NAFTA Recommendations From Local Stakeholders

Workforce WindsorEssex and the NAFTA Working Group releases recommendations, April 5, 2018. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Local stakeholders want to make sure NAFTA negotiators know whats on the line for border communities like Windsor-Essex.

Workforce Windsor Essex and the NAFTA Working Group have come out with five recommendations after completing over 100 local surveys.  Those recommendations are:

1. Recognize the importance of Canada-US trade interdependence
2. Recognize Canada’s automotive sector as a key priority throughout NAFTA renegotiations
3. Protect existing mechanisms that promote cross-border labour mobility
4. Increase opportunities for cross-border experiential learning
5. Support region’s global economic competitiveness

Justin Falconer with Workforce WindsorEssex says one recommendation that doesn’t come up often in NAFTA talks is the need to protect and promote labour mobility across the border. He says this could affect thousands of families in Windsor-Essex.

“If NAFTA collapsed tomorrow, a majority of those folks would not be able to cross. Because of NAFTA there’s something called the TN Visa, that only exists under NAFTA and without the TN Visa a majority of these occupations would be unable to cross,” says Falconer.

There is growing pressure to have NAFTA negotiations wrapped up by the end of May.

But the Windsor-Essex NAFTA Working Group says these recommendations will still be important moving forward because many of the smaller details will be finalized after the official dotted line is signed by all three countries.

“On the one hand, yes we’re at round eight, but on the other hand the really hard work of the intricate details that will go on for some time certainly could be shaped by the points that we’ve raised,” says Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.

The report and its recommendations have been sent to key federal and provincial officials involved in the negotiations in hopes of putting the Windsor-Essex perspective forward.