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U.S.MCA: What Didn't Happen

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Canada Work Permits and NAFTA

U.S.MCA: What Didn't Happen

Canada, the United States and Mexico signed a new trade agreement on September 30, 2018 called U.S.MCA: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Evelyn Ackah, founder and managing lawyer of Ackah Business Immigration Law, was interviewed by The Walrus on what the U.S.MCA will mean for Canada:

As a corporate immigration lawyer, I’m pleased that the new U.S.MCA trade agreement addresses temporary foreign workers in all three countries. It essentially continues the work-permit system under NAFTA. I’m disappointed, however, that the list of professions under the agreement—there are about sixty-six on it—wasn’t updated in the U.S.MCA. It has not been updated since 1994. This list includes occupations like doctor, lawyer, scientist, accountant, economist, and teacher, but it does not include any professions in today’s software and technology industries, which have made up the majority of emerging markets over the last ten years. The U.S.MCA didn’t make any changes at all to the list. I understand the importance of dairy, lumber, and steel, absolutely, but discussions of human resources and human capital shouldn’t be kept on the sidelines when they are so critical to the economic expansion of Canada.

Long term, this could surely limit us. As a country, we’re trying to attract people and businesses in high-tech industries—including in many professions that didn’t exist in 1994. Not including their job titles in the “professionals” listing doesn’t make their entry as temporary workers very easy. While we could often find a way to work within the NAFTA list by being creative, it could get harder and harder as professions keep changing. We may continue to lose out on highly skilled people or otherwise delay their ability to get started on contributing to Canada and to our economy. Then, speaking of emerging industries, there’s also cannabis. What can we do to ensure U.S. immigration recognizes this is our law in Canada and it isn’t offside for people in the industry to cross the border for meetings? This has yet to be resolved, but it’s certainly something we should consider going forward, especially as the industry grows.

Read the full article here: Canada’s Not-Great, Not-Terrible Trade Agreement


Evelyn Ackah

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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It is one thing to earn a living; it is another thing to make a difference in the world.

This is our formal thank you note to Evelyn Ackah and the Ackah Law Team for all the effort they put into helping us navigate and finally resolve the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration back in the spring of 2012.

A friend referred us to Evelyn; he assured us that Evelyn would take good care of us. Our friend was confident we were in good hands and said Evelyn would do her very best to help us and she did! At the time we did not know that his referral would go far beyond finding us help. Slowly we realized that it would become our own personal story of how we received grace and were reminded of the power in paying it forward

We wrote a detailed page of our dilemma, explaining how we came to be in the position we were in (overwhelmed with the hurdle that was Canadian Immigration and the uncertainty that we faced as a young family in Calgary). Evelyn agreed to take on our file with her team. They found the time to personally call us and listened intently and understood the details of what we were dealing with. They gave us their time, an honest opinion and provided clear direction which proved to be invaluable advice. Months went by but in time, we received word from Ackah Law that the Immigration office had finally reviewed our file and a decision had been made allowing our family to finally put the immigration matter to rest. We were finally able to focus again to live our lives without fear or pending doom.

Looking back now, even the sun appeared to shine a little brighter that day. At first we didn’t know whether to bake them a cake, drive out to meet their team, find their offices and personally thank them with a mighty hug or simply cry out to the heavens in thankful relief. Instead we emailed them to express our heartfelt thank-you and we hoped that they would know deep in their hearts just how grateful we were for all of their help.

Even though we relied on emails and phone conversations to communicate with them that year, we will always remember their constant professionalism, their kindness and understanding at a time that brought us so much pain not to mention fear. As if all their hard work wasn’t enough, Evelyn then then casually mentions that all their work was done pro-bono! We were thoroughly humbled!

To this day we are still eager to share how wonderful they all are as human beings but even more than that, we continue to pay it forward in honour of them, their service to us and their continued dedication in helping others.

Eternally thankful

– The Brummunds

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