External Advisory Committee on Regulatory Competitiveness: Meeting summaries for June 25, 26, and July 22, 2019

Meeting Summary for June 25 and 26, 2019

Meeting objectives

  • to identify key recommendations for advancing competitiveness in Canada’s regulatory framework
  • to provide advice on methods to examine how competitiveness analysis could be defined, integrated, and measured in the regulatory development process
  • to provide targeted advice to Health Canada on competitiveness issues identified in the Agri-food and Aquaculture Regulatory Review, including any observations on effective consultation and engagement mechanisms

Participants

  • Laura Jones (Chair)
  • Catherine Beaudry (June 25 only)
  • Stewart Elgie
  • Ginny Flood
  • Anne Fowlie
  • Don Mercer
  • Keith Mussar
  • Nancy Olewiler

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

  • Tina Green
  • Kyle Burns
  • Lindsay Wild
  • Brennen Young
  • Rob Turk
  • Claire Penny
  • Hélène Lowell
  • Allison Krogh

Chair’s opening remarks

The Chair welcomed Committee members and reviewed the agenda for the meeting.

Briefing on competitiveness in the regulatory framework

Tina Green, Assistant Secretary, Regulatory Affairs Sector, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, described the government’s efforts to integrate economic considerations and competitiveness into its regulatory framework while ensuring that regulations continue to protect the health, safety, security, and social and economic well‑being of Canadians. Members were briefed on the government’s efforts to improve competitiveness and measure the impact of regulations on competitiveness, including cumulative burden. Members discussed possible competitiveness gaps, which prevent the government from better assessing, considering, and achieving regulatory competitiveness.   

Perspectives on regulatory competitiveness

Members heard a variety of perspectives on regulatory competitiveness.   

  • Mike Beale, retired Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, conveyed his broad experience with the Canadian regulatory system and in working constructively with stakeholders while advancing public policy objectives.
  • Christine Little, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Government of British Columbia, discussed the B.C. government’s efforts to reduce red tape, which have led to a 50% reduction in the number of B.C. regulatory requirements since 1998.
  • Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, Director of Policy Analytics and a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, shared his views on regulatory measurement in the context of improving competitiveness.
  • Kathleen Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, Food and Beverage Canada, shared a private sector perspective on how industry and government can work together to advance both food safety protections and competitiveness.

Following the panel discussion, members discussed key take‑aways, including:

  • identifying opportunities to engage relevant parties early and often to facilitate dialogue throughout the development of regulations
  • investigating and considering experimentation with new available technologies to improve consultation
  • investigating the use of innovative approaches that allow for more intensive, interactive, multi‑party consultation for complex issues
  • examining best practices from other countries, as well as from provinces such as British Columbia, to develop broad-based metrics for a regulatory measurement program
  • exploring the use of machine-based text analysis and its potential for regulatory measurement
  • undertaking a mapping exercise to measure cumulative burden in one or more illustrative sectors in order to understand the aggregate net impact of federal, provincial, and international regulations and regulatory practices (for example, policy and guidance requirements) on that sector, including understanding the differences in burden on large, medium, and small businesses, as well as on consumers, where possible
  • developing a methodology for the ex-post analysis of regulations that are expected to impose $10 million or more in annual costs on business in order to assess both their effectiveness and their impact on competitiveness

Case study: Regulatory competitiveness and the Pest Control Products Act

Tyler Bjornson, President of the Canada Grains Council (CGC), and Jason Flint, Director General, Policy, Communications and Regulatory Affairs Directorate, Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), Health Canada, provided members with a stakeholder’s and a regulator’s perspective on regulatory competitiveness, respectively. Members discussed the key challenges for PMRA posed by its pesticides’ re-evaluation process.

How competitiveness analysis can be defined, integrated, and measured

Cary Coglianese, Edward B. Shils Professor of Law, and professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, and Craig Alexander, Partner and Chief Economist at Deloitte Canada, discussed challenges of measuring regulatory competitiveness. Key points raised included:

  • Limited data is available to measure competitiveness and cumulative burden
  • Limited data leads to perceptions that Canada is not doing well on regulatory competitiveness
  • Both benefits and costs should be taken into account when assessing regulations
  • Need to work with organizations such as Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development to determine what data sets could be generated to enhance the understanding of regulatory competitiveness in Canada
  • Managing risk can be done in different ways. For example, sandboxes can be used to generate data on the effectiveness of new technologies within a safe environment. Both businesses and governments could benefit from this data

Next steps

In preparation for a follow-up meeting on July 22, 2019, members reflected on their interactions with guest speakers and discussed possible advice and observations. The following broad themes emerged:

  • the importance of measuring cumulative burden when assessing regulatory competitiveness
  • best practices for consultation, engagement and communication
  • competitiveness issues in pesticides regulations that may be relevant in other regulated areas

Follow-up meeting summary for July 22, 2019

Meeting objectives

  • to build consensus on the proposed recommendations for the President of the Treasury Board
  • to outline potential opportunities to engage in consultations
  • to identify proposed agenda items and potential guest speakers for future meetings

Participants

  • Laura Jones (Chair)
  • Catherine Beaudry
  • Stewart Elgie
  • Ginny Flood
  • Anne Fowlie
  • Don Mercer
  • Keith Mussar
  • Nancy Olewiler

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

  • Kyle Burns
  • Brennen Young
  • Katherine Saunders
  • Ioana Cialacu
  • Claire Penny
  • Hélène Lowell
  • Allison Krogh
  • Christopher Lee

Welcome and roundtable

The Chair welcomed the members and provided an overview of the agenda.

Member discussion

Members continued their discussion of the broad themes that emerged from their June meeting. These themes are the basis for the Committee’s early observations and considerations for advancing Canada’s regulatory competitiveness, which will be captured in its future recommendations. 

Consultations

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat provided an update on future consultation plans related to the Canada Gazette, Part I, notice published on June 29, 2019, and invited members to participate.

Next steps

Member input will be sought for potential topics for future meetings.

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