information and resources related to labour mobility, including the following :

  • information on the history, purpose, and core principles of labour mobility. It also talks about the relationship of the AIT with other agreements, concerns, and resolutions that affect labour mobility
  • a list of all occupations with exceptions to labour mobility in Canada
  • frequently asked questions
  • information that is specific to workers and regulators
  • a glossary of terms
  • contact information for Labour Mobility Coordinators across Canada



Exceptions to Labour Mobility

Chapter 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement allows governments to approve exceptions to labour mobility where there are significant differences in the required skills, knowledge, and abilities of a particular occupation from one province or territory to another. There are few exceptions, and Nova Scotia goes through a rigorous process before it approves any exceptions. A key function of Chapter 7 is to provide a place to post each exception, and to promote transparency by letting people know where they may need more training or when they need to take an examination.

A government may approve an exception if they consider it a threat in one of these areas (identified as legitimate objectives in Chapter 7):

  • public security and safety
  • public order
  • protection of human, animal, or plant life or health
  • protection of the environment
  • protection of consumers
  • protection of the health, safety, and well-being of workers
  • provision of adequate social and health services to all its geographic regions
  • programs for disadvantaged groups

The government adds exceptions and removes them as standards change for different regulated occupations. The list of exceptions is reviewed regularly.

Nova Scotia has approved exceptions in the following occupations:


Chapter 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement also provides a process for notifying other jurisdictions when an occupation in one jurisdiction in Canada intends to change occupational standards or create new ones. This process promotes discussion between jurisdictions before changes come into effect.

If you are a regulator for an occupation in Nova Scotia and intend to change your legislation, regulations, or by-laws, please contact Nova Scotia's Labour Mobility Coordinator by phone: 1-877-466-7725 or email: to discuss the notification process.


Questions or Concerns

If you have any questions on how labour mobility works in Canada, or if you have any concerns that the way you are being treated does not follow the procedures outlined in Chapter 7 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, please contact Nova Scotia’s Labour Mobility Coordinator by phone: 1-877-466-7725 or email:



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