CETA and mobility: killed after Wallonia vote

So this is it: my project got a major blow from the events around CETA in October. After over 15 months delay for other reasons, the compromise reached with Wallonia means that mobility arrangements, and especially recognition of qualifications, will be put aside for implementation on a later date. This is very unfortunate.

My study shows that recognition of qualifications and diplomas is the top priority for all Europeans moving to Canada, for shoter or longer time. They are notoriously discriminated on the Canadian labour market, which uses myriad of professional certifications to protect own workers. Even if Canadian employers privately agree that Europeans have similar level of qualifications and that education/professional practicies are very much the same, they still bloc labour market access.

To make things worse, there is a blunt discrimination between Europeans in Canada. French-Quebec agreement allowed over 100 professions and trades to be mutually recognized. Getting access to a profession in Quebec often opens the door to the rest of Canadian provinces. Also, British qualifications get often automatic recognition, simply because professional bodies in Canada have a very long history of working with British professionals and organisations from Britain.

Everybody else is left behind, wasting timeĀ to get qualifications recognised, often living in professional limbo for years. CETA was supposed to change this.

This is not Canadians who come to Europe en masse to work and need the recogniton, it is Europeans. And Wallonians make quite a big chunk of them. Belgium alone had no negotiating power to remove obstacles for mobility for its citizens, it could have done it only as a part of CETA. Now the Belgians, together with citizens of 25 other EU Member States, will have to wait many more years for anything to change.

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