The North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) is a supplemental agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by the United States, Mexico and Canada, which entered into force on January 1, 1994. The objectives of the NAALC are, among other things, to improve working conditions and living standards, to promote a set of guiding labor principles, and to encourage cooperation to promote innovation and rising levels of productivity and quality. The Agreement emphasizes cooperation through various means, such as exchanges of information, technical assistance and consultations, to achieve its objectives. The Agreement promotes compliance and effective enforcement by each Party of its labor law through oversight mechanisms.
Established under terms of the Agreement, the Commission for Labor Cooperation, consisting of a Ministerial Council and a Secretariat, is responsible for the implementation of the NAALC. Pursuant to the Agreement, each Party established a National Administrative Office (NAO) to assist the Commission.
Tri-National Working Group
of Government Experts
Working Group Page
Workplace Safety and Health
As a result of their desire to strengthen labor relationships between their nations and to confirm their commitment to work collaboratively towards the shared NAALC objective to improve working conditions and living standards of all workers, the labor ministers established a Trinational Occupational Safety and Health Working Group of Government Experts. This Working Group is composed of government occupational safety and health experts from the three countries who have been tasked with discussion and review of issues raised in public communications, the formulation of technical recommendations for consideration by the governments, the development and evaluation of technical cooperation projects on occupational safety and health for improving occupational safety and health in the workplace, and the identification of other occupational safety and health issues appropriate for collaboration.
The Working Group will meet on an ongoing basis and is headed, with guidance from the NAOs, by the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, the Mexican Director General for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Director General of Operations of the Labour Program of Human Resources Development Canada. The Working Group was initially established by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao and Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Carlos Abascal pursuant to a June 11, 2002 Joint Declaration that settled various public communications and an accompanying Joint Statement Canada subsequently joined in September 2002 to broaden the effort into a trinational group.
The Working Group had its first meeting on July 8 and 9, 2002 in Mexico
City. It established technical expert subgroups to foster ongoing
cooperation by the governments in four key areas of occupational safety
and health: handling of hazardous substances; safety and health management
systems and voluntary protection programs; training of technical assistance
staff and inspectors (with the collaboration of the Mexican General
Directorate of Federal Labor Inspection); and the development of a
trinational web page for ongoing exchanges of information and good
practices. A joint news
release was issued on July 12, 2002 on the
inaugural session of the Working Group. Stakeholder participation was established in March 2004 for representatives of employers and workers.