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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.




For more information call: 202/219-6373.

The Council of the Commission for Labor Cooperation, created under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), met today in Ottawa. Chaired by Canada's Minister of Labor Lucienne Robillard, the meeting included U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich and Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Santiago O¤ate.

"Canada is pleased to host this second meeting of the Council of the Commission for Labor Cooperation," said Robillard. "Since the first council meeting last year, our three countries have worked together closely to implement the labor cooperation agreement, including a successful program of cooperative activities. I also want to note how important it is for us to have this opportunity to get together to discuss labor issues and trends in North America."

"I am honored to take part in this second meeting of the Council of the Commission for Labor Cooperation," said Reich. "This meeting, along with the numerous activities the countries have carried out in this first year, is proof that the labor side agreement to the NAFTA is being implemented in a vigorous and positive way. We plan to continue to apply the labor side agreement in improving working conditions and the rights of workers throughout North America."

"I have found the exchange of views with my colleagues from Canada and the U.S. most productive for the cause of improving labor conditions in North America," said O¤ate. "The ministerial council meeting constitutes the ideal form to reinforce our countries' firm determination to continue our efforts through cooperation and the sharing of fruitful experiences. I am convinced that we can learn from each other in the pursuit of better living standards for workers in Mexico, Canada and the U.S."

Ministers were pleased to note that the commission's secretariat was established in Dallas at the beginning of April and that the official opening is planned for this summer.

The three ministers welcomed this opportunity to exchange views on the latest developments in labor law in the three countries. Their discussions covered a number of current topics such as Canada's legislative review of Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labor Code, the U.S. effort to promote high performance workplaces and reform labor market programs and the devaluation of the Mexican peso and its implications for the Mexican labor force.

Ministers, who were meeting for the first time with John McKennirey, executive director of the Labor Secretariat, discussed priorities and directions for the commission for 1995. They also reviewed and approved a number of items, including the 1995 commission budget and summary work plan.

A report entitled "Highlights of the 1994 Cooperative Work Program" was approved for public distribution. The 1995 cooperative work program approved by the council will focus on projects related to labor law and industrial relations, workplace safety and health, employment and training and productivity and quality in the three NAFTA countries. Canada will host a major trinational and tripartite conference on industrial relations in the fall of 1995.

The next meeting of the Council of the Commission for Labor Cooperation is planned for the spring of 1996 in Mexico.

The NAALC came into effect in January 1994 at the same time as the North American Agreement on Free Trade (NAFTA) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

Copies of the 1994 report can be obtained by calling (819) 953-8860.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
April 28, 1995
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number