Good to smooth out speed bumps

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Any time the provincial governments in Atlantic Canada find ways to streamline programs, licensing requirements or other bureaucracy, it’s good news for everybody.

The federal and provincial governments on Wednesday announced they will harmonize the training and certification for 10 apprenticeship programs in the Atlantic provinces. To be implemented over the next four years, first up will be bricklayers, cooks, instrumentation and control technicians, and construction electricians.

In making the announcement, Jason Kenney, federal minister of employment and social development, hit the nail on the head. We’ve got to get rid of unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy to help people along in their apprenticeships so they can get working.

The premiers were happy with the news, and the implications for worker mobility. We might add it will enhance competition among firms in the region – a benefit that would be passed along to those contracting their services.

Across Canada, we have 13 different apprenticeship systems with different requirements for training, certification and standards.

People trying to do business in this country have often wryly mused that interprovincial restrictions are tougher than those faced with international commerce. Here’s a good start in smoothing out the speed bumps.

It’s also good that these measures are aimed at the trades. People filling those occupations will be in increasing demand in coming years, so the boost is welcome.

This is also another good measure toward co-operation among governments in the region.

We recall with amusement the recommendation issued by Senator Mike Duffy more than a year ago – curtly dismissed by the premiers – for the Maritime provinces to unite. Considering where Duffy is now on the heap of esteem, we’re not likely to hear more advice from him anytime soon.

Formal union is not needed, as long as the provinces realize they’re too small to work against each other and continue to co-operate.

Geographic location: Canada

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