The North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation was negotiated and implemented in parallel to the NAFTA. This agreement was designed to facilitate greater cooperation between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in this area, as well as to promote the effective enforcement of each country's labour laws and regulations.
The Commission for Labour Cooperation was created in 1994 by the NAALC to promote cooperation on labour matters between NAFTA members and the effective enforcement of domestic labour law. The Commission consists of a Council of Ministers (comprising the labour ministers from each country) and a Secretariat, located 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 200; Washington, DC; 20036-2716.
The Secretariat provides administrative, technical and operational support to the Council and is charged with the implementation of an annual work program. National Administrative Offices (NAOs), located in the departments responsible for labour in each of the three countries, serve as domestic implementation points for the Agreement. The current annual work program for the NAALC focuses on occupational safety and health, employment and job training, labour law and workers' rights and productivity.
At the Ministerial Council in Charlottetown in October 1998, Ministers completed a comprehensive examination of the operation and effectiveness of the NAALC after four years of implementation. Conclusions of this review included recommendations for strengthening the program of international cooperation managed by the NAOs and reinforcing the ministerial consultation process by, for example, commissioning special studies.
The Canadian Intergovernmental Agreement regarding the NAALC provides a mechanism for provincial participation and has been signed by Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and P.E.I. This agreement gives the provinces a means to participate in developing and managing Canada's involvement in the NAALC. With the combined participation of these provinces and the federal government, the NAALC now covers more than 40% of the Canadian workforce.
A total of 23 public communications have been received under the NAALC since its entry into force. Fourteen of the public communications were directed at Mexico (two were withdrawn and one declined); seven at the U.S (two were declined) and two at Canada (one was declined). An update on these submissions and further information is available from the Canadian Office for Inter-American Labour Cooperation at its website.
The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation was also negotiated and implemented in parallel to the NAFTA. It requires that each Party ensures its laws provide for high levels of environmental protection without lowering standards to attract investment. Each Party agreed to effectively enforce its environmental laws through the use of inspectors, monitoring compliance and pursuing the necessary legal means to seek appropriate remedies for violations. Each Party must also provide a report on the state of its environment, develop environmental emergency preparedness measures, promote environmental education, research and development, assess environmental impacts and promote the use of economic instruments.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was created in 1994 by the NAAEC to enhance regional Environmental cooperation, reduce potential trade and environmental conflicts and promote the effective enforcement of environmental law. It also facilitates cooperation and public participation in efforts to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment. The CEC consists of three principal components: the Council, the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) and the Secretariat. As of July 2001, the Secretariat received 31 submissions that qualified for further consideration by the Secretariat under the Submissions on Enforcement Matters process. These included ten submitted against Canada, eight against the United States and thirteen against Mexico. All of these are at different stages of consideration by the Secretariat, ranging from assessing whether they merit requesting a response from a party to the actual preparation of a factual record in relation thereof. The NAAEC demonstrates that the objectives of sustainable development, environmental protection and trade liberalization can be pursued in a mutually reinforcing manner. A full list of these submissions and their status is available on the CEC website.