Premiers act to make moving within Western Canada easier

REGINA — The premiers of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have agreed to make it easier for people moving between the provinces to license their cars or continue apprenticeships.

Starting in April 2015, people who move between the three provinces won’t need to get their cars inspected, if their vehicles are less than four years old. Nor will they need an inspection if one has been done at a designated facility within the last 90 days.

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The decision was made Thursday by B.C. Premier Christy Clark, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in a conference call for a meeting of what they call the “New West Partnership.”

“Right now, technically, if you bring in a vehicle, any vehicle, and you want to plate it here or you want to plate it in British Columbia, you could be required to have an inspection on the vehicle,” Wall said in Regina.

“And we’re just saying look, that’s not necessary, especially for the newer vehicles.”

Currently, all vehicles must be inspected once they arrive in the new province, but that can be cumbersome and costly.

The premiers also agreed that apprentices in the skilled trades will be able to move without having to start their training all over again.

Wall quoted Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, who said Canada has 13 apprenticeship systems. She said when an apprentice loses his or her job in one part of the country, it can be difficult to transfer employment hours and levels of training to another region where there is a higher demand.

“You know that’s probably dumb for Canada to have that kind of a system, especially when we have a labour shortage in parts of the country, especially in the trades,” Wall said.

“And so we three … the New West Partnership premiers, are going to direct our ministers to harmonize these apprenticeship initiatives across the West, to do by September 2014. It’s an aggressive target, but that’s the one we’ve set.”

The premiers say that will be better for employers that operate in more than one province and will allow Western provinces to more easily share training resources.

The premiers also signed a memorandum of understanding to look at getting more open-source textbooks to help save students and their parents money. B.C. already makes nearly 20 textbooks available free online to post-secondary students. B.C. has started with entry level courses, the ones that are most subscribed, Clark said.

“Parents and students embraced this with open arms because it’s such a relief not to be spending $600 or $1,000 on your textbooks,” Clark said.

She said there’s less variation in the course offerings between the provinces at that level so it makes “a really, really good target for all of us to work on together.”

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