Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI)

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Declaration of Ottawa

List of Ministries of Labor of the Americas

Ministers of Labor of the Americas


Ministerial Conferences since 1963

XIV IACML – 2005

•  First Preparatory Meeting of the XIV IACML
•  Second Preparatory Meeting of the XIV IACML
•  Third Preparatory Meeting of the XIV IACML



XII IACML – 2001
•  Final Report
•  Declaration of Ottawa
•  Plan of Action of Ottawa
•  Declaration against the International Terrorism
•  Resolution: SISMEL
•  Challenges of Work for Century XXI

XI IACML – 1998
•  Declaration and Plan of Action of Viña del Mar
•  Final Report

X IACML - 1995
•  Declaration and Plan of Action of Buenos Aires

Ottawa, Canada, October 19, 2001

We, the Ministers participating in the XII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor of the Organization of American States, have met in Ottawa, Canada, October 17 to 19, 2001, to address issues related to globalization which affect employment and labor in the Americas.

We note that this Conference is one of the first ministerial meetings to follow up on the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas held in Quebec City, Canada, in April 2001. The Heads of State and Government instructed us to address the labor and employment dimensions of the Summit process.

Our deliberations have taken place within the goals set out in the Declaration of the Third Summit of the Americas. We recall the commitment of hemispheric leaders to pursue a coherent Plan of Action aimed at improving the political, economic and social well-being of the citizens of the Americas. It is with this broad vision of our hemispheric context that we have met to contribute to the further development of a socially just, economically prosperous community of the Americas in which citizens are able to achieve their full human potential.

We are building upon the Declaration of the XI Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor held in Viña del Mar, Chile in October 1998. We have also taken into account the International Labour Organization's (ILO) 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up.

We recognize the important progress achieved by the working groups established by the XI Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor. They have provided an understanding of existing and emerging issues related to the labor and social dimensions of globalization and have addressed the challenges related to the modernization of labor ministries. The Working Group on Modernization of the State and Labor Administration reached an important consensus on areas for technical cooperation and assistance.

The substantial efforts being made in sub-regional groupings of nations to address the labor dimensions of economic integration have been extensively studied and reported on by the Working Group on Globalization of the Economy and its Social and Labor Dimensions. We believe that this and other progress in pursuing the Plan of Action of the XI Conference have provided the necessary foundation for actions that we are now undertaking.

We agree that it is fundamentally important that the economy and businesses benefit the whole population and that we apply the ILO concept of "decent work" for the well-being of our citizens. We agree to promote and respect the basic rights of workers in accordance with what has been established in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up. We note the agreement of our leaders to adopt and implement legislation and policies that provide for the effective application of core labor standards as recognized in the Declaration, and we call upon the ILO to increase assistance to member states in order to attain these objectives. We will also promote the ratification of fundamental conventions of this organization. We note with satisfaction the ratification by many states in the Americas of a series of ILO conventions and encourage continued support of that organization's standards.

We shall strive to improve working conditions for people in all countries of the region, with special attention to those in the informal sector, people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, and other persons with different experiences and needs including women, youth, older workers, indigenous people, migrant workers, persons with disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS. We will seek to incorporate workers in the informal sector into the formal sector.

We recognize the importance of investing in human resource development, promoting employment security consistent with economic growth, taking action to create employment as an effective means of combating poverty, developing mechanisms to assist workers during periods of unemployment, and strengthening cooperation and social dialogue on labor matters between governments, workers, employers and their organizations.

We shall provide migrant workers within our countries with the same legal protections that we provide our nationals in respect of working conditions.

We will assess the labor implications of the Declaration of Quebec City which affirms that: "free trade, without subsidies or unfair practices, along with an increasing stream of productive investments and greater economic integration, will promote regional prosperity, thus enabling the rising of the standard of living, the improvement of working conditions of people in the Americas," and work to develop appropriate actions.

We will examine the labor dimensions of the Summit of the Americas process in order to identify areas of agreement and issues where further work needs to be done, and in particular, we will create a process for improved collaboration and coordination on these matters with other appropriate ministries. We will also promote improved cooperation with key international institutions within the Americas that have a critical role to play in the improvement of labor conditions, including the Organization of American States (OAS), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the World Bank.

We will develop new mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of projects and other technical assistance designed to build the capacity of smaller economies and their institutions, to effectively implement labor laws and standards and to foster equality of opportunity with respect to gender, among others, in strategies to promote employment, training, life-long learning, and human resource development programs, with the objective of promoting full and equal access to more and better employment.

We will strengthen the capacity of ministries of labor to develop and implement effective labor and labor market policies. We will collaborate with employer and worker organizations to develop and generate information on labor markets and will foster tripartite consultations to address labor and workplace issues. We will support alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and adopt effective strategies to respond to the training needs of workers.

We acknowledge the need to continue to improve methods and procedures for the development, compilation, and analysis of labor information in order to strengthen the participation of the Ministries of Labor in government decision-making.

We will continue to work towards the elimination of child labor and, as a priority, will promote hemisphere-wide ratification and implementation of the 1999 ILO Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182). We will work to bring all national laws, regulations and policies into conformity with this convention and will take immediate action to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.

We are committed to integrate a gender perspective into the development and implementation of all labor policies, to promote work-life balance, to protect the rights of women workers, and to take action to remove structural and legal barriers, as well as stereotypical attitudes to gender equality at work; to address gender bias in recruitment, working conditions, occupational segregation and harassment, discrimination in social protection benefits, women's occupational health and safety, unequal career opportunities and pay.

As expressed by our Heads of State and Government, we welcome and value the contributions of civil society, including business and labor organizations and in particular those of the Trade Union Technical Advisory Council (COSATE) and the Business Technical Advisory Committee on Labor Matters (CEATAL). We affirm that openness and transparency are vital to building public awareness and legitimacy for our undertakings. We call upon all citizens of the Americas to contribute to our work, and look forward to cooperating with the non-government sector.

We resolve to:

  1. Develop and implement a Plan of Action based upon this Declaration and the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas; build on the work of the XI Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor; and dedicate the necessary resources to this end.
  2. Establish two working groups: One will examine the labor dimensions of the Summit of the Americas process, including the questions of globalization related to employment and labor, to identify areas of agreement and issues where further work needs to be done, and to create a process for improved collaboration and cooperation on these labor dimensions with other government ministries. The other will continue to focus on building the capacity of labor ministries and their institutions to effectively implement labor laws, and will make special efforts to promote the ILO Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up within the Hemisphere.
  3. Improve collaboration and coordination with key international institutions in the Hemisphere that have a critical role to play in the improvement of labor conditions, in particular the OAS, ILO, IDB, ECLAC, PAHO as well as the CDB and the World Bank.
  4. Hold the XIII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor in Rio de Janeiro, Federative Republic of Brazil in 2003.