Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have provided to the committee clerk a memo on this subject, which I understand has been distributed to members. I'll just speak briefly from that.
The Constitution Act, 1867, in sections 91, 92, and 93, divides legislative powers between the federal and the provincial levels. With respect to the foreign qualification process and foreign credential recognition program, three areas of legislative powers are affected: immigration, labour, and education.
Immigration was assigned to the federal government under subsection 91(25)—naturalization and aliens—and education was assigned to provincial governments under section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
Labour has not been clearly assigned to either level. Although the Constitution Act, 1867, does not formally mention labour or employment, it has been interpreted to fall under subsection 92(13), “Property and Civil Rights”, or as a matter of a “merely local or private Nature in the Province”, under subsection 92(16), and therefore subject to provincial--not federal--jurisdiction.
Most of the legislative powers assigned under the Constitution Act,1867, are exclusive to either level of government. Neither level can legislate in an area assigned to the other. There can be exceptions, however, where the legislated provisions are necessarily incidental to an assigned area of jurisdiction. Labour legislation related to activities otherwise within federal jurisdiction--for example, federal crown corporations, banks, airlines, Indian reserves, telecommunications, and interprovincial transportation--is a valid exercise of federal legislative powers as “necessarily incidental” to the assigned areas of federal legislative jurisdiction.
Federal initiatives on foreign qualification recognition seem to be constitutionally legitimate, as they apply to immigration. In other words, their objective is to help immigrants who arrive in Canada with qualifications recognized by a foreign authority.
There is only one restriction on those initiatives: they must not interfere with matters that come under provincial constitutional jurisdiction, such as education or labour, unless, in the latter case, those initiatives are “necessarily incidental“ to federal immigration jurisdiction.
That's most of what I have to say, Mr. Chair.
I am available to answer any questions.