Regulatory cooperation in Canada

What is regulatory cooperation?

Regulatory cooperation is a process where governments work together to:

  • reduce unnecessary regulatory differences;
  • eliminate duplicative requirements and processes;
  • harmonize or align regulations;
  • share information and experiences; and
  • adopt international standards.

Regulatory cooperation applies to a range of regulatory activities, including: policy development; inspections; certification; adoption and development of standards; and product and testing approvals.

Regulatory cooperation benefits Canadians in many ways. Here are a few examples of initiatives that have made a real difference to Canadian businesses and consumers.

Regulatory cooperation success

Collaboration on Consumer Product Safety

In 2015 the three North American national product safety organizations – Health Canada (HC), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Mexico’s Consumer Protection Federal Agency (PROFECO) – joined in an unprecedented tri-lateral initiative geared towards improving North American consumer product safety.

The first research project under this initiative focused on testing USB chargers and AC laptop chargers. These are products that North Americans use every day. Millions of chargers are sold every year and are used to charge a wide range of small electronic products.

The goal of this project was to identify the potential risk these products pose to users and property and identify possible improvements to existing safety standards. In , the three product safety organizations recommended that standards development organizations in all three jurisdictions add new testing requirements to existing standards to assess the potential for fire and burn hazards caused by AC powered chargers. This will improve safety standards for these products across all three countries.

This is the first project under the tri-lateral initiative and it serves as an inspirational model of collaboration across the three different jurisdictions. The three North American national product safety organizations plan on leveraging the success of this first project to tackle other consumer products.

Reduced costs to businesses

  • Canada and the U.S. have established a Common Electronic Submission Gateway for health product approvals. This electronic courier allows a company to submit information about a health product market authorization once for both countries. It is expected to save the Canadian pharmaceutical industry more than $22 million over 10 years in administrative costs alone.
  • In , Canada launched a pilot project for U.S. sunscreens to enter into Canada without being quarantined and tested for a second time at the border. It is estimated that this regulatory cooperation initiative will save the consumer health product industry $100,000 annually per sunscreen product.

More product choice and lower prices for consumers:

  • Canada and the U.S. have been working together to harmonize energy efficiency standards for products such as refrigerators and air conditioners. The most recent efforts to align standards will save Canadians about $1.8 billion in energy costs by 2030, and manufacturers about $1.5 million per year.
  • In , Canada and the U.S. formally recognized their respective regulations on the transportation of dangerous goods so that businesses are no longer required to seek approvals on both sides of the border. This increased efficiency means that Canadians will see better choice and prices for products such as propane tanks for outdoor grills.

Improved health, safety, security and environmental protection:

  • Canada and the U.S., through the RCC Aquaculture work plan, produced a joint study comparing the regulatory regimes for net pen aquaculture for each country. The study indicates both countries’ regulations lead to the production of healthy and sustainable farmed salmon and protect wild fisheries and the aquatic environment. Both Canada and the U.S. are committed to ongoing cooperation and the exchange of regulatory information on aquaculture and the aquatic environment.
  • Canada recently created the Locomotive Emissions Regulations (PDF, 3.1 MB) to reduce the amount of harmful air pollutants including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter allowed from trains as these pollutants contribute to health problems such as heart and lung diseases. The new regulations align Canada’s approach with U.S. Rule for Emissions Standards for Locomotives and Locomotive Engines.
  • Canada aligned Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations with the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (PDF, 1.5 MB) in 2017, requiring the use of electronic stability control systems (ESC) in all heavy vehicles. Requiring ESC systems will lead to positive net benefits for both truck tractors and motor coaches, preventing collisions and resulting in a minimum benefit of nearly $18 million over the average useful life of the vehicles.
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