Alberta Bill 49 aims to ease requirements for Canadian skilled workers
The province is looking to make it easier for Canadians to apply for work in Alberta under Bill 49, the Labour Mobility Act.
If enacted, it will mean any skilled worker or trades professional who is certified in other provinces will be able to apply for jobs in Alberta.
“(This) will affect more than 100 regulated occupations in a wide range of sectors across Alberta's economy,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
“This will be a growth opportunity for job creators in sectors where there simply are not enough skilled Albertans, in turn, having the necessary skills and talent in our province will make Alberta, a more attractive destination for not just workers, but for investment and businesses.”
Occupations such as optometrists, engineers, accountants and dentists will all be included under Bill 49.
The province says 20,000 net new jobs were created in September, with major investments coming from the film and television industry.
Kenney touted a CD Howe Institute study that predicts a $2.8 billion injection into Alberta’s economy if the act is passed.
Tuesday marks the first day back for the fall session of the legislature.
Although the UCP government plans on pushing for a recovery and job growth, the official opposition says it plans to pile pressure onto Kenney and his government about his response to the fourth wave in Alberta.
Kenney's 'Open for Summer' campaign started July 1, with the premier saying there was no longer a need for restrictions.
Since then, COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths have sky-rocketed, and in September, the province reversed course, bringing back mask mandates and a proof of vaccination program.
Political scientist Duane Bratt believes Bill 49 will pass in the house with ease.
“I don’t think you are going to see automatic opposition from the NDP on this, I think there will be a larger discussion and you might see some cooperation on these issues,” he said.
“It does raise issues about, are people leaving this province because of some of the wage cuts and the confrontation Kenney and Shandro have had in the past that they are now hoping that people will now come to Alberta.”
Government House Leader Jason Nixon outlined plans for the fall session, which does not include a throne speech, though Nixon said there will be one in the spring.
Nixon would not commit to an all-party committee on the province’s pandemic response to the fourth wave, at the request of the NDP, instead calling for a robust debate in the legislature.
“Including with the premier, health minister and the official opposition and all members of the chamber to be able to have a discussion of where we are at on COVID-19,” said Nixon.
“But the robust review will take place where the health minister and the premier have committed to, after we are outside the crisis situation of the pandemic.”
The NDP are also calling for a public inquiry into the fourth wave, with heads of the medical association and AHS, something the UCP will not allow, saying it takes healthcare workers away from the frontlines.