The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) was signed by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in 2006. It has been hailed as an economic union that will be used as a model for the rest of Canada as the deal is open for other territories and provinces to join. The Yukon and Manitoba have declined to sign the agreement. Saskatchewan has also been reluctant to join because of perceived threats to its Crown Corporations and tax incentive programs. Recently, Premier Brad Wall has been discussing a deal with Alberta that would be similar to TILMA. Many provinces and states are also pursuing similar agreements. TILMA goes beyond other trade deals, with some describing it as more extreme and far-reaching than NAFTA. Much like the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and plans to create a North American Union, TILMA remains one of those best kept secrets.
Thousands of regulations are currently being reviewed in preparation for TILMA’s full implementation in April of 2009. Proponents say the agreement will breakdown current provincial trade barriers, harmonize standards and regulations, as well as grant professionals and those with trade skills easier labour mobility. The truth is that trade barriers between the provinces are already very low. TILMA will encompass provincial and local governments, regional districts, school boards, and health and social services. Ellen Gould said, “what TILMA does is force governments at both provincial and local levels to surrender vast areas of their ability to govern. The agreement is essentially a long list of things government will be prohibited from doing, regardless of whether they are acting completely within their jurisdiction.” The current economic climate is being used to push for further privatization and deregulation.
The Movement: TILMA Expands on NAFTA