Briefing book - Internal Trade
[ * ] An asterisk appears where sensitive information has been removed in accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.
Internal trade is an essential element of the Canadian economy. It can support economic competitiveness by creating jobs, helping businesses expand, enhancing consumer choice, and increasing Canada’s overall economic growth.
The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) came into force on July 1, 2017, replacing the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The federal government and all provinces and territories (PTs) are signatories to the CFTA.
The CFTA covers nearly every sector of the economy, providing a comprehensive set of trade rules to facilitate trade in goods, services, investment and labour mobility within Canada. The CFTA:
- commits FPT governments to a comprehensive set of rules that are helping to achieve a modern and competitive economic union for all Canadians;
- reduces barriers to trade, investment, and worker mobility;
- has a negative list approach, where all sectors of the economy are covered unless exceptions are included;
- helps increase choice for consumers, expand access to government contracts, and create more jobs for Canadians;
- better aligns domestic trade commitments with those in Canada’s international agreements, such as the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA);
- established a number of forward-looking working groups and committees, including the Trade in Alcoholic Beverages Working Group, Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table and Northern Foods Working Group; and,
- includes a dispute resolution process through which a Party to the CFTA or a person may initiate a dispute against another Party to the CFTA that it believes is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with the Agreement.
The Committee on Internal Trade (CIT) is comprised of FPT ministers responsible for supervising the implementation of the CFTA, including oversight of a number of working groups established under the Agreement, assisting in the resolution of disputes, approving the annual operating budget of the Internal Trade Secretariat (ITS), and considering any other matter that may affect the operation of the CFTA.
The CIT meets annually. The last CIT face-to-face meeting was held on May 29, 2019. Minister Morneau, as acting minister responsible for internal trade, attended a portion of the CIT meeting in May 2019. A statement released by Minister Morneau following the meeting can be found in Part C.
Nova Scotia is the 2019 CIT chair, and Newfoundland and Labrador will become chair in 2020. The chair rotates annually between all 14 parties, including the federal government as set out in the CFTA. The federal government last chaired the CIT in 2013.
The next meeting of the CIT will be held on December 10, 2019 via teleconference, with all PT internal trade ministers. A draft agenda can be found in Part B. Additional information on this meeting including items for decision will be provided under separate cover.
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The Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) is a committee of senior-level federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) officials that provides a forum for governments to resolve existing barriers to trade resulting from differing regulations across the country and to collaborate on the development of common regulatory measures for emerging sectors or issues.
The RCT launched its first Work plan in 2018-2019 with 23 comprehensive items identified for regulatory reconciliation. [ * ]
- At present, two items under the RCT have been completed with implemented RAs in areas of federal jurisdiction only: aquaculture organic labelling and grade inspection for produce. [ * ]
Once a reconciliation agreement has been approved by the RCT, it must be accompanied by an implementation plan. A signed RA does not mean that implementation will happen concurrently. A Party may have to make legislative, regulatory and/or policy changes to implement the agreement, which may take considerable time after the agreement is signed. However, a public commitment to a timeframe will have been made.
The jurisdiction that chairs the CIT also chairs the RCT. Nova Scotia is currently chair, and Newfoundland and Labrador is vice-chair. A copy of the full RCT work plan is including in Part C.
[ * ]
Federal action to date has focused on working with PTs on a consensual basis. [ * ]
Implementation of the CFTA has focused on officials’ level working groups – particularly in regulatory reconciliation, but also for trade in alcoholic beverages, financial services and Party‑Specific Exceptions. Details on the activities of these FPT working groups, and key federal accomplishments to date, follows. More details on the status of key actions can be found in the chart at Tab A.
Fall Economic Statement 2018 announced the Government’s intent to work with PT partners to accelerate action to remove regulatory and other barriers in four areas:
- harmonizing requirements for the trucking industry;
- harmonizing food regulations and inspection rules across the country;
- aligning regulations in the construction sector, including building codes across Canada; and,
- facilitating greater trade in alcohol between PTs.
At the First Ministers Meeting in December 2018, First Ministers agreed to accelerate the work to address domestic barriers to trade, and committed to:
- develop harmonized standards in the trucking sector, including wide base tires, electronic logging devices, and size and weight restrictions;
- develop clearer rules for organic products and eliminate the duplication of food oversight and safety;
- develop ways to facilitate the sale of alcoholic beverages; and,
- reduce the number of exceptions and strengthen the dispute resolution provisions.
The federal government has taken several actions to enhance internal trade, including:
- repeal of any federal restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, entered into force in June 2019;
- National Building Codes were made available for free in November 2018;
- the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations took effect in January 2019, which enables regulatory harmonization in the agri-food sector;
- amendments to Canada’s vodka compositional standard took effect in June 2019;
- amendments to the federal Energy Efficiency Regulations for household appliances took effect in June 2019; and,
- consultations to amend the requirements for Product of Canada labels were completed in summer 2019, and awaiting approval of the proposed recommendations.
FPT collaboration also led to significant achievements, including:
- FPT Ministers of Transport agreed to harmonize standards for wide‑based tires for the trucking sector;
- FPT Ministers of Labour agreed to harmonize requirements for certain occupational health and safety equipment (e.g., hearing protection) and for first-aid kits;
- Internal Trade Ministers agreed at the May 2019 CIT meeting to assess the feasibility of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) system for alcoholic beverages, undertake a technical update of Party-Specific Exceptions in the CFTA, and introduce an administrative process into the CFTA that allows FPT governments to update its commitments for purposes of trade liberalization; and,
- in support of a DTC system, the Government of Canada committed to explore how it could help ensure that PTs receive appropriate revenue on DTC sales.
Financial Services Working Group
The Financial Services Working Group (FSWG) is responsible for the negotiations to incorporate rules applicable to financial services into the Agreement.
During the July 2018 Council of the Federation (COF) meeting, premiers directed Parties to continue discussions to bring the financial services sector under the CFTA in a manner that offers each PT the same or better treatment Canada offers its international trading partners. The FSWG, comprised of both trade and finance FPT officials, engage in weekly roundtable calls to negotiate financial services rules for the CFTA. [ * ]
[ * ]
Finance Canada is the federal lead in the negotiations, with support from PCO-IGA.
Trade in Alcoholic Beverages Working Group
The Trade in Alcoholic Beverages Working Group (TABWG) is responsible for developing and monitoring the implementation of an action plan on trade in alcoholic beverages.
At the November 2018 CIT meeting, FPT officials were tasked with developing an action plan based on the recommendations in the TABWG report and to describe how, and to what extent, FPT governments would implement the TABWG report recommendations. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are co-chairs.
CIT Ministers endorsed the “Alcohol Action Plan” at the May 2019 meeting. The Action Plan includes actions in a variety of areas, including personal use exemption limits; e-commerce platforms; and, improving existing and considering new sales channels (including DTC consumer sales). Of note, during the discussion on the Alcohol Action Plan at this meeting, Minister Morneau indicated that the Government of Canada would be willing to explore how it could help ensure that PTs receive the appropriate revenue on DTC alcohol sales.
A Direct-to-Consumer Sub-Working Group (DTCWG) was established to assess the feasibility of DTC sales under the TABWG. At the upcoming CIT meeting on December 10, 2019, the working group will be making interim recommendations to ministers, which will set the direction for development of policy options in 2020.
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PCO-IGA is working closely with colleagues from Finance Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Global Affairs Canada, and the Canada Revenue Agency through the DTCWG to support PTs on the feasibility of a DTC regime.
The CFTA contains a commitment for Parties to establish a working group on Party-specific exceptions that will consider ways to minimize and to eliminate those exceptions to enhance the overall ambition of this Agreement.
Beyond the commitment outlined in the text of the CFTA, there has been direction from both CIT ministers and First Ministers to begin exploring ways to reduce the number of exceptions in the Agreement.
At the CIT meeting held in November 2018, ministers asked FPT officials to conduct the necessary preparatory work to allow for a review of Party-specific exceptions. At the FMM in December 2018, First Ministers agreed to accelerate work to address internal trade barriers and strengthen the CFTA, in part, by reducing the number of exceptions. During the CIT meeting in May 2019, ministers were presented with a two-stage approach to reducing the number of Party-specific exceptions: (1) a technical review and the development of an amendment to the CFTA that would allow a Party to unilaterally liberalize its Party-specific exceptions; and, (2) substantive renegotiations.
Ministers supported the first stage of the approach, [ * ]
In September 2019, the federal government approved the amendment to the CFTA to allow Parties to liberalize their CFTA commitments by removing or narrowing their exceptions.
[ * ]
PCO-IGA continues to work closely with other government departments to better understand existing federal exceptions in CFTA Annex I, II and Government Procurement, and identify which exceptions may be removed or updated in the short-term and medium-term.
Cannabis for non-medical purposes
Under the CFTA, following royal assent of the Cannabis Act, Parties must negotiate the application of the CFTA to measures regarding cannabis for non-medical purposes.
The Cannabis Act received royal assent in June 2018 and came into force on October 17, 2018. The federal regulations on edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals came into force on October 17, 2019. Parties were waiting to see final regulations to assess if any adjustments for PT legislation would be required.
Negotiations have not yet begun, however, initial discussions have been held between PTs and the federal government. At the CIT teleconference on December 10 2019, Parties will be seeking ministers’ endorsement of the proposed timeline that has been developed to outline key milestones for the incorporation of cannabis for non-medical purposes into the CFTA.
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Northern Foods Working Group
The Northern Foods Working Group (NFWG), which consists of officials from the Government of Canada and the territories, developed a report identifying economic development opportunities and initiatives in the territories’ food sector. It provided its final report to the CIT in May 2018, identifying access to capital, funding innovation and research, enhancing regulatory capacity, and supporting local food production as key opportunities to enhance the northern food sector.
In October 2018, the territories submitted separate proposals to the Government of Canada seeking additional funding to support their efforts to address challenges faced in the food sector in their jurisdictions. PCO-IGA worked closely with different government departments to identify existing or new program funding to address elements of these proposals. Funding for a Yukon and Northwest Territories joint project on regulatory development was approved by the Minister of Agriculture in March 2019 through the Regional Collaboration Program.
Budget 2019 announced, as part of Canada’s Food Policy, $15 million in funding for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) to create the Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund (NICIF). Under CanNor’s Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund, $3.5 million is dedicated to addressing the territories’ northern food proposals and future NFWG initiatives under the CFTA. To date, two project proposals from Yukon and Nunavut have been funded by CanNor through this new stream.
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July 1, 2017 to present
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
|Implementing CFTA obligations
|Pass federal legislation to implement the Government’s commitments in the CFTA||Completed: December 15, 2017||Fed only|
|Each PT passes its own legislation to implement its commitments in the CFTA||In progress: [ * ] have indicated that they have not yet implemented some of the CFTA commitments.||PT only|
|Procurement dispute mechanism
|Amend the federal Canadian International Trade Tribunal Procurement Inquiry Regulations to allow a supplier to bring a complaint against a federal procurement that falls above the CFTA threshold||Completed: July 12, 2017||Fed only|
|Amend the federal Procurement Ombudsman Regulations to allow a supplier to bring a complaint against a federal procurement that falls below the CFTA threshold||Completed: December 15, 2017||Fed only|
|Each PT provides an administrative or judicial review procedure through which a supplier can bring a complaint against its procurements that fall above the CFTA threshold||Completed||PT only|
(PCO & OGDs)
|Reduce the number of Party-specific exceptions in the CFTA||In progress: Parties to undertake a technical update of all their exceptions (December 2019).
In progress: Parties seeking Ministerial approval of a streamlined process to amend exceptions [ * ]
|Dispute resolution for municipal measures
|Amend the CFTA to allow individuals and businesses to initiate disputes against municipal measures that do not meet the CFTA rules||In progress: [ * ]||PT only|
(PCO & FIN)
|Incorporate rules for financial services into the CFTA||In progress: Negotiations are currently underway; [ * ]||FPT|
|Cannabis for non-medical purposes
|Amend the federal Excise Act, 2001 to allow for (1) authorized out-of-province retailers to hold cannabis products stamped for a different jurisdiction, and (2) an individual to possess cannabis that is stamped for a different jurisdiction||Completed: April 2019||Fed only|
|Pass federal regulations regarding the sale of edible cannabis, extracts and topicals by October 17, 2019||Completed: October 2019||Fed only|
|Incorporate rules on trade in non-medical cannabis into the CFTA||In progress: Launch exploratory discussions in December 2019.||FPT|
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
|Trade in alcohol (PCO, CRA, FIN, GAC, AAFC)||Amend the federal IILA to remove the requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another be sold and consigned to a provincial liquor authority||Completed: Amendments to the IILA were included in the 2019 Budget Implementation Act. Royal assent June 21, 2019.||Fed only|
|Increase or remove the limit of alcohol that an individual can bring with them (on their person) from one province or territory to another||In progress: CIT Ministers approved the alcohol Action Plan at the May 29, 2019, meeting. [ * ] have or will implement their necessary changes over the next 1-2 years.||PT only|
|Implement a direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping regime for alcohol in Canada||In progress: Working group expected to provide an interim report to CIT Ministers on December 10, 2019; working group members include: [ * ]||FPT or PT only|
|Develop an information hub to allow businesses to easily find and access requirements related to each jurisdiction’s alcohol retailing and distribution systems||In progress: CIT Ministers approved this work at the May 29, 2019, meeting; [ * ]||FPT|
|Improve information and transparency in pricing and listing practices||Not started: CIT Ministers approved this work at the May 29, 2019, meeting. PT officials will begin work in the near term.||PT only|
|Enhance or develop e-commerce platforms within local markets||Not started: CIT Ministers approved this work at the May 29, 2019, meeting. PT officials will begin work in the near term.||PT only|
|Amend the vodka standard in the federal Food and Drug Regulations to permit innovation and harmonize with international trading partners||Completed: June 2019||Fed only|
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
|Weight parity for wide-base tires
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to allow wide-base tires in place of double tires||In progress: FPT Ministers of Transportation agreed to MOU (January 21, 2019); all parties have signed except for [ * ]||FPT|
|Electronic logging devices
|Develop a national technical standard for electronic logging devices||Completed: Winter 2019||FPT|
|Develop federal regulations on electronic logging devices||Completed: June 2019||Fed only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to adopt the use of electronic logging devices across the country||In progress: FPT officials are drafting a reconciliation agreement||FPT|
|Aquaculture site marking
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize site marking requirements||In progress: Parties expected to sign a reconciliation agreement [ * ]||FPT|
|Trucking vehicle weights and dimensions (VWD)
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize VWD requirements||Not started: The Task Force on Trucking Harmonization Membership has prepared a report entitled “Supporting the Efficient Movement of Trucks Across Canada: Suggested Approaches by the Task Force on Trucking Harmonization”, which has been transmitted to the Task Force on VWD for their consideration.||PT only|
|Truck driver certification – mandatory entry-level training for commercial drivers
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize truck driver certification.||In progress: FPT WG established and drafting underway; stakeholder consultations in summer and early fall 2019. [ * ]||FPT|
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
|Organic labelling on aquaculture
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to expand the scope of products that can be labelling as “organic” to include aquaculture||Completed: June 15, 2018||Fed only|
|Finalize the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its regulations||Completed: January 15, 2019||Fed only|
|Produce grading requirements
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to remove certain grading requirements on certain types of produce||Completed: June 15, 2018||Fed only|
|Finalize the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its regulations||Completed: January 15, 2019||Fed only|
(PCO, ISED/CANNOR, CIRNA, CFIA)
|Develop actions to support northern foods sectors, responding to funding proposals from territories||Completed: YK and NWT proposals were approved on March 19, 2019 through the Regional Collaboration Program. Yukon College and the Government of Nunavut have submitted project proposals through the Northern Isolated Territories Community Fund; pending approval.||Fed only|
|Food/meat inspection (CFIA)||Finalize the Safe Food for Canadians Act and its regulations to consolidate and modernize existing food regulations||Completed: January 15, 2019||Fed only|
|Develop an FPT equivalency tool for food/meat inspection for PT governments to self-assess their inspection regimes with the federal regime||In progress: Equivalency tool finalized. CFIA working with interested provinces to pilot tool; timing TBC.||FPT|
|National Organic Standard
|PTs adopt the National Organic Standard||[ * ] CFIA provided an overview of the federal organic regulations at a FPT Regulatory ADMs of Agriculture meeting in Feb/March 2019 [ * ].||PT only|
|Regulatory duplication of food oversight
|Eliminate the duplication of food oversight||In progress: CFIA is working with QC to update inspection agreements that allow for food producers to have a single point of contact for food inspections||FPT - bilateral|
|Container sizes and labelling requirements
|Repeal certain federal container size requirements and streamline federal labelling requirements||In progress: [ * ] CGI June 22, 75 day comment period (ending September 4), CGII June 15, 2020 (TBC).||Fed only|
|Product of Canada
|Review the definition of Product of Canada in federal guidelines||In progress: CFIA and AAFC proposed recommendations; decision deferred until late Fall 2019.||Fed only|
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
(ISED - CC)
|Simplify corporate registration through the Multi-Jurisdictional Registry Access Service (MRAS) – i.e. allow business searches across PT registries and streamline extra-provincial registration and reporting||In progress: Five PTs have joined MRAS since September 2017. In September 2018, a virtual registry tool was added. Release of streamlined registration and reporting through MRAS (TBC).||FPT|
|PTs agree to waive fees for extra-provincial business registration||In progress: Premiers of NS and MB circulated a letter on September 25, 2018, underscoring the significance of waiving fees for extra-provincial business registration||PT only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to align registration requirements for workers’ compensation across jurisdictions||In progress: A working group has been formed and discussions are ongoing||PT only|
|Prompt payment legislation
|Pass federal legislation to improve the timeliness of payments for federal construction contracts||Completed: Federal legislation on prompt payment is included in the 2019 Budget Implementation Act. Royal assent June 21, 2019.||Fed only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize prompt payment requirements across the country||Not started: Added to the RCT’s 2019-2020 work plan||FPT|
|Construction labour mobility
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to remove barriers in Quebec that make it challenging for workers outside of a specific region in the province from participating in construction projects||[ * ]||PT only|
|Gas fitter technicians
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize the requirements for, and adopt, a national licence for gas fitters||[ * ] Added to the RCT’s 2019-2020 work plan||PT only|
|Occupational health and safety (OSH) requirements
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize OSH requirements for first aid kits, hearing protection, personal flotation devices, and head, foot and eye protection||In progress: One signature remaining [ * ]||FPT|
|Amend the federal Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to implement the reconciliation agreement||In progress: [ * ] CGII July 10 release for head, eye, face, foot protection and flotation devices. Additional amendments to the federal regulations will be required.||Fed only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize OSH requirements for each of the following: (1) workplace first aid training, (2) fall protection, (3) occupational exposure limits, (4) OHS management system||Not started: The working group, CAALL-OSH, was focusing on the reconciliation agreement for first aid kits, etc.||FPT|
|Barrier||Action||Status||FPT / PT only / Fed only|
|Repeal the outdated federal Timber Marking Act that requires timber to be marked when floated down inland rivers in certain provinces||Completed: December 15, 2017||Fed only|
|Construction codes (NRC)||Make the National Building Code available for free online||Completed: April 1, 2019||Fed only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize to the National Building Code||In progress: FPT governments are currently awaiting endorsement of the reconciliation agreement by the RCT before it can be signed.||FPT|
|Energy efficiency standards for household appliances
|Amend the federal Energy Efficiency Act to allow the Minister of Natural Resources to amend regulations to maintain harmonization with international trading partners||Completed: December 15, 2017||Fed only|
|Amend the federal Energy Efficiency Regulations to modernize the energy efficiency standards for certain household appliances and harmonize with international trading partners||Completed: CGII June 12, 2019||Fed only|
|Sign a reconciliation agreement for PT governments to harmonize to the federal standard||In progress: FPT governments are currently awaiting endorsement of the reconciliation agreement by the RCT before it can be signed||FPT|
|Pressure equipment (ISED - SCC)||Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize registration numbers for pressure equipment||In progress: Five Parties have not yet signed: [ * ]||PT only|
|Upholstered and stuffed articles
(ISED - CB, HC)
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize to the federal standard for labelling upholstered and stuffed articles||In progress: Parties to sign reconciliation agreement [ * ]||FPT|
|Drug scheduling requirements
|Sign a reconciliation agreement to harmonize the approach to drug scheduling across the country||In progress: A working group has been formed and discussions are ongoing||FPT|
A Committee on Internal Trade (CIT) Ministers call is scheduled for December 10, 2019. It will focus on the following issues: conclusion of the financial services negotiations; technical update of party-specific exceptions and status of this work; work plan for launching negotiations on non-medical cannabis; and, an update on alcohol. Additional information for the CIT meeting, including Canada’s positions, will be shared under separate cover.
Regardless of future decisions on the direction of the internal trade file for the federal government, the following issues will need to be addressed in the short-term in order to meet Canada’s obligations. Issue briefs follow, providing additional details on each of the items below.
Since the entry into force of the Agreement, the CIT Ministers have agreed to timelines related to the conclusion of the financial services negotiations by November 29, 2019. An update will also be provided to the Council of the Federation (COF) by December 30, 2019.
[ * ]
Review of party-specific exceptions
The CFTA is often criticized for the large number of Party-specific exceptions carving out certain sectors of the economy from the CFTA rules. At the CIT meeting in May 2019, Parties agreed to undertake a technical update to remove their specific exceptions from the CFTA.
At the upcoming CIT meeting on December 10, 2019, you will be asked to provide an update on the status of the Government of Canada’s technical update of its exceptions. [ * ]
You may also wish to signal Canada’s intent to conduct a more substantive review in the coming months. [ * ]
Direct-to-consumer sale of alcohol
Interim recommendations on a potential Direct-to Consumer (DTC) system have been developed by a FPT working group, and will be presented to ministers at the upcoming CIT meeting on December 10, 2019. [ * ]
Given that non-medical cannabis had not been legalized at the time the CFTA concluded, the Parties agreed to commence negotiations regarding the application of this Agreement to measures regarding cannabis for non-medical purposes upon Royal Assent of federal legislation with respect to cannabis for non-medical purposes.
At the CIT meeting scheduled for December 10, 2019, Ministers will be asked to approve the timeline for the conclusion of the negotiations. [ * ]
Parties are negotiating rules on financial services to be included in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).
Article 1205 of the CFTA requires Parties to enter into negotiations to incorporate rules applicable to financial services into the Agreement.
[ * ]
According to Article 1205, Parties must conclude negotiations by November 29, 2019. [ * ]
Finance Canada is the federal government lead in these negotiations, with support from PCO-Intergovernmental Affairs and Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
[ * ]
- The CIT meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2019; [ * ]
All federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments are undertaking a technical update of their Party-specific exceptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).
There are two types of exceptions in the CFTA: (1) General Exceptions in Chapter 8; and, (2) Party-Specific Exceptions in Chapter 5 – Government Procurement and Chapter 9 - Annex I and II. The General Exceptions allow a Party to introduce measures related to Aboriginal Peoples, national security, taxation, social services, culture, supply management, and not be subject to the Agreement. Whereas, Chapter 5 and Chapter 9 exceptions allow FPT governments to exclude key sectors, where they may introduce or adopt measures that are inconsistent with the Agreement.
The CFTA contains a commitment for Parties to establish a working group on Party‑specific exceptions that will consider ways to minimize and to eliminate those exceptions to enhance the overall ambition of this Agreement.
At the First Ministers meeting in December 2018, First Ministers agreed to accelerate work to address internal trade barriers and strengthen the CFTA, including reducing the number of exceptions.
At the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT) meeting in May 2019, ministers agreed to undertake a technical update of Party-specific exceptions in Annex I and II and government procurement in the Agreement with the objective of eliminating and/or narrowing the scope of the exceptions and improving overall transparency (e.g., update references to old or outdated legislation or regulations). Ministers also agreed to include an amendment to the CFTA that would allow a Party to unilaterally amend its exceptions for the purposes of liberalizing trade. [ * ]
Over summer 2019, FPT officials negotiated an administrative process to be included in the CFTA that would allow a Party to voluntarily remove or narrow its exceptions in the Agreement in a streamlined way. The existing mechanism in the Agreement is overly burdensome and requires consensus on the proposed amendments, which can sometimes result in long delays if multiple Parties require Cabinet approval in order to agree to the proposed amendment. The Government of Canada approved the amendment in early September 2019. At the time of writing, 12 of 14 jurisdictions have approved. Once all Parties have approved the amendment, the change takes immediate effect in the Agreement.
[ * ]
CFTA Parties are criticized for the number of exceptions in the Agreement. Certain provinces have pointed to Canada as having the most, in particular the exceptions taken in the government procurement chapter. Most provinces and territories (PTs) only maintain an exception if it is designed to confer a benefit to its residents and businesses at the expense of non-residents. On the other hand, as the federal government has no market of its own and regulates across PT borders, Canada’s exceptions are included to account for considerations related to national security and securing international market access for Canada in future or existing trade agreements, in addition to respecting existing PT agreements. While Canada may have a large number, the scope of the exceptions is the most important consideration. Very few of Canada’s exceptions in the CFTA constitute a meaningful barrier to trade (see table attached).
Alberta and Manitoba indicated their intent to remove the majority of their party‑specific exceptions, notably in the government procurement chapter. Since July 2019, the Government of Alberta has committed to removing 21 party-specific exceptions and narrowing two more; all government procurement exceptions will be removed. This will reduce the number of exceptions to six. In October 2019, Manitoba announced they would remove six exceptions, and narrow one exception. This will make Manitoba and Alberta the only two parties who have no government procurement exceptions in the Agreement. Both Parties have taken proactive steps to update or modify existing legislation or policy to ensure that removal of these exceptions would not put the jurisdictions off-side the obligations in the Agreement. [ * ]
[ * ]
- During the CIT call on December 10, 2019, ministers will be asked to provide an update on the status of their technical reviews, and to identify which exceptions they will be seeking to remove or narrow in the Agreement.
- Over the last several months, the federal government has been assessing its exceptions, including identifying which exceptions could be part of this technical update and areas that would require policy or legislative changes if they were removed. [ * ]
Parties are exploring options to liberalize trade in the alcoholic beverages sector in Canada.
There are no federal barriers to trade of alcohol in Canada. In June 2019, the federal government removed the only federal restriction in the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act that required alcohol moving from one province to another go through a provincial liquor authority. However, all provinces, except for Manitoba, have included an exception in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) restricting the trade of alcoholic beverages. [ * ]
At the Committee on Internal Trade (CIT) meeting in November 2018, Internal Trade Ministers directed officials to develop an Action Plan to enhance trade in alcoholic beverages. Following the May 2019 meeting, the Action Plan was released publicly, and includes the following actions:
- Personal use exemption limits - PTs with personal use exemption limits for the amount of alcoholic beverages transported by individuals across PT boundaries, for personal use, will work to either remove or increase existing limits.
- E-commerce platforms - PTs without a retail e-commerce platform for the sale of alcoholic beverages will work to implement a retail e-commerce platform or develop a website allowing consumers to see their liquor board’s product assortment. Provinces with existing e‑commerce platforms will explore options to offer more flexible processes for listings on the platform to expand market access opportunities for producers.
- Improving existing, and considering new sales channels - In an effort to improve existing sales channels, PTs will work to reduce administrative burdens, improve special-order processes, streamline sales processes, and improve access, selection and availability of alcoholic beverages to consumers within that PT. Some PTs and the federal government are working together through a technically focused working group to assess the feasibility of direct-to-consumer sales (DTC).
- Improving transparency and accessibility of information - Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments are developing an online bilingual information hub. Targeted to alcohol manufacturers, it will provide information related to each jurisdiction’s alcohol retail and distribution systems on a single website to improve transparency and accessibility. The information and links on the website will be regularly reviewed and updated, and be linked to the existing Canadian Free Trade website hosted by the Internal Trade Secretariat.
- Increasing transparency in pricing - For greater transparency, each PT will work to make basic information on its pricing policies for alcoholic beverages publicly available. Each PT will work to be transparent about the pricing structures of alcoholic beverages, and will make it easier to see the components that make up the final retail or wholesale price, where applicable.
- Improving listing practices - PTs will make it easier to access information about their listing practices for alcoholic beverages (e.g., ensuring that listing practices are posted on liquor board’s websites). They will also develop and/or refine processes related to listing practices to increase transparency.
- Maintaining a Federal/Provincial/Territorial working group - FPT governments will maintain a working group for trade in alcoholic beverages to monitor the ongoing implementation of the Alcoholic Beverages Working Group’s recommendations, discuss emerging issues in the alcohol sector, and liaise with stakeholders as needed. This working group will be established for four years, after which the governments will evaluate whether the group should continue.
The FPT Working Group is on track to meet its timeline to establish a single website targeted to alcohol manufacturers that will provide information related to each jurisdiction’s alcohol retail and distribution systems to improve transparency and accessibility. [ * ]
[ * ]
At the CIT meeting in May 2019, Minister Morneau indicated that the Government of Canada would be willing to explore how it could help ensure that PTs receive the appropriate revenue on DTC alcohol sales (e.g., administering a federal levy on alcohol sales). [ * ]
Given the different elements under consideration, and the links to a number of departmental mandates, federal officials from Global Affairs Canada, Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada, Finance Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and PCO-Intergovernmental Affairs are engaged on this file.
PTs are generally supportive of enhancing the trade of alcoholic beverages within Canada. [ * ]. In October 2019, the Ontario Government announced its intent to remove all interprovincial limits on the importation of all alcoholic beverages for personal consumption into Ontario. [ * ]
[ * ]
Although this working group was able to reach consensus in several areas, differences between jurisdictions in their regimes for sales of alcoholic beverages and mark-ups will warrant further analysis as to the potential impact a DTC system may have in each jurisdiction. [ * ]
- The DTC working group will present interim recommendations to ministers at the December 10, 2019 CIT meeting, which will set the direction for development of policy options in 2020. The recommendations and summary analysis will be outlined in a report to ministers, which is currently being finalized by the working group.
- [ * ]
- The federal government will continue to communicate with provinces that any approach taken for DTC must be compliant with Canada’s international trade obligations.
- Finance Canada will continue to consider all options for administering a levy and seek approval from the Minister of Finance on a path forward, once provinces determine the scope of a model that wish to pursue for DTC.
Parties will start negotiations on the inclusion of non-medical cannabis to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).
Given cannabis used for non-medical purposes had not yet been legalized at the time of the conclusion of the CFTA, the Parties agreed to the following (Article 1206):
- this Agreement does not apply to any measure adopted or maintained by a Party with respect to cannabis for non-medical purposes;
- the Parties shall commence negotiations regarding the application of this Agreement to measures regarding cannabis for non-medical purposes upon Royal Assent of federal legislation with respect to cannabis for non-medical purposes;
- at the outset of those negotiations, Parties shall agree to the timeline for their conclusion; and,
- upon conclusion of those negotiations, measures with respect to cannabis for nonmedical purposes shall be subject to this Agreement to the extent agreed to by the Parties.
Parties have adopted a range of regulatory approaches for cannabis, with variations in the degree of government involvement in core functions such as wholesale, distribution and retail. Some Parties’ regulatory models continue to evolve.
The federal regulations on edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals came into force on October 17, 2019. Parties were waiting to see final regulations to assess if any adjustments for provincial and territorial (PT) legislation would be required.
[ * ]
The federal government, through relevant legislation and recent amendments to the Excise Tax, has ensured that there are no federal restrictions to the movement of cannabis within Canada.
- At the December 10, 2019, CIT call, Parties will seek Ministers’ endorsement of the proposed timeline that has been developed to outline key milestones for the incorporation of cannabis for non-medical purposes into the CFTA.
- As the federal regulator, Health Canada will continue to be engaged in the negotiations. Global Affairs Canada will also be engaged to ensure trade compliance with any addition to the CFTA.
Proposed timeline for cannabis negotiations
|Complete exploratory discussions||[ * ]||Environmental Scan:
|Scope||[ * ]||Determine scope of negotiations
[ * ]
|Formal negotiations||[ * ]||[ * ]|
|Protocol of amendment||[ * ]||Incorporate changes through a Protocol of Amendment – [ * ]|
Provinces and territories continue to work towards strengthening internal trade within Canada and removing barriers that impact the economy as a whole, although the priority on internal trade varies between jurisdictions.
All provinces and territories were signatories to the original 1994 Agreement on Internal Trade, with the exception of Nunavut. When the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) entered into force on July 1, 2017, all provinces and territories (PTs), including Nunavut, and the federal government signed.
There are a few trade enhancement arrangements between the provinces and territories. The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA), comparable to the CFTA, entered into force on July 1, 2010 and was fully implemented on July 1, 2013. The Agreement includes the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Colombia. Manitoba joined in November 2016, and full transition is expected by January 1, 2020. The NWPTA commits each jurisdiction to enhance trade, investment and labour mobility, and remove barriers among these jurisdictions. It also requires the western provinces to eliminate unnecessary differences in business standards and regulations, and allow goods, services, capital and works to flow freely across all four borders, unless there is an exception.
Other trade enhancement arrangements such as the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between Ontario and Quebec entered into force on October 1, 2009, to promote trade and economic cooperation, promote labour mobility and better regulatory harmonization between the two provinces.
During the CFTA negotiations in 2014, provinces and territories were supportive of strengthening and modernizing internal trade, and shared the goal to create new opportunities within Canada for Canadians and businesses. At the time, there was strong support shown by the Committee on Internal Trade ministers and the Council of the Federation to undertake a comprehensive renewal of the AIT. This was largely to ensure that the internal trade agreement aligned with Canada’s international trade agreements; at the time, the Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations were ongoing.
Since the entry into force of the CFTA, PTs have been participating on the various working groups and committees established under the Agreement. [ * ]
The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia have been advocates for removing internal trade barriers and enhancing trade within Canada, both under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and NWPTA, and by addressing regulatory and red tape barriers within their respective markets. A comparison of the CFTA and NWPTA agreements is attached in the Annex.
In a press release issued on November 9, 2019, following Premier Kenny’s speech at the Manning Centre “What’s Next?” Conference, the Government of Alberta identified a number of urgent issues, including the need to press for a Charter of Economic Rights to strengthen the economic union by eliminating interprovincial trade barriers. This is similar to what was proposed in an op-ed written by Premier Pallister in December 2018, and published in the Financial Post. The op-ed proposed a “grand bargain” between the Government of Canada and the PTs regarding interprovincial trade and health care. The “Charter of Economic Rights could clarify the vital rights of Canadians to sell their goods and services and exercise their trades and professions in every part of Canada” that PTs would “acquiesce”. In exchange, the Government of Canada “would ensure the provinces have revenue sources under their own control equal to their health-care responsibilities”. This proposed “grand bargain” was reiterated in a news release from Premier Pallister dated February 26, 2019.
In June 2019, the premiers hosted their annual Western Premiers Conference to discuss a number of areas of mutual interest, such as market access, internal trade and labour mobility. They committed to improving internal trade and reiterated the importance of efforts to reduce barriers, and committed to improving labour mobility between their jurisdictions.
All four western provinces have formally signalled support for the amendment to the CFTA to allow a Party to unilaterally liberalize its exceptions. This process is not new for the western provinces, as the NWPTA already includes such a process. The process under NWPTA is more straightforward than the CFTA because once a NWP province decides to amend its commitments (for purposes of liberalizing); it does not require consultations with the other Parties. [ * ]
The four western provinces have been supportive of enhancing the trade and sale of alcohol within Canada. Alberta and Saskatchewan have removed existing limits on the importation of alcoholic beverages into their provinces. Manitoba never had such limits, and British Columbia has committed to removing existing limits by June 2020. [ * ]
The four have also been supportive of the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) work. The four provinces have already endorsed the five completed reconciliation agreements (Canada Registration Number for pressure vessels, Occupational health and safety, Wide-base single tires, Aquaculture organic labeling, Grade inspection for produce), [ * ]
In February 2019, the four provinces entered into an agreement to establish a single dispute resolution procedure for procurement under multiple trade agreements, including the NWPTA, the CFTA, and CETA. This dispute resolution procedure, called a bid protest mechanism, applies to any trade agreement and allows the four provinces to meet their obligations under all domestic and international trade agreements by simplifying the process to address procurement concerns more efficiently.
[ * ]
Premier Kenney, in his capacity as minister responsible for internal trade, has been a champion for internal trade. Over the last few months, he announced the removal of 21 of the Government of Alberta’s party-specific exceptions in the CFTA, removing all of its procurement exceptions, and narrowing two additional exceptions. The Premier recently shared his letter to the Prime Minister publicly on social media, and reiterated the Alberta Government’s expectations to advancing the file, including seeking federal action not only on federal exceptions and the movement of alcohol within Canada, but also the removal of federal restrictions on the movement of provincially inspected meat.
The Government of Alberta played a significant role [ * ] to advance the development of an amendment to the Agreement that allows a Party to unilaterally liberalize its commitments. The federal government was supportive of this process and Minister Morneau approved the First Protocol of Amendment to the CFTA at the end of the summer. [ * ]
In October 2019, Premier Pallister announced that the Manitoba government was removing six of its exceptions (e.g., limitations on oil and gas pipelines, forestry and logging products, certain preferences for Manitoba residents), and narrowing one exception under the CFTA. Like Alberta, the Premier encouraged the federal government and PTs to do the same. Manitoba is now one of only two jurisdictions in Canada with no procurement exceptions under the CFTA. The Manitoba Government also approved the Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement that enables a streamlined process for liberalizing its commitments.
[ * ]
On December 13, 2018, following the First Minister’s Meeting in Montreal, Premier Pallister issued a news release, and called for decisive federal action to reduce internal trade barriers. Manitoba also noted its request for the federal government to reduce existing barriers in the area of Environmental Assessment (Bill C-69) and Fisheries Act amendments (Bill-68), reduce federal exceptions in the CFTA (largely in procurement), meat inspections for processing and sale, new food inspection rules under The Safe Food For Canadians Act, and alignment of energy-efficiency standards for home appliances.
[ * ]
[ * ] Saskatchewan did recently formally approve the amendment to the CFTA to allow Parties to unilaterally liberalize their exceptions, which signals its ongoing priority for improving internal trade within Canada.
In fall 2018, the premiers from Saskatchewan and Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding related to interprovincial trade, with a focus on removing trade and regulatory barriers.
[ * ] British Columbia also formally approved the First Protocol of Amendment to the CFTA for the inclusion of a streamlined process to liberalize individual commitments in the Agreement.
In July 2019, the British Columbia Government announced the removal of all personal exemption limits for the importation of alcohol. In a side agreement with the United States as part of the Canada, U.S. and Mexico negotiations, British Columbia agreed to eliminate measures which only allowed British Columbia wine to be sold at grocery stores, to allow for more international wine selections in these stores. British Columbia, however, still permits home delivery of 100 per cent Canadian wine from outside the Province.
In February 2018, a case between the Governments of British Columbia and Alberta was brought forward under the CFTA because of an Alberta ban on wine from British Columbia. Alberta introduced this ban as a means to advance the impasse with British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The ban has since been removed in late February 2018, following a mutual satisfactory outcome for both Parties.
Ontario served as chair during the CFTA negotiations, and is currently the chair of the financial services negotiations. Since the conclusion of the CFTA, the Government has taken a few steps towards reducing trade barriers, and has been focused on red tape reduction. Premier Ford continues to position Ontario as open for business, and has taken a number of steps to cut red tape across government to make it easier and more cost effective to do business in the Province.
In September 2019, Ontario pledged to accelerate the removal of barriers, signalling its support of the amendment to the CFTA to allow a FPT government to remove or narrow its exceptions in the Agreement. [ * ]. The Ontario Government also indicated it would remove its personal exemption limits on alcohol, and signalled it would end its agreement with the Beer Store to allow for sale of alcohol in more private retails.
In 2018, Ontario also amended rules to allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores. In October 2018, Ontario signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Saskatchewan to improve trade between the two provinces; launching a joint red-tape reduction working group focused on removing barriers in transportation and agriculture.
[ * ]
[ * ] Newfoundland and Labrador will take over as chair of the Committee on Internal Trade in January 2020 [ * ].
Nova Scotia has removed its personal exemption limits; [ * ].
As a negotiated outcome from the CFTA, the federal government agreed to establish a Northern Food working group with the territories to identify ways to access capital, fund innovation and research, enhance regulatory capacity and support local food production in the northern food sector. [ * ] Through the Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund, announced in Budget 2019, both the Yukon and Nunavut received funding for food proposals. This new fund has a dedicated stream of funding ($3.5M) for proposals related to the CFTA Northern Food working Group. In March 2019, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon received funding from the existing Agriculture and Agri-food Canada Regional Collaboration Program to undertake a joint‑project focused on regulatory development.
The territories are supportive of improvements to the CFTA, including the First Protocol of Amendment to introduce a streamlined process to remove Party-specific exceptions. [ * ]
|Obligations||Canadian Free Trade Agreement1||New West Partnership Agreement2||Considerations|
|Scope and overall coverage in the Agreement||The Agreement applies to trade in goods, services and investment across all sectors, including labour mobility, and includes general exceptions for sensitive policies (e.g., Aboriginal Peoples, culture) and Party-specific exceptions.||All measures related to trade (goods and services), investment, and labour mobility are covered, unless specifically excluded. The signatories included exceptions for sensitive policy areas they wished to carve out of the Agreement.
||Both agreements take a negative list approach for coverage in the Agreement, which means everything is covered unless there is an exception listed in the Agreement or posted on the Labour Mobility website.|
|It contains specialized rules for goods (including technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures), services, investment, monopolies and government enterprises, incentives, government procurement, environment and labour mobility.||It contains specialized rules for investment, business subsidies, procurement, energy, transportation, monopolies and government enterprises, incentives, government procurement, environment and labour mobility.||The overall scope of the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) is broader, and covers financial services and alcohol.|
|The Agreement also contains an obligation on standards that Parties shall cooperate to develop a national standards if one does not exist.||The Agreement also contains an obligation on standards, which prohibits government measures from restricting or impairing trade and requires Parties to cooperate to “minimize differences” in standards or regulations.||The NWPTA does not include specialized rules for services, or technical barriers to trade or sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures like in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). In the CFTA, Parties must ensure its technical regulation (e.g., product sizes, labelling requirements) do not create unnecessary barriers and serve legitimate policy objectives. The SPS measures cannot create barriers and should only serve legitimate human, animal, and plant health objectives.|
|The CFTA does not cover financial services and cannabis for non-medical purposes; however, these rules are currently being negotiated.||The NWPTA covers financial services without exceptions, although Manitoba will be subject to these rules on January 1, 2020.||NWPTA covers financial services and does not contain any related exceptions; [ * ]|
|There is a federal, provincial, territorial ministerial committee that oversees the implementation and ongoing adherence to the Agreement – Committee on Internal Trade ministers.||There is ministerial committee that oversees the implementation and the ongoing adherence to the Agreement.|
|General exceptions||The CFTA contains a number of general exceptions in the areas of Aboriginal Peoples, National Security, Taxation, Water, Divestitures, Social Services, Tobacco Control Measures, Services Supplied in the Exercise of Governmental Authority, Language, Culture, Canadian Citizenship and Permanent Residency Requirements, Gambling and Betting, Collective Marketing (i.e., supply managed agriculture), and Passenger Transportation Services.||The NWPTA contains a number of general exceptions related to aboriginal peoples, water, taxation, regulated rates, royalties and market-ups, social policy (e.g., wages) and land use.||The CFTA transparently describes what measures are not covered by the obligations in the CFTA for the policies included in the general exceptions. Whereas, it is unclear in the NWPTA whether it is all measures are covered or only certain ones.|
|These exceptions apply to all Parties.||There are also a number of general exceptions for the specialized rules related to business subsidies, procurement, energy and minerals, transportation, regional economic development, forest, fish and wildlife, and environment.||The CFTA general exceptions highlight how policy varies across the country in key policy areas.|
|The NWPTA does not include exceptions for culture (e.g., cultural industries), language or gambling and betting.|
|Party-specific exceptions||The exceptions in the CFTA cover a range of key policy areas including but not limited to, investment, energy, telecommunications, transportation, alcoholic beverages, tourism, real estate services.||Parties have taken specific exceptions for investment, energy, agriculture and transportation. They most relate to existing residency or ownership restrictions.||Generally, there are fewer exceptions in the NWPTA compared to the CFTA. [ * ]|
|These exceptions are included in Annex I and Annex II to chapter 9. Measures excluded in Annex I cannot be made more trade restrictive and are subject to what is called a ratchet, the measures become locked in.||All four provinces included a separate exception related to supply managed agriculture products.||While the NWPTA already has a mechanism to allow a Party to remove its exceptions, the CFTA contains a similar process in the government procurement chapter, which will soon be brought into the Agreement to enable Parties to remove or update party-specific exceptions in the rest of the Agreement. [ * ]|
|Parties may unilaterally remove any measures listed in Appendix I.||Parties in the NWPTA also did not take exceptions for financial services, corporate registration, among other issues given their commitment towards mutual recognition.|
|Obligations||Canadian Free Trade Agreement||New West Partnership Agreement||Considerations|
|Right of entry and exit/No obstacles
Trade in goods
|This obligation applies differently for PTs and the federal government. For PTs, measures cannot restrict the movement of goods across PT borders. For the federal government, measures cannot unduly restrict the movement of goods across PT borders.||Measures should not operate to restrict or impair trade between, among, or through the territory of the Parties, or investment or labour mobility.||The obligations achieve the same outcome.
However, the CFTA includes an obligation for the federal government indicating that a measure cannot unduly restrict the trade in goods, which means if a measure does impact the trade in a particular good it cannot be unjustified.
|Non-discrimination (Treats of a party in another’s territory)||The obligation is applied differently for PTs, and the federal government. For PTs, goods, services, investment and workers must be treated the same (both its own and others).||No preferential treatment of a province’s people, investments, goods or services, except for justified actual cost-of-service differences.||The obligation for PTs is the same in the CFTA as the NWPTA. The federal only language is not a relevant consideration in the NWPTA.|
|For the federal government, all provinces must treated the same as another and discrimination must be geographically neutral (the government cannot favour one region or area over another).||Under the previous Agreement on Internal Trade, a panel ruled that in order to violate the non‑discrimination obligation the federal government measure must have a geographic component to the discrimination; otherwise, the measure would not violate the Agreement. As a result, there was an agreement to reflect this panel decision in the CFTA.|
(Defence for establishing a certain level of protection)
|Parties are allowed to establish the level of protection it considers appropriate to achieve a legitimate objective (e.g., human, plant and human health, consumer protection). This obligation provides a defense for a Party who introduces a measure that may be inconsistent with the Agreement.||Allows a party to introduce a measure that is inconsistent with the Agreement if it meets a legitimate objective, does not restrict trade more than necessary to achieve objective and is not a disguised restriction to trade.||Both agreements provide the same level of defense for the purposes of achieving a legitimate objective, including the need to determine whether the measure was introduced for a legitimate purpose or to be a disguised trade restriction.
The NWPTA provides a broader list of legitimate objectives that may be used to justify a measure introduced by one of the four jurisdictions.
|The Agreement requires the Party to prove that the measure was not a disguised restriction on trade.
The Agreement also contains an exhaustive list of legitimate policy objectives a Party may use to defend a measure.
|Another party cannot restrict the import of any good or service from any other Party or export of any good or service to any other Party for a LO unless it is similarly prohibited or restricted.
The NWPTA contains an exhaustive list of legitimate policy objectives that a Party may use to defend a measure.
|Transparency||Measures must be readily available to all FPTs, and the Agreement requires Parties to maintain an enquiry point that is able to answer questions and to provide information relating to its measures or other CFTA matters.||The Agreement requires a Party to make readily available its measures, and when there are proposed amendments or the adoption of a new measure by one Party, under the NWPTA all Parties are permitted to review the proposal and provide comments.||Overall, both agreements achieve the same transparency objectives.
However, in urgent situations, the CFTA allows a Party to omit these transparency requirements. The CFTA is silent on the charging of fees.
|The Agreement also requires a Party to publish a description of its proposed regulation, allow reasonable time for comments and consider such comments. There are also exceptions to these requirements in the case of urgent situations.||Parties must provide requested documents in a non-discriminatory manner, and fees charged are applied reasonably.|
|Investment||The investment section contains specialized obligations on market access, formal requirements, and performance requirements.||Removes duplicative registration and reporting requirements to enable businesses and investors to expand into the other provinces. Business registration and reporting requirements are integrated across all three provinces, a corporation only needs to file its annual report in the jurisdiction where it is incorporated.||The NWPTA obligations are similar to those in the CFTA related to formal requirements, which is what a Party may require of an investor or its investment when operating in its jurisdiction.|
|The section clearly articulates which measures are prohibited by a party regarding an investor from another CFTA jurisdiction (e.g., limitations on number of enterprise, monopolies, total number of natural persons). It also indicates the types of measures a Party is permitted to maintain, such as concerns with zoning and planning regulations, ownership restrictions, or commercial presence.||All filing fees have been eliminated; by January 1, 2020, this process will also include Manitoba.||The CFTA is more prescriptive in terms of what measures a Party is prohibited from imposing on an investor wishing to operate in one of the jurisdictions.|
|The CFTA also prohibits performance requirements such as needing to purchase goods or services from a local source, or transfer technology.|
|Incentives /subsidies||The CFTA prohibits Parties from providing incentives that discriminate against an enterprise based on its head office location or ownership, would result in relocation, or primarily intended to undercut competitors from another Party.||Prohibits Parties from directly or indirectly providing business subsidies that provide advantages to an enterprise that is competing with an enterprise of another Party, entice or assist the relocation of an enterprise from another Party, or otherwise distort investment decisions.||[ * ]|
|Each Party has to submit a biennial report on incentives that provides information on the incentive programs and amounts committed to enterprises under its territory.||There is also an obligation that requires NWPTA Parties to encourage non-Parties to eliminate subsidies to business and refrain from bidding wars.||Both agreements include similar rules on incentives. However, the CFTA includes stronger language prohibiting Parties to overbid each other’s incentive programs.|
|There is also an obligation that requires each Party to refrain from engaging in bidding wars against another Party to attract prospective investors seeking the most beneficial incentive.||The NWPA does not require Parties to report on their subsidies.|
|Labour mobility||The CFTA reaffirms the labour mobility obligations that were in the original Agreement on Internal Trade.
The previous Agreement on Internal Trade Labour Mobility chapter had already been amended in 2009 to follow a negative list approach in advance of the approach taken in the CFTA.
|Parties agree to mutually recognize certified workers to allow movement between the three provinces.
The NWPTA also requires the regulatory authorities in the NWPTA provinces to certify workers, upon application that are already certified in another NWPTA province without requiring additional training or examinations that would be considered material.
|Reference to certified workers means the same in both Agreements.
[ * ]
|Labour Mobility provisions of the CFTA (Chapter 7) state that certified workers have to be recognized as qualified to work by a regulatory body in another PT which regulates that occupation, without having to go through significant additional training, work experience, examination or assessment, unless an exception has been posted.||The Agreement also notes the need to process registration on a “timely basis,” and requires the provinces to list all occupations requiring certification on the Agreement’s website.||NWPTA mentions recognition by signatories of Red Seal Program certifications, as does the CFTA; however, it is not required for certificate-to-certificate recognition.
The CFTA includes an extra provision for recognition of Red Seal certifications, whereby a Party may allow a certified tradesperson who has a red seal certification to work without requiring the individual to apply for a second certification. This may also be permitted in cases of short-term emergencies, such as allowing a firefighter to work in another province or territory. While this provision is voluntary, this obligation does not exist in the NWPTA.
|In cases where certification requirements or occupational standards for a regulated occupation are very different from one jurisdiction to another, a government may approve an exception to full Labour Mobility based on a legitimate objective. Examples of legitimate objectives include the protection of public security and safety, public order, protection of human, animal or plant life or health, protection of the environment, among other objectives.||However, some occupations are not regulated in all four provinces. For individuals moving to a province that regulates from a province that does not, the individual will have to meet the requirements of the regulatory authority in order to obtain a license or certification to work in that province. The provinces have included relevant exceptions for these occupations.||Unlike CFTA Chapter 7, the NWPTA does not transparently list all the requirements, such as non-material registration requirements, which provides a certain level of clarity with respect to the requirements that must be met in the CFTA.
While the language requirements in the NWPTA might not be relevant, in the CFTA the chapter does not apply to official language requirements for Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Applicants may be required to complete specific language proficiency requirements as a condition of certification in these jurisdictions.
|The Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) is responsible to promote the implementation of and ongoing adherence to Chapter 7. The FLMM reports to the Committee on Internal Trade.||It also indicates that any worker certified to practice a trade under the Red Seal Program shall be recognized as qualified to practice that trade in another province.||Both Agreements provides a level of resource in the case of a dispute, and if there is a concern brought forward the Agreement that is more conducive to labour mobility applies.|
|Procurement||Each government will ensure that it has an independent bid protest mechanism in place, allowing suppliers to challenge procurements they think have broken the agreement’s rules.||Obligations apply to all levels of government, and take effect once the anticipated costs are at or above the established threshold amounts. Thresholds differ between each level of government for procurement of goods, services and construction.||The threshold levels in the CFTA are higher than that of the NWPTA.|
|The provinces must be signatories to the New West Partnership Bid Protest Mechanism; they have also included a list of exceptions not subject to the Agreement’s obligations.||The general non-application (general chapter exceptions) are similar between the two agreements.|
|Energy||Energy and minerals resources are covered by the agreement, except where Parties took party-specific exceptions.||Measures adopted or maintained relating to the rights to energy or mineral resources, exploration and development of energy or mineral resources, and management or conservation of energy or mineral resources are excluded from the Agreement.||The measures are very different in the two agreements (electricity transmission vs energy and mineral resources) and cannot be compared.|
|Electricity transmission is covered by the agreement unless a Party has taken party‑specific exceptions.||Measures adopted or maintained to promote renewable and alternative energy are also excluded.|
|Transportation||N/A||It establishes requirements for vehicle registration, including reciprocity with respect to vehicle registration, and requires National Safety code number for vehicles under a certain weight.||The inclusion of such obligations may make sense in the NWPTA context given the overall intent of the Agreement; however, these issues are not typically captured by trade agreements.|
|There is also an obligation that Parties continue to work together to enhance public safety and highway infrastructure through measures related to cargo securement, vehicle configurations and weights and dimensions.|
|Dispute resolution||Provides for progressive steps in its dispute avoidance and resolution processes. Dispute resolution has three stages: dispute avoidance; consultations; and panel: if consultations on the matter have been unsuccessful, a dispute panel considers the issue and makes a binding decision on the matter.||The dispute resolution mechanism has three stages: dispute avoidance; consultations; and panel: if consultations on the matter have been unsuccessful, a dispute panel considers the issue and makes a binding decision on the matter.||In the NWPTA, P-G dispute applies to all sectors of the economy, including Financial Services.|
|Allows for monetary penalties of up to $10 million (population based) in both government-to-government (G-G) and person-to-government (P-G) disputes in cases of continued non-compliance with a panel ruling.||Allows for monetary penalties of up to $5 million. Disputes can be brought forward as government-to-government and person-to-government (P-G) disputes.||In the CFTA, G-G and P-G apply to everything, but since the Agreement does not currently cover rules on financial services, the dispute resolution processes do not apply. [ * ]|
|Regulatory reconciliation||The Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table was established under the CFTA, to provide a forum for governments to identify and resolve regulatory barriers to trade, and to collaborate on the development of common regulatory measures for emerging markets.||The Agreement commits Parties to full mutual recognition or reconciliation of their rules affecting trade, investment or labour mobility.||While the CFTA RCT process does allow parties to enter into mutual recognition, the focus has largely been on negotiating reconciliation agreements for the items identified on the work plan.|
|A Party is not required to participate in the development of the future regulatory measure or adopt the future regulatory measure at the end of a joint development process.||[ * ]|
|However, the NWPTA does not indicate the process through which mutual recognition will be achieved.|
Premiers committed to strengthening the economy through reducing barriers to Internal Trade
Saskatoon, SK, July 10, 2019 – Internal trade is pivotal to the growth of businesses in every province and territory, in particular for small and medium sized enterprises. Interprovincial trade of goods and services has been steadily rising over the years and represented more than $406 billion in 2017. Constant and significant progress has been made in the past years to liberalize trade in Canada, resulting in more access to markets from coast to coast to coast, enhanced labour mobility for workers and less red tape for businesses. Premiers are committed to continuing to work cooperatively to ensure the success of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and further reducing trade irritants. Premiers call on the federal government to also address barriers in its areas of jurisdiction.
Over the past year, provinces and territories have:
- Completed an Action Plan on enhancing Trade in Alcoholic Beverages while maintaining a strong focus on social responsibility;
- Completed reconciliation agreements that will address regulatory differences in the areas of occupational health and safety, transportation and technical safety;
- Consulted key industry and community stakeholders on priority areas for future work; and,
- Advanced work to increase the overall ambition of the CFTA, including reviewing exceptions and making progress toward adding financial services and cannabis for non- medical purposes within the scope of the Agreement.
Premiers are committed to ongoing action, over the coming year, provinces and territories will prioritize work to:
- Identify and address outstanding impediments to labour mobility;
- Align regulatory approaches in a number of priority areas;
- Advance further liberalization of trade in alcoholic beverages;
- Review Party-specific exceptions in the CFTA; and,
- Cooperate on aligning future regulations in emerging areas.
Enhanced trade in alcoholic beverages, balanced with social responsibility, remains a strong focus of Premiers. Work continues cooperatively and within individual jurisdictions to improve consumer choice and producer access to markets through tools such as e-commerce platforms, direct-to-consumer sales, reduced red tape and improved transparency. Significant progress continues on eliminating or reducing limits on personal exemption limits for alcohol transported across provincial-territorial boundaries.
Premiers are also committed to ongoing collaborative efforts to tap into Canada’s economic potential by further liberalizing trade through the CFTA. Premiers agreed to an immediate amendment to the CFTA to enable the narrowing or elimination of exceptions and call on the federal government to adopt this amendment. Additionally, by the end of 2019, each government will conduct a full review of its own specific exceptions, and call on the federal government to do the same.
Last year, Premiers directed accelerated action on regulatory reconciliation. Premiers recognize that aligning regulatory approaches across the federation is beneficial for business and economic growth. Premiers are pleased to announce several completed reconciliation agreements, which will align regulatory approaches and reduce regulatory burdens on businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions. Work is underway on additional priority areas for regulatory reconciliation and cooperation in 2019 and beyond (see Backgrounder).
Media enquiries may be directed to:
- Jim Billington
Director of Communications and Press Secretary Office of the Premier
Government of Saskatchewan (306) 787-0425
Backgrounder: Provincial – territorial action on internal trade
Several initiatives are underway to improve consumer choice and producer access to markets:
- Ten provinces and territories have now eliminated, or plan to eliminate, exemption limits for alcohol transported by a person across provincial-territorial boundaries for personal use, and others have agreed to significantly increase their limits.
- Nine provinces already allow and/or are exploring technical options for direct-to-consumer sales.
- All provinces and territories are undertaking work to review and improve their sales channels to reduce administrative burdens and improve access, selection and availability of alcoholic beverages to consumers within their provinces or territory.
- Six provinces have or will develop e-commerce platforms for the sale of alcoholic beverages, or allow private retailers to do so, with the aim of supporting enhanced consumer access and convenience. Three provinces already have fully operational government-run retail e-commence platforms.
Additionally, provinces and territories are taking action to increase transparency for producers by launching a new online information hub by the end of 2019, which will function as a single website for producers to access plain language information on all provincial-territorial alcohol retailing and distribution systems. Provinces and territories will work to be transparent about their pricing and improve listing practices to reduce related red tape and barriers to market entry for producers.
Several reconciliation agreements were completed in 2018 to align regulatory approaches and reduce regulatory burdens on businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions in areas of:
- Occupational Health and Safety – common standards have been agreed to for first aid kit contents; hearing protection; personal flotation devices; and head-foot-eye protection. When implemented, businesses and workers operating across multiple jurisdictions will no longer bear the time and expense of navigating different requirements.
- Technical Safety – mutual recognition for the review of pressure vessel equipment design will remove redundant and expensive reviews for participating jurisdictions.
- Transportation – weights for single wide-base and dual tires will be aligned to make the use of the tires more practical for the transportation sector on major trade routes.
Premiers have prioritized five additional and significant areas of work and committed to completing reconciliation agreements in the following areas by the end of 2019:
- Construction codes;
- Energy efficiency standards for household appliances;
- Aquaculture site marking requirements;
- Upholstered and stuffed articles regulation; and,
- Corporate registries – announcing the introduction of a reconciled, integrated system for extra-provincial corporate registration, starting first in western provinces and expanding across the country.
Premiers instruct all responsible ministers to prioritize and follow through on the implementation of regulatory reconciliation efforts. In addition to addressing existing regulations, Premiers direct ministers to ensure regulatory cooperation continues in emerging areas such as autonomous vehicles and mandatory entry-level training for truck drivers.
Enhancing the CFTA
Progress also continues towards incorporating rules for financial services into the CFTA in a manner that offers each province and territory the same or better treatment than that which Canada offers its international trading partners. Premiers directed ministers to reach an Agreement-in-Principle by December 2019. Provinces and territories are also committed to bringing cannabis for non-medical purposes under the agreement, and directed ministers to prioritize this work once all provinces and territories have finalized their regulatory models.
Media enquiries may be directed to:
- Jim Billington
Director of Communications and Press Secretary Office of the Premier
Government of Saskatchewan (306) 787-0425
Canada delivering modern regulations, boosting internal trade
Ottawa, Ontario, July 8, 2019 – Ahead of the Council of the Federation meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada highlights the progress made to improve economic competitiveness and facilitate trade between provinces and territories.
The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and acting Minister responsible for Intergovernmental Affairs and Internal Trade, and the Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, pointed to the ways the government is listening to consumers, retailers and safety advocates, and acting to make it easier and safer to do business across Canada and abroad.
The Government of Canada has reduced barriers to business growth and trade, boosted competitiveness, and created good middle-class jobs since the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) came into force on July 1, 2017.
Federal departments and agencies have made inroads on everything from improved regulations on food inspection, safety equipment and appliances to rules for the trucks that get food and other goods to market.
Among the actions, the National Codes for construction have been made available for free online, Safe Food for Canadians Regulations were introduced to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens, and the regulatory framework was made more agile through the Annual Regulatory Modernization Act.
The Government of Canada intends to continue to work with provinces and territories to improve opportunities for trade within Canada and abroad.
These changes have helped Canadians grow their businesses and compete in Canada’s diversifying economy.
“We have been listening to Canadian businesses. Our government knows that when businesses have the ability to grow and compete they create more middle-class jobs. We will continue to push to reduce barriers to trade within Canada, and to support Canadian competitiveness. Creating good jobs for the middle class and building economic prosperity will lead to a bright future for all Canadians.”
- The Honourable Bill Morneau, Finance Minister and acting Minister responsible for intergovernmental affairs and internal trade
“We’re modernizing Canada’s regulatory framework to make it easier for businesses to work across the country. Simpler internal trade strengthens businesses, bolsters innovation, and creates more job growth – delivering results for all Canadians.”
- The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
- According to the International Monetary Fund, removing barriers to internal trade within Canada could increase Canada’s GDP by almost 4 per cent.
- The federal government released four Regulatory Roadmaps in June, setting out a plan for reducing regulatory barriers and bottlenecks in targeted high-growth sectors.
- Through the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table, federal, provincial and territorial governments have also agreed on a renewed work plan for reconciling and cooperating on regulations in the coming years.
- Progress Enhancing Trade within Canada
- Regulatory Roadmaps – the path to a better regulatory system for businesses and all Canadians
- Minister Morneau statement following meeting of Committee on Internal Trade ministers
- Canada acts to eliminate barriers to interprovincial trade in alcohol
- First Ministers meet to discuss economic growth and jobs for Canadians
- Federal action to enhance economic competitiveness and improve trade between provinces and territories
- Canadian Free Trade Agreement website
For more information (media only), please contact:
Minister Morneau statement following meeting of Committee on Internal Trade ministers
Halifax, Nova Scotia (May 29, 2019) – The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance and acting Minister responsible for intergovernmental affairs and internal trade, issued the following statement after meeting provincial and territorial ministers at the Committee on Internal Trade meeting in Halifax:
“When goods can travel freely across Canada, Canadian consumers, workers and businesses all win.
“In today’s meeting, I reiterated our commitment to working with provinces and territories to benefit all Canadians by reducing barriers to trade within Canada.
“I welcome the action plan adopted by the committee to enhance trade of alcoholic beverages in Canada, and the commitment by a majority of the committee members to assess the feasibility of direct-to-consumer alcohol sales.
“This builds upon the recent action by the federal government to introduce legislation to eliminate the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another must go through a provincial liquor authority.
"To encourage progress on this work, I indicated that the Government of Canada is willing to explore how it could help ensure that provinces and territories receive the appropriate revenue on direct-to-consumer alcohol sales.
“There is more to be done in areas beyond alcohol. That’s why the work of the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table is so important to our progress in addressing barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility within Canada.
“The group is pushing ahead on its second work plan, and I am delighted to see how we can continue to help businesses grow and succeed, leading to a stronger economy and more jobs for the middle class.
“This work plan includes working to assure prompt payment for construction businesses, which will allow contractors and subcontractors to receive payments in a timely manner for their work on projects, saving on costs, time and paperwork.
“I look forward to our continued collaboration towards improving trade within our country.”
For more information (media only), please contact:
- Vincent Hughes
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade
This 29-item work plan was developed pursuant to Annex 404 (para. 8) of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).
Overview of RCT work to date:
- Five reconciliation agreements, covering eight of the 23 items from the 2018-19 RCT Workplan, have been completed and implementation is underway. They are:
- Occupational health and safety:
- First aid kits
- Hearing protection
- Personal flotation devices
- Head, foot and eye protection
- Transport: Wide-base single tires
- Technical safety: CRN for pressure vessels
- Aquaculture organic labeling (implementation complete)
- Grade inspection for produce (implementation complete)
- Occupational health and safety:
- The 2019-2020 RCT workplan contains 29 items. It carries over items from the RCT’s initial (2018-2019) Workplan, as well as tracks the full implementation of the five completed agreements in place. It includes five new items:
- For reconciliation:
- Textiles: Regulatory requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles
- Technical Safety: National license for gas fitters
- For future regulatory cooperation:
- Construction: Prompt payment legislation and regulation
- Transport: Truck driver certification (mandatory entry-level training)
- Transport: Autonomous vehicles testing
- For reconciliation:
- For 2019, five reconciliation agreements or equivalents will be delivered by December in the following areas:
- Construction codes (Item 12)
- Energy efficiency standards for household appliances (Item 14)
- Aquaculture site marking (Item 17)
- Corporate registry (Item 22)
- Textiles - Regulatory requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles (Item 24, a new item, as listed above)
Completed reconciliation agreements and implementation status
|Themes||Topics||Status / implementation|
|Occupational health and safety||
When implemented, businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions will no longer bear the time and expense of navigating different requirements.
|Standards and codes||
|Agriculture / Agri-Food / Aquaculture||
Summary of 2019 – 2020 workplan: Regulatory measures for reconciliation and future regulatory cooperation
For more detailed information, see Annex 1.
|Themes||Topics||Targeted timing for reconciliation agreement|
|Occupational health and safety||
|Standards and codes||
|Agriculture / Agri-Food / Aquaculture||
|Drug scheduling requirements||
(Regulatory measures to be reconciled and measures for regulatory cooperation)
- For regulatory reconciliation items, the desired outcome is to achieve regulatory reconciliation among the Parties.
- The RCT will support existing forums or create new ones for regulatory cooperation items identified in the workplan. The items are not intended to remain on the workplan indefinitely. Where it becomes evident that a reconciliation agreement is not achievable within a reasonable timeframe, the RCT may remove a cooperation item from the workplan.
|Item||Theme||Topic||Description||Targeted timing for reconciliation agreement (short, medium or long term)|
|1a||Occupational health and safety||First aid kits||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|1b||Occupational health and safety||Workplace first aid training||Presently in Canada, jurisdictions have their own rules in place for first aid course content, duration, and types of courses.||Medium term
|2||Occupational health and safety||Hearing protection||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|3||Occupational health and safety||Fall protection||All provincial governments require businesses to provide their workers with fall protection equipment, but the type of equipment varies from one province to the next.||Medium term
|4||Occupational health and safety||Personal flotation devices (PFDs)||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|5||Occupational health and safety||Head foot and eye protection||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|6||Occupational health and safety||Occupational exposure limits||Businesses operating in or desiring to expand into other jurisdictions in Canada must comply with differing federal, provincial and territorial OSH regulations. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) for chemicals vary across Canada.||Medium term
|7||Occupational health and safety||Occupational health and safety management system||An occupational health and safety management system is a process put in place by an employer to minimize the risk of injury and illness. Currently no Canadian jurisdiction requires the use of occupational health and safety management systems in legislation or regulation and there are no known plans for doing so. But a number of provinces do encourage the use of such systems by providing benefits for businesses.||Long term
|8||Transport||Wide base single (WBS) tires||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|9||Transport||Spring weight restrictions (Trans-Canada Highway)||Differing spring weight regulations require transport trucks, which are distributing goods across provincial boundaries on the Trans-Canada Highway, to abide by the lowest weight restriction.||Long term
|10||Transport||Size and weight restrictions (excepting spring weight restrictions)||Trucking businesses have to contend with different trucking rules, depending on whether they are travelling inter-provincially or intra-provincially. Each province and territory is responsible for regulating the size and weights of trucks allowed on their highway systems.||Medium term
|11||Transport||Electronic logging devices||In Canada, electronic logging devices (ELDs) are not currently mandated for use in the trucking industry to track the consecutive hours of service (HOS) on the road; they are mandatory in the United States, affecting Canadian trucking companies.
In December 2017, Transport Canada (TC) proposed changes to the Federal Commercial Vehicle Driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations, including the mandated use of ELDs for interprovincial travel. As provinces and territories consider mandating for intraprovincial travel, a consistent approach will enable more accurate monitoring of a driver’s HOS, enhance road safety, and provide a level and competitive playing field for all barriers.
|12||Standards and codes||Construction codes||The timely adoption and implementation by provinces and territories of construction codes is variable. Provinces and territories base their codes on national code content for building, fire, plumbing and energy efficiency. Jurisdictional variations to the codes remain in terms of scope of application and special requirements.
Policy and historically driven variations in each jurisdiction to the construction codes results in barriers related to the manufacture, operation, inspection, education/training, design, cost, mobility of labour, recognition of use and certification for products, process or activities regulated by these codes for industry, trades, professionals, local governments, international jurisdictions, regulators, the public and others.
Variations also occur where provinces and territories are not harmonized to changing construction codes in a timely manner.
|13||Standards and codes||CRN for pressure equipment||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|14||Standards and codes||Energy efficiency standards for household appliances||Discrepancies between federal and provincial energy efficiency requirements for household appliances can impose unnecessary regulatory burden on industry. Currently, federal energy efficiency regulations are lower than some provinces, but aligned with others.
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is responsible for administering the Energy Efficiency Act and Regulations to set and enforce minimum energy performance standards for energy-using products, such as labelling requirements. Household appliances are typically manufactured outside of Canada for the larger North American market.
|15||Agriculture / Agri- Food / Aquaculture||Food inspection||Food sold within a province or territory must comply with that province or territory’s food safety and inspection rules. Once it crosses borders, it falls within the jurisdiction of the new province/territory, as well as applicable federal legislation. To trade inter-provincially, businesses must meet all the applicable federal requirements to get a federal registration.||Medium term
|16||Agriculture / Agri- Food / Aquaculture||Meat inspection||Only meat processed in federally registered abattoirs can be exported inter-provincially.
Meeting the requirements for federal registration is currently costly and time consuming, and there are no provisions for exemptions based on regulatory system recognition.
|17||Agriculture / Agri- Food / Aquaculture||Aquaculture site marking||The requirements under the Navigation Protection Program (NPP) differ slightly from those outlined in provincial regulations. These differing site marking requirements require duplicative provincial and federal government inspections to verify that a producer is meeting the requirements.||Short term
|18||Agriculture / Agri- Food / Aquaculture||Aquaculture organic labeling||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|19||Agriculture / Agri- Food / Aquaculture||Grade inspection for produce||Reconciliation agreement complete|
|20||Construction||Construction labour (hiring priority system)||For parties that employ a hiring priority system in its construction industry, employers of a Party must give priority to hiring workers residing in the region where the construction site is located before using workers from other regions within the jurisdiction and outside of it.||Long term
|21||Drug scheduling requirements||Drug scheduling||When a drug is approved for sale in Canada, Health Canada decides whether or not the drug requires a prescription to be sold. The scheduling of non-prescription drugs (decisions on how they are to be sold in pharmacies) is the responsibility of the provinces and territories.
Currently, the process by which PTs schedule non-prescription drugs varies across the country. This leads to uneven access to consumer health products and imposes a high regulatory burden on industry.
|22||Registration requirements||Corporate registry||Businesses face substantial amounts of red tape when registering their companies as they seek to expand operations to other provinces across Canada. While some provinces are in the process of creating a more seamless registration process for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions, most businesses must register and file reports in each jurisdiction in which they operate.||Short term
|23||Registration requirements||Workers’ Compensation Board||Current Canadian workers’ compensation legislation varies from one province to the next. As a result, businesses employing workers in many provinces or territories must comply with sometimes highly variable rules according to the government authority – federal, provincial or territorial.||Medium term
|Textiles / Upholstery||Upholstered and stuffed articles (USA) regulatory requirements||Some provinces have regulatory requirements for Upholstered and Stuffed Articles (USA) to protect the public from potential hazards associated with manufacturers using unclean or unsafe filling materials. All other provinces and territories rely solely on federal legislation (the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act & Textile Labelling Act) to address consumer product safety. These regulations have been identified as a regulatory burden on business and as a barrier to interprovincial trade by industry groups.||Short term
|Technical safety / Labour mobility||Harmonization and national licence for gas fitters||The harmonization of Gas Fitter A and B (also known as gas technicians) would streamline and harmonize a range of public policy practices and technical standards applied across jurisdictions to the common workforce and provide more efficient and cost-effective services. The end result would be that those certified as red seal gas fitters would be mobile across jurisdictions and not encounter the barriers that currently exist through various licensing regimes. The principle would be one certification, one license.||Medium term
|Item||Theme||Topic||Description||Targeted timing for reconciliation agreement (short, medium or long term)|
|Transport||Truck driver certification – Mandatory entry-level training (MELT)||A national mandatory entry level training (MELT) program for commercial drivers in Canada would be expected to improve commercial vehicle safety.||Medium term
|Transport||Testing of automated and connected vehicles (AV/CVs)||The technology related to automated vehicles is evolving rapidly. Analysis reveals that Canadian provinces and territories have varying levels of enabling statutes to support AV testing. In 2018, guidelines were published by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and a national policy framework was developed by the Council of Ministers of Transportation (COMT). Regulatory cooperation would potentially see all jurisdictions adopt one set of guidelines for the testing of these vehicles and align formalized permitting practices for testing.||Medium term
|Construction||Builders’ lien – prompt payment legislation and associated regulations||Prompt payment legislation sets timelines by which construction contracts need to be paid and creates a dispute resolution mechanism to efficiently deal with disputes. This legislation’s purpose is to improve the financial stability within the construction industry. Aligning approaches will reduce unnecessary administrative burdens that otherwise might indirectly defeat this purpose. As other jurisdictions consider prompt payment legislation, there may be opportunity at this early stage of development to align regulatory approaches.||Long term
The Honourable Jason Kenney
Premier of Alberta
Office of the Premier
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97th Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-2251
Fax: (780) 427-1349
The Honourable Bruce Ralston
Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Phone: (250) 387-3655
Fax: (250) 387-4680
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The Honourable Ralph Eichler
Minister of Economic Development and Training
Room 358, Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Phone: (204) 945-0067
Fax: (204) 945-3470
To be confirmed
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Office of the Premier
Confederation Building, East Block
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL A1B 4J6
Phone: (709) 729-3570
Fax: (709) 729-5875
To be confirmed
Nova Scotia (Chair)
The Honourable Geoff MacLellan
Minister of Trade
P.O. Box 2664
11th Floor – 1690 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3C8
Phone: (902) 424-7793
Fax: (902) 424-3265
The Honourable David Akeeagok
Minister of Economic Development and Transportation
Building 1104A, Inuksugait Plaza
P.O. Box 1000, Station 1510
Iqaluit, NU X0A 0H0
Phone: (867) 975-7800
Fax: (867) 975-7870
The Honourable Victor Fedeli
Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
College Park, 18th Floor
777 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 1S5
Phone: (416) 720-4139
Prince Edward Island
The Honourable Matthew MacKay
Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture
Shaw Building, 5th Floor North
P.O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8
Phone: (902) 368-4230
Fax: (902) 620-3726
The Honourable Pierre Fitzgibbon
Minister of Economy and Innovation
710 d’Youville Place
Quebec, QC 4Y4
Phone: (418) 691-5650
Fax: (418) 643-8553
The Honourable Jeremy Harrison
Minister of Trade and Export Development
Room 346, Legislative Building,
2405 Legislative Drive,
Regina, SK S4S 0B3
Phone: (306) 787-8687
Fax: (306) 787-7977
The Honourable Ranj Pillai
Minister of Economic Development
Yukon Government Administration Building
2071 Second Avenue
P.O. Box 2703
Whitehorse, YK Y1A 2C6
Phone: (867) 393-7418
Fax: (867) 393-7135
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