External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness: Winter 2021 Meetings

The External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness (EACRC) is an advisory committee that provides independent advice to the President of the Treasury Board on opportunities to improve Canada’s regulatory competitiveness. EACRC meetings facilitate conversations between stakeholders to examine regulatory issues that impact Canadian business and that are bottlenecks to innovation and growth.

From January to March 2021, the EACRC held a series of meetings where members heard from a range of stakeholders and government partners in alignment with the EACRC’s terms of reference. Themes that arose during this period are listed below.

Consultations and engagement

The EACRC examined the role of consultation in the regulatory life cycle and heard from stakeholders about the challenges and considerations faced by regulators, businesses, and citizens. The EACRC considered the positive impacts of innovative consultation tools that are currently in use and being developed to facilitate better and more transparent engagement with government on proposed regulations. The committee’s March 2021 letter identified areas where further guidance could lead to more effective consultations.

Digitalization

The adoption of digital tools for service delivery was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The EACRC heard from stakeholders about the critical role that digital tools can play in enhancing government service delivery, promoting innovation and efficiency, and managing and assessing risk. The EACRC considered how digital tools such as artificial intelligence and digital credentials help reduce regulatory burdens for business and citizens and increase trust in public institutions. See the EACRC’s March 2021 letter to learn more about the committee’s recommendations on this topic.

Regulatory response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic

In its January 2021 letter, the EACRC recommended that government capture the best of the regulatory changes from the COVID-19 pandemic and focus on institutionalized changes that will contribute to Canada’s regulatory excellence in the future. To address this recommendation, the EACRC invited representatives from the federal government and the Government of Nova Scotia to share their reflections on regulatory response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic and identify what responses should be part of a permanent regulatory toolbox. The EACRC re-confirmed in its March 2021 letter that the government should continue to identify lessons learned for the regulatory system.

Regulatory Reviews round three

As part of the EACRC’s mandate to help identify opportunities to streamline regulations and regulatory changes that promote economic growth and innovation, it recommended topics for the second round of targeted Regulatory Reviews. Regulatory Reviews enable stakeholders to provide direct feedback on often longstanding regulatory issues and irritants. For a third round of Regulatory Reviews, the EACRC recommended the government focus on:

  1. capturing and institutionalizing pandemic-related improvements to regulatory agility
  2. addressing challenges in the system highlighted by COVID-19 that remain problematic post-pandemic
  3. continuing to advance digital innovation initiatives

Innovation

If Canada is to be at the forefront of innovation, government should be prepared to make significant investments in pushing the technology frontier and supporting innovators. With this in mind, the EACRC heard from academics and innovators on how regulations can support innovation, as well as some of the regulatory barriers faced by innovators as they look to take products to market.

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