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North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation: Submission Process

NAALC Process

As the U.S. NAO to the NAALC, OTAI is the focal point for the submission process. Once a submission is filed, consultations begin with OTAI's counterparts. The process provides numerous opportunites for formal and informal cooperative consultations. Unresolved matters then go forward to Minister-to-Minister Consultations. If a matter has not been resolved after ministerial consultations, it then may go before an Evaluation Committee of Experts (ECE). The ECE will issue a report to the Ministerial Council, possibly recommending further Minister-to-Minister Consultations. If the matter remains unresolved, a Ministerial Council Special Session may occur from which the matter may progress to dispute resolution. The ultimate outcome of the dispute settlement process may be a monetary assessment backed by a suspension of trade benefits.

Any person may file a submission with OTAI regarding labor law matters arising in either Mexico, Canada or the USA. Procedural guidelines require verification of minimum standards in order to begin the review process. The submission shall address and explain whether:

  • The complaints appear to demonstrate action inconsistent with another Party's obligations under the Agreement;
  • There has been harm to the submitter or other persons, and, if so, to what extent;
  • The matters appear to demonstrate a pattern of non-enforcement of labor law by another Party;
  • Relief has been sought under the domestic laws of another Party, and, if so, the status of any legal proceedings; and
  • The matters complained of are pending before an international body.

During this process, the role of the Secretariat is to write publications/reports and to provide staff/technical assistance to the Ministerial Council.

Submissions Filed with NAO

Consultations with Other NAOs

Minister-to-Minster Consulations

Evaluation Committee of Experts

Public Report Unresolved Matter


Ministerial Council -- Consultations

Ministerial Council Session

Dispute Resolution


If Unresolved

U.S. NAO Submissions Timeline

Once a submission is received by the OTAI, as the U.S. NAO, the Secretary has 60 days to accept or to decline the submission for review. If accepted, the U.S. NAO has 120 days with a possible extension of 60 days to issue the report. During the review process, the NAO may consult with other NAOs, may consult with the NAO Interagency Group, and may hold a hearing.

60 Days

120 Days with Possible 60-day Extension

Submission Received By OTAI

Accept or Decline

Consultations with NAOs

Consult with Various Agencies

Conduct Hearing

Issue Report